Have you ever called a business and not gotten through to anyone? Maybe the line just rang and rang. Maybe it rang a few times and hung up. Maybe you heard it connect and then…nothing. We’ve all been there. So what’s happening? Here are some of the more common reasons why businesses aren’t answering your calls, plus some tips on how to get through:
#1. They’re closed
If businesses don’t have the resources to be available 24/7, then chances are you’re going to have a hard time connecting with anybody after hours or over the weekends. If no one is answering, search the company online to see if they have their business hours posted. Knowing their hours in advance can help save time in the future, as you’ll know the right times to call to guarantee someone will answer.
Pro tip: If you’re a business owner that is unable to be available 24/7, make sure you always have the most updated business hours posted online or included in your voicemail message so that your customers are never left in the dark!
#2. They use an answering service, but forwarded to the wrong number
Many businesses use an answering service to help with customer communication, but if they’re forwarding their calls to the service manually, they may have keyed in the wrong number. Answering services provide businesses with a number that is specific to their account which they can use to route their calls to. Some businesses choose to advertise this number separately, but most choose to forward their lines to it. However, if they are not forwarded correctly or forwarded to the wrong number, their calls will not be able to connect. This may cause customers to hear a beeping noise, they may reach the wrong number, or they may hear nothing.
If you run a business that uses an answering service, definitely become familiar with call forwarding. Before going live with your customers, place test calls to verify that your calls are being routed correctly. If you’re not in the office, it’s also a good idea to learn how to forward your lines remotely. Forwarding is a feature that is controlled by your phone provider, so how you are able to forward would depend on them. However, here are some ways you can forward your calls remotely:
- Call your phone provider to have them forward the line for you.
- Access your phone provider’s online portal to forward calls.
- Discuss with your phone provider how you can set up a schedule so that calls forward automatically at a certain time.
#3. They left their phone off the hook
Business owners and their employees are sometimes so busy that they forget to breathe, so it’s no surprise they may forget to put their phone back on the hook. If this is the case, callers may hear beeping or a busy signal. The best thing to do in these situations is to shoot them an email asking why you’re not able to get through, which should make them check their phone and see the problem!
#4. They didn’t pay their phone bill
If a business doesn’t pay their phone bill, their lines will eventually be shut off. Unfortunately, this means that customers won’t be able to connect. Usually when a phone line has been shut off a caller will hear a message that says “You’ve reached a non-working number. Please hang up and try again.” While this message doesn’t necessarily mean that the phone line has been shut off due to non-payment, it’s never a good sign. The possible non-payment issues can be from any of the following sources:
- Non-payment on their toll free number
- Non-payment on their virtual phone number provider
- Non-payment on their main business line
- Non-payment on their VoIP telecom provider
#5. The business is ran from a cell phone and they’re in a dead zone
Small start up companies usually begin out of a garage or some storage unit before the business is able to garner enough funds to rent out an actual office space, and often times those entrepreneurs are conducting business right from their cell phones. Unfortunately, garages and storage units don’t have the best cell reception, which means some calls may have trouble connecting.
#6. Their phone line is experiencing problems
Phone lines can go down for a number of different reasons, like storms, power outages, or internet shortages (for the folks that are using VoIP phone systems). If your phone lines are experiencing problems, here are some tips to help see you through the storm:
- If your business has a toll free number that goes down, let your customers know they can still reach you by calling your main number directly.
- Hire an answering service to help handle calls while your lines are down. Your customers will be able to call your forwarding number directly, and they can even add temporary instructions for the operators to let callers know what the situation is.
- If possible, update your voicemail, website and social platforms with temporary messages so customers are aware you’re experiencing issues.
#7. They only have one line, and all support reps are already on the phone
If a business only has one phone line to call for customer service and all support reps are already on the phone, any new incoming calls may fall into a queue, may reach voicemail, or may just hear a busy signal. In order to avoid this from happening, businesses can hire an answering service to help field all over flow calls to maximize customer satisfaction and reduce the risk of callers hanging up.
#8. They got a new phone number
Sometimes businesses change their phone numbers but forget to alert their customers, and if a new or existing customer can’t get a hold of you, you run the risk of losing valuable business opportunities. If your business does happen to get a new number, here are some ways to make sure your customers always know how to reach you:
- Advertise your new number online (including your website and social channels)
- Send out a mass email to all of your current customers alerting them of the change
- Add a temporary signature to your emails that includes your new business number
- Check with your phone provider to see if you can respOrg your old number to your new number, in case customers are still calling the old line
#9. They’re avoiding all calls by picking up the phone and hanging it up
Running a business is hard, especially when they’re trying to get their feet off the ground. Sometimes small businesses are so bogged down with work that the thought of taking on any more is so stressful they just can’t do it. If this is the case, you may have trouble connecting with a business because they’re dodging calls until they can get their head above water. Or, maybe they just plain don’t feel like talking.
Pro tip: If you want to run a successful business, do NOT do this! Hiring an answering service is an affordable alternative to help alleviate some of the pressure, and they can ensure your callers are never hung up on again.
#10. There’s nothing wrong with the line but they’re avoiding your Caller ID
Maybe the business you’re trying to reach doesn’t want to be a business anymore? Maybe you’ve been making prank calls to them all day. Maybe you burned them on a job and they don’t want to talk to you any longer? Either way, if a business is avoiding your calls, here are some tips to help get you through:
- Block your number
- Call from your friend’s phone
- Get a new number
- Buy a burner phone
#11. You called at the exact time they were making an outbound call
Just your luck, right? If you called a business at the exact same time they were making an outbound call, you may hear a busy signal, or it may go right to voicemail. No worries! Hanging up and trying again will usually help get you through. When you do get through, you should try suggesting that they get more phone lines. I mean, it’s 2019 for crying out loud!