A few years ago there was a perceived trust issue to have a website with no phone number. But now there is a shift. Increasingly there are websites with no phone numbers at all – not even buried in the bowels of the Contact Us area. There are businesses who actively don’t want you to call them, so why is that? There are two reasons.
Firstly it’s about control. They want to hear from you, but only on their terms. So the alternatives to phone calls are emails, either through a contact form or an email address, live chat and then social media channels. All of these contact methods have real frustrations for the poor old customer. They are most definitely not in control. Plus, all these contact methods take time. A customer service matter that could be dealt with in a 5 minute phone call has to be slogged out with back and forth emails over several days. Live chat is almost always initially managed by bots. A real person only gets involved when the bot gets stuck, which is most of the time. Social media is public and therefore teams are ready and waiting to head off any attack and push the customer back down the email or chat route.
Secondly it’s about cost. Setting up VOIP telephony and having people answer the phones costs money. But what it costs in pounds it certainly saves in customer loyalty and longevity. Even in the digital age there are people who still like to buy from people. We don’t all fall for the hype of the brand personality. Customers still like to feel that they are valued. Speaking with someone on the phone makes a person feel valued in a way that live chat and emails can never achieve.
There are trust implications as well. Customers can teeter on the edge of a purchase and bail because the company has a website with no phone number. They know if they can’t speak to someone they’re in for a lot of aggravation if they need to change or amend a purchase. However there is a fundamental difference between selling products and services, and also whether you’re selling B2B or B2C. So it depends.
If you are selling products B2C to a pre-defined target audience that you can reel in through social media and they buy from you regardless, then why would you need to offer phone support? The idea is to make sales nice and easy, and customer service difficult. You’ve only then got to manage returns and any fall out from bad reviews. Phone support would be good but it’s getting rarer.
For B2C services such as insurance and utilities you absolutely need people at the end of the phones. The customer relationship is different. There are contracts and tie-ins and longer term transactions.
For all B2B areas whether you’re selling products or services, phone contact is absolutely vital. People would be suspicious of a B2B business that didn’t publish a telephone number. Ideally you want to publish a landline telephone number. There is a perception that mobile numbers can make a business look small, but if you’re a one person business, then a mobile number is fine. The important thing is that you publish a phone number otherwise you will miss out, there’s no doubt about it.
What matters is that someone at the end of the phone line. If you can’t be there or can’t manage additional calls, then it is definitely time to look at telephone answering. A lot of hard work goes into making that phone ring. So make yourself as contactable as possible. Telephone answering means that you don’t have to worry about losing calls. With calls answered promptly and professionally you will be giving your callers the very best first impression of your business.
So rather than having a website with no phone number, you can publish a number, increase trust and have a telephone answering team manage the calls. This is so much more positive than voicemail, email, live chat, messaging and all the other things that make your customer’s hearts sink. Get in touch today to find out about a free trial.