You’re sitting in your office, neck deep in emails, documents, and spreadsheets. The phone rings. Do you pause what you’re working on and answer? For many busy professionals, the answer is no. Too often, people assume that voicemail is enough coverage for chaotic moments. The reality? A missed call that rolls to voicemail is often a missed opportunity – and one you might never get back. Given what we know about the ineffectiveness of multitasking, though, it can be hard to justify interrupting your work flow to answer the phone.
There’s no denying it: trying to balance your work day and manage inbound calls is a real challenge. By understanding how missed calls impact your business, though, you may develop new insight and priorities. Professional life is all about balance, and finding a way to deliver on customer expectations without sacrificing your peace of mind is possible!
Why Businesses Fail to Answer Phones
No business wants to miss calls. They often don’t have a choice to let the phone ring off the hook. Some are small organizations with limited staffing. Some are quickly overwhelmed when customers show up in store and inbound calls come in at the same time. Some business owners are simply spread too thin to make answering the phone a priority.
A lack of resources can make it challenging for business owners to get the help they need. This is especially true of small startups just finding their footing in the market. Hiring additional customer service support can be difficult when margins are thin. Unfortunately, this is a difficult dynamic to overcome. Stressed out business owners can’t afford extra help, so they bring their frustrations into every conversation with customers. That frustration bleeds into the customer experience, often spoiling an otherwise productive interaction. Answering a phone in a rush while you’re distracted can be nearly as damaging as letting the call roll to voicemail.
Even established, successful businesses can struggle with missed calls, especially when they come in after hours. In recent years, there’s been renewed focus on the importance of maintaining a healthy work/life balance. After a long, productive day at work, employees deserve time to unplug and relax. That relaxation often comes with a price, though – leaving after hours calls unanswered often means losing opportunities to the competition.
Missed Calls Mean Lost Opportunities
On the face of it, missed calls seem harmless. Many professionals assume that whoever is calling will leave a message or call back later. That assumption can cost you serious money and opportunity in the long run. A single missed call can mean losing out on an important connection with a client, customer, or potential business partner. This threat is especially real for those working in high value industries like real estate, law firms, contractors, and auto sales. When people can’t reach your business, they’ll often just move onto the next option instead of waiting around for a reply.
Not answering phone calls can indeed lead to lost customers. While the one time loss of a sale might seem relatively minor, long term loss in revenue is possible, especially if you miss out on a customer with a high lifetime value. It’s impossible to parse out which calls are coming from high value customers versus flashes in the pan, which is why it’s so important to answer each call with the same high standards every time.
Missed phone calls can also do damage to your professional reputation. Customer service standards are high, and when callers learn they’ve been sent to voicemail, they may begin to question the professionalism of your organization. It’s a quick way to annoy a potential customer. In some cases, they may even begin to develop negative assumptions about your brand and choose to do business elsewhere. This can lead to negative word-of-mouth advertising, too.
How Not Answering the Phone Can Damage Your Business
Customers expect businesses to be reliable, first and foremost. It’s hard to imagine doing business with an organization that’s overwhelmed by missed calls and can’t be reached when you need them most. Even if you make it your mission to answer the phone whenever possible, some calls will inevitably slip through the cracks. It can feel like an impossible challenge to overcome.
Frustrations over missed calls can lead to bad habits among your team. When employees feel like they don’t have the resources necessary to deliver on customer expectations, they may abandon efforts to answer the phone altogether. A sort of “tragedy of the commons” effect can set in: “if nobody seems to be answering the phones with any regularity, why should I?”
This internalization can be incredibly damaging to your business, your reputation, and to employee morale. Customers are intuitive – they may sense that your organization is not committed to customer service, further perpetuating negative impacts that missed phone calls can have on your business.
Never Miss Another Call
If you could avoid missed calls altogether, your business can sidestep these frustrations. Many professionals don’t realize just how easy it is to outsource call handling to a business phone answering service. Highly trained virtual receptionists work from customized call scripts to deliver administrative solutions for organizations of all sizes and industries. Imagine how much more you and your team might accomplish in a day if you weren’t constantly interrupted to answer the phone. Instead, your callers are treated to prompt, professional support 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
MAP Communications offers affordable, flexible coverage for customers throughout the United States. If you’re curious about how phone answering services for business might fit into your organization, we invite you to try our free week trial. We know you’ll be delighted by our service – and if not, there’s no obligation to continue using MAP after the week is over. Stem the tide of missed calls and frustration among customers and employees. Partner with MAP for an effortless solution to this all too common administrative challenge!