How to Return a Missed Phone Call

Have you noticed an increase in missed phone calls as your business grows?

When more customers, and potential customers, are calling it can be harder than ever to provide them with the quality of service they need. You’re wearing many hats, and sometimes things fall through the cracks. Sometimes, you miss those incoming calls because you’re already busy.

It makes sense when it happens. But missed calls are missed opportunities. They could be a referral, a potential new client, or an unhappy customer.

Businesses that focus on returning missed calls and implementing certain changes to their existing call-handling strategies do better than companies that do not have a call-handling strategy at all. A recent study found that 80% of people whose calls aren’t answered will not call back.

Missed phone calls aren’t great, but you can still rescue the situation. You just have to know how to call those callers back quickly and effectively.

First things first: Prioritize Your Calls

Companies that treat all missed calls equally are doomed to accidentally de-prioritize something important. If you go down the list in order, you may be addressing small issues or opportunities before putting out a fire or saving a client relationship.

One way to ensure that you prioritize urgent calls is to check how many times a person has tried to call you. Prioritize known callers first—those who left messages or are known clients, partners, or prospects. Then, prioritize callers who have reached out to you a couple of times. Even if they didn’t leave a message, they took the time to continue to reach out. That could be a hot lead or a big opportunity. And trust your gut. If a call feels important, don’t delay calling them back.

Even if you don’t have the time to talk to the caller just this moment. A quick call can make them feel prioritized and like you care. Try saying something like.

“While I don’t have time to chat at the moment, I wanted to make sure to get you on the schedule ASAP so we can address your issue/opportunity/needs/etc. Does this afternoon work for you?”

Check Your Voicemail

Not every caller leaves a message. Those that do are most likely to feel like their call was important. They left a message because they want you to follow up.

Voicemail messages are a great way to assess a caller’s needs before talking to them directly. They give you context, information, and can help you prioritize. Take a few notes from the voicemail before calling back so you address their message directly. It’s a relatively quick and easy thing to do, but it makes a big difference to a caller. You may have missed their call, but you cared enough to call back, pay attention to their message, and address their needs.

Most of the time, that’s all your callers want.

Voicemail messages can also help you understand the urgency of a call. Do you have a client with an impacted tooth? A burst pipe? Those calls need to be addressed ASAP. Or are they calling about a small account change or something that’s not urgent? You can probably return those calls last.

Not sure how much missed calls are costing you?

Get our free guide: The Cost of Missed Calls. We provide the data, profits, and costs associated with missing phone calls.

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Apologize for Missing Their Phone Call

You were busy or not in the office or not at your desk, so you missed their call. But most of the time, your callers aren’t interested in your reasoning. Instead of making excuses, apologize. Something like:

“I’m so sorry we missed your call! I’d be happy to help you.

…will go a long way.

When you’re calling back after a missed call, it’s important to make a point to let your customers know that you care. You want to help them and their experience is important to you.

Listen to What They Have to Say

Okay, so listening isn’t exactly a revolutionary concept. In fact, it’s a pretty standard piece of advice for creating a great impression over the phone. That said, it remains important so it’s on the list!

Your callers bothered to call you for a reason. Don’t rush to solve their problem or answer their question. They want to be heard. Instead, let them take the time to explain their problem, frustrations, or needs. Verbally confirm that you’re listening and respond directly to what they’re saying. Try phrases like:

“Just to confirm I understand…”

“I absolutely understand your frustration. What I’m hearing is that…”

Give Alternative Paths to Communication

If you’re missing a lot of calls, it may help to provide your customers, partners, or leads with alternative ways to reach you. Try an email address or web form. Even texting is used by some businesses! Most of the time, people prefer to send emails but they’ll call you if they can’t find an email address. Providing them with this information will give your audience a way to self-select into less immediate channels.

This means providing your contact information on

  • Your website
  • Your social media channels
  • In your email signature and business cards
  • On third-party sites like Google

The goal is to only get time-sensitive or priority calls to your phone, and get other contacts through other channels.

Getting Too Many Missed Calls?

of course,  the goal is to not miss calls at all. But you can’t always dedicate a full-time team member to answering the phone, much less do it yourself.

That’s where Abby comes in. We’re a human receptionist service backed by A.I. technology. We’re more than your average answering service or typical virtual receptionist service. With Abby, you get a dedicated team of 5-10 receptionists who will answer, transfer, take messages, schedule appointments, provide FAQs, and more. We can help you prioritize calls, minimize unhappy customers, and turn your phone line into a revenue-generating machine.

See what Abby can do for you.

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