Let’s cut to the chase and get straight to the point and answer the question, “Is it rude not to call someone back”? YES.
May it be work-related, business, or personal calls, whichever setting it is, not calling someone back connotes a negative impact.
This post explains the reasons why not returning phone calls may lead to bad impressions.
Emails, texting, or chatting services are other ways to communicate. For business entities, a phone call is still the most effective way to communicate with potential customers and the people in an organization. It’s the closest form of communication you’ll get to a one-on-one meeting.
But not all the time, phone calls can’t be answered in an office setting, especially with the busy day-to-day tasks.
To all business owners and employees, this is important to remember: Not only is it rude not to call someone back, but it can be a potential loss of income.
Consider a missed phone call a missed business opportunity. It’s like not being able to entertain your customer inside your shop even if you’re aware that they’re calling your attention.
A Missed Phone Call is a Missed Opportunity
It sure is hard to juggle around work, and sitting at your desk entertaining calls, but that is part of the business. If you’re busy, that’s understandable. But keep in mind that your potential clients are busy as well. They do not have all day waiting for you to call them back. In the first place, they know they have options.
If you are unable to entertain their inquiry upon their initial call, they tend to call your competitor. According to an industry expert, business entities should return calls at least after 15 minutes or for one hour at the most. If you are unable to do so, it will lead to a potential customer loss.
What if it was a $1 Million deal that just flew out the window? You wouldn’t want to regret losing a business deal because you could not return a phone call. Also, make sure to instill this value in your employees as well.
Voicemail or Automated Messages
Luckily, there are voicemails or automated text messages to give common courtesy when you’re unable to answer a call. Just make sure to use formal greetings and not make it sound like you’re only expecting your best friends to hear your voicemail. This is especially applicable to persons using their phone numbers at work or for their business.
For voicemails, you can say something like,
“Hi, thanks for calling. This is Charlie Brown of Peanut Inc., I can’t answer the phone now, but please leave your name, contact number, and message. I will call you as soon as possible. Take care!”
This way, they know they are talking to a professional, and they would appreciate you assuring them that you will call back soon.
It is said that some customers would wait for a callback if this does not happen, they lose trust in the business, and are least likely to attempt to avail their products and services in the future.
If you’re going to be out of reach for a few days like if you’re going for a trip, make sure to place that in your voicemail as well. As much as possible, include other ways of reaching you, like an email address.
Remember that even though you may have a voicemail or automated message, it would still be rude not to call back. It is also least likely that potential customers will make a follow-up call if they haven’t heard back from you.
Your competitors are one Google search away, and they most likely will call them.
Granting you have returned the call, and this time the customer is unavailable to talk, what will you do?
First, apologize because you are unable to pick up their call.
Second, if they’re unavailable to speak, inform them of your date and time of availability to talk.
Third, if they are unable to call back, it is best to do a follow-up call.
Fourth, if a phone call seems to be impossible to schedule, try other forms of communication like email.
You may not have answered the phone call, but at least you were not rude, and you did everything you can to reach out to your potential customer.
Have a System When Returning Calls
Whether you have an employee to do this task or have to do this yourself, have an organized system when making return calls. Here’s what you need to do:
- Get a pen and paper.
- Listen to all voicemails one by one.
- List down the details in each voicemail (Name, Contact Number, and the reason why they’re calling).
- Prepare answers for inquiries they may have (e.g., one client asked for the price of a product, it is best to call them prepared).
- Make the return call.
- Introduce yourself politely, you can say like, “Hi, my name is Charlie Brown of Peanut Inc., you called earlier regarding the price of our chocolates. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to pick up your call earlier. The price of our chocolate is $1. Can I help you with anything else?”
- Then make your sales pitch and try to close the deal.
- Tip: Make sure not to take too long if there are a lot of clients you need to return calls.
Unregistered Phone Numbers
Not all people will answer their calls from unrecognized phone contacts. That is a fact, and that’s understandable.
But if you own a business, you try to sell your products or services, and it is a given that you publish your contact number for everyone to call you easily.
If you’re using your private number for your business, expect always to receive phone calls from unregistered contacts. It can be potential customers, telemarketers, scammers, or maybe friends, who knows?
That’s why it’s always best to draw the line and separate your work from your personal life. Regardless of who is calling, it’s rude not to answer the call.
If you’re in doubt about answering the call and you’re not the type to get into a conversation with an unknown number, maybe you can send a text message asking who the caller is. This way, you won’t be placed in an uncomfortable conversation, and at the same time, you will not miss out on potential customers.
What Customers Feel When They Don’t Receive a Return Call
It’s off-putting and discouraging for clients if they do not receive a return call. They, too, have their daily grind, and they’re busy too. Failing to call them back even after they left a voicemail is even worse, and they will feel like they don’t value their customers.
Who would want to avail of a company’s product or services that left the first impression that they do not value each customer? That is why “customer service” starts even before your first conversation. Always make your clients feel like a VIP, even if they haven’t purchased anything from you.
Customers know they can always look elsewhere. Your edge must be your outstanding customer service, and that starts with a phone call.
In the service industry, there is even a rule: answer on or before the third ring.
This is called the Three Rings Rule, and this is what big companies live by. No wonder why they are on top of their game and why they became a big company.
When it comes to business and work-related calls, it can be rude, and unprofessional, and has a potential for income loss. But when it comes to personal phone calls from friends and family it’s a different story.
Not returning personal calls is rude, hurtful, implies a lack of respect, may seem like you’re ignorant, or maybe a sign of disregard.
Family and Friends
Your family and friends are more likely familiar with your daily schedule, and not being able to return a phone call even in your free time may send the wrong message. What’s even worse is they see that you are active on your social media accounts, but you never made an effort to call them back is straight-out rude.
Just put yourself in the other person’s shoes, how would it feel if someone hasn’t returned your call or even sent you a text message after 24 hours? I bet that you would feel bad too.
Besides, your friends or family member will usually call to check up on you, invite you to a gathering, or simply miss you. The fact that they reached out first is a nice gesture of showing care toward you. Not being able to reciprocate their concern towards you by calling back is considered rude.
Not Returning a Call After Dating
Let’s say after one date, your date calls you the next day, but you don’t return the call. Will it be rude? Yes, it will be rude, pleas it will give off the impression that you’re not interested in the person, and there won’t be a second date happening.
So regardless it’s a business or personal call, whichever race, age, or culture you are, not being able to return a phone call is considered rude. From now on, always make it a habit to return phone calls. Better yet, to answer all phone calls you receive.
Katie Holmes is a senior author at everyday-courtesy.com with over 15 years of experience in marketing and psychology. As a freelance consultant, she also supports companies and executives in overcoming communication challenges. Katie is a passionate digital nomad working on her first book on the art of communication.