Small businesses in the UK are missing out on work because they are failing to answer their phone calls, and are letting them go through to voicemail instead, according to a new report from telephone answering service, Moneypenny.
A third (33%) of small businesses let their calls go to voicemail or ring out according to the Small Business Call Report 2016, which also reveals that the majority of callers (69%) refuse to leave a voicemail message.
Moneypenny warns that this can have an enormous negative effect on their revenue, as the value of each missed call significantly impacts its bottom line, particularly in the current economic climate.
“Quite simply, a customer getting through to a voicemail instead of a person is like tearing up money. It’s akin to walking into a shop with no one at the till.
Buyers simply ring the next supplier on the list,” said Ed Reeves, director and co-founder of Moneypenny. “Pretty much every prospective customer hangs up at an answer message, yet so many businesses, especially those run from mobiles, have no solution in place. UK SMEs are losing a fortune in business opportunities, and our dependency on operating our business from our mobiles is making things worse.
“Customers use phone enquiries differently nowadays; a phone call is no longer a research tool – that’s handled by social media, websites or email – instead it’s the final reassurance prior to a purchase. This results in fewer, yet higher, value phone calls coming from only the most serious of buyers. Not answering those calls guarantees losing the business.
“We all hate leaving voicemail messages as much as we dislike listening to them. But if a mobile is answered by a real person, you’ve immediately got a business connection. It really is that simple. Larger companies have long ago realised the value of this personal touch, but it seems their smaller peers are still lagging behind and missing even the basics of a professional business front.”
The report states that those who do let their calls go through to voicemail are letting themselves down with their message greetings too. Over half (54%) of micro businesses still rely on standard network voicemail greetings to great callers.
Only 33% use a tailored voicemail message referencing their business while 13% use a personal voicemail greeting without referencing their business.
The survey involved 300 micro businesses (0-9 employees) and an examination of Moneypenny’s own call data from 10,000 businesses.