Importance of Answering Your Phone
In this high tech-world it’s easy to forget how important it is to do a simple little thing like answering your phone. Many appraisers and inspectors will tell you, however, that having a live person answering phones is key to the success of their business.
“Three times in the past week I have lost jobs to people because my voicemail picked up. One person was called back within five minutes of their call! All of them said that I was recommended but since I didn’t answer, they just went to the next brochure or number,” said Ed Porter, Cornerstone Home Inspection Services, Inc.
Many appraisers and inspectors prefer a simple fix: having their office phone forwarded to their cell when they are out in the field. Some don’t mind the distraction when they’re busy working and learn to politely ask permission to call back when time permits. Many believe it “sounds good” to be busy working in the field when potential clients call.
“Call forwarding to my cell phone keeps the ball rolling without missing opportunities. After all, sales are a numbers game,” said Richard Rushing, an inspector in Duncanville, Texas. “I find that when people call they often say they need to order a home inspection, which tells me they want to get it out of the way and settled right now. This type of call happens quite frequently. I think I would lose 30-40 percent of my business if I did not answer the phone.”
Many appraisers and inspectors will tell you, however, that there are times when it’s not convenient to stop, pull out the cell phone, answer questions and schedule an appointment– like when you are on your belly in the middle of a crawlspace or balancing at the top of a ladder. Many don’t like the interruption when they are concentrating on an inspection. Some prefer to not take calls if it means interrupting contact with a client, like during a report summary for instance.
Another alternative for those not ready to add staff is a call center or answering service. These work best when the people answering the phone have some level of expertise and can do more than just take a name and number.
“In this business, most agents only give their clients 48 hours to book an inspection. In most cases, with this kind of stress placed on them, a client will not bother to leave a message or call again. If they do not get an answer, they call the next company on their list and will often settle with the first live person they speak to. Small companies lose many clients to competitors when business calls are not answered or answered by voicemail,” said Ed Neyland, President of Center of the Sun, a service specializing in call answering and appointment setting for home inspectors, appraisers and engineers.
“Unless you have a live secretary answering your phone, which many small companies cannot afford, having a cost-effective answering service can increase your bottom line,” Neyland said.
Center of the Sun: (888) 477-9729.
For more, see Converting Calls into Cash: First Impressions, Patience, Confidence.
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