It’s common for businesses to feel like their voicemails are being ignored, forgotten, or lost. This feeling is especially prevalent among offices that have to call customers regarding specific appointment times. If you’re like most business owners, you’re looking for a way to reduce the number of communication outreaches that seemingly go down the drain.
Luckily, communication technology has made significant advances in recent years to help mitigate the problem of unheard voicemail messages. These advances decrease the likelihood of your phone calls going to customers’ voicemail boxes and opens up avenues for alternate forms of communication, like texting and emailing. One of the tricks to having voicemails go unnoticed is avoiding voicemail boxes altogether.
You’ve probably noticed changes in the ways customers want to communicate over the last decade or two. Phones are still foundational to the communication system of any business, but it’s just as important that businesses meet the preferences of customers that would rather text with the establishments they frequent. This preference is particularly noticeable in younger clients under the age of 35.
This list of tips for improving communication with customers goes beyond just calling, texting, and emailing, however. You’ll find that a modern communication network involves bringing virtually every aspect of your business into one integrated system. By unifying all your various tools for communication, your messages are much less likely to disappear down the drain.
1. Switch to VoIP phones
The first step for cutting down on the number of voicemail messages that go unheard is switching to a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone system. Some offices have already made this transition, but if you’re among those who are still relying on landlines, it’s essential that you convert to internet-based telephony.
VoIP phones by no means guarantee that every voicemail message will be returned. However, they are fundamental to consolidating your communication network. They allow your office to employ a host of different strategies for contacting its clients, strategies that are almost impossible to implement using landline telephones.
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2. Customize your phone tree
VoIP phones make your entire phone system more sophisticated and less generic. With VoIP phones, your office can set up its own unique phone tree for returned voicemail messages. Having a personable and easy-to-use phone tree makes certain that customers can reach the right employee.
It’s entirely possible that some of your messages are listened to by customers, but their return calls don’t get through. Effective phone trees reduce the chances of callers getting totally lost in your system. An optimized phone tree also simplifies the process of leaving a voicemail, finding out office hours, and getting updates from your business.
3. Start texting with customers
If your voicemail messages aren’t getting through to clients, it’s probably time to add a text outreach to your office’s communication toolbox. Allowing your employees to text with clients broadens your range of communication. In a recent study commissioned by Weave, healthcare patients indicated that they return text messages in 13 minutes, while it takes them roughly half an hour to respond to phone calls.
Younger clients are especially fond of text messaging. As mentioned in the previous section, customers may be returning your calls, but might not be able to get ahold of your staff. When you have a VoIP phone system, you can set up missed call texts that automatically go out to customers that can’t reach an employee. These missed calls texts let your office start two-way text conversations with those that prefer a text option.
4. Automate appointment reminders
One of the major issues with leaving voicemail messages for customers is that it takes up huge swaths of time for your office staff. It’s even more frustrating when clients don’t respond to voicemail. Using software that aligns with your VoIP phone systems, your team can schedule appointment reminders to go out at pre-selected dates and times.
Automated reminders have a number of benefits. They make sure your team is spending more time and effort on essential services instead of wasting hours on placing calls. They also allow your business to transition toward a more text-heavy communication protocol. Weave’s recent study showed that 68% of healthcare practices anticipate most of their outgoing client communication will be via text in the next three years.
5. Make e-notes on communication preferences
In the past, businesses have been over-reliant on Post-It notes and other analog tools for keeping track of customer preferences. These notes go missing almost as often as phone calls get ignored by some clients. Software that allows you to easily record and save customer communication preferences will make it more likely that you contact clients.
Customer insights are personal information that can be utilized in or out of the office. It includes names, photos, birthdays, personal histories, upcoming appointments, and outstanding balances. Crucially, insight software lets your team type up notes about when customers want to be contacted by your office. Before calling or texting clients, quickly glance at these insights to ensure that you’re reaching out at a convenient time.
6. Text about payments
Some offices have their administrative team spend hours trying to reach customers with outstanding balances. Instead of taking up time calling, consider texting clients regarding payments. A complete payment platform will allow your business to collect payments in conventional (cash, checks, cards) and contactless ways.
The video below shows how quickly offices are collecting outstanding balances without the hassle of phone calls and mailing invoices.
Watch How Text to Pay Makes Money Collection A Breeze
70% of the healthcare practices Weave spoke to in its recent survey said contactless payments are a competitive advantage. Contactless payments include both mobile wallet payments and text payments. Unlike voicemail messages, text payment requests let customers know about outstanding balances and give them an option to take care of payments on the spot. Simply put a link to a payment site in your text message, and customers can respond immediately to your call to action.
7. Ask for online reviews
Clients in Weave’s survey said they would rather give feedback to businesses by text than by call. If your office is calling customers and leaving voicemail messages requesting reviews or other feedback, you’ll want to think about switching to texted review requests. Much like payment texts, review requests let customers take immediate action upon opening a text message from your business.
Online reviews are a simple way to build your office’s reputation. The vast majority of consumers now read online reviews before making a purchase. By asking customers to write their own reviews and post them on popular sites like Google and Facebook, your business is increasing its visibility in search engine results. Once you’ve adopted review requests by text, your office’s primary responsibility is making sure clients get top-level customer service.
8. Share information by email
Among the respondents in our survey, email was the third-most preferred form of communication with healthcare practices. Most businesses have an email outreach, but many have yet to optimize their email marketing. Calling or texting every single customer isn’t nearly as effective as sending out mass, professionally-designed emails.
Emailing makes it possible reach your entire customer base at once. Email marketing software is now available to businesses, allowing them to professionalize their outreach. It gives office managers the ability to use pre-written templates and image libraries to bolster their writing and aesthetics. CTA (Call to Action) buttons are similar to links within texts in that they empower customers to take action as soon as they read the information your office is sharing.
9. Analyze your communication
Today’s business world is largely driven by the successful capture of data. Corporations dominate markets by gathering, analyzing, and reacting to the data they collect. On a smaller scale, your business can reduce ineffective communication by recording its call history and using software to interpret the data.
Of course, you’ll need a VoIP system to synchronize data-capture with your phones. After bringing the right software on board, you and your team can identify busy call times and increase staffing around those times. By looking at real numbers, your office can see what communication outreach works and when customers are most likely to answer calls and texts. Analytics aren’t only available for phone calls; they also exist for payment collection and email marketing campaigns.
Get through to customers with Weave
Weave’s complete business toolbox is designed to help your office eliminate communication that falls on deaf ears. Our VoIP phones let you consolidate your business’s various communication outreaches into one, user-friendly system. It provides offices with the ability to customize their phone tree, voicemail box, and emergency messaging.
Weave also empowers businesses to start texting with customers. Features like missed call texts and appointment reminders give clients alternative methods for talking with your team. Whether you’re calling or texting, our Customer Insights tool improves your personal touch with clients.
Texting with Weave doesn’t just assist you with booking or confirming appointments. It can also be utilized to request online reviews and payments. Our Email Marketing tool equips your business with yet another way to get through to clients.
After exploring all these approaches to improving your client contact rate, your office can study the results using Weave Analytics. Modern communication technology should give you the ability to scrutinize your outreaches and discover better ways for communicating with customers.
Schedule your free demo today to find out more about how to keep your voicemails from going down the drain.