If your business has started to grow recently, you might have noticed an increasing number of missed calls past your business hours. This is a normal growth curve that most businesses experience, and it is a positive sign that more people are interested in your business than ever before.
However, if you see a number of missed calls and are not able to return them quickly, you are potentially opening yourself up to missed business opportunities. In fact, businesses that focus on returning missed calls and implementing certain changes to their existing call handling strategies do better than companies that do not have a call handling strategy at all. A recent study found that 80% of people whose calls aren’t answered will not call back.
It is understandable that a number of businesses choose to handle all the calls they receive on their own. If you belong to this group, you can still optimize the way you handle missed calls. Here’s a look at how you can return missed calls:
First things first: Prioritize Your Calls
Most companies treat all missed calls equally and often lose out on critical calls that could have led to a business deal, or an enhanced customer experience. It is also difficult to engage in call triage when you see a number of unknown numbers in your missed call list.
One way to ensure that you prioritize urgent calls is to check how many times a person has tried to call you. Prioritize people who have called 2-3 times from the same number, before giving up. If you have a caller ID installed or purchased, you may even learn who called you. If it feels important, do not delay in calling them back.
Break down the Voicemails and decide when to call back
If you have a set up voicemail, you will notice that some (only about 20% of) people leave messages if their calls are not answered. When provided, voicemails can be a great way to assess if a particular caller needs to be prioritized over another. These days, voicemail can be set up easily, and most service providers even offer it for free.
Make notes as you listen to the voicemail and evaluate the tone of the caller. If the caller sounds irate or anxious, you should prioritize this call over another in which the caller makes general inquiries. If the caller sounds like they have an emergency, make sure that you take prompt action to call back, and provide the help that the caller needs immediately.
"I'm so sorry we missed your call."
Beginning your call with an apology may seem like a bad idea, but it’s not. You have missed your client or customer’s call, and apologizing for missing it is the only natural thing to do. Start the call by apologizing to them earnestly and begin to address their issue. Listen to their problems, and ask them what made them call you.
Apologizing is known to soothe ruffled nerves, and is a well-documented tip to calm people down. Though you may have missed the call post-business hours, you still missed the call, when the customer expected to speak to you. For this, you owe the caller an apology.
Don't Listen to Reply. listen to understand.
Often, an apology is just an apology. It does not solve the problem of the caller, nor does it soothe the irate customer. Display empathy when you return a missed call and show them that you sincerely care about solving their problems. Empathy is known to calm down even the most irate customer. When their calls go unanswered, they may feel ignored or unwanted, even if the call was made after business hours.
To make sure that you give your callers the five-star treatment they deserve, always practice empathy. Then, when you return a missed call, make sure you take the action that is required to solve the caller’s problems or answer their questions, no matter what it is.
give Alternative Paths to Communicate
Sometimes, it is not necessary to speak over the telephone. You may provide other options to your callers if they wish to contact you again. Most of the time, people prefer to send emails or send messages to businesses. Provide them with your email address or your social media handles.
When you return your caller’s missed call, always assume that they do not have a pen and paper available to take down your contact information. Instead, send them an email after the call with your contact details, so that they will always have it handy, should they choose to contact you again.
Have too many missed calls? Subscribe to a phone answering service
As you can see, returning missed calls isn't as easy as it may seem. You will have to tread carefully, as you may be disturbing the caller when they are busy, or you may end up annoying them simply because you weren't available to pick up their calls. To avoid these scenarios, you can choose to subscribe to a phone answering service so that your business calls never go unanswered.
If you do not plan to get a phone answering service on board, you can still return missed calls respectfully and ensure that your callers feel satisfied with your service. Just make sure that you return the calls as soon as possible, in a sensitive and empathetic manner.
Abby Connect Virtual Receptionists is a phone answering service that has a record in the industry for providing the best customer service for a fraction of the cost of hiring an in-house receptionist. They can answer each and every one of your business phone calls within 2-3 rings during normal business hours and extended hours (including weekends and 24/7 coverage). They can collect your caller's phone number, email and reason for calling, and answer questions about your business. Try out our service with a 14-day no obligation, free trial. To sign up for the free trial, fill out the form below.