To compete with major corporations, budding small businesses need to quickly form meaningful relationships with prospective customers. With 78 percent of consumers abandoning a transaction due to a poor initial interaction, small businesses need to ensure they make a good first impression over the phone. Here are three ways to do just that.
Answer the phone in a professional manner
The first time a customer calls a business, the person on the other end of the line needs to provide a courteous and professional greeting that communicates two key pieces of information. As the U.S. Small Business Administration explains, anyone who answers the company phone should always provide a warm greeting that includes the company name and who they’re speaking with.
Cultivate engaging conversations
During that all-important first conversation, owners and their employees should make those conversations as engaging as possible. That means listening closely to everything the customer says, avoiding interruptions, and asking meaningful follow-up questions. A recent Harvard Business Review article notes that making first-time callers feel heard and attended to will go a long way toward building a long-lasting relationship.
Take the call
Owning and operating a small business is an incredibly time-consuming endeavor, but leaving those first impressions to an automated voice messaging system may mean you’re leaving opportunity on the table. A recent American Express survey found that 67 percent of consumers will hang up the phone if they can’t get a real person on the line.
To make sure opportunities aren’t missed, founders should make it a priority that all business-related phone calls are answered by a friendly and professional person, and if needed, enlist a virtual receptionist to handle incoming calls if they’re unable to do so themselves.
Ruby® Receptionists is the only live virtual receptionist service dedicated to creating real, meaningful connections with callers — building trust and helping you win business. Delight your English and Spanish-speaking callers and enjoy a comprehensive suite of features at a fraction of the cost of an onsite receptionist!
For more tips, inspiration and San Francisco small business stories, visit smallbusinesspulse.com.