What does your company do when a customer doesn’t want to leave a message? Losing potential touch points with customers can come with a high cost. By using features included in a cloud phone system, you can overcome some of the barriers keeping you from communicating with your customers.
According to recent studies, nearly 4 out of 5 people calling into a small business who get voice mail do not leave a message. And it’s likely that this trend will only increase in the era of text and instant messaging features built into smart-phones.
Why Your Customers Aren’t Leaving Voice Mail
Some of the psychological reasons that people don’t like to leave voice mails is that customers understand that it’s not real-time, and not checked frequently. Yet we live in a world of increasing urgency where minutes today are the equivalent of tens of minutes in the pre-Internet age.
The convenience of Internet Search Engines has taught us that even for local businesses and professional services, competitors are just a mouse-click away. Rather than leave a voice mail and wait for a callback, many people will simply search for another vendor. Studies from Google and MarketingSherpa have shown this over and again.
For business owners as well, voice mail can be a hindrance. Honestly, who likes sifting through and listening to each voice mail message, scribbling down callback names and numbers, having to hit the repeat button to clearly hear digits, and then to clear out the voice mail inbox?
IVR Can Help
An Interactive Voice Response, included with a virtual phone system, can help funnel your calls so that customers who wish to speak to someone in sales can press, for example,  and have those calls forwarded to a cell phone (you probably don’t want to send those calls to voice mail), but those who have general inquiries such as directions or office hours can find the information themselves by pressing, say, .
Not only can such systems route the more urgent calls to the right person and phone number, but it also reduces the chances that someone looking for general information will abandon the call due to a voice mail greeting. For instance, if someone is calling to see if the local dentist down the block from their home is open on Saturdays, they could hear an option, “To hear our location and office hours, press 2,” instead of a general greeting—which gives them the opportunity to simply hang up and do a Google search, finding a dentist down the block instead.
Live Receptionists Personalize Customer Interactions
Another option that can help increase customer satisfaction is to use a live receptionist answering service that you can subscribe to on demand. Send just your sales overflow to the an external live receptionist, or only your evening or weekend calls. You can prioritize your call routing to balance cost and service level. Using professional attendants to answer calls can boost your company’s image by providing more personalized service to your customers.
On-demand live answering services charge less than a couple of dollars per answered call. Losing the opportunity is far more costly than the investment into this service. It’s easy to set up and you’ll quickly be able to track the benefits of having this customer service option for your company. It’s a win for you and gives your customers that added personal touch, leading to very positive returns on your investment.
Jennifer Killian contributed to this article.