How many hours do you waste playing phone tag with clients? It’s frustrating to call the same person time and time again, especially when all you need is a quick answer to a simple question. Maybe you need to update their insurance information or confirm a hair appointment. You know this exchange should only take moments – if not seconds – of their day. So, what gives? And how can you actually get clients to answer the phone?
Let them know what to expect before you call.
When an unknown number calls, people don’t answer. It could be a telemarketer, a recruiter, their doctor – almost anything. Without knowing what to expect, there’s no way to prepare. Will it be a quick call? Do you need your calendar in front of you? Can you put it on speaker? Is it time sensitive? If you’re in a meeting, should you step out to take the call?
A text saying, “Jake from State Farm here! I’d love to chat on the phone really quickly to review your insurance claim. Is now a good time?” is far more approachable than a call from an unknown number. If you text a client first, you can set expectations. You can also allow your client to choose a time that works best for them – allowing them to prepare appropriately.
Don’t make them uncomfortable.
Some people have a fear of answering the phone altogether. Phone calls can be scary. For introverts or high-anxiety individuals, sending a text feels safer than talking to a stranger on the phone. The logistics of how to answer the phone professionally or even hang up the phone correctly can cause a strong sense of unease.
With texting, they can just control the words being typed rather than focus on the tone of their voice or making awkward small talk. Instead of worrying about being interrupted and thrown off their groove, they can take the time to thoughtfully respond.
Make it easier and faster to get in touch.
People are often too busy to answer the phone. It’s your job to get a response from your clients, but it’s certainly not their job to respond to you. While you’re playing phone tag all day, they’re at work, taking care of their families and participating in hobbies. Interrupting daily life with a pesky phone call won’t foster favorable relationships with busy individuals.
Sending a text they can quickly respond to on their own schedule, on the other hand, shows a high degree of respect for your clients’ time. As a result, your clients will most likely return the favor – respecting your time and therefore responding to your inquiries.
Don’t force it.
Younger generations just don’t call people – ever. Ask a millennial or Gen Zer if they’d rather listen to a voicemail or read a text. Chances are, they’d rather read a text. When asked if they’d rather only be able to text or call on their phone numbers, 75 percent of millennials chose texting over talking. If you’re looking to grab the attention of a valuable target audience with massive spending power, you need to meet them in their preferred format. If texting is how your customers prefer to communicate, why are you calling them?
Stop playing phone tag and sending emails into an abyss. Instead, send a text to see a higher response rate. Texting is the only medium that can actually increase email open rates and boost call return rates.
You can text a client, “Can I call you now?” or, “Check your email for those documents. I just need your signature!” Since texts have a 98 percent open rate (as opposed to the 20 percent open rate of emails), you’ll get your message across more effectively. Customers will read your text and understand the urgency to take the next action you want. That’s how to get a prospect to return your call. If you make it easy to answer quickly, they will be more likely to respond.
Ultimately, texting is more convenient for most people. It’s faster, sets expectations and allows people to respond in their own time. When you respect your clients’ communication preferences, they’ll respect you enough to give you more of their time.