Go to any large company and try to find a phone number you can call and actually speak to a human being. Most hide behind FAQ pages that seldom seem to answer YOUR UNUSUAL QUESTION. They hide behind “contact us” with a drop-down menu of choices, none of which actually matches your issue. If you do find an 800 number to call, it’s usually a voice mail sending you back to the website or an endless loop of choices you can’t actually execute because you don’t have the 15-digit code they want (in fact that’s why you’re calling).
When clients want to get hold of you, they want to do it now. Few things are more irritating than calling a service provider and being shuffled to voicemail automatically, with little or no indication whether the person you are looking for is in the office or traveling through Kenya on safari. I made a huge leap in business and customer service at my karate schools when I bought a cellular phone and answered my phone sixteen hours a day instead of eight.
I do the same thing now; I answer my phone sixteen hours a day. Anyone of my clients can get me almost around the clock. Those who can’t find me get a detailed voicemail that lets them know exactly when to expect a callback, or asks for a specific time and number where I can reach them after seven o’clock, in the evening, or on weekends, as the case may be.
If nothing else, tell your receptionist when you will be returning calls so that the person waiting for the call can continue with his or her daily life. Nothing irritates most people more than being told they would be called right back, only to be hanging by the phone for hours waiting for the call.
Don’t hide on your website: put up pictures, short bios, contact emails, and phone numbers for all your key service staff.
Accessibility is a simple advantage you can offer that others won’t.
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