The first phone call is a critical step in the sales funnel and it’s often overlooked because answering the phone appears so simple. If you’re like most businesses, then you focus on optimizing the marketing before the prospect calls and after the call is transferred to your sales team. But what about missed calls and mishandled calls by your receptionist?
Do you have systems in place to ensure every phone call is answered and your receptionist follows a proven script? If not, then you’re likely losing a LOT of money every month without even realizing it.
The True Cost of Missed & Mishandled Calls
Exactly how much money depends on the value of a customer and how much you’re investing in advertising to drive phone calls. For example, if you’re spending $1,000 per month in advertising to generate 100 phone calls each month, then every call costs $10. So every time a call is not answered, picture yourself throwing a ten dollar bill into the toilet and flushing it down.
But that’s just the cost to generate the call… there’s also the opportunity cost in losing a sale and that’s a much larger number for your business. Let’s assume a new customer typically spends $200 with your business in the first 30 days. Then maybe this same customer purchases more products and services worth an additional $300 over the course of the first year. Now we’re up to $500.
But what about referrals? If you have a solid referral system in place then one new customer may refer on average one more paying customer. So now we’re up to a total value of $1,000!
By missing just one phone call you’re flushing the $10 in ad spend down the drain and losing out on an opportunity to generate $1,000 in revenue for your business. A mishandled call can be even more devastating because that creates negative word of mouth that could prevent future sales.
So now I hope you understand the importance of answering and handling every phone call like it’s precious gold.
How to Ensure Every Call Is Handled Properly
The first step to make sure your calls are being handled properly is to create a script. Everyone who calls your business should receive the same message regardless of whether or not the receptionist is in a good mood or is busy with other tasks. A script standardizes your phone call system, which allows you to test and optimize how calls are handled.
In addition to the script, I recommend every business records in-bound phone calls for three reasons:
- Monitor employees to ensure your script is being followed and calls are being answered.
- Train new employees using recordings of calls that went well and calls that were not handled correctly.
- Identify problems and ways to improve your phone call systems.
This may seem like a lot of work for something as simple as answering the phone. However, as we learned in the exercise above, the first phone call can either generate a sale or cost your business thousands to tens of thousands in lost revenue.