You may find it strange that we don’t actually advertise our phone number on this site. Go ahead and look for it. It’s no where to be found and there’s a reason for that – and that reason is telemarketers. We do have one, several in fact, but we refuse to put them up on the site. Why? In all sincerity, it just became not worth the hassle. The B2B sales pitches we were getting was almost a 10:1 ratio (sales vs actual customers). What we discovered on running the numbers was that almost all of our referrals and current customer base seems to prefer to contact us through e-mail. Literally we were paying for a phone number for sales people to use. That’s just nuts! It’s also cases like these where it really pays to run the numbers and see if something really is worth the trouble.
As it turns out, our customers are busy too and initiating contact is the primary goal when they visit our site. They don’t know if they’re going to use us until we talk to them at a later point. The actions of getting website quotes, answering quick questions, and so on are almost exclusively done via e-mail. So as a result our Contact form gets a lot of use, but almost no one uses the phone. So on our Contact Form, we keep it very simple so it can fit an array of needs. Think of it like self-checkout lanes. It’s still quick access to fulfill a need, but it filters a lot of the nonsense out. And once a customer reaches out to us, we respond with all of our information right there in the e-mail signature and setup an appointment to conference call. Honestly it’s saved both parties so much time, it’s a wonder we didn’t do this years ago.
Not quite ready to cut the cord?
There ARE services out there, from virtual assistants to receptionist services that can screen all the calls for you. Problem is you have to pay for them, and if you’re a small business that expense adds up real quickly. The easiest and quickest way we found as a temporary solution was to just let calls go to voicemail (and I’m referring to calls that didn’t have a local area code). If it wasn’t local, it was almost always was a telemarketer. Simply checking out the number before picking up saves a ton of time, and most likely you’re not cutting out calls that matter. You still have to take a moment each time the phone rings to monitor calls, but it is a decent alternative. The catch (there’s always a catch) is that sometimes calls that appear to be local are very obviously coming from a foreign country, so it’s not full proof.
I’d love to hear your tactics for filtering out the time-wasters/telemarketers! If you know of a great service or screener, please share it in the comments below!
Thanks everyone – til next time!