Sometimes People Fall Into the Valley When Trying to Climb the Mountain
So the other day I had a client for Calls On Call tell me they were leaving us. We didn’t do anything wrong, except for charging them. They were in the process of cutting costs and the discussion essentially detailed that they had some office talent they were paying for that needed something to do and that something was now to include answering their calls.
Now this alone is not unreasonable. We have been a stepping stone for businesses as they startout and grow from not needing office help to needing more than we can provide. The challenge comes in discovering when that change really needs to happen.
This particular client decided that a new office manager CEO type was needed. This is not the typical $15/hour office admin. This was a $70K salaried guy with a lot of ideas and a sales pitch of hope and fear. So our client bit. They hired this clown and now discovered that ideas alone do not make up for a $70K addition to their payroll expenses.
So they decided to cut off their call answering service, their bookkeeper and likely any other outsourced vendor that this $70K Clown admitted to being able to handle. Which in the case of this guy, I would bet for job security he told the business owner he could do it all.
Unfortunately, this $70K Clown is not great at math, and neither is our former client.
We were charging them about $1400 per month to take care of all incoming calls, emails, having a business call and text app on their phones for their crew and a few other odds and ends. We answered anywhere from 225-600 calls per month, depending on the season. This is for a construction company and they certainly have their busy season.
For those of you paying attention, that means that a construction company that built its reputation on excellent communication by outsourcing it was now taking it in-house. If you have ever called on a construction company that “answered’ their calls in-house, you know that means they mostly ignored those calls and returned the VM messages whenever they felt like it, if they felt like it. Which is to say, when they needed the money.
So this company owner was paying his $70K Clown more money for lower quality service.
My downfall in having conversations with business owners that do odd things like this is that I start laughing. I literally giggle when I think of the ridiculous nature of these decisions. That turns off some business owners fro some reason. My wife hates situations like this as well, when I laugh at some of her decisions, that is. That’s a topic for another blog that will never be written.
Anyways, what is interesting is that in the conversation I had with our former client he mentioned that they really don’t need to answer all of their calls.
Do you hate money?
What do you mean you don’t need to answer all of your calls?
Marketing a Lie
The very next day I saw a review this former client posted on social media from a Mike G. that read, “Contractors generally get a bad rap for being poor communicators, but FORMER CLIENT is an exception.”
Not anymore, Mike.
Now, this former Calls On Call client is welcoming becoming just another contractor that doesn’t answer their phone.
Anyways, to break down the math, Calls On Call, plus a few other outsourced vendors were costing this company roughly $3000 per month. That’s $36,000 per year, all included.
The $70K Clown cost his base $70K, plus his burden rate. Let’s call that 20% to cover FICA, insurance, training, vacations, etc. Then our former client needs to get this $70K Clown a desk, computer, cell phone, software, etc. So let’s call it $90,000 per year.
Now if you take that big $90,000 number and subtract that smaller $36,000 number, you come up with a pretty big difference.
That difference comes down to two things, which are very expensive and rarely end up directly on the balance sheet of any business. Those two things are 1) Pride and 2) Fear.
Pride in this case is the fact that our former client has grown. He’s been with us for over eight years. He was a couple man show and grew to be a small army of 10 or so. The pride of business owners having office staff is a tough one for any outsourced admin company to deal with. The dollars speak for themselves, but often pride is what rules the decision.
The next difference I mentioned was fear. This comes down to our former client doing some simple math and discovering that he made a bad decision by hiring this $70K Clown. Which means he should tell his $70K Clown to take a walk. But that is a tough conversation to have. You never want to be the one to tell someone that they aren’t good enough or that they aren’t a good fit. But we as business owners need to get over that fear and have that conversation.
Time will tell how this will all play out. I hope it goes well for this former client. From my experience this will not play out in anyone’s favor, save for the $70K Clown.
Sometimes, you decide to laugh, because it will do no good to cry.
If your business could benefit from getting calls from your customers answered and resolved quickly, efficiently and kindly it would make sense to reach out to Calls On Call. Give us a call at (608)210-3110 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.