I was sitting in my house when I heard it: a ‘bang!’ coming from my garage. Upon investigating, I discovered that one of my garage door springs had broken and, because the door is so heavy, my cars were trapped inside. (Yes, I actually use my garage for parking my cars).

I had work commitments and appointments to attend, so my first step was to search the web for a local garage door company. Luckily, I landed on several listings close to my home. 

Then the bad news. The first number went straight to a friendly recording, assuring me my call mattered and they’d phone me back right away. I left a message. The next number? Another chipper recording telling me my call was important and they’d get back to me back as soon as possible. Since I didn’t want a bunch of people calling me, I didn’t leave a message.

On the third call—you guessed it—voicemail. I didn’t leave a message. I decided to expand my reach and call a company that seemed a little larger. Success! A real person! They helpfully provided some basic information, but were unable to set up an appointment for that day. 

Finally, on my fifth call, I got through to another live, friendly person, who was not only helpful but able to arrange a same-day appointment at a reasonable price. Sold.

But it shouldn’t have taken this long. If the first, second, or third company had used a live answering service, I would likely have gotten through to a real person much sooner, and they would have won my business.

 

A typical scenario

Businesses invest time and money into marketing and advertising but they often fail to plan for success. They need a structure in place to respond when their campaigns work. Of the five garage door companies I called, only two had planned for success.

 

  • Why planning for success matters

We all know the longer a lead sits, the colder it becomes and, subsequently, the less likely it is to convert to a sale. In my story, the first company I reached never called me back, and the second and third businesses didn’t get a chance because they used voicemail. I went with a business that responded right away.

When it comes to lead response, time lost is money lost. Reaction time is crucial. In fact studies by insidesales.com have shown your chances of converting a new lead decrease by 90% after the first 5 minutes.

But personal contact is just as important.

Inbound calls are 14 times more likely to convert to a sale than a web lead (logmycalls.com).

Leads are 30-40% more likely to buy from the first company to connect with them personally (insidesales.com).

I think my experience with unresponsive garage door companies is typical.

 

  • How to plan for success

Planning for success means investing in lead generation and lead response, not either/or. Where is the logic in generating leads if they simply go to waste because you can’t respond to them in a timely manner? 

Think of it like buying three hot meals and letting two get cold while you eat the first. It makes no sense, but thousands of businesses apply this same thinking to their hot leads. They invest in solutions that don’t scale, and they end up with a terrible return on investment.

So, let’s say you’re a forward-thinking business owner with a landing page for lead generation, web chat, and a click-to-call option. Great tools, if you have the staff to handle all three channels. But what happens if you don’t, or if the staff aren’t available 24/7? 

These days, customers don’t really give much credence to business hours. With so much choice, they have the freedom to pick a business that is prepared to take calls on the customer’s schedule, not the company’s.

The good news is that there are ways to employ a scalable solution which is cost effective and efficient. Voicemail might seem like a viable solution, but it’s not. Nobody uses voicemail if they have a better option.

AnswerForce provides that better option: a high-quality, scalable live answering service, available 24/7. The numbers speak for themselves: a businesses will struggle to hire professional staff to handle inbound lead response for less than $1,500/month. That’s before we even consider all of the HR hassles. Yet, most companies pay less than $500/month for 24/7 lead response coverage and, for most of them, one or two sales will more than cover that cost.

 

Your time is valuable too

What are 2-3 hours per day worth to you? With a proactive lead response solution in place, you can spend more time focusing on other areas of your business. A 365-day call answering service ensures leads won’t grow cold, and that you won’t waste your time on those pesky time-wasting calls.

Consider these questions:

As a consumer, when you need a product or service, who are you more likely to do business with: the company that says they value your time with a recorded message or a company that shows they really do value your time by responding to your inquiry in person?

When was the last time you were glad to get through to a voicemail system? Probably never. Your customers feel the same way.

By partnering with a 24/7 live call answering service, you ensure that your customers never need to ask themselves these same questions again. It’s your call.

Explore AnswerForce for more information on how a live call answering service can help your business thrive.