Tuesday 28 October 2014

How a small business loses potential customers

On my list of things to do this morning in the office was to find a company who cleaned ovens in my area.

OK - I Google "oven cleaning" in my area. Great start - plenty to choose from. 

I start from the top of the natural listings.  No need to read all the content on a website. A picture of a dirty oven and then a clean one was enough for me. 

First company: not a great looking website. The only contact number is a mobile number. What are the chances that my call will be answered? I bet none. The call rang and then I was welcomed to a Tesco mobile voicemail. Didn't leave a message as my confidence in the company had eroded to zero. 

Second company: my confidence had improved - website, local number and mobile number. I call the local number, I get a get voicemail but this time it has a recorded message telling me that the guy is on holiday so I should leave a message and he will get back to me on his return. No chance. 

Third company: after my previous two experiences my confidence was at rock bottom, but this one's website had a mission statement and a local number which made them appear way more trustworthy. I call, but all I get is a voicemail. Out of desperation I leave my name, number and a message to call me. Five hours have elapsed and no return call. 

All three companies instantly lost a big customer. I have two ovens, a microwave and a six ring gas hob. If they had done a good job I would have kept their details and got them to come again in 3-6 months. I will never know though and neither will they.  

4 Easy Solutions to the above: 

1.     Never ever advertise anywhere with a mobile number only. You can get a virtual local landline number for around £5 per month (plus call charges). This can be pointed directly to your existing mobile allowing you to answer calls wherever you are.
2.     Use a professional recorded voicemail which is sent straight to your email, which you can pick up on your phone. If you don’t have a smartphone, get one.
3.     If you go on holiday get a virtual local number which can be switched to someone who can
 answer your calls and manage your diary, so you can come back and service your existing or new customers right away.
4.     If you are asking someone to leave a message say how long it will be before they get a call back e.g. 1 hour. Never lie about this. 

Monday 27 October 2014

There is nothing scary about ghost numbers

Ghost numbers are more commonly known as virtual local numbers.

With a choice of over 500 UK STD codes to choose from you don’t need to be scared that there won’t be a number for your particular need. 

The cost of a virtual local number is minimal so nothing to be frightened of when the bill arrives.

You can be advertising and providing your services to a vast audience without the cost of a fixed landline requiring expensive call forwarding or a physical address.

No need to be spooked that you can only receive calls during regular business hours as your number works 24/7 365 days a year and can be redirected at a moment’s notice so you can receive the call on any landline number or mobile number.

During the London Business Show 2014 for small businesses and startups 100 people were asked
which they would prefer to call a business displaying only a local number or a business displaying only a mobile number. A resounding 97% said they would call a business with a local number before
calling a business showing only a mobile number. So no “jitters” calling a virtual local number.

So - now you know there’s nothing scary about “ghost numbers”.

Thursday 2 October 2014

Twitter Competition Winners!

We would just like to say a big thanks to the iamstartacus team for running our twitter competition a few weeks back.

The lovely winners of 6 months free rental on any of our number ranges were:

Kicks Theatre Arts - a Sheffield based theatre group for kids run by the lovely Karl Newsam
Lepus Marketing - a Bristol based marketing company run by Paula Luke
Stir Up Media - a Cambridge based social media company, run by the fantastic blogger Jo Christy, that aims to help you increase your web presence through social media

If you are start up or smaller business make sure to follow @iamstartacus for business tips, competitions and all round helpful content.

...And whilst you are there follow us too @brayfordnumbers