Often small businesses, and especially start-ups, skimp on purchasing really important services. Many less experienced people to think they can do everything for themselves. This can lead to giving a really bad impression and a loss of business, which may be repeat business.
I booked an appointment to have my car repaired. I have a track record of using this business over several years, and have found the service good in terms of delivery. I have just had a poor experience because the owner mixed up my appointment for another date in the future, which I would not have agreed to because my car urgently needed attention.
When I made the appointment the business owner took the call. When we spoke there was music in the background, which is not unusual in a car repair shop. However, I now suspect he was actually driving and made the appointment from memory, which turned out to be faulty when he later incorrectly recorded it in his appointment book.
I ended up being very cross that my car was not to be repaired when I thought it was. It was fortuitous that a business meeting I had organised the day after was cancelled by the client, otherwise I would have had to hire a car for the day.
I use a call answering service / virtual assistant. All telephone calls to my office which I cannot take are answered by a real person who takes a message. Virtual assistants can also make bookings, which is really handy if you run a motor service and repair business or are a physiotherapist, osteopath, or almost any type of small business that sees clients regularly.
A prospect who calls and gets voice-mail or suffers an appointment mix-up could easily and immediately go elsewhere as could an established client if it happens more than once. It is not even as though it costs very much to have someone answer your telephone, and if you factor in the sheer value of never missing a call it costs absolutely nothing. On the contrary it helps a business make more money.
Have you suffered similar frustration?