Calculating the Hidden Costs and Lost Sales of Phone Bookings

Service providers have been taking appointments over the phone since, well, soon after the telephone became popular over a hundred years ago. But have you ever wondered about the hidden costs and lost sales inherent with phone bookings?

Phone bookings for service providers can be divided into two different camps: service providers who “do everything”, including answering the phone, and therefore must stop whatever they’re doing to answer the phone; and service providers who pay a dispatcher or call center to book appointments.


Hidden costs of phone bookings for small business

For the service provider who does everything for the business, stopping to answer a phone to book an appointment is an interruption they don’t need. Even worse, if the customer discovers during the phone call that the service provider’s availability doesn’t mesh with theirs, it forces them to call the competition. In this case, the service provider loses doubly: they stopped productive work to answer the phone, and they didn’t book new business!

Online booking systems make it a breeze for customers to book appointments anytime, anywhere. Customers can see the up-to-date availability of the service provider online, because the booking system is synchronized with the service schedule.


Phone bookings and the human variable

Everyone has a bad day once in a while. But when you’re trying to book an appointment, and the person on the other end of the line is having “one of those days”, or is just too rushed… the customer experience can be frustrating, even infuriating. Customers go elsewhere if they get a bad experience on the phone.

With online booking systems, the occasional “bad attitude” syndrome isn’t even a possibility. The service provider controls and approves all the messaging in the appointment process, ensuring their customers and prospects get the same great online booking experience every time. Repeat customers are easier to keep when the appointment process is just a few clicks away – rather than a possibly cringe-worthy telephone experience.


Lost sales: Lost in translation?

For the hearing impaired, those with speech challenges, or even those who speak English as a second language, online booking offers obvious benefits over phone bookings. Phone conversations can be a struggle for some, whereas online bookings remove much of the uncertainty, anxiety, and errors associated with phone calls.

Service providers that require customers and prospects to book appointments exclusively over the phone may lose business to competitors offering an online booking option.

For service providers and small businesses, the hidden costs and lost sales associated with phone bookings may be the difference between profitability and long-term viability. It only makes sense today to leave nothing to chance.


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