Malcolm Gladwell (Outliers, The Tipping Point, Blink) is hands down, my favorite business book author. In Blink, Thinking Without Thinking, Gladwell suggests that we make decisions within the first couple of seconds of an encounter with someone. He calls this “thin slicing”. The key take away from the book is the necessity for each of us to be aware of and control our thin-slicing. After reading Blink, I’m more convinced than ever that we make snap decisions about situations and people, unconsciously, that bring into play all of our biases.
While you have the ability to control your own “thin slicing”, what about others thin slicing and the impact on your small business. After you have spent countless hours and dollars getting your small business off the ground, building your website, marketing and conducting search engine optimization, never is controlling others thin slicing of you more important, than when a potential customer decides to call your business.
When a potential customer makes the conscious decision to call your company, this means they are ready to purchase your product(s) or engage your service(s) and they want to talk with someone. If they get voice mail, according to Fortune, 80% of them will hang up and in todays digital world, most likely return to the search engine results page (SERP) and call the next provider.
Small businesses with less than 5 employees have almost doubled from less than 15 million in the early nineties to over 25 million today, according to the US Census Bureau. Never, has the small business ecosystem been more competitive than right now. Some are predicting these small businesses will comprise half the US work force (70 million) by 2020.
It might be time to re-evaluate your call handling management technology. If you are still dependent on voicemail for your business, you may be committing suicide.