Person at desk in front of computer waiting on phone

If you’ve stopped by our blog before, you know that we’re big believers in the importance of quick and friendly phone answering for today’s businesses (and if this is your first time here, welcome!)

However, knowing that something is important—and actually following through on it—don’t always go hand in hand. If they did, we wouldn’t receive a lecture on “flossing more” every time we visited the dentist.

For some, a rewarding call with a client, customer, or prospect is something to look forward to. For others, a ringing phone might as well be nails on a chalkboard.

If you fall into the second category, know that you’re not alone! A lot of people dislike or straight-up dread phone calls, and some will go to great lengths to avoid them. In this article, we’ll explore why calls can be so darn difficult, along with some tips to help you conquer (or at least confront) phone phobia.

Why it can be so hard to pick up the phone, and what to do about it

Knowing how to end a phone call gracefully can be its own challenge. But for those who suffer from telephobia, the trouble starts before they even start dialing.

There’s plenty of reasons why calling someone can feel so daunting. Maybe you’re worried about saying the wrong thing, or maybe you don’t like the sound of your own voice. If it’s a business call, a fear of failure can make even the simplest sales pitch feel like an episode of Shark Tank.  

If you find yourself hesitating each time you reach for the phone, give these strategies a try:

  • Get prepared: Knowing is half the battle for any conversation. The more you know about the person on the other end of the line, the easier it will be for you to answer unexpected questions.
  • Speak slowly and deliberately: Worried about your voice sounding shaky? Help yourself sound more confident by slowing things down and focusing on proper enunciation.
  • Recognize that we all make mistakes: There’s no reason to lose sleep over an awkward phone interaction; we all have them! Instead, take time to reflect on each conversation and grow through experience.

Understanding phone anxiety

Picture this: someone’s knocking loudly at your door right now.

Knock!

Knock!

Knock!

How do you feel? Is your heart beating a little faster than it was a moment ago?

True story: The other morning, I was sitting at my desk, enjoying a cup of coffee, when all of a sudden someone started pounding—and I mean, clobbering—at my door. They then rang the doorbell three times in a row. I was trembling when I opened the door.

Turns out, it was an off-duty firefighter who had found a phone on the sidewalk near my house and thought it might be mine (it wasn’t). Anyway, that part doesn’t matter. The point is I no longer needed coffee after the ordeal. It took a few minutes for my heart rate to return to normal.

Phone calls are kind of like that for some people.

Particularly younger people. 76% of millennials now say they experience anxious thoughts whenever the phone rings—and 61% avoid answering calls altogether. Gen Z is no different. And it’s not just the younger generations reaching for that “ignore” button; 42% of baby boomers also prefer to send callers straight to voicemail.

What’s behind this trend? While a growing preference for texting certainly plays a part, there are dozens of reasons why a ringing phone sends us into a panic—like a fear of robocalls or not wanting to be interrupted.

ringing phone

Overcoming any type of anxiety isn’t easy. Still, there are some coping strategies that can help:

  • Know who’s calling: Nobody likes receiving calls from unknown numbers. Take time to update and organize your contacts and learn how to recognize robocalls so you always know who’s trying to get ahold of you.
  • Practice visualization: Call centers and corporate offices can be intimidating. Try imagining that the person you’re talking to is calling from a more welcoming environment (like a restaurant) in order to help you feel more comfortable.
  • Exposure therapy: It might be a hard pill to swallow, but the best way to confront your fear of talking on the phone is to spend more time doing it. Start small with 5-minute calls to friends and family, and gradually build up to longer chats.

A word of caution: Be mindful of your comfort level and be careful not to push yourself too hard here. Phone phobia can be a very real expression of anxiety, and if you find that anxiety overwhelming, a trained professional can help. Learn more about taking care of your mental health.

Dealing with record-high customer expectations

We all know that phones themselves aren’t scary (unless you’ve been watching too much Black Mirror)—it’s who’s on the other end. Or, more accurately, what that person expects from you.

Customer expectations are at an all-time high. The people you serve don’t just expect a quick response from you; they want you to deliver exceptional experiences across every touchpoint they have with your business.

This is especially true for phone conversations, which remain the most used customer service channel (PDF).

