Some of us hate answering the phone, and not just because we’re busy. Over the years, as text-based communication has gained in popularity, we’ve become less practiced at talking on the fly. If you Google ‘telephone apprehension’ or ‘phone phobia,’ you’ll see that it’s a common occurrence, especially for Millennials.
But the phone isn’t so easy to avoid in the business world. Clients and customers rely on the phone for clear and professional communication. It makes it easier to understand and quickly get the information needed. Using the phone in small business also gives your company a more personal voice.
We understand the problems associated with using the phone in small business. That’s one of the reasons we got into the virtual receptionist and virtual assistant industry – so we could make business owners’ lives easier by doing the things they really don’t want to.
Abandoning the phone in small business isn’t an option if you want to be seen as professional and customer-oriented. Here are 3 reasons you’ll need to keep the trusty telephone in use at your company for years to come.
3 Reasons You Can’t Abandon the Phone in Small Business
It’s #1 in communication clarity
Using the phone in small business is the best way to ensure communication clarity. Body language, tone, and listening ability are so important in communication – they give us clues about what the other person is saying to us. Sometimes, words alone can be taken out of context.
An email that says “Sure, okay…I’ll be there.” can be read neutrally or negatively. What are those ellipses for?! Does that mean he doesn’t really want to come? The same phrase, when spoken over the phone, can sound a lot friendlier when spoken with a smile and injected with vocal enthusiasm.
It also leaves a lot less room for miscommunication.
If you’ve been in business very long, you already know that intangibles like your tone, vocabulary, accent, and listening ability can be just as important as concrete measures like your service offerings, strategy, and client proposals. Smiling when you’re talking on the phone is a surefire way to sound friendlier and more trustworthy over the phone, but to date, there is no way to sound friendlier via email (unless you’re sending emojis, which many deem unprofessional).
Gives your business a personal touch
If small business can’t provide a personal touch, who can? We’ve always relied on small businesses to be more personal than their larger counterparts. We expect exemplary customer service from them. We usually don’t mind paying a little more to get that personal touch.
But if you’re backing away from the phone, you’re not giving the personal touch your customers are looking for. Using the internet to interact with clients has a time and place – many times, it will be efficient and effective.
But using only the internet to interact with clients and foregoing the phone is a huge mistake. You’ll quickly see your customer satisfaction dwindle, and you may get complaints from customers that are frustrated they can’t reach a “real person” at your company. Your communication clarity and quality will suffer as a result.
Appeals to those who hate going online
Yes, most people use the internet. But depending on your demographic, there may be large chunks of your audience that are either not connected to the internet or simply hate going online. The Boomer generation especially reports frustration at dealing with online customer service and prefers doing business over the phone.
Anyone who has a tough time navigating the internet is going to have a really tough time finding your website, locating your FAQ, browsing product pages, and using the customer support section. They will likely get frustrated before completing the purchase and leave your website.
They won’t have any trouble picking up the phone to dial your number, though, and that’s why you need to have the option available.
Using the phone in small business isn’t a throwback to another time. It’s still a valid, clear, and effective method of communication in 2016 and will continue to be for many years to come. Text-based communication is great for certain instances, but nothing can replace the personal touch and clarity of the phone.
If you hate using the phone, click below to check out our monthly virtual receptionist plans and let us handle the phones for you. Grab a free 30 day trial if you’re a new customer!