How to Beat your Competition Just by Answering the Phone

How to Beat your Competition Just by Answering the Phone

In November 2016, we reached out via phone to 295 self-identified “coworking spaces” to capture some industry data. Here’s a Facebook Live video walking through the somewhat shocking insight we found as we tried to get in touch with spaces.

50% of the calls we made went to voicemail on the first try. On the second try, 34% of them still went to voicemail. Our sample size nationally was 295.

Go ahead, take a moment and get a little clammy and wonder “Was I on this list?” “Does my phone get answered during business hours?” Not to be overly dramatic here, but bad things happen (to your top line) when you don’t answer the phone.

Yes, your customers do still use the phone. Thirty-five percent of customers begin with the phone when seeking a resolution to a problem or answer to a question.*

If you don’t answer?

40% of callers hang up after 60 seconds, and 34% never call back again**

They will never call back again. If five people call you each business day to schedule a tour and you or your staff miss half of those calls (making coffee, talking to a member, cleaning the conference room after a meeting), you miss 2.5 calls per day or 600 leads per year. If 34% of those 600 leads don’t call you back, you’ve lost 204 leads…apply your conversion rate to that number and your lifetime value of a customer to that number and that’s what it’s costing you to not answer the phone.

Some simple math to drive this home: Say you convert 30% of your leads. Each lead is worth $12,000 (on average your members/clients take a $1,000/month office and stay for a year). You’ve lost $734,000. You do not want to miss phone calls.

Your staff is busy. They wear a lot of hats – operations, community management, event planner, mail handler, salesperson… we totally get it. You need help. There’s an app for that. Three of our GWA Associate Members offer live answering services for the phone and one for live webchat on your website. Staffed from 8 am to 8 pm EST, they have you covered. You can provide call scripts for them and train them on how to handle calls for membership inquiries, tours, event information, etc. The first thing they do is take contact information so that you can follow up. You never have to miss a call again. Think about what that could mean to your bottom line.

As operators, we know that running a shared space is not easy. I was recently on a panel with an executive from WeWork at a NAOIP conference and a building owner in the audience posed a question to understand how hard it is to run a shared space. We gave each other that knowing smile – it’s not rocket science, but there’s absolutely a learning curve to getting all of the pieces to fit together to make operational and community magic. But I’ll tell you what IS easy – beating the competition by answering your phone! If your peers aren’t going to do it, you do it! Get a service that has your back when you’re away from your desk.

* Bill Grodnik, “Measuring the Business Value of a Live Receptionist,” LinkedIn Pulse, December 11, 2015.
**Kate Leggett, “Trends 2016: The Future of Customer Service,” Forrester Blog, January 5, 2016.

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