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witchimage With Halloween just around the corner, we thought we’d count down the top ways to scare away business. Yes, customers can be spooked even before you get the opportunity to sell them anything. Are you guilty of any of these horrifically bad telecommunications strategies?

8. Have Your Mom, Spouse, Son or Babysitter Answer Your Business Phone
This is a surefire way to lose credibility with callers and frighten them enough that they won’t call back. By having a clueless family member answer your phone and tell callers that you’re not at “home,” you’ll communicate loads about your professionalism … or lack thereof.

7. Use a Complicated Phone System with Lots of Prompts
No one appreciates having to navigate through 10 prompts before speaking to customer service. Don’t test your callers by turning your phone system into a maze that requires multiple attempts to pass through. This is a guaranteed way to lose callers faster than you can say “Trick or Treat!”

6. Play Irritating On-Hold Music
Callers don’t want to hear the Chipmunks sing holiday songs while they wait on hold. In fact, if the Chipmunks are your on-hold artists of choice, you might just find that callers hang up before you get a chance to speak with them.

5. Don’t Train the Employees Who Are Answering the Calls
A common mistake that many companies make is to have their least trained person answer the phone. Argumentative or difficult-to-understand employees can make matters worse.

4. Pass the Caller Around to Lots of Different People
Callers don’t appreciate having to repeat their story to multiple employees as they try to find someone who can help them. The more employees who are involved, the likelier you’ll scare a customer directly towards your competition.

3. Don’t Learn How to Use Your Phone System
No one likes being hung up on or having to listen to an outdated message. If you still haven’t figured out how to transfer calls or change your voicemail greeting, now’s a great time to learn.

2. Never Answer the Phone and Don’t Return Calls
Are you just too busy to return calls? If you’re hoping that callers will send you an email if they really need to get a hold of you, you may frighten many into never calling again.

1. Place Callers on Eternal Hold
Having callers wait on hold for five, 10 or 15 minutes is possibly the most effective way to chase them away. And, not giving them the option to speak to someone else or leave a message can make a bad situation even worse.

Originally published Oct 29, 2010, updated Aug 12, 2020

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