Thursday, January 7, 2016

Goodbye to voicemail

     Statistics show that the days of voicemail are numbered. Recently published numbers reveal that more then three quarters of people do not leave messages when they are sent to voicemail. They simply hang up.
     So why do so many small businesses still depend on voicemail? The answer is simple. Voicemail is convenient for the business--not the caller. And that is bad for business.

     More and more customers are turning away from voicemail, favoring text messages and emails instead. Consumers know what's convenient for them--even if businesses are slow to catch on.

     The situation has led to the rise of speech-to-text providers. They turn voice messages into text messages and send them on. Big businesses can afford this extra service, but small businesses are likely to consider it a needless expense.

     All this confirms what has long been suspected. And it comes from experience. A deliberate decision was taken by the Business Owners Institute of New Jersey not to have voicemail. The organization received a continuing stream of phone calls from owners of small businesses seeking help with management and growth problems. Every phone call was answered before the third ring--by a live person. Callers responded positively to the set-up.

     Prompting a client or customer to go to voicemail simply delays--and sometimes kills--a relationship. Owners of small businesses need to realize that telephones are for the convenience of the customer--not the business owner. Phones should be answered promptly by a live person. If the caller is trying to sell you something, you can simply hang u.

     But if a caller is trying to place an order, arrange a purchase, or needs information, the caller deserves to speak with someone. Flipping the caller to voicemail and getting a hang up can mean you lose a customer. All of us know that you never want to miss a call from a fresh referral.

     Today, savvy business owners are turning their smart phone into their business phone. You have it with you all the time, and you answer it when it interrupts you. At the very least, have calls from your business phone automatically and seamlessly transferred to your smart phone.