We are living in an era when the possibilities for communication are endless. An Eircom Housefold Sentiment Survey carried out in 2013 found that more than 1.6 million people then had a smartphone in Ireland and the proportion of people using smartphones had risen from 39% to 50% in six months. The result of this increased use of technology is that it has raised peoples expectations in terms of response times. This has impacted as much in business circles as much as in peoples personal lives and we are all now increasingly becoming slaves to our mobile devices. The same survey by Eircom revealed that 1 million people check their emails first thing each morning, while 250,000 people check their work emails while on holidays.
What is an Appropriate Response?
Given the statistics, businesses therefore need to be very aware of the importance of providing an appropriate response to their customer enquiries. At a very basic level every business should have their calls answered within three rings. If you fail at this point and leave the caller waiting, you are running the risk of losing the call to one of your competitors. Each call to a business could be a potential customer and bearing this in mind a system should be put in place to ensure that no calls are left unanswered. This can be difficult for small companies who may not have the resources to have someone dedicated to answering calls for the full duration of the working week.
For a company which is open from 9am to 5pm from Monday to Friday this equates to 40 hours a week. Clearly your staff are going to need breaks and holidays and so a plan needs to be put in place whereby these hours are covered by someone else. Businesses sometimes outsource their call answering to companies who specialize in this area. This is a great solution to cover lunch breaks and holidays and ensures that no calls are missed. It can also be a very cost effective solution. Missing calls may be the single greatest unknown within your business. If you have not put a plan in place to answer each and every call, then you will never know the cost to your company. Instead, potential new business enquiries will go to your competitor and any money you have spent on Marketing has been wasted.
Businesses using answering machines will be very aware of the high percentage of callers who simply hang up at the point where they are asked to leave a message. People do not like speaking to machines or avoid leaving a message as they do not know who will be listening to the message.
Don’t let your competitors answer your calls. Take the initiative and put a plan in place to ensure all calls to your business are answered.