Tip – Make sure your customers can reach you

What happens to incoming calls if there is nobody there to answer the ‘phone: for example because the fire alarm has gone off and the building has been evacuated?

Failure to answer the phone appropriately could result in lost sales enquiries, upset customers and missed opportunities; so it is important to consider your ‘phones in your contingency plan.

How you deal with it will depend on you, but here are some options.

  • Have your ‘phones set to automatically divert to an answering service if there is no answer.
  • Have them divert automatically to a mobile phone.
  • Use your carrier’s voice mail.

Many small businesses will go for the mobile option, but I would urge you to consider the answering service option. In an emergency, the person with the mobile phone will probably already have quite a lot on their plate and it is unlikely that they will handle that sales enquiry very well. Avoid the voice mail option if you can; research shows that sales callers don’t leave messages: they go elsewhere.

The answering service is a much better option as the call will be answered professionally and you can provide a message to give to callers. In fact, if you have done your business continuity planning properly, the answering service will already have a message to put out and merely needs to be alerted and told to …”use message 3″ from now on.


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