Research suggests only 57 percent of small business owners will take a vacation this year, which Moneypenny, the world’s lead provider of call answering and customer contact services, says is a direct consequence of the “always on” customer.
Moneypenny, which doubled the size of its US office last year, says the need to provide constant customer coverage is taxing small business owners everywhere.
“The enterprising business knows that letting a customer get through to voicemail instead of an actual human is like tearing up money, because buyers will just call the next supplier on the list. In fact, we published a report that found 69 percent of callers who were answered by voicemail just hung up,” said Joanna Swash, Global CEO of Moneypenny in Charleston. “Pretty much every prospective customer hangs up at a voicemail message, yet our research shows that a third of businesses still fail to answer their incoming calls – even while already giving up their vacations.”
Studying the various customer journeys of the 13,000 businesses it works with, Moneypenny has found customers no longer use phones as a research tool. Instead, they now use social media, review sites and media for their initial business inquiries. A phone call today serves as the final reassurance a customer seeks prior to purchase, which means there are fewer calls, but that they are of a higher value.
“Small businesses understand that not answering calls guarantees losing business, and this research shows that they’re sacrificing important personal time in the name of business, which of course isn’t a new idea. The idea of 9 to 5 disappeared years ago,” added Joanna Swash. “However, research has also shown that burn-out is real, and that vacations and breaks from the office can actually improve performance, attitude and results. It’s quite the conundrum.”
Mental breaks feel good and have been shown to benefit business and not affect productivity. As a way for the body to reset physically and mentally, vacation helps reduce sickness, anxiety and depression, which can affect productivity.
“This environment has created the perfect place for us in the customer journey as the seamless connection between answering the phone while also individuals to step away from the phone, we essentially cover your shifts,” concluded Joanna Swash. “We’re all adjusting to the changing global economy, reconciling evolving best business practices with best personal practices. Sometimes, you can just ‘mind the gap’ with solutions like ours while still preserving what makes your small business yours.”