6 questions that could change how you do business by telephone


Is the phone dead? One word: No.

Rumours of the death of the business phone have been greatly exaggerated. We can agree, though, that it needs to be made easier for business leaders and innovators to figure out where telephone operations can add the most value. We find that businesses that have a well managed telephone system derive value from it in three main ways:

  1. As an “owned channel” of leads and incoming business: The battle to own the channels where customers meet businesses is ongoing and will never end. Your telephone system/ telephone number is one of the few incoming channels that you own; protect it and grow it to provide a useful hedge against rising customer acquisition costs.
  2. As a source of information about the health of the business: Telephone statistics such as call length, call sentiment, and the amount of calls each customer makes are an important source of insight that smart leaders cannot afford to neglect.
  3. As a complement to outbound marketing efforts: You can increase the lifetime value of your customers through a thoughtful and targeted campaign of reminders and upsell calls.

Self audit your phone habits

Now, we wanted to make it easy for anyone reading this to quickly implement changes that increases the value of the telephone in their business. We came up with six questions that capture the basics. Ask yourself these six questions as a kind of business “telephone audit”:

  1. Do you have a clearly identifying voicemail message set up? There should be zero ambiguity about who a caller has reached, and what kind of information you’d like them to leave in a message, so you can call them back prepared. This is low hanging fruit, and is easy to implement. It also immediately adds value to your company by showing that you pay attention to the small things.
  2. Do you have a shared understanding with others in your company of how soon voicemails and texts should be returned? The best way to go about it is to treat voicemails, missed calls, and texts the way you treat your Gmail inbox. Never let it pile up, and pay attention to those red badges on your iPhone. Establish a culture within your organization that requires phone calls, messages, or texts to be returned within a reasonable timeframe. Stick to it.
  3. Are you keeping track of the reasons people call you so that you can identify trends? One of the game changing things that you can do in your business is to not only treat the telephone as a source of interaction, but also a source of information. The reasons people are calling, and the trends you notice are an important signal from the market. Pay attention to what people repeatedly request, and other trends you might notice. This can help you refine your business processes, make more money by developing new product lines, and even preempt customer interest. It also helps to make your business scalable. Pay attention.
  4. Do you have a unified presence across all of your messaging ups? Think about it. You have customer inquiries on leads coming at you through WhatsApp, Facebook messenger, your Instagram DM’s, as well as SMS/iMessage. Since you’re building a brand, you want your experience to be the same, or as close to the same as possible, across all of these channels. Unify your display names, your display logos, and set up auto responder messages that are as similar as possible across all of these platforms. We often don’t realize the wealth of incoming opportunities that we have, as they are increasingly distributed across so many different platforms. If you start to treat them all as a single channel, you’ll better appreciate their value, and realize exactly how much they’re contributing to your bottom line.
  5. Are your contact details consistent and unified? Your contact information should be unified across all channels where customers discover you. If you are using a toll-free number for example, ensure that the same number, printed in the same format, appears across your Instagram, your LinkedIn page, your website, and anywhere else that your contact information is published.
  6. Do you monitor trends and appreciate them as a source of useful data? Once your company starts to get a little bigger, you should consider monitoring phone trends. Yes, we do this for a living, so we might be a little more invested than the average person, but we believe that there is simply a wealth of unappreciated information in day over day, month over month, week over week, and year over year telephone trends. Executive teams and leaders understand the value of data such as call length, calls initiated, number of calls per customer, call sentiment. Data related to the incoming and outgoing phone call trends in your business can give you a better feel of what is happening, and help you to contextualize the other trends you might be observing. Take a birds eye view.

What else would you add?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *