Author Topic: Own a Business? Answer Your Damn Phone  (Read 3522 times)

CargoBiker

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Own a Business? Answer Your Damn Phone
« on: March 01, 2017, 03:31:09 PM »
I just wanted to share with you the head-banging frustration of this morning, which will show you just how much opportunity there is out there to destroy your competition... if you just answer the damn phone.


I have a product, and I need to get some required government testing done. The government website lists 20 labs that are certified to do this testing.

Of the 20 labs I called:
  • 9 went to voicemail
  • 3 said they would call me back (they didn't)
  • 2 said to email them my inquiry, and they would email me back (they didn't)
  • 1 said to email them my inquiry, and when they responded, they asked for the info that I already had included in the first email.
  • 1 said to email them my inquiry, and someone responded 2 hours later saying that someone else would respond in 1-2 business days.
  • 1 said to email them my inquiry, and someone would respond in 1-2 business days.
  • 1 said to call back at a quarter past 1 because everyone was at lunch. (I didn't)
  • 2 gave me a quote over the phone, and emailed me an application form within 5 minutes of phone call

Speed was my priority on this, and I was willing to throw $300-500 at any lab that would have just answered the phone, gave me a quote, and told me where to send my product. Only 2 out of 20 labs were able to do that.


This is the 80/20 principle in action.


Is your business in the 80% or the 20%?

swick

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Re: Own a Business? Answer Your Damn Phone
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2017, 04:56:32 PM »
Ouch!

Another pro tip: If you do have to leave your business and shut the door, post an actual TIME of return on the door and STICK TO IT.

There is a cheese shop in the next town over. We have swung by probably 6 times (it's on the way) to see if we could stop in and it has been closed with the same damn "Be back in 10 minutes" sign on the door. Different times of day, no rhyme or reason to it. I don't mind waiting around for a minute or two, if I know when to expect you back.

CargoBiker

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Re: Own a Business? Answer Your Damn Phone
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2017, 08:41:13 PM »
Haha, wow, that's maddening.


dragoncar

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Re: Own a Business? Answer Your Damn Phone
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2017, 09:36:05 PM »
Also, if I have to call you for a quote on a non-custom item/service, I'm not giving you a call.  Just put the info online

swick

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Re: Own a Business? Answer Your Damn Phone
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2017, 12:17:22 AM »
Also, if I have to call you for a quote on a non-custom item/service, I'm not giving you a call.  Just put the info online

Even better, put your hours clearly and easy to find on your website. I don't want to have to guess/call you/go to your facebook page!

Paul der Krake

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Re: Own a Business? Answer Your Damn Phone
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2017, 12:58:24 AM »
If I'm visiting your website on mobile, chances are very good that I only care about your address, hours, or phone number. Don't make me look for them.

Linda_Norway

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Re: Own a Business? Answer Your Damn Phone
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2017, 01:48:26 AM »
If you are on online shop and sell stuff, have an excellent retour service. Don't make a lot of fuss about returns. Customers will appreciate it and come back.

If you are a handyman or someone else visiting a customer: arrive on time. Don't let the customer wait for you. When I sometimes joined a sales person on a sales visit, we drove early and waited 10 minutes in the car before the customer's building.

eyerishgold

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Re: Own a Business? Answer Your Damn Phone
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2017, 10:36:31 AM »
I totally agree with this!

I own a small 3PL/freight brokerage. It's amazing how many carriers we deal with don't answer the phone or reply to an email in a timely manner. If we reach out to a carrier to handle a shipment for us and they don't reply within a short period of time, we simply move on to the next carrier who can handle our shipment. I've told my employees we need to reply to our customers within 5-10 minutes of us getting an order to set up. I know we're not the cheapest option out there but our service is what really sets us apart.

dragoncar

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Re: Own a Business? Answer Your Damn Phone
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2017, 12:42:58 PM »
If I'm visiting your website on mobile, chances are very good that I only care about your address, hours, or phone number. Don't make me look for them.

And unless you are a major retailer, don't automatically redirect to a crappy "mobile" version of the site that has none of the info I'm looking for.  I see this so often with people who hire some random "web designer" who probably uses a tool to auto-generate a terrible mobile version that never redirects correctly and I have to request the desktop version to find the info I should have been directly linked to (if it even lets me view the desktop version).  That's usually when I give up.

I do like to look at menus on mobile.

