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We’ve written often about the opportunity cost of missed phone calls.  With many businesses now struggling to hire a full staff, this concern has only been exacerbated.      

In this week’s guest blog, our partner Ruby takes a shot at quantifying in real dollars the cost of a missed call.  While that actual value will vary for each business, one thing rings true, these are missed opportunities to make a sale, connect with a prospect, or delight a customer or client.

The Hidden Cost of an Unanswered Call


Quick question: How many phone calls do you miss per week?

If your business is like many, it might be a few. If you’ve invested in demand generation with digital marketing, it might even be a few dozen.

Hey, but it’s no big deal, right?

Well, get Howie Mandel on the line—because it’s definitely a deal.

Every missed phone call is a missed opportunity: an opportunity to make a sale, connect with a prospect, or delight a customer or client. And each of those opportunities comes with both hidden and not-so-hidden costs attached.

Fortunately, there are solutions out there that can help prevent incoming calls from slipping through the cracks. Before we get into those, however, let’s first look at the impact that each missed call has on your business.

The Immediate Cost of Each Missed Call

Every conversation has value. That’s not some cutesy statement either—each professional conversation you have has an actual dollar amount attached to it.

Over on the Ruby blog, we put our math skills to the test in order to break down the real cost of those conversations that fill up the workday. Here’s what we found:

Disclaimer: While we relied on real data for our calculations, these figures are meant to be more illustrative than anything else. After all, we all know that the real value of each conversation is—you guessed it—priceless. See our full breakdown here.

  • First, we took the annual value of word-of-mouth conversations and divided it by the total number of businesses worldwide, putting us at around $33,000 per yearfor each organization. Assuming that people talk about your business 10 times a day, this comes out to $9 per conversation.
  • Next, we factored in the average annual cost of business miscommunication, which is $424,000 per year. If a person has 20 workplace conversations a day, that’s around $58 per conversation.
  • Finally, because 96% of customers are willing to leave over poor service, and the average lost relationship is worth $289, we went ahead and attributed this value to every customer-service interaction.

Add it all together, and the cost of each conversation comes to $356.00.

That’s right—the financial impact of each missed phone call is in the triple digits. That means that even three missed phone calls per day can cost your business over $20,000 per month!

What Else Happens When You Miss a Call?

Losing money on missed connections is already hard on your business. But there are other—arguably more important—costs that come with sending each call to voicemail. Why is a missed call a cause for concern? For starters…

It can harm your reputation.

Everyone’s time is valuable. If someone is taking a moment out of their day to contact you, that’s a big deal—whether it’s because they want to learn more about your business or because they’re in desperate need of your help.

It’s no surprise then that 75% of consumers list failing to have their call answered as their number one issue when it comes to poor customer service. And remember: you never get a second chance at a first impression.

It hurts your word-of-mouth.

Generating positive buzz around your business is essential to your long-term success. According to a recent report by Engagement Labs, peer-to-peer conversations are directly responsible for 19% of purchases globally.

All it takes is one story, one salty anecdote someone shares with their friend about trying to contact you with no response. That person then tells their coworker, who shares it with their family, and so on. Pretty soon, you’re known as the business that never returns calls—not the best look.

It could contribute to a negative review.

A potential customer or client tries calling you and gets sent to voicemail. No big deal. They try calling again—same thing. Now, they’re starting to get a bit frustrated.

After the third time, they may want to make their feelings known by heading to their platform of choice to leave your business a negative review.

And for existing clients or customers, a lack of response can be even more frustrating. If someone is reaching out with an urgent question or concern, a missed call could be the tipping point when they decide to voice all their frustrations online.

For a growing business, negative feedback quickly adds up. 88% of consumers state that online reviews significantly influence their buying decisions—which means that even a single one-star review can end up turning potential customers away. There are ways to deal with negative reviews, but in this case, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

It makes customer service more difficult.

Customer expectations are higher than ever. According to Consumer Reports, 72% of callers who reach an automated answer will hang up without leaving a message.

And callers are only one part of the service equation.

Customer service employees are also under more pressure than ever. The more frustrated a caller is (after being sent to voicemail, say, three times), the more difficult it’s going to be for your team to deliver exceptional service.

It prevents you from better serving your callers.

A call is a perfect opportunity to sit back and listen. Listening carefully to a caller’s questions and concerns can provide valuable insights that curb challenging conversations in the future.

Missing these important conversations sets up both your team and business for potential failure. The less you know about your customers and clients, the less prepared you are to provide them with the solutions they’re searching for.

It reduces your marketing ROI.

So, you’ve mapped out a winning marketing strategy and have invested in both traditional and digital advertising. Your number is up on billboards. A convenient “call now” button sits at the top of your ideal audience’s search results.

Now to sit back and wait for the calls to come in…

Of course, if you’re missing these calls, you’re absolutely tanking your marketing ROI—something that few businesses can afford to do in today’s market. You wouldn’t keep your doors closed after airing a commercial announcing you’re open for business; don’t do the same with your phone lines!

The Simple Way to Never Miss a Call Again

If you’re missing one or more calls a day, you’re missing out on important opportunities for your business.

And when opportunity knocks, you should always answer (the call)!

The good news? You never have to miss another call with virtual receptionists. Ruby provides your business with 24/7/365 coverage, ensuring that every caller is greeted by a friendly voice that sounds like a seamless extension of your team. Whether you’re busy, closed, or helping another customer, Ruby can handle your incoming calls and help you stay connected with the people you serve.

To learn more, check out our latest guide: Happy customers, efficient businesses: Supercharge your growth with virtual receptionists.


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