But providing outstanding customer service over the phone is easier said than done, especially when callers aren’t always their best selves when they call. Here’s how you and your team can turn even the toughest conversations into loyalty-winning interactions:

  • (Really) listen: Sometimes, a frustrated caller just needs you to hear them out. Actively listening and engaging with them is the best way to get them back on your side.
  • Be transparent: No customer wants to feel like they’re a buck just waiting to be passed. Being transparent about how you’re working to solve their issue can keep things from escalating further.
  • Go above and beyond: 93% of customers will keep coming back to a business after receiving stellar service. Keep clients happy and do your future self a favor by exceeding customer service expectations at every opportunity.

Still need help? We’ve got you covered.

If you’re still struggling with phone anxiety, we do have some good news: the rise of business texting and website chat means fewer calls to your office each day.

….and now for the bad news: while these solutions can contribute to reduced call volume, they’re ultimately meant to strengthen your omnichannel customer experience—not replace over-the-phone conversations entirely. And unfortunately, sending each call to voicemail simply isn’t an option.

A friendly Ruby receptionist

That’s where Ruby comes in.

Our dedicated virtual receptionists are here to take every phone call that you can’t (or don’t want to) answer. Full-time, part-time, or on-demand, we’re here to provide your customers with unforgettable experiences every time they call.

Interested in having us handle your calls? Learn more about how it works, or reach out to us (you can use the chat button below if you’re not a phone person).

 

Additional reads you may find interesting...

View All
Title card with text: Targeting and tools: small business marketing, Mike Gaydos, DSG Digital Marketing
Small Business Tips

Ruby partner feature: Targeting & tools—small business marketing with DSG

Wall clock nearing 8:00 on pink background

Using virtual receptionists for part-time answering

Person talks on phone in snowy outdoor environment
Small Business Tips

How to manage difficult customer conversations this holiday season: 3 examples + tips

2021 Legal Trends Report: gavel with scale of justice on desk
Legal Practice Tips

Clio 2021 Legal Trends Report: in summary

Content marketing and social media tips: side view of photo editor working in a creative office
Small Business Tips

Content marketing & social media: 4 easy tips for getting started

A single pine tree on a rocky summit
Small Business Tips

Meeting customer expectations during a holiday season like no other

Person at desk in front of computer waiting on phone
Receptionist Tips

Have trouble handling the emotional weight of phone calls? You’re not alone.

Choosing a business number: overhead view of faded yellow vintage telephone with notebook and numbers on monochrome background
Small Business Tips

What your phone number says about your business

How to find and analyze your website traffic: two people look at a computer in a bright office space
Small Business Tips

How to find and analyze your website traffic

Using virtual receptionists for part-time answering - Ruby

Using virtual receptionists for part-time answering

What is a conversation worth: illustration of a confused person with complicated calculations hovering above their head
Small Business Tips

What is a conversation really worth? We calculated the exact dollar amount.

Top 3 legal marketing strategies for 2022: man looks at laptop
Legal Practice Tips

Top 3 legal marketing strategies for 2022

24/7 live chat: a Ruby chat specialist and a potential new client use computers in split screen with a live chat window between them
About Ruby

How Ruby’s 24/7 live chat solution grows your business and saves you time

Why empathy matters for your business: person listening to another person in cafe with laptop, papers, and coffee
Small Business Tips

Why empathy matters for your business

SEO and branding: star-crossed lovers—an illustration of two people with crowns surrounded by flowers
Small Business Tips

SEO and branding: star-crossed lovers

Try Ruby Risk Free

Call to talk to a live virtual receptionist and hear why 10,000+ companies Ruby.

Call Ruby Sign Up
Choosing a business number: overhead view of faded yellow vintage telephone with notebook and numbers on monochrome background

Changing phone numbers can be a drag.

First, you’re forced to update countless online accounts with your new digits. Then comes an obligatory post on social media informing others of this tragedy. And finally, you have the near-impossible task of memorizing your new and unfamiliar number.

To put it plainly, it stinks.

Swapping your business number can also be a hassle. But what if it didn’t have to be? What if updating your current number was…wait for it…an opportunity?

Yes, believe it or not, the phone number associated with your business can be a powerful opportunity to stand out, build your brand, and set caller expectations.

Consider what you could do with a new business number:

  • A toll-free number can reflect your company’s national presence—or make you look bigger than you are.
  • A local number can help you create trust in the community or communities you serve.
  • A vanity number can serve as a fun element in your marketing and a handy mnemonic device for callers.

