There’s an old adage that says, “You only get one chance to make a first impression”. It’s true, and first impressions are more important than you might think. If you’ve ever done sales, you know that when the customer walks through the door, you only have a few moments to set the tone for your entire encounter.
Yet not every customer will physically walk through your door, and first impressions are often made long before a customer even approaches your premises. Getting the phone answered is obviously a must, but first impressions are the key to recognizing your business’s true over-the-phone potential. Answering the phone is just the first step in getting a customer’s business. A caller wants to hear a friendly voice and a positive attitude.
Callers who have a positive phone experience are 10-15x more likely to go from potential customer to actual customer than someone who has only done an internet search. On the other hand, 79% of customers won’t call back if calls are unanswered and 69% won’t call back if they get a busy signal.
Setting up positive expectations is at the core of potential long-term business relationships. This means that, as part of a first impression, the first 5 sentences after ‘hello’ have the potential to make or break nearly every first encounter. So if you’re relying on someone to answer your phones, you need to be sure that they know how to set up a positive expectation within five sentences.
The first step is to have a friendly, positive-sounding voice answering the phones. The second is to make sure that this person is knowledgeable about your business and how to help the customer get information and speak to the right person. This means no answering machines. Avoid them at all costs! In today’s mobile-driven world, there is no reason why a potential customer should not be able to speak to a friendly, knowledgeable representative whenever they call during business hours.
If you are unable to afford an in-house receptionist, then a virtual receptionist can provide the same service at a fraction of the cost. And if you have a professional answering service, you won’t have to worry about missed calls, because you aren’t relying on one lone receptionist to field every call and question.
Virtual receptionist services have a team of people to make sure that every call gets answered promptly and professionally, because your business is their business. Remember, positive tone, positive expectations, and positive phone experiences equal positive cash flow in terms of satisfied customers.