Not long ago I experienced possibly the worst method of phone answering that I have heard to date.
I was calling a solicitor who’d told me he wanted help to get more clients to grow his practice. We’d already spoken once, and I was calling at an agreed time to follow up.
The phone was answered by a lady who sounded very miserable.
She simply said (with what seemed like a heavy heart) “Smith & Jones…..” (I’ve changed the name) and nothing more.
Me (brightly) “Hello! Could I speak to Mr. Smith please”?
Her: “Huh! He’s not in yet” (sounding incredulous that I should expect him to be there at 10 am).
I waited to see if she would offer more on his likely arrival time at the office. No.
I waited a moment longer to see if she would offer to take a message. No.
“Ok, I’ll call back then,” I said, wondering if she would now grasp the opportunity to ask if someone else could help. Or take a message. Or at least take my details so as to know who had called or about what (in particular was I a prospective client?). No.
I hung up.
I immediately emailed the solicitor in question with a message, adding I thought we should talk about how the way his phone was being answered might (might!) be pushing clients away. You might not be surprised to hear the result: no response from him either.
No matter what your profession, and who is answering your phone for you (even if it’s you) is it worth spending 60 seconds to consider this question:
“Is the way your phone is being answered pushing potential clients away?”
Don’t just consider the first impression you are giving, but also how an inquiry is dealt with and how quickly.
Before you think about generating more inquiries it makes sense to ensure you are making the most of the ones you already receive.
PS If you don’t answer the phone yourself, have you tried ringing it (or asking a colleague to do so) to see how it is answered and how your inquiry is dealt with? You might be unpleasantly surprised…