Each of these comes with its own advantages, but more importantly, each gives potential callers a very different impression of your business.  Let’s explore three options and what they say about your company.

Toll-free number—AKA “The Big Fish”

“For legal help that’s a bar above the rest, call 1-800-555-555.”

Official-sounding and easy to remember—now that’s a business number ready for TV and radio!

This, plus the fact that callers aren’t charged long-distance fees, has made toll-free numbers the standard for large organizations with even larger reach. If you’re a growing business that’s looking to expand into new areas, a toll-free number can make potential customers feel more confident in reaching out.

And because toll-free numbers aren’t location-specific, you’ll be able to use it no matter where your business takes you down the road!

Local number—AKA “The Hometown Hero”

One drawback of toll-free numbers is that some customers will assume you’re a telemarketer trying to contact them, or worse…a robocall (shudder).

That changes when you’re calling from a local area number. In fact, a study by Software Advice found that people are twice as likely to answer unknown local numbers compared to those from out-of-stateand nearly four times as likely when compared to toll-free numbers!

It’s human nature that people prefer to talk with someone in their own backyard. Using a local number lets you build trust and connect with customers in a specific area you’re targeting. Best of all, your business can use these numbers even if you operate out of state.

Vanity number—AKA “The Forget-Me-Not”

Deciding whether to go with a toll-free number vs. a local number will largely depend on your business’s long-term goals. However, while it’s true that both can help your business in different ways, there’s no denying that they’re really just jumbles of digits at the end of the day.

Think about it: If you’re interested in calling Lester’s Lamps, is it easier to remember 555-5135 or 555-LAMP?

That’s what you get with a personalized vanity number. Not only is it a branding home run—it’s highly effective at bringing in more leads for your business; according to a 2007 study, 72% of people surveyed were able to remember a branded number used in a 30-second radio spot.

Claim your new business number today!

Need a business number or a new business number? We can help with that.

When you use Ruby, you get to choose a dedicated Ruby-hosted phone number. Whether you want to connect with people in your community, add credibility to your growing operation, or stick out in a crowded market, your new Ruby business number can help make it happen!

Here’s how it works: During the account setup process, we’ll ask you to select a local or toll-free number you want to associate with your Ruby service. You can use this new number as your public business number. (Or, if you have an existing number, you can simply choose to have your calls forwarded to the Ruby number.)

Keep in mind that while Ruby isn’t able to provide our customers with vanity numbers, our friends at Grasshopper are! Click here to learn how they can help set your business up with a branded local or toll-free number.

We can also host or port your published business number, which offers all kinds of benefits. Number one on the list is the ability to keep your work and personal lines separate—a major issue for small business owners and sole proprietors who use their cell phones to connect with clients.

And that’s not all. Once we have you set up, you can start streamlining customer communication by adjusting your call forwarding preferences. If Ruby hosts your business number, you can even use it to send business texts.

Interested in learning more? Use your existing number for one last call and reach out to us today at 844-311-RUBY!

Additional reads you may find interesting...

View All
Title card with text: Targeting and tools: small business marketing, Mike Gaydos, DSG Digital Marketing
Small Business Tips

Ruby partner feature: Targeting & tools—small business marketing with DSG

Wall clock nearing 8:00 on pink background

Using virtual receptionists for part-time answering

Person talks on phone in snowy outdoor environment
Small Business Tips

How to manage difficult customer conversations this holiday season: 3 examples + tips

2021 Legal Trends Report: gavel with scale of justice on desk
Legal Practice Tips

Clio 2021 Legal Trends Report: in summary

Content marketing and social media tips: side view of photo editor working in a creative office
Small Business Tips

Content marketing & social media: 4 easy tips for getting started

A single pine tree on a rocky summit
Small Business Tips

Meeting customer expectations during a holiday season like no other

Person at desk in front of computer waiting on phone
Receptionist Tips

Have trouble handling the emotional weight of phone calls? You’re not alone.

Choosing a business number: overhead view of faded yellow vintage telephone with notebook and numbers on monochrome background
Small Business Tips

What your phone number says about your business

How to find and analyze your website traffic: two people look at a computer in a bright office space
Small Business Tips

How to find and analyze your website traffic

Using virtual receptionists for part-time answering - Ruby

Using virtual receptionists for part-time answering

What is a conversation worth: illustration of a confused person with complicated calculations hovering above their head
Small Business Tips

What is a conversation really worth? We calculated the exact dollar amount.

