Thursday, August 28, 2014

Answering phone calls

     Free daily tips, information and advice for small business
     from personal experience starting-up, operating and expanding small businesses of my own.

     Serious business owners have a business telephone. And every telephone call should always be answered--live.

     The person who answers your telephone is your business. The face of your business leaps into the caller's mind immediately when your phone is answered.

     Example: Wendy was always busy in her dress shop. She ran the place alone, aiming to improve the wardrobes of business women. She had many ideas for accessories, and she was continually placing and re-placing accessories on outfits on display--a silk scarf here, a silver brooch there. She changed her store's front window at least two or three times each week. When the phone rang, she usually let it go to voice mail. Wendy woke up when one caller left this message: "I wanted to know if you carried designer clothes. I'll try someplace else."

     You can lose a sale and a customer when you don't answer their phone call. And it is unlikely the caller will return to you. People move on.

     Example: Andrew operated an architectural design firm. He worked alone and was frequently out of his office, so he had all calls transferred to his personal cell phone. One morning his cell phone buzzed as he walked next door to get a cup of coffee. The caller was from a high end architectural design firm and wanted to know if Andrew had any interest in being part of a team working on new corporate offices for a major company. If he had not taken that call, he might still be struggling. Today, however, he has two assistants and a personal receptionist/office manager who answers every call professionally. 

     Your business depends on customers and clients getting in touch with you in a live conversation. They deserve your attention--whenever they call. 

     Some businesses I know have a rule on ringing telephones==answer every call no later than the second ring. Their customers and clients are well-served by the policy.   

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