As a business we’ve never received very many phone calls. Even when there were 15 or so of us. Most of the calls we get are unsolicited inbound sales calls or recruitment agencies. For a small business these can be disruptive, and a waste of time. They are often are best not answered. With genuine inbound calls decreasing as a percentage of all call over time, answering the phone more often had become a waste of time. The majority of inbound enquiries come to us by other means — email, website or social.
So last year we took the decision to no longer answer the phone. Instead, when you call us now you get a message that tells you we will return the call as soon as we can or at another time which is convenient to you. There are also a number of other options that you can listen to which provide more info about what we do, when we are open etc. So in many respects it’s just an audio replication of our web based chatbot. You can try it at +44 (0) 1273 358 448.
While I’d been thinking about this for some time it was our office move in May 2018 that proved the catalyst. For some time we’d only ever had a landline as a legacy of our old infinity broadband deal with BT. As we didn’t need that any more we didn’t renew it when we moved. What that meant was that the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) which answered our calls needed somewhere else to go, and so, as a result I started getting more calls to my mobile on that basis.
The number of outbound calls we made too was minimal. And we’d certainly never tried cold calling as a tactic. Primarily I’ve always seen the cost of conversion as not being effective for a business of our size or commercial needs. Also, I shouldn’t bank on the person I cold call to respond with any less deal of annoyance than I do as the receiver of unsolicited calls. Even if there’s a product, offer or service I have no previous knowledge of, it’s highly unlikely any seller is going to pique my interest by interrupting me from what I’m doing. Time management for me is key. I’m at my most productive when I can group tasks and perform them at what seems the most optimum time. Like answering email for example. So, in the same way I don’t like the phone I’m not a massive fan of Slack (as an example) for similar reasons. However at least I can exercise a modicum of control over Slack, as can someone else at the other end of a ping when I’m leveraging its many outbound benefits. Hard to do that on the phone.
I’ve generally always been of the view that if there’s a service, offer or product out there that is right for us then we’ll find out about it during the course of our general research and daily reading. I don’t need a phone call to sell it to me. Since 2007 we’ve built up a reputation for being extremely responsive and all of our customers are well aware of the most efficient ways in which to get in touch with us which allow us to process information quickly and ultimately provide a response. Most often that’s using email, or tools which use email well, like the project management software JIRA. And of course established customers who really need to be able to contact us by phone are of course given a route to do so.
Digital decisions are never a walk in the park, so please get in touch and let me help you find the right way through the technical landscape.