I’ve recently moved back to the States after three years of living abroad, so I had to contact my local insurance company to sort out some things. I have to admit — I really didn’t want to. To be honest, I’m not the most patient person on Earth. So I had to mentally prepare myself for the frustrating experience, which as I remembered, included a long wait, being transferred from one person to another and other…
How to encourage customers to call your store
Some of the value of having a phone system—virtual or not—is lost if your business isn’t getting enough calls. Depending on your business model, maybe you initiate enough calls to make it worthwhile, but every company could always do more to encourage calls coming in instead as well.
But how can you do that?
Nowadays people, especially under 40, have become much more inclined to send a message rather than a call. People often have anxiety about calling their friends, let alone businesses; it’s time-consuming and uncomfortable for many. Phone phobia is real.
While you, or we, are certainly not likely to reverse a cultural trend, we have a few tips on how to get around it—so calling your business is pleasant instead of painful. If you can pull these subtle things off, your company’s phones will be sure to ring more than you’d ever hope for.
- Remind customers that you want their calls
Phone phobia makes people forget that businesses still need phone calls, and lots of them. The simplest thing to overcome that is to remind customers that you want their calls. If you welcome a call with open arms, there is no way for the customer to feel like their call is an inconvenience. You can communicate this desire on your website (with a click-to-call button, for example), in advertising, or simply when you pick up the phone with the right amount of cheerfulness.
- Make your number obvious
Design choices matter—your number should be front and center on your site and advertising material without being an eyesore.
- Promote your customer service
The impact of customer service is real: FAQ pages are awkward—too short and it’s a waste of space, too long and nobody reads it. If people have any questions about the product/service you offer, encourage them to call.
- Make people call you for returns
If you have a rewards program, encourage people to call when they ‘cash in,’ so to speak. The same idea works for customizable or special products (if you offer them)—take custom orders over the phone to satisfy the customer and guarantee the details are right. This is positive reinforcement 101—callers get something special from calling.
- Stick to the point
The most practical part of getting calls is to keep it short and to the point. Some banter is fine, and each customer will vary on how receptive they are to small talk, but you should aim to help the caller as quickly as possible. That way the experience feels constructive and the customer is likely to call again if they have problems or questions in the future.
Getting people on the phone is the first part. It isn’t easy to get people to overcome phone phobia but making the process quick and helpful is sure to get things going in the right direction.
More importantly, once you’re getting calls, you have a more direct chance of truly interacting with customers, meaning a better chance at forming lasting customer relationships that any business, especially a small business, values.
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