This guide sets out some of the ways you can maximise the gains from encouraging people to phone your business, and how to ensure they are handled correctly and that they receive the most professional image of your business.

Encouraging Initial Contact

A business’s inbound calls are usually customers with queries, suppliers calling for accounts, sales calls, colleagues, call centres “updating their database”, personal calls and, on top of this, new prospects responding to advertising. Many small businesses understandably find it difficult to
maintain a professional image while dealing with an overload of inbound calls.

As a result, callers face engaged tones, answer-machines, irate staff or worse, the phone ringing out entirely. This will lead to lost business – 80% of new callers won’t call back if they’re greeted by an engaged tone, 80% also hang up when they realise they’re connected to an answer-machine. Lost calls
are a complete waste of marketing spend. When advertising a number for your business it is vital the number is prominent in adverts. Particularly so in directories such as Yellow Pages where readers quickly scan adverts for a company that is relevant to them.

Some points to consider:

  • Ensure your number is prominent & a larger point size than the rest of the copy
  • If you are local, tell them where you are based
  • If you’re not local, use an 0800 freephone number and state ‘Call free on…’
  • Always use an 0800 or 0845 number (Non-Geographic Number) if you have one
  • State clearly what you do – customers always look for someone offering the exact service they are looking for

The Contact

Once a prospect has rung your number you have no more than a few seconds to ensure you present the most professional image of your business.

  • Always answer calls within 5 seconds (or 2 rings)
  • Make sure the person picking up the call represents themselves suitably, answering slowly and clearly in the company name and giving their name to the caller
  • Never use an answer-machine

If you cannot achieve all of these points you will certainly lose business.