Axecleaver

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Re: Own a Business? Answer Your Damn Phone
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2017, 02:33:47 PM »
"Eighty percent of success is just showing up." - Woody Allen

It's sad, but in my experience, absolutely true.

slowsynapse

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Re: Own a Business? Answer Your Damn Phone
« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2017, 02:47:27 PM »
If I answer the phone when you call, you might ask me to do something!  This poster explains it best IMHO.

https://despair.com/products/apathy

pianomom

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Re: Own a Business? Answer Your Damn Phone
« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2017, 02:59:57 PM »
If I answer the phone when you call, you might ask me to do something!  This poster explains it best IMHO.

https://despair.com/products/apathy

I think there's some truth to this. There's also the case that some businesses may not want to take on a project if it's too low and only one time. They may focus on larger customers with recurring projects. It's kind of like home contractors who charge a lot more on a project simply because they don't want to do it and would rather do another, more lucrative project.

However, companies should still answer the phone.

FIRE me

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Re: Own a Business? Answer Your Damn Phone
« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2017, 06:07:04 PM »
I just wanted to share with you the head-banging frustration of this morning, which will show you just how much opportunity there is out there to destroy your competition... if you just answer the damn phone.


I have a product, and I need to get some required government testing done. The government website lists 20 labs that are certified to do this testing.

Of the 20 labs I called:
  • 9 went to voicemail
  • 3 said they would call me back (they didn't)
  • 2 said to email them my inquiry, and they would email me back (they didn't)
  • 1 said to email them my inquiry, and when they responded, they asked for the info that I already had included in the first email.
  • 1 said to email them my inquiry, and someone responded 2 hours later saying that someone else would respond in 1-2 business days.
  • 1 said to email them my inquiry, and someone would respond in 1-2 business days.
  • 1 said to call back at a quarter past 1 because everyone was at lunch. (I didn't)
  • 2 gave me a quote over the phone, and emailed me an application form within 5 minutes of phone call

Speed was my priority on this, and I was willing to throw $300-500 at any lab that would have just answered the phone, gave me a quote, and told me where to send my product. Only 2 out of 20 labs were able to do that.


This is the 80/20 principle in action.


Is your business in the 80% or the 20%?

Last year I spent $20,000 to get a detached garage built, plus a new driveway. I checked the local BBB website, and got the phone numbers of five builders to seek estimates. Three of the five did not pick up the phone during normal business hours. Of those three, only one returned my call.

Of those two that did answer, only one was polite, professional, and showed up on time to write an estimate. That guy got my twenty grand, and I got a nice garage with no drama.

CargoBiker

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Re: Own a Business? Answer Your Damn Phone
« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2017, 08:43:49 PM »
If I answer the phone when you call, you might ask me to do something!  This poster explains it best IMHO.

https://despair.com/products/apathy

Haha, yeah.

When you're talking businesses with employees, answering the phone is just more work. They get paid the same whether they answer that phone or not.

I bet a lot of business owners have no idea how many sales they are losing out on, because of lazy employees.

CargoBiker

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Re: Own a Business? Answer Your Damn Phone
« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2017, 08:45:38 PM »
Last year I spent $20,000 to get a detached garage built, plus a new driveway. I checked the local BBB website, and got the phone numbers of five builders to seek estimates. Three of the five did not pick up the phone during normal business hours. Of those three, only one returned my call.

Of those two that did answer, only one was polite, professional, and showed up on time to write an estimate. That guy got my twenty grand, and I got a nice garage with no drama.

Well that's exactly 80%.  I'm seeing a trend.

And people in some of these other business threads want to go on and on about how 85% of small businesses fail.

Hmmmmmmmm


Maybe answering the phone will help you not be a failing business?

dragoncar

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Re: Own a Business? Answer Your Damn Phone
« Reply #15 on: March 03, 2017, 09:12:15 PM »
If I answer the phone when you call, you might ask me to do something!  This poster explains it best IMHO.

https://despair.com/products/apathy

Haha, yeah.

When you're talking businesses with employees, answering the phone is just more work. They get paid the same whether they answer that phone or not.

I bet a lot of business owners have no idea how many sales they are losing out on, because of lazy employees.


Johnez

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Re: Own a Business? Answer Your Damn Phone
« Reply #16 on: March 04, 2017, 04:29:59 AM »
If I'm visiting your website on mobile, chances are very good that I only care about your address, hours, or phone number. Don't make me look for them.

And unless you are a major retailer, don't automatically redirect to a crappy "mobile" version of the site that has none of the info I'm looking for.  I see this so often with people who hire some random "web designer" who probably uses a tool to auto-generate a terrible mobile version that never redirects correctly and I have to request the desktop version to find the info I should have been directly linked to (if it even lets me view the desktop version).  That's usually when I give up.

I do like to look at menus on mobile.

