What if you didn't know about magicians and you didn't know it was physically impossible to make a coin disappear? You might just believe it, right?
"That's the power of perception!"
If you don't know any different, you can easily be fooled. There are thousands - if not millions - of examples of our brains doing this, and the science behind it is fascinating.
Like a magician's show, it's usually mostly harmless, but sometimes it gets a bit more serious. Sometimes believing what seems to be true can cost us.
For example, your go-to belief is that a missed call will call back or leave a message, right? While that perception might serve well enough for your personal life, it's sabotaging your business because it's not true.
"Research shows people only use voicemail about one in every five times!"
For your business, there are three options for that call; new customers, organisational calls or existing customers. So what does missing any of those cost your business?
Miss the call of a new customer and the chances are good that person will call another company and they've just filled their needs.
Miss an organisational call and your business slows down, and time is money, isn't it?
An existing customer is calling to discuss something. They will call again, or you can just return the call. Not a big deal, just another delay.
With the possible exception of missing new customers, that probably doesn't sound too alarming, does it? Until you start to think about perception again.
"Consider the perception of missing calls from the other side of the phone!"
When you make a call, you expect the other person to answer. Otherwise, why make the call in the first place? So, there is an expectation there and as business owners, customers and people ourselves, we all know what happens when expectations aren't met; frustration, disappointment and dissatisfaction.
Now we're talking about customer service, so let's go back to the possible calls as a customer:
As a new customer, unless you had a reason to use a particular company, you've googled, and you've got two companies that can fulfil your needs. The first one doesn't answer the phone. The second one does.
As customers, you don't want to hear that an organisational issue is slowing down the service; the only words you want to hear are "No problem. That's done for you". And maybe, "it'll also cost less than you think".
Finally, existing customers; it's natural to think that missing out on new customers will have the biggest impact, but perhaps that's perception sabotaging us again. Missing an existing customer's call might just be the biggest issue.
The missed customer is lost business, but they probably won't go away with a lasting opinion. Your existing customers will form an opinion of your business. And most of that will be formed as a sum of all minute-to-minute dealings. That's your customer experience.
How competent can they be if they can't answer their phone?
How reliable can they be if they weren't there when you called?
Most importantly, how valued can you feel as a customer if it seemed they didn't even want to talk to you?
They'll share that perception with others. That's where your brand lives or dies. One existing customer might give ten new customers a reason to make your business the only one they do business with, but, if you miss a call or two, they might give ten potential customers a reason never to call your business in the first place.
Answering the phone is really easy. We all know how to do it. So when a company you're paying can't answer the phone, how can you be expected to believe they are competent, reliable and value you as a customer?
"That's like asking someone to believe a magician made a coin disappear right in front of their eyes!"
The decade and a bit for which I've worked has been split equally between retail and offices; I worked as management in retail, and I was a junior project manager in an office. However, I struggled to find job satisfaction, so I attended University as a mature student and earned an English degree with first-class honours.
I joined The Office Genie in August 2016, which is a huge opportunity for me and I'm working hard to make the most of it. I'm finding that satisfaction I was looking for doing creative, challenging, engaging work I'm passionate about for a company I can really get involved with. From my experience at work and in my personal life, I've cultivated a well-developed and varied skillset which I'm keen to apply.
I've been lucky enough in my personal life to be exposed to lots of experiences with great people in a variety of settings. From Scouting to travel to computing and even to headlining a stage or two, most of the pastimes which I enjoy share the common elements of teamwork, learning, storytelling and analysis. I have a deep passion for art, puzzles, games, stories, language, communication and collaboration, which I love to share in great detail. On a completely unrelated note, I also love my very patient wife.
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