Just like football, online marketing is a team effort. Your marketing company’s job is to create an online presence that will help your business gain visibility in search engines, and bring in new leads. Your job is to take those leads and turn them into customers. In other words, us marketers can throw you the ball, but it’s up to you to score the touchdowns.
What You’ll Learn
Today you’ll learn everything you need to effectively manage and respond to the phone call leads your online marketing efforts generate for your business. You’ll also learn how to prepare your employees to manage these leads as well. As an added bonus, besides ensuring the success of your online marketing campaign, by following the tips in this guide, your business’ overall customer service will also improve.
1. How to Prepare Yourself & Your Employees for an Increase in Call Volume.
2. Why Inferior Customer Service Costs You More Money than You Might Think.
3. How Good Customer Service Starts the Moment You Answer the Phone.
4. Why Your Voicemail Needs to Be Both Personal and Professional.
Prepare Yourself & Your Employees for an Increase in Call Volume.
As your online marketing efforts gain traction, you’ll need to be ready. Your business is going to receive an increase in calls as people begin to see your business appearing in search results when they turn to Google for solutions, whether you’re running Google Ads or relying on Local search engine optimization.
- Tell your employees about your marketing efforts. Let them know that you are investing in the health of your business and actively seeking out new customers through online marketing.
- Let them know they can expect an increase in call volume over time.
- Set up expectations of who answers customer calls and when to answer customer calls.
- Assign one or more employees to answer the phone. It might be you, or it could be all employees.
- When to answer customer calls & what to do if everyone is in the field will depend on your business. We’ll get into what to do if customers visit your business and times when you can’t answer the phone later in the article.
- Train yourself and your employees on how to politely and professionally answer customer phone calls.
- If you’re utilizing a tracking number, remind your employees that all incoming phone calls may be recorded.
- Listen to the call recordings to ensure all employees are following your guidelines.
- Follow up with employees who aren’t following your guidelines.
- Regularly hold training sessions on good phone etiquette and customer service.
- Train employees on how to set up a professional voicemail greeting and set expectations for checking voicemails, returning customer calls and deleting voicemails messages.
Poor Customer Service Costs You More Money than You Might Think.
First impressions are everything, and you only have one chance to make one. You might have great specials and competitive prices, but if your customer service is poor, none of that matters. Don’t believe us? Data from numerous studies back up the fact that poor customer service hits your business right where it hurts most, your bottom line..
- Research from NewVoiceMedia has found that 51% of customers will never do business with a company after just one bad experience.
- Help Scout reports that customers in the United States will tell at least 15 people they know about a negative experience they’ve had with a business but only 11 people will share about a good one.
- NewVoiceMedia also found that businesses in the United States lose more than $62 million a year because of bad customer service. Ouch!
As you can see, your online leads will not convert into customers and will instead call one of your competitors if their first impression of your business is a negative one.
The good news is that by improving your customer service, not only will you convert more leads from your campaign, but you will also increase your business’ annual revenue.
- A 2017 Customer Service Survey by American Express found that 70% of Americans are willing to pay more for products and services from businesses who provide great customer service.
- A study by the Temkin Group found that just a moderately improved customer experience raised business revenue by $823 million on average over three years for companies with $1 billion in annual revenue.
- Even if your company is one with just $1 million in annual revenue, that’s still a 3-year increase of $823,000.
Therefore, if you want your business in the Super Bowl, then your ticket is providing great customer service. Because if you’re not, your company will be out of the game altogether.
Good Customer Service Starts the Moment You Answer the Phone.
It’s a costly mistake to assume customers will call you back if nobody answers their call. Making that assumption is one surefire way to ensure you’re losing a substantial chunk of customers to the competition.
- Answer Your Phone.
- Most people will not call you back, and your competitors will intercept them.
- Today’s customers value superior customer service, and 85% of people will not call you back if you miss their call.
- According to a 2011 study by American Express, 67% of people have hung up the phone when they could not talk to a real person.
- Research performed by Salesforce discovered that 74% of people would change companies and do business with somebody else if they feel like the purchasing process is too challenging.
- Be Polite and Professional.
- Use greetings like good morning, Good afternoon.
- Thank customers for calling your business and identify yourself by name.