Top 3 legal marketing strategies for 2022: man looks at laptop
Legal Practice Tips

Top 3 legal marketing strategies for 2022

24/7 live chat: a Ruby chat specialist and a potential new client use computers in split screen with a live chat window between them
About Ruby

How Ruby’s 24/7 live chat solution grows your business and saves you time

Why empathy matters for your business: person listening to another person in cafe with laptop, papers, and coffee
Small Business Tips

Why empathy matters for your business

SEO and branding: star-crossed lovers—an illustration of two people with crowns surrounded by flowers
Small Business Tips

SEO and branding: star-crossed lovers

Try Ruby Risk Free

Call to talk to a live virtual receptionist and hear why 10,000+ companies Ruby.

Call Ruby Sign Up
How to find and analyze your website traffic: two people look at a computer in a bright office space

There you are, minding your own business, when a new customer comes in off the street. You strike up a conversation, ask how they heard about you, and learn what your business can do for them.

Sounds great, right? Now, imagine doing that 100 times a day.

Then, imagine recording the details of each interaction in a massive spreadsheet.

And then, imagine yourself hunched over all that data, meticulously analyzing it for insights that could improve your bottom line.

Somehow, that doesn’t sound quite as enjoyable (at least to us normies).

Truly getting to know your audience—who they are, what they need, and what brought them to you—is your key to attaining and retaining customers. Because of that, understanding who’s stopping by your digital storefront (AKA your online presence) is just as important as any in-person conversation.

Fortunately, you don’t need to have a heart-to-heart with every website visitor. The right tools will tell you everything you need to know. Let’s take a look.

Why you should be tracking website traffic

Driving traffic to your website is critical—and there are plenty of tips out there on how to attract more visitors (in fact, we have a handy guide that can help you do just that!).

But the work doesn’t end there. Once you start directing more traffic to your site, you then need to figure out how to convert them from “visitors” to “customers.”  

That’s where website analytics come in. Data points such as pageviews, traffic sources, and bounce rates tell you who your website visitors really are and how they actually interact with your site.

This in turn allows you to improve their experiences so you can attract the right visitors, keep them on your site longer, and motivate them to come back for more—creating a profit-boosting cycle that has a direct impact on your business’s bottom line.

Dollar character within circle icon

In other words, the more you know about your traffic metrics, and the more clearly you can see relationships in the metrics, the better you can convert visitors into buyers.

Getting started with the right tools

What comes to mind when you think of great websites? Most would describe the best as being sleek, fast, brilliant—all daunting descriptors for any would-be web designer.

Thankfully, platforms like Squarespace, WordPress, and Shopify have made it easier than ever for even the most technologically challenged among us to build beautiful websites. What’s more, some of these platforms even have built-in analytics features that let you view basic website traffic information.

The key word here, however, is “basic.” If you want the highest-quality insights, you’ll need to go with the gold standard: Google Analytics. It works with practically any website and has convenient integrations with the platforms we mentioned above.

How to set up Google Analytics

Create and add code to your website

All you need to get started with Google Analytics is, well, a Google account. Chances are you already have one. And if you don’t, you definitely should—for your business’s sake!

From your Google account dashboard, navigate to the Google Analytics app and follow the onscreen instructions. You’ll be asked to enter your website’s URL and… voila! You’ll have your very own Analytics code ready to be added to your website.

Next, you’ll need to embed that tracking ID within your website’s code. There are a few ways to go about this, depending on your site. 

Check out these simple Google Analytics setup steps for HTML, WordPress, Squarespace, and Shopify.

Navigating the dashboard

Considering that the average search query delivers results in 1/10th of a second, it’s clear that Google does things pretty darn quick. Once your tracking ID is added to your site, they’ll start collecting information immediately, delivering insights within 24 hours.

Once that data starts filling up your dashboard, it can be hard to know where to start. At first glance, there is a lot of information to dig through—which is a good thing; it just takes some getting used to!

Let’s start with the big graph at the center of the screen. This shows you high-level information regarding traffic to your site, including the number of visitors, average session length, and bounce rates. This information works great as a brief overview of your recent website traffic—but you didn’t come this far just for basic information. The good stuff is contained within the “reports” section.

