Recent experience making me wonder if some companies have so much business that they are actively discouraging new customers.
As a small business owner, I am in the market for some expert assistance — specifically someone to help with my tax situation and a lawyer to help with a specific legal issue. I started by getting recommendations from my friends and business associates and attempting to contact some of the professionals my friends suggested.
And, of course, I Google their names to see what comes up. (I “Binged” some too. Trying to be a more equal opportunity searcher.) Ah, good, official websites. Not crazy exciting but the basic info, phone numbers too.
I pick up the phone and the fun begins. The first call goes into an office voicemail system which lists a bunch of names and urges me to pick one. Press #1 for Alice, #2 for Bob (names changed to protect the not-so-innocent.) But there is no indication of who I should pick. Is one person the new client entryway? Is one the receptionist, another the janitor? I have no idea. I turn back to the website and pull up an “our team” page. Nice biographies but again, no indication of who parcels out the new clients. I semi-randomly pick a name and dial the extension. “Hi, this is Alice. I am in the office on Tuesdays and Thursdays. (It’s Monday.) Please leave me a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. ”
Hey Alice, wouldn’t it be great if you provided someone else’s name for the person who calls on the 3 out of 5 days a week that you don’t work? I leave a message and move on to the next person on the list. I briefly consider calling Bob but decide I can probably find a company that wants my business more.
I get an individual voice mail box and leave a message there. Another website, another phone number, another message. I do this 12 times over the course of a week. One person calls me back. Unfortunately, she doesn’t offer the exact services I require but she does make a recommendation — to a fellow who is out of town for a week. Sigh. (Actually, he calls me back faster than the folks who are supposedly working and is now my new tax-buddy.)
Is there really so much business out there that these firms can afford to not call back someone who contacts them about purchasing their services? I have to wonder.
And, if your company actually does want new business, are you making it easy for new customers to get through to you?