I got a call a few minutes ago from someone looking to buy a rain barrel.
I answered my phone (cell phone) while playing with my son in the living room saying “Hello this is Aaron”.
There was a pause (as there always is) then, “I am talking to Aaron?!?”
Me “Yes you are, can I help you?”
Customer “Oh hi Aaron, can I order a barrel over the phone?”
Me “I do not have credit card processing in my home but you can order from my site, can I help you with anything else?”
Customer “No, but thanks I will go online and order now and call you if I have any questions.”
What I noticed from this person’s voice is the drop in stress level when she realized there was a real person on the other end of the phone who stands behind everything he does. People are so used to getting answering machines or talking to people who often know nothing about what they are selling. As a rule I put my personal phone number on sites that start getting traffic and allow easy access to myself 24/7.
Here is another example of how going the extra yard helps. A man called me today wondering why his rain barrel had not arrived because my site clearly states that I ship units once a week. I was a little busy and was just coming in from working the early morning before my wife goes to work and it is my turn to take care of my child (home sick today). To make a long story short, the man sounded confrontational as if he was preparing to be let down. I said “Not a problem, I am just getting in but let me check Fedex to see where you product is, ah OK it appears that it will arrive later today, is there anything else I can help you with”? The man in an obviously more pleased (almost guilty for sounding aggressive) voice said “No I am all set, thanks a lot” and went away excited about having his barrel arrive today.
What did I accomplish by answering my phone?
1.) impressed a customer to purchase my product by simply being there for her to answer a question.
2.) diffused a possible situation where someone might have been upset if they didn’t get an immediate answer.
If you own a business and do not answer your phones I suggest you do so even if it is only for a day to better understand how important “service” is. You can also learn from complaints from people who can’t access a part of your website or that something is not clearly described to improve your service even further. Those are the calls I love and will often try to do a little extra for these people.
Are you willing to go the extra yard to ensure the success of your business? Answer your phone!