Understanding your reports

As we mentioned above, your Google Analytics reports are what provide the actionable insights that help you drive your digital marketing decisions.

There are five different reports you can view, each with its own dashboard:

1. Real-time dashboard

Your real-time dashboard lets you observe how active visitors are interacting with your site. This is especially useful to monitor behavior after launching a new campaign or implementing site changes (plus, it lets you channel your inner secret agent).

2. Audience dashboard

Your audience dashboard is your digital focus group—showing you who exactly is visiting your website. You can view demographic information such as age, location, and gender, as well as each visitor’s session length and which device they were using.

3. Acquisition dashboard

The acquisition dashboard is your key to answering the age-old question: “how are people finding me online?” This lets you see how many visitors found you via organic, paid, social, email, or referral traffic.

4. Behavior dashboard

This dashboard displays how visitors are interacting with your site, with information pertaining to page views, average time on page, and exit rates.

5. Conversion dashboard

Google Analytics allows users to set goals for their site—whether your goal or goals are sending visitors to a specific landing page, filling out a contact form, interacting with a piece of content; or some, all, or none of the above. This dashboard breaks down your progress towards those goals so you can tweak them as necessary.

3 ways to leverage your traffic data

As time goes on, you’ll have more valuable insights into your website traffic than you may have thought possible. Here are a few key areas to pay attention to:

  • Pageviews show you what on-site content your customers are engaging with the most.
  • Traffic sources let you see where visitors are coming from so you can invest your efforts and ad spend in higher-performing platforms.
  • Demographic information gives you insight into who your customers are online and helps you identify opportunities to connect with new audiences.
  • Bounce rates provide a rough idea of what is (or isn’t) working on your site, allowing you to make the necessary adjustments to improve your customers’ experiences.

Individually, each of these metrics provide a ton of valuable information. But taken together, they create living, detailed portraits of the people you serve.

So, what do you do with all that information? Here are some tips on leveraging web traffic data effectively:

1. Maximize your ad spend

Unfortunately, it can be all too easy to throw good money after bad when it comes to digital advertising. By showing you where your traffic is originating from, Google Analytics can help your dollar go further by investing ad spend in the platforms that bring in the most visitors. 

Learn more about online advertising in our video:

2. Level up your content

You may love your website content, but it’s not always the case that visitors will feel the same way. Monitoring which content visitors engage with the most can help you optimize your content strategy and remove (or revise) existing content.

3. Improve SEO

While Google Search Console will be your best bet in conquering keyword rankings, Google Analytics still has a part to play in SEO optimization by showing you which search queries are bringing organic traffic to your site.

Next steps

We won’t sugarcoat it for you—analytics can be monotonous, dense, time-consuming work.

Shocking, I know.

Fortunately, help is out there for those that want it. Hiring the right SEO agency to help with the heavy lifting can not only make your life easier, but in the hands of experts, your website data becomes even more valuable. And it’s more affordable than you might think!

If you do choose to dive into the data yourself, we’re here to help. Head over to our resource hub for even more tips on getting the most out of your business’s online presence, creating connections with your customers, generating leads, and more!

Additional reads you may find interesting...

View All
Title card with text: Targeting and tools: small business marketing, Mike Gaydos, DSG Digital Marketing
Small Business Tips

Ruby partner feature: Targeting & tools—small business marketing with DSG

Wall clock nearing 8:00 on pink background

Using virtual receptionists for part-time answering

Person talks on phone in snowy outdoor environment
Small Business Tips

How to manage difficult customer conversations this holiday season: 3 examples + tips

2021 Legal Trends Report: gavel with scale of justice on desk
Legal Practice Tips

Clio 2021 Legal Trends Report: in summary

Content marketing and social media tips: side view of photo editor working in a creative office
Small Business Tips

Content marketing & social media: 4 easy tips for getting started

A single pine tree on a rocky summit
Small Business Tips

Meeting customer expectations during a holiday season like no other

Person at desk in front of computer waiting on phone
Receptionist Tips

Have trouble handling the emotional weight of phone calls? You’re not alone.

Choosing a business number: overhead view of faded yellow vintage telephone with notebook and numbers on monochrome background
Small Business Tips

What your phone number says about your business

How to find and analyze your website traffic: two people look at a computer in a bright office space
Small Business Tips

How to find and analyze your website traffic

Using virtual receptionists for part-time answering - Ruby

Using virtual receptionists for part-time answering

What is a conversation worth: illustration of a confused person with complicated calculations hovering above their head
Small Business Tips

What is a conversation really worth? We calculated the exact dollar amount.

