14 Profitable Reasons Your Small Business Should Be Using an Answering Service
There’s only one first impression to be had, and if it’s not impressive, it’s often the last and only impression. In today’s business world of rarely being unique and having a competitor on every corner, it’s more important than ever for a small business to both make a stellar first impression and keep that as a consistent and lasting impression. A key component of this is how customers are greeted when they contact your business.
Can potential and returning customers easily, 24/7, without delay, with full devotion to their call, and with a knowledgeable person on the other end reach your business? If there’s anything other than a resounding “yes,” then here are 14 reasons a telephone answering service will be an invaluable & profitable addition.
1. Zero Missed Calls
Although online business is booming, many still like to speak to a live person, especially for technical matters, emergencies, complaints, large purchases, and new business relationships.
Whether it’s someone trying to schedule a service or place an order to someone calling for more information, every single call matters to profit margins, marketing dollars, reputation, and every single other facet of business. Businesses that can’t be reached are impeached from the caller’s mind, and the caller immediately moves on to a competitor who is accessible.
Answering services can take the full load of call volume or be set up to take on the overflow for busy, call volume spikes, and/or after-hours call volume. Businesses can also use the call forward system to have calls forwarded to a designated person outside business hours.
In most cases, a single extra sale from this type of assured availability pays for the answering service. The same can’t be said of hiring an extra in-house employee.
2. Zero Employee-Related Costs
From recruitment and insurance to workman’s comp coverage, hiring an in-house receptionist is an enormous expense, especially for newbie small businesses without the revenue and call volume to support a full-time hire.
Small businesses with an office staff often have in-house staff completing an array of duties that distract them from phones, which translates to callers not receiving full attention and employees being inefficient at both tasks.
Perhaps, most of the staff are remote employees. Why add the expense of hiring a full-time stationary employee just to organize and facilitate communications?
A telephone answering service is a communication solution that allows team-building without the above expenses and drawbacks. Businesses only pay for the services they need and calls they receive. Plus, there’s zero employment-related costs.
3. 24/7 Coverage
Unless hiring multiple shift employees to man the phones 24/7, calls go unanswered during non-business hours. Again, are these communication lapses that any business can afford?
With an answering service, a live agent is 100% devoted to answering calls 24/7, and they’re ready to handle all customer services needs – take a message, schedule a booking, place an order, or just answer a question.
4. Focus Business And Productivity Where It Matters, When It Matters
While calls are always important, high call volume doesn’t necessarily translate to immediate priority. There are times when in-house tasks must take priority to ensure work output and projects go forward smoothly. Picking up the phone to determine if it’s an important client versus someone selling paper clips is nothing more than a distraction at such pressing times.
An answering service can be that filter to handle the day-to-day calls and get the important calls directly through to the business.
Opting for an answering service boosts employee productivity day-to-day, too. Multitasking is great, but not when it destroys workflow momentum.
Answering services free up staff from fielding every phone call when they have more pressing roles that require their undivided attention.
5. Manage Your Calendar Without A Private Secretary
Whether it’s a switchboard service or to handle an appointment calendar, answering services can take charge of time-consuming administrative duties.
6. Tailor It
Choose from an array of service options designed to fit any business model and need. Basic services filter calls and take messages. From there, simply add on the services needed.
Choose a script and update it as needed, or choose to upgrade to a professional virtual receptionist with specific knowledge about the business’s niche, industry, and internal operations. Either option means that customers are none the wiser that they’re not speaking to an actual staff member.
7. Avoid Common Employee-Related Headaches
There’s a lot beyond a salary that goes into a full-time employee. Recruitment and rehiring is an expense. The employee needs office space and supplies. Will insurance be offered? What happens if they have a workplace injury? What happens if they have a paid medical leave. Who covers vacation and time off from work?
Answering services eliminate all these stresses and headaches from the shoulders of the employer.
8. Positive Brand Perception
Most small businesses make branding a top priority. They want their name synonymous with reliability, reach-ability, friendliness, and knowledge-ability. Callers unable to reach a business, who are placed on hold forever, or who reach a business with a distracted in-house receptionist are not going to have a positive brand perception.
Maintain a consistent, reliable, fully-attentive, and knowledgeable brand image with an answering service. This gives the caller the illusion of an “it” brand and bolsters customer satisfaction.
9. Instant, Reliable Access To Messages
How many calls get transferred about until they become lost? How many messages get shuffled around a desk for all to see and potentially get lost? How many get accidentally deleted and go unanswered? How much intellectual property gets nabbed from security breaches in messaging?
With an answering service, businesses can rest assured that messages are securely stored and never misplaced. Access messages anywhere, anytime. Instantly pull up important messages when dealing with vendors and clients. Coordinate messages to ensure nothing gets lost in translation and key players are always in the loop.
10. Avoid Seeming Outdated
Small businesses sometimes use an answering machine as a makeshift receptionist. It’s a mistake for brand imaging, however. Most customers, especially if the business is supposed to be cutting-edge, will view an answering machine as a sign of failure to thrive, disorganization, and potentially equally antiquated services.
On the other hand, a live receptionist signals the business has invested in personalized customer service experience.
11. Offers Call Recording
This may seem like an odd feature on the surface, but note how many big brands warn that calls may be monitored. First, call recording offers the ability to backtrack and jot down important call details that were missed. Second, it offers a business with a limited legal budget the ability to log transactions in case of a future dispute.
The main reason that most small businesses skip this feature is the cost. It’s expensive. An answering service, however, can provide this service at a mere fraction the cost of doing it in-house.
12. Use It As A Sales Rep
Order-line service allows customers to buy direct with the answering service. The answering service has all the business’s product data and can quickly and easily place a telephone order for customers in that moment of need, not ask them to wait for regular business hours.
13. No Unexpected Expenses
Without a contract and featuring either fixed month-by-month or pay-as-you-go rates, businesses can opt for the answering services they need, when they need it.
14. You Can Receive A Free Trial
Not sure about telephone answering service benefits? Accept a free trial and see the benefits up close and personal. Properly allocating and managing expenses is a make-or-break element for most small businesses, and a free trial means that value versus expense can be measured beforehand. A free trial will give you the opportunity to evaluate how the answering service performs.
When it comes to communication solutions for small businesses, these 14 answering service benefits are just a handful of examples. Front Office Solutions provides telephone answering and receptionist services customized to meet the needs of HVAC contractors, roofers, plumbers, electricians, pest control services, and more.