We spend an inordinate amount of time working hard to create conversions for our clients. One thing that makes us crazy is when something farther down the road makes that work worthless. In our world, those are the after-click items which are normally the web experience and the conversion response. The web experience is straight forward in that we know where the visitor lands and what they see and we can follow the steps in Google Analytics. However when it goes to the phone we are often data-blind to what happens. Unfortunately we have seen the phone go sideways on us more than most would like to think about.
In many accounts we use CallRail, Ifbyphone, or other call tracking that lets us hear how the call is handled. Sometimes this can be shocking to say the least. We have had clients that got lots of calls but handled them so poorly that the end results made the advertising look bad. The real fault however was with the employee training and the phone procedures. We have had to tell clients in the past that their problem was the rude phone manners of people assigned to answer the phone. In one case a client lost more than 60% of the sales leads because the person answering the phone needed training on some of the most basic of skills.
In many services, especially home services, the customer will continue shopping until they reach a business who conveys with confidence that their emergency is going to be handled. We have lots of clients that fall into this category and a great example of this is plumbers. When things are spewing on your kitchen floor you want to be assured that someone will be there as quickly as possible. If the person on the phone fails to establish that level of credibility I can assure you that they will continue calling your competitors. The absolute worst outcome of this is when you wake your employee or yourself go to the customers home only to find that your competitor is already there doing the work.
The key to the phone is to assure the customer that their problem will get addressed. If the person on the phone fails to do this the customer will continue shopping. Many businesses that offer 24 hour emergency services use an answering service but you need to make sure that firm has the skills to go beyond taking a message and assure the customer that you will show up. An answering service that simply takes a message will not assure the customer and this creates huge problems. You need an answering service that knows how to act as your staff and assure the customer that they will be getting the on-call person on their way quickly.
Over the years we have seen the difference between full service answering services and message taking services. If you do not already have a full service firm we recommend Advantage Answering Plus. We have known the management team at Advantage for several years and they know the difference and provide this service to a number of emergency service businesses like plumbers.