Top 3 legal marketing strategies for 2022: man looks at laptop
Legal Practice Tips

Top 3 legal marketing strategies for 2022

24/7 live chat: a Ruby chat specialist and a potential new client use computers in split screen with a live chat window between them
About Ruby

How Ruby’s 24/7 live chat solution grows your business and saves you time

Why empathy matters for your business: person listening to another person in cafe with laptop, papers, and coffee
Small Business Tips

Why empathy matters for your business

SEO and branding: star-crossed lovers—an illustration of two people with crowns surrounded by flowers
Small Business Tips

SEO and branding: star-crossed lovers

Try Ruby Risk Free

Call to talk to a live virtual receptionist and hear why 10,000+ companies Ruby.

Call Ruby Sign Up
What is a conversation worth: illustration of a confused person with complicated calculations hovering above their head

Small talk, chit-chat, mindless chatter. Whether you’re stuck talking with someone at a party or a nosy neighbor, our daily lives are filled with moments spent asking ourselves:

Is this conversation worth my time?

Business owners have things a little different. For them, every conversation is an opportunity to make a sale, delight a customer, or improve their community.

The question, then, is no longer “is this conversation worth it?” It’s:

What is this conversation worth?

It’s easy to recognize surface-level exchanges in our personal lives. But putting a price tag on small business conversations is a much more complicated science. Fortunately, we put our math skills to the test and came up with a proven formula to help you accurately measure the ROI of all those little talks that fill up the workday.

Here’s what we found:

Take the value of word-of-mouth conversations…

Some of the most valuable conversations around your business don’t even involve you. They’re the ones your customers are having about you.

A recent study by Engagement Labs found that peer-to-peer conversations are directly responsible for 19% of consumer purchases in the US. And worldwide, these same conversations are estimated to drive $7-10 trillion in annual spending (more than the GDPs of Japan and Germany combined!).

Those eye-popping numbers underline just how essential positive word-of-mouth is for your business. If you’re not sure how to break the ice, here are a few tips to keep your business the topic of conversation—both online and off:

  • Craft your story: To quote the great Bonnie Raitt, “Give them something to talk about.” Getting people to talk about your business starts with leaving a strong impression. Building a pitch-perfect brand identity is your ticket to making this happen.
  • And know where your story is being told: Whether it’s at the local coffee shop or a specific social media platform, keeping tabs on where you’re seeing the most buzz lets you know where to invest additional ad spend and provides insights into what you’re doing right (or wrong.)
  • Prioritize social proof: There are plenty of steps you can take to cultivate positive sentiment around your business. A testimonial or two can go a long way. Also consider encouraging your customers or clients to leave reviews, and take the time to respond to them (thoughtfully). When used strategically in your marketing efforts, these and other forms of social proof can be deciding factors for potential buyers who are on the fence.
  • Encourage sharing: If people want to share their experiences with your business, let them! Adding social share buttons to your website and emails makes it easy for customers to spread the good word about your business to others in their network.

Our math so far: Taking the annual value of word of mouth conversations and dividing it by the total number of businesses worldwide puts us at $33,000 per year for each organization. Assuming that people talk about your business 10 times a day, this comes out to $9 per conversation.

Multiply it by the cost of poor communication…

Business leaders spend a whopping 80% of their day communicating—whether that’s over the phone, catching up on emails, or collaborating in meetings.

That’s a whole lot of hours spent on jabber. But the issue isn’t how much time these conversations eat up; it’s how much is lost following up on them.

Employees dedicate an average of 17 hours each week repeating or clearing up their previous communication. Even for smaller businesses, that adds up to $424,000 per year lost to misunderstandings.

Effective communication is all about quality, not quantity. Here are some pointers on how you and your team can harness the gift of gab:

  • Leveling up your tools: As more workplaces go remote, it’s important to give your people the tools they need to collaborate across time zones and in real-time. Apps like Slack, Asana, and Yammer work to keep everyone on the same page while adding additional transparency to employee communication.
  • Setting expectations: One of the biggest obstacles to workplace communication is unclear expectations surrounding collaboration. Keep everyone on track by setting clear and consistent guidelines around meetings, workflows, and milestones.
  • Schedule check-ins: Whether they’re in-person or through a screen, make sure to schedule regular 1-on-1s with each member of your team. This offers them a platform to raise concerns and clarify points they made in previous communication with you or other employees.

