In my ebizes I put my toll free number at the top of the page hoping that nobody ever calls them. There are only 3 types of phone calls that I get.
- The guy asking questions for 30 minutes and then doesn’t buy anything
- The customer who has a problem with their order
- The customer who wants to buy
Obviously customer #3 is great. In the beginning, most of my phone calls involved a sale. Actually during Christmas time almost every call is a sale. So in the month of December I would recommend sitting next to the phone and making your store phone number very prominent!
However, when you are not at home the calls all go to voicemail. The problem with voicemail is that I have to listen to the message AND I have to call the customer back.
I can’t listen to the voicemail and write down the info while driving or if I’m sitting in a bookstore and I can’t call a customer back either. However, if the question was sent through email I can easily answer it using my phone or my laptop. It doesn’t matter if I’m sitting at a Starbucks or at the park.
About 2 months ago I made an online order at another store and I called them because I had a question. What finally sunk into my head was the length of the message I had to listen to to finally leave a message. The voicemail gave you many options before leaving a message.
This got me thinking. My store messages go like this, “You have reach XYZ store, we are unable to answer your call at the moment. Please leave a message at the tone and someone will get back to you shortly. BEEP”
Guess what, most people left messages. I didn’t give them any alternatives.
I can’t believe it took me a year to finally do this but I changed all my voicemail announcements to, “You have reach XYZ store, we are unable to answer your call at the moment you can leave a message at the end of this announcement when you hear the tone or if you have a question, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or you submit your questions at our website at www.xyzstore.com using the contact us link at the top of the page. Someone will get back to you shortly. BEEP”
Now what I’ve found is that people will call twice and then they will email. I see this based on the caller ID names and then the contact us form email that shows up later that day. I know that it’s obviously better to have each call answered, but if you can’t have that done, then email is definitely the second best as opposed to voicemail.