This. So much this. I used to have a desktop computer spoofing browser for my phone so I didn't have to deal with this BS.

caracarn

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Re: Own a Business? Answer Your Damn Phone
« Reply #17 on: March 08, 2017, 08:52:33 AM »
This is so true!  I'd add a bit of variation in that "Once you answer the phone and commit to something, actually do it".

I've lived in three different states in the US and I've had the same problem any time I try to work with a contractor.  It is impossible to get hold of anyone.  When you do and leave a voice mail most of the time they do not call back.  These were for landscapers, snow plow services, add on to driveway, roofers, furnace and air conditioner replacements, new kitchen floor.    I had people say they would come out to quote, then never hear from them again.  I'd have people who came out to quote and then when I called to say they won the job tell me they were no longer interested because my job was too small and not worth their time.  I've told friends over and over, you could start any one of these types of businesses and if all you did was actually answer the phone and then actually show up and do the job, you could have a never ending stream of customers. 

CargoBiker

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Re: Own a Business? Answer Your Damn Phone
« Reply #18 on: March 08, 2017, 09:14:18 AM »
all you did was actually answer the phone and then actually show up and do the job, you could have a never ending stream of customers.

These guys are huge in Dallas: http://TheOnTimeExperts.com/

On Time is in their name, haha.  Talk about instilling trust to the customer.

gavint

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Re: Own a Business? Answer Your Damn Phone
« Reply #19 on: October 21, 2018, 02:49:11 AM »
Guilty as charged!  I'm a contractor, and hate hate hate answering the phone - so I don't.  I find the telephone intrusive and inconvenient.  Either I'm working, driving or with family or friends, it is seldom convenient for me to answer the phone.  There is nothing better at knocking you out of flow at work than a phone call.  Productivity is WAY higher without that particular nuisance to deal with. 

I get it, this is highly annoying to customers (and my wife!).  I've got my customer base trained mostly to email me, works out well, my job list keeps getting bigger even though the phone sits in the truck collecting dust all week. 

Another reason contractors may not be returning your calls is that they either don't have the capacity for or the interest in your particular project.  I usually get in contact to decline such jobs out of politeness though...

Ocinfo

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Re: Own a Business? Answer Your Damn Phone
« Reply #20 on: October 21, 2018, 08:01:31 AM »
I think the key is that there has to be a reliable method of contacting a business and receiving information back. I no longer believe phone calls are a reliable method. The amount of spam calls (my work phone gets actual to spam calls at a ratio of 1:5 so I don’t answer unless you’re in my contacts) and likelihood of screwing up some info while writing it down just makes it a poor method of info exchange. The businesses that want an email and then don’t respond are just ridiculous as they clearly have your info and could easily have form emails saying they’re not interested.


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hodedofome

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Re: Own a Business? Answer Your Damn Phone
« Reply #21 on: October 21, 2018, 05:57:27 PM »
One of the edges we have in our consulting business is that a human answers the phone 95% of the time.

After that, if itís a sales call, we get a salesperson on the phone live 90% of the time. If itís not answered live, that person will get a call back that day guaranteed. Support calls will get called back within an hour 90% of the time, but most calls are connected to support on the spot.

Itís amazing that we can talk to a prospect, get an on-site meeting, meet with them and send them a proposal before the next guy even calls them back.


APowers

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Re: Own a Business? Answer Your Damn Phone
« Reply #22 on: October 21, 2018, 10:27:54 PM »
I just wanted to share with you the head-banging frustration of this morning, which will show you just how much opportunity there is out there to destroy your competition... if you just answer the damn phone.


I have a product, and I need to get some required government testing done. The government website lists 20 labs that are certified to do this testing.

Of the 20 labs I called:
  • 9 went to voicemail
  • 3 said they would call me back (they didn't)
  • 2 said to email them my inquiry, and they would email me back (they didn't)
  • 1 said to email them my inquiry, and when they responded, they asked for the info that I already had included in the first email.
  • 1 said to email them my inquiry, and someone responded 2 hours later saying that someone else would respond in 1-2 business days.
  • 1 said to email them my inquiry, and someone would respond in 1-2 business days.
  • 1 said to call back at a quarter past 1 because everyone was at lunch. (I didn't)
  • 2 gave me a quote over the phone, and emailed me an application form within 5 minutes of phone call

Speed was my priority on this, and I was willing to throw $300-500 at any lab that would have just answered the phone, gave me a quote, and told me where to send my product. Only 2 out of 20 labs were able to do that.


This is the 80/20 principle in action.


Is your business in the 80% or the 20%?

THIS. I truly dread having to call contractors for this reason. As a handyman/service trade pro myself, I try to pick up the phone either immediately or call back within the hour.