Friday, February 24, 2012

Seeing The Forest For The Trees - A Study In The Obvious - The Telephone

"Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the
natural consequence of consistently applying basic fundamentals."

-- Jim Rohn

Our sales background gives us a unique advantage in attempting to help a business change from getting by to thriving. To us, some of the things that have been holding them back are really obvious, and they are always fundamental things. They are really easy things to fix and the payoff for doing that is huge, yet many people are looking so hard that they just can't see the forest for the trees.

Some are looking for the "Magic App." This is that software application, or thing that is going to make them more efficient and save them money. The reality is that most of the time, the things that are going to help a business are very simple. Here's one of them of them:

The Telephone
Most spend a lot of money for a phone system, multiple lines, toll-free numbers and then don't answer the phone in a timely manner, or a professional manner. We have seen this error more than any other. You would think that if a business spends this money for the phones to ring, that they would at least be good at answering it and directing people where they need to go.

We also know many businesses who try to save money with their magic phone system to have all these recordings directing you to a stupid voice mail box. Customers FIRE these potential suppliers all the time out of frustration and the suppliers just don't recognize it is happening. They just have a missed call. I know that if I call somewhere and have trouble like that, I hang up and find another company. Just like that.

I'll give you a perfect example that happened today. I called a large auto dealer, the first thing said is that 'this call may be recorded for training purposes. . .' First off, when you hear this, it is recording every single call and every single word spoken. This reminds me when I first got in the car business and they had speakers and microphones in every office so the manager could listen in without the prospective client knowing. They became illegal shortly afterward and the dealership had to remove them. You can see that in the movie, Wheels from a book by Arthur Hailey.

Next, came the directory. I pressed the number for sales since I wanted to talk to someone in sales, and the phone rang 12 times and then went back to the beginning, so I chose the one where you type their last name. I typed it and it gave me a list of other people. After four people, I hung up. I spent 7 minutes and got absolutely nowhere.

The dealer spends thousands on advertising to get the phone to ring and he doesn't eve realize this is happening. I'm curious how much business they are losing as a result.

How much better to have a real, live person answering the phone, directing people, not allowing them to go to voicemail unless they request it and so on. So much better! Truth is, the dealer thinks he is saving money by hiring an answering computer system rather than hiring people, but based on my experience (not the first time, either), I think that system is damn expensive!

We recommend that you pay great attention to the telephone and how it is handled in your business. Most people hate voice mail, so hire a receptionist to answer the phone!

How many people don't like to be recorded in their phone call? How many of those just hang up after that recorded statement?

Consider the amount of money spent trying to get the phone to ring and justify that expense by paying attention to how it is being used.

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