How to Fail at Incoming Phone Calls

How to Fail at Incoming Calls. Above Promotions Company blog. Photo Courtesy of Piotr Bizior.
How to Fail at Incoming Calls.  Above Promotions Company blog.  Photo Courtesy of Piotr Bizior.
How to Fail at Incoming Calls. Above Promotions Company blog. Photo Courtesy of Piotr Bizior.

Handling telephone inquiries is a part of any business.  New and existing customers may never view your face or the inside of your company’s walls.  A call coming in is your chance to shine.  The great marketing efforts pay off with just a ring of the telephone.  It’s what most businesses wait on.  A chance to win a new lead or help a current one feel so good they want to refer others to you.  Yet we find many employees, managers and even owners fail to welcome potential business over the phone.

Whether it is first thing in the morning or the last-minute of the work day, each call is a potential client even if they dialed your number by mistake.  A finesse, ease and even welcoming tone should be displayed in each call.  You could win them today or in the future with the words and tone displayed in the first few moments of the call.

Today we will share with you a story containing many good examples of “How to Fail at Incoming Phone Calls”.

Recently our office called a t-shirt printing company which is a franchise with a few local offices in the area.  The call was made perhaps an hour after it opened.  The greeting of the person who answered, provided instant awareness to us they were busy or perhaps not in the best mood.  Many creative types are not morning persons, but the hour was late enough to shake off the ill feeling of the alarm going off.

We proceeded to ask if an item was in stock, they indicated they didn’t have it and would look on the computer to see if it could be ordered by the deadline.  They asked what side of town we were located to see if we could just come in.  Apparently the tone displayed indicated looking into the product stock would take great pain on their behalf to do.

During their research and in the same unwelcoming tone, we were told we could contact their other local store because it would be closer to our office.  After explaining we were aware of the other location, but wanted to order from theirs for various reasons, they sounded confused and their tone remained of someone inconvenienced.

They proceeded to ask if we were an existing customer of their business.  Another heavy sigh was made when we stated we were not and then again during their explaination of having to build a customer account and take a deposit.

By this time, we just had to ask, “Is this a good time or should we call back later to speak?”, the response was “Ma’am if this wasn’t, I wouldn’t be on the phone with you now about the order”.  We were then told the item was in stock.

Finally, the personnel indicated they wouldn’t be able to take the order until after they confirmed the resolution of the graphic file, which was a valid question in our mind.  Perhaps the tone it was used in was not.  However, after so many sighs and no excitement about the potential order, we just couldn’t in good marketing conscience or common sense proceed with the order.  After indicating, we’ll just send an email later, we concluded the call.

Although this is one specific example, it appears to occur more often than it should.  Our company is always looking for new vendors on behalf of our customers for projects.  Each call made is either to see if it fits the immediate need or to make note of a future one or referral.  Like many other businesses or consumers, every heavy sigh, rushed tone or aggravation is an opportunity missed to make a sale and a potential epic fail.

Many business owners may not be aware of what their employees are doing during incoming calls, periodic evaluations from an experienced source can assist.  Perhaps the wrong personnel is answering calls due to low staffing.  Many outsource companies offer receptionist services.  In the least, verifying calls for quality assurance should be a part of operations on a monthly basis for any business.  Developing a phone call process is essential to ensure the business is represented properly.

We want to hear from you!   What do you think of this phone call per the account above?  Would you have placed the order?  Provided more feedback to them on how the call was going?

How does your business measure up with incoming phone calls?  Are you passing, failing or don’t know?  Do you have procedures for incoming calls?  If not, contact us for assistance.


Above Promotions is a full service publicity, marketing and promotions company, founded with the purpose to serve an array of clients that are looking to expand their presence in the marketplace.  From a local to international market, Above Promotions Company can provide the exposure that goes above your expectations.  Visit today.