Is an After Hours Call Answering Service Worth the Investment?
An after hours call answering service may be a bit of an investment, leaving business owners to ask “is it worth it?”
Depending on your business, this service may be able to increase your revenue or reduce your costs enough to pay for itself several times over. Or, it might be a poor fit with your business model and give you absolutely no return on investment.
If you’re considering paying for an after-hours call answering service, here are a few questions you need to ask.
Missed Calls Reach Your Competition
How much business are you missing by not answering after hours calls?
For some types of business, like contractors, people can call at any time. Your potential customers may come home from work after your office is closed to find that their furnace is making a weird noise, their faucet is dripping, or they have some other concern that isn’t an emergency, but that they want to schedule repairs for right away.
They know they don’t need work immediately, but they don’t have all day to call different professionals, and they certainly aren’t going to wait until you’re open. Those people may call you first. But if they don’t get a response, they’ll call your competition.
If they do get a response, customers may be willing to wait longer than you think for service. They are often surprised to find out that emergency service comes with a big premium. As long as they have a booking with you, they may not care that it’s a few days down the road. Having an after-hours call answering service doesn’t mean you have to be available to work all of the time—just that you need to be able to help customers all of the time.
Capturing your otherwise missed leads can more than make up for the cost of an after-hours call answering service, and converting emergency service leads into regularly scheduled leads is a great bonus.
Reach Customers with Unusual Hours
You might also consider whether or not you are missing out on the business of shift workers. If your office opens at 10 am, but your competition is open at 7 am, those who get home from work in the morning and then handle some housework before they go to bed may be calling your competitors instead of you.
You can switch up when you open and close, but nothing works perfectly. Business hours are more variable than they used to be. Potential customers with unusual hours might feel like they have no choice but to work with a business that is open longer. You can capture more of that business, without increasing costs, by choosing an after-hours call answering service.
Also, you may not be seeing how many of these customers you’re missing. Potential customers may look you up, look at your hours, decide your hours can’t work with their schedule, and simply call your competition. When you have an after-hours call answering service, you can advertise it and capture these customers.
Make Emergency Services More Viable
Could you offer emergency services if you had a way to answer the phone 24/7? Doing these types of calls allows you to charge more. However, having a staff member or two available all the time isn’t always worth the emergency fee. Especially if you’ve only just started offering emergency services, it’s going to take a while before the calls start coming in.
Using an after-hours call answering service is a great option to keep costs low while you attract more emergency calls. That way, you don’t have to hire a new secretary or extend your current secretary’s hours. If you currently offer emergency services, investing in a call answering service can still help you reduce staffing costs.