I know of agencies paying $4,000 to $5,000 monthly to have third-parties working elsewhere make outreach calls trying to find someone, almost anyone who will agree to a meeting with the agency brass. On a score from 1 to 10, I rate those meetings at a 2. But who knows, once in a while it’s possible to strike Gold, so if the numbers work, why not? Now let’s take a look at that practice. Contractors make the outreach call. That’s an expensive call, and I’m not talking about toll cost. Let’s assume the caller connects and has a good chat and asks for a call-back. Contractor has a process. Having implied he/she works for and at the agency, the number that was left goes to voicemail only, answered only in the contractor’s name and voice. That’s another story.
Now let’s say the prospect is in a hurry, so rather than waiting for a return call, they find and call the main number on the agency website. Now it begins – the looping “Who is going to answer that phone!” Agencies nowadays have voicemail to cover the desk, so we get the – “Thanks for calling AgencyOne. If you know the extension of the party you’re calling, enter it now. For an agency directory, press 1. For this and that, press this or that. For New Business Press 4.” You’re routed to the Marketing Department. “No one can take your call. Please leave a message.”
I can be impatient, so I have learned to punch O for Operator. If a human is hovering somewhere nearby, that generally gets them. But as it stands, the O request too often loops you back to a voicemail announcement. At some smaller agencies, I have literally tried every extension they offer, yet that fails to surface a human. For that and any of the other important incoming calls, imagine the consequence of such treatment. Don’t let this silent killer cost you business. I suggest the “O” option should ring at 4-5 desks with Hell-to-pay when a phone goes unanswered by a human. One final note: please see that whomever answers NEVER asks the bane of anyone charged with agency new business – “will they know what this call is about?”