Every small business owner understands the importance of treating their customers well—after all, there’d be no business without them! A recent Invoca study shows that for small business owners, the phone is a critical touchpoint. After a negative phone experience,
- 74% of people are likely to choose another business
- 70% are likely to complain to friends and family
- 30% are likely to leave a bad review
Yikes! The good news: a positive phone experience is likely to turn 80% of callers into repeat customers. So how can you create those positive experiences? Here are three ways to get started today.
Make every word count.
Depending on the situation, a phone call with a customer could last 30 minutes or 30 seconds. For briefer conversations especially, word choice matters. You may only have a few syllables to show your appreciation, so lay it on thick! Speak in a friendly, inviting tone, and aim to say “thank you” at least once. Even a quick answer-and-transfer is an opportunity to brighten a caller’s day by being warm and gracious. Can you remember a time when an upbeat exchange with a grocery clerk or a smile from a stranger snapped you out of a moment of gloom? Aim for that in every customer interaction, no matter how brief.
Create a phrasing playbook.
Your company’s telephone greeting is an important first impression, so take care to craft a good one and ensure anyone who answers the phone is on board. While you’re at it, gather your phone answering crew together and talk about ways to create a consistently positive experience for callers. Whether you have a dedicated receptionist or everyone on your team pitches in to greet customers when they call, you’ll want to ensure each caller gets the same (awesome) service, and a phrasing playbook can get you there. Draft a list of words or phrases to avoid, and brainstorm alternatives. For example, Ruby’s talented remote receptionists are encouraged to stay away from dead-end statements that include “I can’t” and “I don’t know” and swap them with helpful alternatives like “I’ll be happy to look into that” and “let me find out.” Bottom line: there’s typically always something you can do to assist a caller, even if it’s not exactly what they’re looking for, so focus their attention on your willingness to help.
Be ready for that ring.
What’s the most important element of a good phone call? An answer! If you’re letting calls roll over to voicemail during your business hours, there’s no doubt you’re missing the chance to connect with customers, and likely missing opportunities to win new business. Here’s something you don’t often hear: “Wow, I really liked that recorded message—I think I’m going to spend a lot of money with this company!” Customer relationships are built on real, meaningful connections, and without a real person to pick up the phone and make those connections when customers call, you’re bound to lose out on some opportunities. So when you and your team are on the clock, ensure someone capable (and ideally excited) is on phone duty. And if you find you need a hand, your friends at Ruby are here for you!