With more and more customers contacting companies online, it may seem as if your business phone does not matter much anymore. But if you are not taking advantage of the many ways your company's phone can be used as a marketing tool, you are selling your business short. Your business phone is a crucial element in conveying your brand, promoting your business and convincing prospects to become customers. The presence of a phone in your business credit file will have a positive impact on most business credit scores. Try these tips for using your phone to market your business.
Get a toll-free phone number
No one wants to spend money calling a business. If you serve (or want to serve) customers outside your local area code, a toll-free number makes these people more likely to call you. Toll-free numbers also create the impression that your business is professional and successful. Even if you only own one location, a toll-free number can make you look like less like a mom-and-pop business and more like a larger chain.
Obtaining a toll-free number that spells out a relevant word is less important than it used to be as a marketing tool, but it still helps by making your business phone number more memorable. Depending on your industry and brand, consider getting an 800# such as junk removal company 1-800-GOT-JUNK, or a landscaping company with the number 1-800-NO-WEEDS.
People who call have an urgent problem
More often than not, people who call in to a business have a problem or question they want answered quickly. Whether it s a new customer asking about a product, or an existing customer calling about a billing issue, they are calling to get it resolved fast.
Talking directly with customers over the phone not only helps solve their problems more rapidly, but also helps you identify issues that may affect other customers as well. For example, if your website has problems or you have broken links that cause a customer to call in and place their order, this could alert you to a problem that you can address more quickly. Not only have you saved one sale, but potentially thousands more because you were alerted to the problem earlier.
Complex problems are easier to solve over the phone
If your customer has a complex problem, or one of a personal or sensitive nature, speaking over the phone is often the best option. When dealing with issues like scheduling appointments or deliveries, speaking to a person while they have their schedule next to them can save hours of email back-and-forth and frustration. A single five minute phone call could sort out a problem that might take five or more emails and hours or days to resolve otherwise.
Having a phone number is good for your brand
One of the things a customer looks for when they are looking at a new company to work with or buy from is a phone number. A Google survey recently showed that 47% of people searching on mobile will look for another company if they do not see a phone number in a company's ad. Just like having a professionally designed website, or an office in a good location, a phone number intimates legitimacy. It says ”I can reach them directly and talk to a real person if I ever have a problem”. Having a company phone number also gives customers a sense of where you are located (i.e. area code), and reinforces your offline.
Not everyone is on the internet
While it might seem like the world revolves around social media platforms and eCommerce websites, it s worth remembering that not everyone is online all the time. If you& are ignoring offline communication, you risk ignoring possibly as much as a third of the U.S. population.
In 2013 a survey found that 33% of people in the U.S. used the internet less than once a month. These people still make purchases, and by moving everything online you risk missing these potential customers who may prefer to pick up the phone over sending a Facebook message.
Bottom line: your phone is still relevant and important to running a successful business. While its importance may have diminished over the last decade, the phone still remains a way of solving problems with an immediacy that other mediums often cannot compete with.