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Episode 8

Answer the Bloody Phone!

Business Growth Central is back and there's CARNAGE at ECHQ in this weeks bite-size episode.

Nigel is furious. Irate in fact.

He's not happy at all but there's a major nugget here that you MUST make sure is applied to your business.

Find out what's causing all this drama (and how you can improve your sales and profits with one simple switch) in this week's episode.

Episode 8:
Answer the Bloody Phone!
00:00 / 00:00

Episode Transcript:

Nigel Botterill:
Hi, welcome to Business Growth Central, where it's the week after the week before, because last week, we had the very first virtual Getting & Keeping Customers Convention. And on the middle day, in late morning, I ran a session about stopping the bleeding, handling your current lead flow better with more efficient follow-up, for instance, more diligent nurturing of relationships, and answering the phone. Yeah, that's a really important one.

Nigel Botterill:
And what we did ahead of the convention, we picked 200 businesses of the almost 2000 that had bought tickets for the event, and we rang them up. And we made all these calls during the working day. In fact, they were all made between 10:00 in the morning and 4:00 in the afternoon. You need to remember that. It's really important. So to all intents and purposes, as far as the business was concerned, that phone call that was coming in was a new prospect, a new lead, a potential new customer.

Nigel Botterill:
And we recorded what happened when the calls were answered. Now, in fairness, a good number... In fact, in truth, the majority of the calls were answered really, really well, but a significant minority, well, they were handled appallingly. I mean, really badly. Just have a listen to some of these. Yep. Oh. Oh, dear. Oh, gosh. Answer at some point, surely, I think.

Speaker 2:
If you'd like to receive a brochure about the services we offer, please leave your name and address, and your age and marital status, a telephone number, and how you heard about us. If you're on email, then you could leave your email address as well. That would be wonderful. We'll then put a brochure in the post to you. We'll look forward to talking to you soon, either way. Many thanks. Goodbye.

Speaker 3:
Thank you for calling... We are now closed. Our normal opening hours are 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday to Friday. Please call again during these hours.

Speaker 4:
You're through... I'm not able to take your call and I won't be able to pick your message up, so please don't leave one. Please redial 0121... Thank you.

Nigel Botterill:
Don't give me a message like that. It says you've got no interest in the customer in truth. Just think about it from a customer perspective. Call number five.

Speaker 5:
Thank you for calling. We are currently closed. To repeat this menu, press the hash key. Thank you for calling. We are currently closed. To repeat this menu, press the hash key.

Nigel Botterill:
Let's have a look at call number six.

Speaker 6:
Hello, and thank you for calling... Our opening hours are 9:00 to 5:00, Monday to Friday. There is no one available to take your call at the moment. Please leave your name and number, and someone will contact you in due course.

Nigel Botterill:
Call number seven.

Speaker 7:
Hello, you have reached... Sit tight for a moment and I'll get your call answered for you. Just to let you know, calls are recorded for monitoring and training purposes.

Nigel Botterill:
Okay. Okay with that. So far so good.

Speaker 7:
Sorry, your call can't be answered just at the moment. Leave your name and message after the tone, and we'll get back to you as soon as we can. Thanks.

Nigel Botterill:
That's the worst scenario now because you kept waiting and waiting and waiting. Still can't deal with you. No, we're not going to talk to you. And I got quite irate last week because I do care about this and I know that so many people in business, they put so much effort and so much money into improving their marketing when actually, they're then just pissing it away by failing to answer the calls in anything like an effective manner.

Nigel Botterill:
Then during the events last week, at this point, we had a little bit of a technical problem. I want to try and get these to work because they're really quite important. Let's try this one. Nothing coming through. And for some reason, we lost the audio of the recordings of the calls. Oh, that's devastatingly disappointing.

Nigel Botterill:
But don't worry, I've got the other half coming up now. And the reason I'm doing it on this episode is because, Oh my God, it's the biggest single request we've had since last week. I mean, literally, hundreds of you have messaged in, saying, "What were the other 15 calls, Nige?" Now, I'm not sure whether this is so you can kind of enjoy the kind of humiliation and discomforts of some of your colleagues, or whether genuinely it's like people like to watch all the bad shit that happens, because some of these are truly, truly horrendous.

Nigel Botterill:
This next one I'm going to play to you, which we didn't get to last week, but I'll play you now, this is genuinely how it sounds. And we rang the number three times to make sure.

Speaker 8:
Hi, this is [inaudible 00:05:17]. I can't get to the phone right now, so please leave a message [inaudible 00:05:22]. Thank you, bye.

Nigel Botterill:
I mean, we were not ringing Walt Disney World, okay? This was not the chipmunks or Mickey Mouse answering the phone. The business owner is probably just blissfully ignorant of what's going on now.

Nigel Botterill:
Now, how do you know it's not you? I mean, make a little call now to your answering machine and see what it sounds like. But anyway, what are you doing playing an answering machine to potential new customers? This would happen quite a bit.

Speaker 9:
Hello, your call cannot be taken at the moment and you cannot leave a message, so please call later.

Nigel Botterill:
A-ha. I mean, what that really could have said is, "Hello. Fuck off." I mean, what are they playing at?

Speaker 10:
Welcome to the EE Voicemail. I'm sorry, but the person you called is not available.

Nigel Botterill:
There were several where their landlines had obviously being diverted to their mobiles, because I don't believe anybody watching this would willfully, consciously, inflict that upon a potential new customer. Yet, that is what is happening.

Speaker 11:
Hello. Sorry, we are currently unavailable. However, your call is very important to us.

Nigel Botterill:
No, it's not. If your call was important to you, then you answer it. I'm sorry. It's so upsetting. It's just so upsetting. Here's number 12. The call was actually answered here.


Nigel Botterill:
Yeah, that's my girl trying to... Hello, is anybody there? Is anybody there? Hello? Hello? No, no one's there. No one's there because they don't give a... either. Again, just to be clear, some of these people are long-term EC members. They all bought a ticket for the Getting & Keeping Customers Convention.

Speaker 13:
You have a trial account. You can remove this message at any time by upgrading to a full account. Press any key to execute your code.

Nigel Botterill:
I mean, you couldn't make it up, could you? This is not out of hours. This is not at the weekends. Between 10:00 and 4:00 on a working day, and people are getting that.

Speaker 14:
The person you are calling is not accepting anonymous calls. Please redial without withholding your number.

Nigel Botterill:
What? I mean, again, what are you doing? Now, interestingly, that was a business whose customers are B2B, and it is perfectly normal for businesses when you're dialling out of a phone system, that that number is effectively an anonymous number. I've been doing all sorts of stuff on Google and Facebook and sending emails, and I'm going to throw it all away with a response like that. And last, but by no means least.

Speaker 15:
The person you called isn't taking messages right now. Instead, why not send them a text?

Nigel Botterill:
I mean, honestly, why would you do this? Why would you do this? So the purpose of this episode isn't to entertain you, although maybe hopefully, it's perhaps done that, but that's not the purpose for it. The purpose is to make sure that when we do this again in the future, as we will surely do, when we compile our next chamber of horrors, please make sure that next time we do this, it can't happen if we ring your business. Sort your phone answering out. Any automated answer machine message is suboptimal. Just make sure that your calls get answered, please, please.

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