It all happened a few months ago. My brother James and I had gone to one of the big chain home improvement stores in our local area, to price roofing supplies. All went well, until we moseyed up to the service counter and asked for a price on shingles from a very well known, expensive company. The associate dialed their number, and was immediately placed on hold.After ten to fifteen minutes of that, he found a different number, called it, and…was placed on hold.
After 30 minutes of being on hold, and taking care of customers in between, he finally asked us if we would like to leave our number, and he would call when he got an answer. About forty five minutes later, he called and explained things. He had finally found the right number, that associates were supposed to call. All that time, he had been on hold with the number that “regular customers” should call.
And The Point?
Why did I tell you this story? Because a lot of time, patience, and headaches could have been saved if the company had just made themselves more accessible to their customers. Well, they only have so many people to answer their phones, you might say. That’s true, but there are other ways to be more accessible.
One of the things they could have done, is to e-mail, or fax a simple price sheet to the stores that sell their supplies. This step would probably alleviate a lot of their phone calls, and customers waiting to get prices. Small businesses need to remember that if they offer several services, it might be easier on their customers if they list the prices for the most popular services on their website or blog. Or if you sell things in a boutique or store, leave a price and product description sheet with the store owner, or manager. It’ll save a lot of headaches in the end.
Even if the big roofing company has a limited amount of people to answer phones, that is no excuse to leave a customer on hold for thirty minutes or longer. Small businesses often live and die, depending on their customer base. So they must be able to answer a customers question, or quiet their concern quickly, or run the risk of loosing a sale.
Because of the internet, i-phones, and other technology, there are multiple ways that small business owners can connect with their customers. Consider letting your costumers reach you through instant message, text, e-mail, and social media sites. Make your self as easy to reach as possible for your small business clients, and you will find it will also be easier to make a sale.
After all, what would your business be without your customers? Just something to think about, for the next time you say “thank you for calling, please hold”.
Blessings, Peace and Success!