A friend Diana and I just bought a small business in eastern Kentucky. Twelve employees.

To be diplomatic about it, I’ll say that the administrative department of the business was “not optimal”, and there was one key element that was especially inefficient: it was the automated attendant that was used to capture after-hours calls.

You know what I’m talking about: you call a business and there is no human being on the answering end of the line. Instead, you get a slow-talking recorded voice that assures you of your value, and then – at a snail’s pace – gives you multiple choices of where you can leave a message.

Upon getting access to the auto-attendant of my new business, I downloaded three weeks of messages myself: Here are the statistics:

  • Total messages: 56
  • Total hang-ups: 48
  • Total messages recorded with a name and number left by the caller: 8

Forty-eight hang-ups! Need I explain the ramifications of those lost business opportunities?

In calling a business, people won’t wait around to leave a message on an auto-attendant because they are too busy to hang on, need information immediately, or know there is a good chance a return all won’t be forthcoming any time soon. Why leave a message?

And if you have an HVAC business, it’s all of the above, and on top of that, callers easily deduce – whether it’s true or not  – that you operate a mom-and-pop, low-rent operation…and so they move on to reach the next HVAC business that showed up in their Google search results.

The answer? Employ an answering service to capture your calls!  In our new business in Kentucky, that’s what we did, and we instantly went from an 85% loss of calls, to a 5% loss of calls (that’s a real statistic). If we could go backwards, that would meant that, of those 56 incoming calls, we would have had over 50 messages.

The cost of an answering service? A tiny fraction of the cost of a full time receptionist.

So, stop your abandonment issues today, and watch your business grow!

Note: Centratel CEO and international business consultant Sam Carpenter has written extensively on the concepts of system improvement and the systems mindset. Centratel’s HVAC Answering Service assists hundreds of heating, ventilation and air conditioning businesses during and after-hours, throughout the United States and is, by a variety of statistics, the highest quality answering service available among the approximately 1,500 services nationwide.

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