Voicemail kills your sales and here is why

When asked about your favorite customer communication channel, what is the first option that comes to your mind?

Perhaps it’s e-mail. It’s free, fast and allows for detailed arrangements. Also, it always leaves a trace, which is helpful, just in case some of your contractors happen to be late on their payments.You might also opt for a social media profile, like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or a blog just like this. Unlike traditional press, webwriting is a way to stay in touch with your audience and exchange thoughts immediately.Or maybe you are one of these people who appreciate a real contact with the client? I bet your channel of choice is phone, live call software or a videocall.Still, I’m just as sure, that even if you thought about a phone, what did not cross your mind was voicemail. The ancient tool dreaded by both salesmen and their clients.

If you rely on voicemail in your customer communication strategies, you might want to reconsider. Read along to find out why.

Traditional or outdated?

Some things are valued because of their timeless quality. We all appreciate the lovely taste of traditional Italian pizza, right? Unfortunately, what works for cuisine is not going to translate into technologies. Sure, voicemail was all the rage… in the 80’s. Since then, we managed to develop numerous tools more practical than good old voicemail. Not to mention, the function seems to be a joke when it comes to mobile phones. After all, the device was invented so the people could reach you out of office and not leave a voicemail message.  As Michael Schrage wrote in this article for Harvard Business Review: ‘When once-innovative technologies descend—decay?—into anachronism, it’s time to put them out of your misery. Disconnect enterprise voice mail.  Now.  Be honest—you don’t really want to leave a 90-second message after the beep and you certainly don’t care to listen to one. You’ve got faster, better and friendlier ways to communicate.’ And with the abundance of free or almost free communication devices that make you available almost all of the time, it’s hard to disagree. Which leads us to another issue with voicemail.

It is rarely answered

The growing popularity of mobile phones and development of Internet posed a threat to voicemail twenty years ago, let alone now, when everyone is online all the time. With portable computers that our smartphones have become, we can read an e-mail, Facebook message or a blog post while on a bus or during a prolonged business meeting. No serious business owner will be offline long enough to force the poor client to leave a message. Unless of course, you’re on your holiday. Then again, what’s an out of office e-mail for?

That’s why actually listening to messages (of which some are anonymous) seems like such a waste of time. In fact, many companies decided to include a warning in their voicemail communicate, informing the callers that their messages may remain unanswered!If you are one of the few business owners who insist on listening to all the messages left on their voicemail, that’s fine. However, keep in mind, that it’s not just about you.

It is frustrating for the customers

And the reasons are obvious:

  • Some callers spend so much time waiting, they will hang up before even leaving a message – needless to say, they probably won’t be back for more
  • They feel neglected when sent to voicemail – if you can’t pick up, consider other options. Try hiring an assistant or installing LiveCall
  • They don’t feel comfortable talking on the phone, let alone being recorded.
  • Some services need to be performed ASAP, not when you decide to hear the message out and call back. – Response time can really be a dealbreaker. We wrote about it last week: https://livecall.io/blog/response-time/
  • Addressing your clients through a prerecorded message seems impersonal and fake.
  • They might forget to introduce themselves. – Leaving a message on a voicemail is outdated. Along with walkie-talkies and home intercoms, it was generally substituted by mobile phones. Chances are, your callers will feel weird having to leave a message on a voicemail and so much so, they will forget to actually introduce themselves and/or leave a phone number.

Missed sales opportunity AND a waste of time listening to anonymous calls? No, thank you.

  • They want to discuss the details not just ‘leave a message‘ – In that case e-mail is a much better option.
  • Your prospects and clients want to make sure that they gave you the gist of the message. – Emailing is great when you want to think through, organize and summarize the message before conveying it. You can also save it as a draft before sending it. Voicemail does not give you that option.

And finally:

There are numerous communication tools that work better than voicemail

And all of them are easily available:

  1. E-mail – No matter if you opt for Outlook, Gmail or other popular solution that companies tend to choose, you are going to see the change immediately. Apart from the obvious qualities ennumerated in the points above, e-mails serve as a perfect documentation of client contact history. You can easily verify the dates, costs, agreed details so that the possibility of a mistake drastically decreases. Moreover, e-mails have the options of building a client base, dividing that base into subcategories etc., all of which gives you a chance to start an e-mail campaign or save time by sending a given message, e.g. about a changed location or cooperation with another company, to a group of clients.
  2. Livechat – livechat technologies don’t seem to surprise anyone nowadays. In fact, even the generations not really used to social media seem to get a hang of them (probably thanks to messenger and whatsup). Currently, there are hundreds of similar solutions on the market such as LiveChat or Intercom. However, if chatting with somebody in a business context sounds like a bizzare idea and you don’t feel like it’s formal enough, you can go for a hybrid between a livechat and a phone call, namely…
  3. LiveCall – LiveCall is a solution that combines the advantages of live chats with traditional mobile phones. When a prospective customer contacts you via LiveCall widget, they will receive information about time it will take you to either call back or answer the phone. LiveCall can be customized in many ways. If you want your co-workers to answet some of the questions that fall into their area of expertise, simply place different widgets in the corresponding tabs.

 

Please leave a message when you hear the tone

As you can see, there are many reasons to believe that voicemail is redundant. Even if you feel sentimental about it, it’s high time you moved on to something more caller-friendly. And if you love voicemail messages so much, go ahead and record a funny message for your home number.

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