43% of UK small business entrepreneurs not answering the phone risk closure

small businesses do not answer the phone and are burning money. Image is a £50 note burning on the top edge under a union jack

Nearly half of most small businesses are losing money & risking failure from making one simple mistake…

A whopping 43% of small businesses we called, from 23 different industries did not answer their own business sales phone line. Although the aim of our market research was not to see who answered their phones and who didn’t, we were so shocked at the high percentage of missed calls, that we thought we’d share our findings with you, so you can avoid making the same costly mistakes…

Sorry we're closed on a shop door. Small business entrepreneurs who do not answer the phone are closing down their business. Investing in telephone answering services can help boost business.
Your business closes when you don’t answer the phone.

Why it’s a problem

Your business closes when you don’t answer the phone. With more than half a million new businesses registered in the UK every year, there’s a lot of competition out there. If you called a company you found in a google search and they did not answer, would you really call them back? Probably not. I wouldn’t. As the saying goes, “you snooze, you lose!”. Your customers will probably end up calling your competitor instead, or decide I can do without your product or service.

Many entrepreneurs are often too busy to think about the consequences, but they are vital in the fine line between success and failure…

Will you answer the next call? Your customers expect a yes, every time.

Small business customers are not sure if the business will answer the phone. 43 per cent do not answer the phone on the first call, found handlr.
Will you answer the next call? Your customers expect a yes, every time.
  1. New customers lose confidence in your business. Afterall, if you can’t do your sales right, can they really trust your after sales support?
  2. Your competitors gain a new customer. This gives them more money to spend on advertising and a chance (which you’ve lost) of a good review.
  3. All of your Marketing efforts are lost. Much of your time and money spent on advertising, website design/upkeep, sending out flyers, social media presence etc becomes, pretty much, all for nothing.
  4. You may waste time calling back missed calls, who are no longer interested. Just like Darren, from Wizard Car Repairs in Essex, knows all too well. He lost out on an estimated £9,000 of business while on holiday for a week and missing 43 calls. He called them all back, without sales success. That’s an expensive holiday!
  5. Your business could fail. This may seem dramatic, but it is in fact reality that nearly half of all UK start-ups fail to remain in business beyond 3 years.

 

What your callers don’t tell you

Many entrepreneurs (be they self-employed, sole traders or those with limited companies) will never receive feedback from frustrated (could have been) customers.

Let’s face it, we are a nation of complainers! Just look at social networks like Twitter for example, where a single poor experience may end up being posted for the world to see. Worse, your competitors get to hear about it and capture your customers!

 

Cartoon depiction of a customer leaving a 1 start review on a tablet computer for a small business who do not answer their phone and have no telephone answering service.
You could be risking a bad review by not answering the phone.

 

An example that springs to mind is when I took a call on behalf of Maid2Clean SouthCoast in January 2018 (yes, I take calls too). The caller was delighted someone picked up the phone and said “I’ve called 5 different cleaning companies in Eastbourne and you are the first to pick up!“. He booked his house cleaner with Maid2Clean, of course. It just goes to show that answering the phone promptly really does make a difference to your business.

 

What can you do about it

So you expect me to say that the only thing you need to do is get a call answering service right? Well, not exactly! I created handlr to help small businesses and I really do want to.

The fact is, you may not need a telephone answering service at all. There are other methods which I used for my first business which could work for you too (more on this soon).If you are trying to keep your costs down (especially at the beginning), why not start by making more of an effort, to not brush off things you deem “insignificant” to your business’ success. Some find, taking the time to sit down and go through the individual needs of your customer works pretty well. You’ll soon realise that little things are more important than you originally thought, and you can take action before it’s too late and you build up a bad reputation!

I recommend small business owners try other ways of handling their calls when starting out.  Being directly connected to your customers in the early days while you still have time to take calls yourself, will be beneficial. Customers love speaking to the boss and you’ll start understanding the needs of your customers, before eventually handing over that responsibility when you become super busy, and you will! 

Afterall, nobody will ever know your business better than you.