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Voice Mail: Solution or Danger

At Prospect Genius, we work with a broad spectrum of small, local companies, and that puts us in a unique position to observe trends in the ways small businesses handle their operations. Recently, we’ve noticed that some of our clients, especially the one-person outfits, are too busy to answer their phone during the day. Instead, they let the calls go through to their voice mail and return the messages once they have time. On one hand, this is great news: We’re excited that so many folks are getting enough work to keep them this busy. On the other hand, this may end up being a major problem for your company: That’s because when you let your calls ring through to voice mail, you may actually end up missing out on phone calls that could lead to additional customers and additional profits.

The Issue With Voice Mail

With online advertising, we’ve observed that the majority of customers will pick up the phone and call you within a minute or two of landing on your website. Unfortunately, we’ve also noticed that if a real person doesn’t answer the call, these prospective clients will likely hang up without leaving a message. In fact, only a very small percentage of callers will actually leave a message on your voice mail. Worse, most will just click the “back” on their web browser, return to the search results page, and call the next company on the list—likely a direct competitor! The biggest problem with this scenario is that not answering your calls means that you lose the ability to capture what could be extremely profitable jobs. Think about it this way: It’s great that your business is keeping busy with multiple jobs, but in an ideal world, you’d be able to hand pick the closest, most profitable jobs instead of working yourself to the bone on projects that are farther away or have a lower profit margin.

Option #1

The good news is that there are ways to balance the issue of a ringing phone with the project on hand. Perhaps the easiest solution, yet one many folks don’t even think of, is an answering service. This option is surprisingly affordable, and in many cases, there are even companies that employ only native English speakers if customer service and communication skills are a concern for you. With an answering service, calls will be answered on your behalf, with messages being relayed to you as if you just stepped away from the phone for a moment. Some answering services immediately send you an e-mail or text message explaining the nature and priority level of the call. Others may even provide you with an option for specifying which calls you would like forwarded to you without delay and which calls you would like to receive a message about. With an answering service, your customers get the benefit of talking to a real person and you get the benefit of uninterrupted time to work on your current job without missing out on potentially profitable work for the future.

Option #2

If hiring an answering service isn’t in the cards, and your budget doesn’t allow bringing in a receptionist or assistant to answer the phone, your best bet is to simply make the most out of your voice mail recording. Start by making certain your voice mail sounds as professional as possible. Assure your clients that their call is important to you, and that their message will be returned as soon as possible. Here’s a great example: “Hi. You’ve reached Bob’s Plumbing of Boston, MA. We are unable to answer the phone at the moment because we are busy providing first-class service to one of our clients. We want to provide this same level of service to you, so please leave us a message, and we’ll return your call later today.”

Prospect Genius Voice Mail Solutions

Did you know that you can enable a separate voice mail account just for your Prospect Genius campaign? Our system allows us to intercept calls after a few rings and play a message like the one shown above. We’ll then e-mail any message left on your voice mail to you immediately. This service can be extremely helpful if you’re trying to juggle multiple businesses on a single phone line or if you just want to keep your PG campaign separate from other advertising efforts. If this voice mail service sounds like something you’d like to explore for your company, just give us a call, and the Prospect Genius team can help you out!