Competetive Marketing

Phone Rings How Many is Too Much?

Jun. 05, 2019

Waiting to answer a call

What is so important about the number of rings before someone answers an incoming call, voice mail kicks in, or forwards to another phone? Google Voice sends all calls to voicemail after 25 seconds, ignoring the number of rings altogether. Why did they choose that number? It's because it's approximately four to five rings, just before many people hang up.

Most businesses, even those with sales and support online, still rely on their phones to communicate with potential customers, offer customer service, and sell or schedule appointments over the phone. So you would think that a lot of thought would go into setting up a companies phone system?

If your phone is ringing and not answering your phone fast enough your business may be losing potential customers, ones that may not call on you again. Today, most small businesses don't have a dedicated receptionist or someone dedicated to answering their phones during business hours. Some try different solutions to solve missed or lost calls with online services, such as answering services, call centers, voice mail, or call forwarding. Each of the proceeding services has its benefits and hangups (pun intended).

I'm not here today to discuss the options to answer the call; my focus is on how many rings does it take to get the average person to hang up. The other part of that is, does the caller try again, at a later time or give up with contacting the business?

Large corporations that I have worked for in the past, depending on the type of call dialed had different requirements. Today most businesses use voice mail that picks up on the first ring, and the caller selects an option or dials an extension. Once the extension or option is selected the person charged with answering the phone usually takes the call within two rings. If the person is not at their desk, they can choose how many rings it is before sending the phone to voice mail or forwarding to their cell phone.

But what about the small business? The best option is to have a person whose job it is to answer during business hours, stopping what they are doing and answering. But what if that's not possible? I recently started asking clients how long they took to answer their phone, have the phone go to voice mail or forward to another line.

Before I give you the answer to that, I would like to tell you what I suggest. If there is no receptionist have the call ring to multiple people at once, the first person to pick up owns the call. After three rings, the caller should go to voice mail, with a clear and concise message. I recommend you call in and test the system and listen to the answering message at least once, and test the line at random intervals; you might be in for a surprise. In operations where there is only the owner or manager, I recommend when away to have it automatically forward and reset it when back at their office.

After hours I recommend one ring and straight to voice mail, there is no point in making the caller wait, there's no one in, and they most likely know it. I would also like to add that you create multiple messages to handle different calls during the day and one for after hours.

So what were some of the answers I've received? Most had their phones set to six to seven rings before going to voice mail or forwarding to their cell number. To break that down in time, that is equivalent to 36-42 seconds, and that is enough to get most people to hang up their phone. Do you know the number of people that try again? Do you want to find out?

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Robert Furst Competitive Marketing • 22052 Las Brisas Circle • Boca Raton • Florida • 33433 (754) 307-4954
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