- Good morning. Thank you for calling Acme Plumbing, this is Frank, how may I help you?
- Good afternoon. Thank you for calling Acme & Acme Architects. My name is Jane. How may I help you?
- If Your Business is One Where Customers Also Visit Your Location – such as a retail store, a showroom or a mechanic:
- Always answer the phone if you’re not already with a customer.
- If you’re helping a customer at your business and the phone rings:
- Answer the phone and ask the person on the phone if they can hold.
- Help your existing customer and then return to the customer on the phone.
- If Your Business is just You or All Employees Are in the Field Most Days
- Use Call Forwarding –
- Set up call forwarding to your cell phone or the cell phone of a partner or employee whom you assign to answer customer calls during business hours when nobody is in your business office or business location.
- Remember, your customers won’t call you back, and a live person is always preferable to voicemail.
- Use an Answering Service
- If there are times when even call forwarding won’t work because everybody is on a job, consider hiring an answering service to forward customer calls to.
- Again, an answering service is always better than sending calls to voicemail because it’s less frustrating for your customers to reach a live person even if they still have to wait for you to call back.
Your Voicemail Needs to Be Personal and Professional.
Your business’ voicemail recording is the first impression your customers will have of your business if they call and no one can answer the phone. As a result, it needs to be as polite, professional, and clear as if a live person had responded to the call.
It’s best that a live person always answers customer calls during business hours. However, nobody, including customers, expects you to be open or available 24/7 unless you advertise that you are. That’s why you must pay as much attention and care to your business voicemail recordings as you do to the rest of your customer care.
- Sometimes Calls Might Go to Your Voicemail.
- If you’re on another call.
- If call forwarding isn’t working.
- If it’s after hours or a holiday.
- Never use the Default Voicemail recording or a Generic Voicemail Recording! Even on your cell phones!
- Your Voicemail Recording Needs to Include the Following:
- Business Name
- If this is a cell phone, it needs to include both your business name and your name or the name of the person who answers that cell phone.
- If you can, try to have a separate cell phone for your business instead of using your personal cell phone as your business cell phone.
- Any employee who answers customer calls on their cell phone should also have a business cell phone.
- Business Hours
- Emergency Contact Number – if applicable such as plumbers with 24/7 emergency service.
- You Will Capture and Convert More Leads if You Let Customers Know In Your Voicemail When You Will Return Their Call.
- If you don’t want your competitors to steal customers, then let customers know when you will call them back and call them back within the time frame you set up.
- Most customers expect you to call back within 24 hours or less.
- If it’s an emergency, most customers expect a call back within 1 hour.
- Customers will call one of your competitors if you don’t call them back within expected timeframes or during the time you specified.
- Keep Your Voicemail Updated With Any Changes Including the Most Recent Holiday Hours.
- Remember to delete any holiday hours from your voicemail once the holiday is over. You don’t want your Christmas hours on your voicemail recording in February, or worse, May.
- Never Have a Full Voicemail Box! Ever!
- If your voicemail box is full, say goodbye to that lead for good.
- Besides not being able to leave a message, your customer is now annoyed and will call one of your competitors.
- You’re paying for online marketing. You’re paying for people to call your business. Not clearing your voicemail box is essentially you throwing money away or spending your money to give business to your competitors.
- Clear your voicemail box daily so when customer calls go to voicemail, they can always leave a message.
- Return Your Customer’s Call!
- Your leads will not call you back.
- Always return customer calls when you say you will.
- If you can’t return a call, have an employee call the customer for you.
It would be great if your customers just saw your business online and magically paid for your products and services so you could do what you do without having to worry about making sales and talking to customers. However, that’s not the world we live in.
Today’s customers have a “microwave mentality.” Our world is fast-paced, and most consumers want service fast, and they want that service to be amazing. They have high expectations, and in many cases, their expectations of small business owners are even higher than it is of large corporations.
You hired a marketing company to create and maintain your Local SEO Campaign and bring you visibility and leads. Their job is to market your business and make it as easy as possible for your potential customers to find and contact you.
Your role is to answer the phone, return customer phone calls, and to make the sales. By following the advice in this article, you will be better able to manage your online leads and to convert more of those leads into customers by providing excellent customer service.