Big change recently at Back40. When you call us, you are greeted with a recorded message.
Ok, maybe not earth-shattering. It’s what millions of other businesses do, but its a big deal to us. Since 2000, we’ve answered the phones ourselves. “Hello, Back40 Design…” was part of our company DNA.
That’s not to discount the value of being a company that answers the phone personally. For over 10 years, the concept worked well for us. It was instrumental in branding and building our business. Having an designer, developer or owner answer the phone emphasized the access and working philosophy we have at Back40. The immediate contact exemplified the personal relationship we have and value with our clients. No client or prospect could say they were having a hard time getting in touch with us. This philosophy helped us distance ourselves from hacks and start-ups designing websites in their free time and evenings.
So why switch it up?
Because I believe there is more value in being proactive than reactive. As Back40 has grown, the volume of clients, services and projects have increased – and so have the phone calls. This is where the immediacy of personally answering the phone begins to lose its value on two fronts.
- If you’re a client calling, chances are that the person you need to talk to isn’t the one answering the phone. Wasn’t like that years ago. If you had a website with Back40. I was the guy to talk to. Now there’s a team of developers.
- The developer, programmer or designer that answered the phone has to take a message or transfer a call. A process that did not increase value to their client’s work or project. Not an efficient way to run a business.
Why not hire a receptionist?
Hiring a receptionist is a possibility, but I am reluctant to have the company incur the cost for someone to sit and wait for the phone to ring. I understand they can also have other tasks, but its been my experience (with intern receptionists) that when plied with other tasks – that’s what they would do – other tasks. And not answer the phone.
It comes down to math.
A recorded message system (I don’t even like saying that) seemed like a logical extension. The value we will add being more effective and efficient will outweigh the few calls from prospects that will hang up and not leave a message. I’ve done my research, most of our new business comes from referrals and website leads – so these prospects are already aware of our awesomeness and will be more willing to listen and leave a message.
After two weeks of living with our voice messaging system, I can attest that its pretty darn quiet around here. New web clients are leaving messages – and we are still freaking busy. Routing client calls to their intended recipients has made quite a difference. As a design business owner, I can tell you more quiet and less interruptions means more “in the zone” time on projects – which increases value for our clients and profit for us.
Prospects needing to talk to us about their new website projects are more than willing to press 2. Existing clients are pressing 3. Edmond Outlook advertisers are pressing 4 and those with billing questions are pressing 5. And we have the occasion caller bail out and hit zero for a live Back40 person – who has years of experience in saying “Hello, Back40 Design…”