How to turn more callers into customers: 4 steps

How to turn more callers into customers: receptionist in hotel lobby smiles and gestures while talking on phone

Like most of us, odds are you’ve called a business to learn more about a product or service they offer, right? 

We all do it, even though we could probably look up the answers online. After all, thanks to smartphones, it’s easier than ever to skim through a business’ website. But it’s just as easy to call that business using the same device!

Alas, not every business recognizes the power of those incoming calls. 

When someone calls your business, that’s a lead coming to you, just waiting to be converted into a paying customer. If they’re curious enough to call, they’re ready for you (or the next business they call) to convince them that you’ve got what they want. 

It’s up to you to take advantage of that critical moment. Here’s how:

1. Start with a remarkable greeting.

An old business maxim is that you don’t have to be perfect to be remarkable. 

As Merriam-Webster tells us, “remarkable” means “likely to be noticed especially as being uncommon or extraordinary.” So give your callers a remarkable greeting that makes them notice how friendly and engaging your business is. 

This is your first impression. It sets the tone for everything said afterward. Make it count by showing warmth, confidence, competence, and a welcoming attitude. This seemingly inconsequential moment is your chance to lay the foundation for a long-term connection. Don’t let it go to waste! 

2. Pratice active listening.

We usually hear others when they’re talking to us. But that doesn’t mean we’re really listening. 

To listen actively means to focus and try to understand the other person’s meaning. Sometimes that meaning gets buried if they’re not sure what they’re trying to say or are uncertain about what they need. 

It’s your job to show callers that you care and are there to help. Just letting callers know this upfront through a few simple words can reassure them, put them at ease, and build their trust. That, in turn, opens up the flow of communications so you can provide the answers they’re looking for! 

3. Keep the conversation moving.

For callers, nothing is worse than having a dead space in a phone call, especially when you’re on the phone with a business. Silence signals that the business’ customer service representative either doesn’t care—or doesn’t know what they’re doing. 

You’ve got to avoid those awkward silences like the plague. Keep the conversation steered toward a goal (such as them deciding to make a purchase). 

If needed, offer a suggestion or ask questions to solicit more information if something is unclear. But don’t say something like “I don’t know” and then let that hang there. Even if the caller sounds upset, try to see past that and understand the issue behind their emotions so you can help them.

4. Be ready to lead callers to the next step.

When Ben Franklin said “If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail,” he was talking about how you handle your incoming business calls. 

By now, you can predict virtually every reason someone is going to ring your business. So do you have a plan to lead each of those callers to take the next step in the transaction? If not, let’s review some ways you can do that ASAP.

Answering FAQs

A certain percentage of your inbound calls will be commonly asked questions. Why not prepare the answers in advance and write them out as scripts? That way, anyone who answers your phone can quickly look up the appropriate response. 

Obviously, you don’t have to read the scripts word-for-word. But referencing them can reduce the time it takes to answer, so you can move to the next step quicker. 

If you anticipate additional questions based on the responses, make flowcharts or “call flows.” These are especially great for calls that require troubleshooting, where you might ask yes or no questions. Call flows also help to ensure you (or whoever answers your business calls) are consistent and don’t overlook any important steps. 


Businesses ranging from hair salons to law firms receive calls every day from people who want to book appointments. 

If you’re in such a business, make your appointment scheduling process as smooth as silk. This demonstrates efficiency and tells callers your business has its act together and respects their time!

Client intake

In addition to scheduling, many businesses conduct client intake over the phone. This, too, is a process that should be streamlined and frustration-free, so new clients get onboarded fast. 

Nobody likes answering mundane questions about themselves, but it’s even worse when the business’s customer service representative acts like they’ve never done an intake before. Have your process down pat and make sure your team is trained. 

Payment processing

What if a caller is ready to seal the deal—but you don’t have a convenient method of processing their payment over the phone?

When you’ve got a customer with their wallet out and ready to go, never grind the sale to a halt by being unprepared. Have your system up and ready to accept their payment information. Close that deal fast and start the process of delivering whatever product or service they just paid for! 

Adding Ruby and Zapier into the mix

Want some help managing any or all of the above tips? You’ve come to the right place!

At Ruby, our virtual receptionists are highly trained and experienced in putting all these strategies to work for small businesses. 

Using the information your business provides, they integrate seamlessly into your workflow so that callers never know they’re not speaking to an in-house representative. The main difference is our team is available 24/7, 365 days a year. 

With Ruby receptionists on your team, every caller receives a remarkable greeting and has their questions or concerns actively listened to. Ruby receptionists know how to keep the conversation flowing naturally, avoiding awkward dead-ends as they guide callers to the next step. 

Whether it’s scheduling an appointment, performing a new client intake, processing a payment, or just answering questions, we get the job done right so you can focus on other tasks. 

Converting callers into customers is half art, half science. It takes practice, which is something many small businesses don’t have time to invest in. 

Luckily, you don’t have to when you add Ruby to your team! Our virtual receptionists can do it all for you, at a massive cost savings compared to an in-house worker! 

Learn more in our free guide: how to turn more callers into customers.