Do you really have enough business that you don’t need more?

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?