Customer Retention

By Graham Hill

September 27, 2013

How To Win More Customers And Retain Them For Longer
Have you noticed that it’s those small details that can make the difference between winning a new customer, and losing them to the competition?
And you’ll be surprised at the difference your telephone manner can make.
In these tough times, lots of businesses are investing time and money to attract new leads. From social media to blogging to email marketing, they get their message “out there” – only to undo all the hard work by:
• Not answering their phone quick enough
• Letting calls go through to voicemail
• Failing to have the telephone skills in place to respond effectively to new enquiries
If you’re the business owner as well as the main point of contact, you can find yourself being guilty of all of the above three. What’s more, you know there’s an issue. Your reliance on voicemail is costing you sales, and you quietly curse the phone when it hangs up just as you reach it! But the fact is you physically can’t answer your phone within three rings each time. That would be far too impractical and inefficient.
It can leave you with a conundrum…
How do you juggle your workload with your availability?
If you can’t be relied on to answer your phone each time it rings, you need to find an alternative solution to ensure it is.
And it’s not enough to have each called simply “picked up”. In addition, you’ll want it answered promptly, politely and effectively. You also need to consider your telephone manner and ensure the way you answer your phone is congruent with the message you’ve portrayed in your marketing collateral. Both of these are sure-fire ways to stand out from the competition and maximise your chances of winning new business.
Here are some other things you’ll want your customers experience when they contact you:
• A polite, well-spoken and efficient response
• An attempt to build rapport (you can hear smiles on the phone)
• A satisfactory answer to their query (or an appropriate message taken if they can’t)
• A positive impression of your business that will nudge them closer to wanting to do business with you
In house staff v outsourcing
But how do you achieve the above?
One option is to employ your own staff to answer your calls. This can work well because you can ensure your staff have the insider-secrets and detailed knowledge they need to respond appropriately to callers. But here’s the negative. If your inbound call volume is small and unpredictable, this option could prove too inefficient and costly. Plus, you’ve also got to consider the time and expense needed to train staff to ensure their telephone answering skills are up to scratch.
A more effective method could be to outsource your calls to a call answering service.
With a call answering service, you can divert your calls whenever you’re unavailable, knowing they’ll always be answered in your absence.
And here’s the best part. If you choose a good quality provider, your customers needn’t even know they’ve reached a call answering service. That’s because the call answering service will respond as if they were one of your employees and answer your phone professionally, appropriately and promptly.
In turn, you can rest assured that sales and customers won’t slip away as a result of bad telephone etiquette.
How are you answering your calls?
There’s nothing more frustrating or annoying than not getting a satisfactory answer when you call a business – it’s enough to make you go elsewhere and decide never to come back again.
How do you woo customers at this important point of contact? I’d love to hear your thoughts so please leave a comment in the space below.

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