Formula update: If a person has 20 workplace conversations a day, and the average annual cost of miscommunication is $424,000 per year, this comes out to around $58 per conversation.

Carry the price of customer happiness…

Businesses are often measured by their level of customer service. This goes double for smaller businesses that rely on strong professional relationships for long-term success.

And when it comes to customer happiness, the stakes couldn’t be higher. According to a recent study, 96% of customers are willing to leave over poor service—costing your business an average of $289 per lost relationship.

Every interaction with your customers is an opportunity to win or lose their trust. Because of this, it’s critical that your team is set up to deliver exceptional experiences across the board. Fortunately, we’re experts at helping businesses do just that. Here are a few of our favorite tips to help you get started:

  • Practice active listening: No one likes getting lip service—especially not your customers. Actively listening to your customers’ problems not only builds trust but also helps you identify areas of your business that could use improvement.
  • Learn new skills: If a customer comes to you with a problem, then you’d better have the right tools to fix it. Whether it’s learning more about the needs of the people you serve or how to turn a tough conversation around, it’s essential to have as many skills in your toolkit as possible when it comes to solving customer issues.
  • Optimize their experience: There’s no better way to solve customers’ problems than by preventing them in the first place. Optimizing each and every touchpoint your customers have with your business (e.g., your website, over the phone) lets you get out ahead of problems before they ever occur.

The final variable: Because even one bad conversation can result in a lost customer, and the average lost relationship is worth $289, we’ll go ahead and attribute this value to every customer-service interaction.

And voila! Here’s the true value of every conversation.

So, how much is a conversation worth? Let’s see how our math works out:

The value of peer-to-peer conversation ($9) + the cost of internal communications ($58) + the price of customer happiness ($289) =

$356.00

The value of peer-to-peer conversation ($9) + the cost of internal communications ($58) + the price of customer happiness ($289) = $356

There you have it, the peer-reviewed and mathematically sound valuation of every conversation. Three hundred and fifty-six dollars.

We’ll take our Nobel Prize now.

Okay, okay, there might be a slim margin of error here. So let’s go ahead and round it up to what we all already know the real value of each conversation is: priceless.

Cheesy? Sure. Expected? Maybe. But it’s also absolutely true.

The fact is that every conversation you have throughout the day impacts people’s perceptions of your business. Even the smallest exchange can end up having Butterfly Effect-esque consequences that ripple outward.

The bottom line: don’t think of conversations in terms of dollars and cents but as intangible investments in your future success.

Now go out there and get to gabbing!

Visit Ruby’s Small Business Hub for more tips on customer communication and business growth.

Additional reads you may find interesting...

View All
Title card with text: Targeting and tools: small business marketing, Mike Gaydos, DSG Digital Marketing
Small Business Tips

Ruby partner feature: Targeting & tools—small business marketing with DSG

Wall clock nearing 8:00 on pink background

Using virtual receptionists for part-time answering

Person talks on phone in snowy outdoor environment
Small Business Tips

How to manage difficult customer conversations this holiday season: 3 examples + tips

2021 Legal Trends Report: gavel with scale of justice on desk
Legal Practice Tips

Clio 2021 Legal Trends Report: in summary

Content marketing and social media tips: side view of photo editor working in a creative office
Small Business Tips

Content marketing & social media: 4 easy tips for getting started

A single pine tree on a rocky summit
Small Business Tips

Meeting customer expectations during a holiday season like no other

Person at desk in front of computer waiting on phone
Receptionist Tips

Have trouble handling the emotional weight of phone calls? You’re not alone.

Choosing a business number: overhead view of faded yellow vintage telephone with notebook and numbers on monochrome background
Small Business Tips

What your phone number says about your business

How to find and analyze your website traffic: two people look at a computer in a bright office space
Small Business Tips

How to find and analyze your website traffic

Using virtual receptionists for part-time answering - Ruby

Using virtual receptionists for part-time answering

What is a conversation worth: illustration of a confused person with complicated calculations hovering above their head
Small Business Tips

What is a conversation really worth? We calculated the exact dollar amount.

