If you think for a moment that SEO stops at the click, I’m sorry to say that you are still in the thick of the battle. How many times have you landed on a page after clicking a top result and found yourself stuck on the homepage wondering what to do next? On Page Optimization can help a ton, but what if you are in a hurry? You don’t want to submit a web form, you need to call someone right now.
Really? The Phone?
Oh yes, as Google is bringing the local market into the hands of the searchers, the phone number is the pivotal tool of defining a local business outside of someone driving to your physical address. People still use it and people still get work done on it.
It can be frustrating to find a company that offers a the solution you’re searching for and you need to contact them but a phone call makes you aggravated. From the other end, you see a lot of traffic on your site, your phone is ringing and sales are still flat. What’s going on?
Neglecting phone etiquette can ruin your SEO.
Large National Companies can swing for call centers, here or overseas, but Local SEO can bring more main street traffic to your phone lines, so what is the best way to answer the phone for prospective customers?
1. Answer the phone – “They’ll call back” is not an excuse. You’ve invested a lot into your SEO, don’t blow it. Throwing callers into the abyss of a holding loop with pan flute music won’t make a customer a returning customer. Answering Services can be used to cover periods of time when you won’t be available to pick up the phone.
Example: A service company experiences a power outage with no phone access. The service men can still work, but you can’t afford the down time of people getting a busy/no-service on your line. An answering service can take the call, explain the situation, and a call returned. Does it work? It happened last week actually. It was than better having nothing for 5 hours of blackout.
2. Answer the phone politely – “Thank you for calling ‘XYZ Company,’ my name is Eric! How can I help you?” is a standard greeting. It’s polite, but you’d be amazed at how some people answer the phone. I can still remember some of them from worst to best:
“XYZ Company” “…uh, hi…”
“GHI Company, this is Bridget” “Hi, Bridget…”
“NOP Company, how may I direct your call” “Customer Sup-” “Hold Please”
“Thank you calling ABC Company, how can I help you?” “I need to…”
and my favorite…
“Thank you for calling EFG, How can we make you smile today?” That last response has amazing results. It created a difference that stuck out in people’s heads. A difference is what you want.
3. Be nice – Do you remember Roadhouse? No? Well, just always be nice. Be calm. Listen. If someone is upset, let them be upset. Don’t defend your company, it’s not a personal attack against you. People just want to be heard. Heirarchies exist in order to create “pockets” of advocacy if someone is upset. Suddenly, the potential returning customer has an “insider.” If they know that you are listening it helps take the edge off a lot.
Keeping these in mind will help usher your Local SEO leads to the sales team.