6 Signs it’s Time to Hire a Virtual Receptionist for Your HVAC or Plumbing Business
Wondering if hiring a virtual receptionist is the right move? For those unfamiliar with answering services, a virtual receptionist is the person who answers the incoming calls to a business and acts as part of that business. Customers never know they do not work for you in your office. Virtual receptionists can also do scheduling, customer call backs, cover emergency & after hours calls, do billing, and many other tasks. Before thinking “that’s what in-house employees are for” or that a small business need not apply, consider the many benefits, cost savings, and increase in revenue the simple decision to hire an answering service brings to the table.
Businesses face a plethora of communication problems – business hours calls falling through the ‘hold’ cracks or going unanswered by otherwise busy employees (or owner), un-staffed after hours calls, staffing inconsistencies due to sickness, time off, varying call volumes, and so forth. All of these facets impact the growth, stability, and reputation of any business, especially small businesses trying to thrive in a sea of competitors.
The Top Seven Signs A Business Needs A Virtual Receptionist
1.) Long, Extended, Sleepless Work Hours
While it takes effort, time, and energy to build a brand, it also requires functioning, healthy brain cells. Brains need to recharge in order for creative and skillful thinking to take place, and getting at least seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep each night is key to the cause. Are sleepless nights due to worry about what fell through the cracks for the day, tomorrow’s obligations, whether customers are calling and can’t reach anyone, or if voicemail is even something customers will utilize? If so, it’s time for some extra help from a virtual receptionist.
A virtual receptionist can help ease the above worries and work load. How? Answering services are available 24/7, meaning calls (aka opportunities) don’t go unanswered as a business owner and employees sleep and rest. Business owners can leave work at work when they get home. On occasions that a call is urgent or an emergency, the virtual receptionist can always be instructed to alert a designated in-house employee.
2.) Vacation? What’s A Vacation?
Those who can’t remember the last time they’ve taken time off of work because they feel it’s not feasible should consider a virtual receptionist. By time off, this doesn’t include taking five minutes to make a Starbucks run. Everyone needs real downtime to de-stress.
Worried that the business’s communication and customer service will go down or be out of reach if a vacation is taken? That’s the beauty of an answering service. There’s an entire crew ready to field and direct calls where they should go. The virtual receptionist can have a script to follow. Front Office Solutions also offers virtual receptionists with more targeted skill sets, including sales and niche-specific knowledge and expertise. You can also opt for a short term contract as a cost-effective way to handle downtime, vacations, in-house employee leave of absences, projected increase call volume times, or other temporary needs.
3.) Short Term Needs Aren’t Being Met
In addition to short term answering service needs like vacations and in-house employee absences, businesses commonly face a number of potential business endeavors that can leave them in need of a short term extra helping hand when it comes to communication. Answering services are versatile. They can be activated and deactivated quickly and without long term obligations to fulfill needs such as:
- Product and services launches that increase call volume. Callers today demand calls with questions, orders, and customer service issues be answered quickly and efficiently. Setting up an answering service for this occasion allows virtual receptionists to handle all of the call volume or just the overflow.
- Bad weather, emergencies, charity events, promotional activities, and other marketing-driven events bring an influx of callers. A virtual receptionist, again, is a means to ensure not a single caller encounters a busy tone or unmanned phone.
- Product recalls can blow up a manufacturer’s phone and even the retailers selling the recalled product. Short term virtual receptionists can be deployed to tackle the overload of call volume pressure to protect your brand and so that revenue callers don’t get lost in the fray.
4.) Things Just Feel Unproductive
Perhaps, the business is in that transition period between being financially sound enough to hire an in-house receptionist? Perhaps, in-house communication staff have more pressing duties that take them away from the phones? Perhaps, the in-house customers, vendors, and other business associates aren’t being promptly attended because staff are tied up on phones? In any case, such scenarios can greatly diminish productivity. Outsourcing a virtual receptionist is an excellent way to improve customer service, time management, and prioritize work processes.
5.) Leads Are Being Missed
Customers don’t want to leave a message. They don’t want to be placed on hold. They don’t want to play the “tag your it” game of both parties missing call backs. And, they don’t care if there’s only one person trying to juggle fifteen balls of responsibility from filing paperwork and processing invoices to cleaning the bathroom and answering the phone.
The magnitude of responsibility can be hard for a one-man show and small business with a handful of support staff. Leads never emerge because they hang up on a voicemail or on hold. Answering services will remove the burden of:
- Deciphering lead, sales, and general calls. It’s amazing how much time simply providing a virtual receptionist with a list of FAQ and answers can free up for in-house staff.
- Scheduling appointments and linking them to a chosen scheduling platform.
- Processing orders.
- Directing urgent calls and dispatching after hours calls to a chosen staff member so that opportunities and emergencies never go unrealized.
- Many other tasks including billing, filing important documents, etc.
6.) Employee Turnover Rate Is A Burden
From marketing prospects to providing benefits to hires, it’s expensive to recruit, hire, fire, replace, and maintain in-house employees. A team of 24/7 virtual receptionists costs less than hiring a single employee. Aside from the time and finances it takes to find and retain an in-house employee, there’s also the expense and need to cover vacations, sick time, maternity leave, military leave, and so on. Such absences can leave customer service to fall by the wayside with a temp or other employees picking up non-routine duties. This can be avoided by hiring an answering service for the business’s temporary, semi-permanent, or long-term communication needs.
7.) Overhead Is A Killer
Any business knows they can’t spend more than they make. From supplies and equipment, marketing, and office spaces and utilities, businesses aren’t cheap to operate. Some expenses are a must. Other expenses, however, can be reduced. Employee-related expenses is one area that can free up a significant amount of funds. With a virtual receptionist, there’s no benefits to pay, no office supplies needed, no space to carve out in-house for, and no employment considerations like workman’s comp to set aside reserves to handle the ‘what if’s.’ Virtual receptionists start at as little as $1 per day. Plus, unlike the need to pay an employee whether there’s work or not, business owners only pay POS for the answering services they need and when they need them.
Ready to take the above seven burdens off your business’s plate and let the benefits of an answering service help your business thrive, grow, and excel?
Allow Front Office Solutions to help you get started with your virtual receptionist today. Give FOS a call today to discuss how you can take the wheel of your business’s success by handing the communication reigns over to our professional team of virtual receptionists.