Top 3 legal marketing strategies for 2022: man looks at laptop
Legal Practice Tips

Top 3 legal marketing strategies for 2022

24/7 live chat: a Ruby chat specialist and a potential new client use computers in split screen with a live chat window between them
About Ruby

How Ruby’s 24/7 live chat solution grows your business and saves you time

Why empathy matters for your business: person listening to another person in cafe with laptop, papers, and coffee
Small Business Tips

Why empathy matters for your business

SEO and branding: star-crossed lovers—an illustration of two people with crowns surrounded by flowers
Small Business Tips

SEO and branding: star-crossed lovers

Try Ruby Risk Free

Call to talk to a live virtual receptionist and hear why 10,000+ companies Ruby.

Call Ruby Sign Up
Needs-based selling: woman using laptop in well-lit office next to large window.
#WOCinTech Chat licensed under CC BY 2.0

In recent years, sales teams across the business spectrum have shifted toward a needs-based approach. But what is needs-based selling, exactly?

And more importantly, does your business need it? (Sorry, couldn’t help it.)

The short answer is yes. Needs-based selling results in more wins for your team by addressing the specific needs of each potential customer—something that larger businesses, perhaps including your competitors, often struggle with.

The long answer is, well, longer, and varies significantly depending on the industry you operate in, the size of your business, your goals and the type of customers you serve. In other words, although it’s a good idea in general, it’s more important and effective for some businesses than others.

Fortunately, we’ve broken down needs-based selling to help you determine how and where this customer-centric strategy fits in your sales toolkit, along with a few tips to get you started.

Table of Contents

What is needs-based selling?

Most conventional sales methodologies are entirely transactional. A company develops a product or service, and then relies on its sales team to work their magic in convincing potential customers to purchase them.

Effective at bringing in a certain amount of business? Sure.

Effective at making customers feel like your solution was tailor-made for them? Not really.

Needs-based selling—which many refer to as “consultative selling”—is different. A needs-based sales strategy moves the conversation away from what’s being sold and re-centers it around each customer’s unique challenges. The goal is no longer to sell indiscriminately to whoever will take your call; it’s to offer personalized solutions to the people who need them most.  

Why needs-based selling is important for your business

Salespeople (and clockmakers) know that time is money. Every phone call, email, or conversation is an opportunity to close a deal. And every failed pitch is a moment of your day—and your prospect’s day—that could have been better spent elsewhere.

That’s why it’s crucial to reach out only to those prospects who are a good fit for your products or services—especially considering that at least 50% of the leads businesses generate may not be the right fit for those businesses.

Needs-based selling enables your business to work smarter, not harder when it comes to identifying the right potential customers. This not only sets everyone up for success but saves you time and money—precious commodities for businesses of all sizes.

Speaking of the size of your business, let’s take a closer look at how different operations can leverage the benefits of a needs-based approach:

Benefits for small businesses

Small businesses are anything but small when it comes to their impact on people’s lives.

Whether it’s offering legal guidance, repairing homes, providing medical treatment, finding home buyers, party-planning, pet-sitting, or any number of the millions of things they do every day, small businesses don’t just sell products and services. They create lasting relationships with the people they serve.

For that reason, a customer-centric approach is essential for any small business. Consider the importance of customer service:

  • 91% of customers say good customer service makes it more likely for them to return in the future.
  • 80% of people feel that the experience a company offers is as important as the company’s products or services
  • US companies lose an average of $1.6 trillion each year due to customers leaving over poor customer experience.

It’s no surprise, then, that a sales strategy focused on addressing the needs of their clients is the best fit for most small businesses. Needs-based selling takes the principles of great customer service and applies them to transactional conversations.

Benefits for midsize businesses

Great customer service is crucial for midsize businesses as well. But they also have other considerations when it comes to choosing the right sales process.

Like standing out in a crowded market.

Offering exceptional services and products is the best way for these companies to differentiate themselves from their competitors. And there are a couple of ways to go about it:

  1. Hiring a team of mad scientists to develop the next breakthrough.
  2. Listening to the needs of their customers and modifying their offerings based on that feedback.

Option 2 is far and away the more cost-effective (not to mention safer) solution. And that’s what needs-based selling is all about.

Midsize businesses benefit from greater flexibility compared to their larger corporate counterparts. By collecting valuable feedback gathered by their sales teams, these companies can identify gaps in the market and move quickly to meet the needs of new and existing customers.