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Why your small business needs an answering service
If you own a small business you’ll know that it’s inevitable that on any given day you end up wearing a number of different hats. There are often more jobs to go around than there are people to do them. You may be the president or the CAO, but when the shop floor needs sweeping, well, it’s time to pick up that broom and get the job done.
So it can be hard to keep up with the sheer volume of different tasks putting demands on your limited time. The good news is that the job of business telephone receptionist does not have to be on that list.
Engaging the services of a professional telephone answering service is the perfect solution for the small business owner who is tired of constant interruptions from a ringing phone and is equally tired of struggling with the limitations and frustrations of voicemail. A business telephone answering service can serve as a practical and affordable extension of your team. And best of all, the services offered can be customized to meet the specific needs of your business, no matter how large or how small your operation is.
All too often a ringing telephone can be seen as a distraction. It’s just something that gets in your way as to work to meet the day-to-day challenges of running a business. You could be meeting with a client, trying to update your company accounts or be half way through closing a sale. There are any number of times when a telephone call is an unwelcome interruption.
But at the same time, those phone calls are important. It may be a cliché, but it’s also a fact that you never know who’s going to be on the other end of the line. Yes, you’re busy, but can you really afford to ignore that call? And if the call turns out to be about something important, do you really want to take a chance that the caller will leave a voice mail?
Counting on voicemail is really not a chance you want to take. Statistics show time and again that a significant number of callers will simply hang up rather than taking the time to leave a message on an automated phone system. That is something that holds true regardless of whether you’re using a traditional land line, a cell phone or a VoIP business telephone system. And that missed call leaves you out of luck and very possibly out of pocket. If a living, breathing person isn’t answering your business phone then the chances are you’re losing customers, possibly without even knowing it.
It’s as simple as this; some people just do not like voicemail. And voicemail’s been around long enough that it seems unlikely that’s ever going to change. So voicemail will put some callers off, and remember, if you miss a call and there’s no message then there’s every chance the caller has decided to move on to your competition rather than waiting to call you back. Why would he wait for you if there’s someone else out there who can do the job and will answer the phone promptly every time he calls?
So for your own peace of mind, and for the health of your business, you really cannot afford to miss a single call. But at the same time, you have to find a way to strike a balance. Today more than ever, time is money. And, with a business to run, you probably have no shortage of things that require your attention. So what do you do? Hiring extra staff would probably do the trick. But extra employees do not come cheap, and can bring their own set of headaches too. And it’s far more efficient, and it costs a lot less, to hire a professional answering service than it is to have an employee working with one eye (or one ear) on the phone in case it rings.
Still need convincing? Here is a list of 10 additional reasons why your business should consider working with a telephone answering service.
1. An answering service offers a personal touch that voicemail simply can’t. A well-trained telephone customer service specialist can ask follow up questions if the message from the caller is not clear. They can repeat the message back to him or her to make sure there is no room for misunderstanding. That will save both you and your client time and will reduce the potential for frustration for both of you. Simply put, an answering service offers your customer a smoother experience, with less opportunity for mix ups and better all around service.
2. Your caller can be sure that you’ve got his message. We’ve all had this happen. You reach someone’s voicemail. You start to speak at the beep, but then there’s another beep, and a crackle and a click and ... well, you’re not quite sure if you’ve left a message or spent the last minute and a half talking to yourself. A telephone answering service allows your caller to be confident that his or her message has been received and taken down a real, live person who will see that it’s dealt with appropriately.
3. A trained customer service representative can act as a filter for your phone calls. They can answer all those routine yet time consuming questions about things like opening hours or unit prices by themselves using information you have provided. And at the same time they can make sure you receive urgent messages immediately while the less important can wait until your schedule allows.
4. It’s about more than just taking messages. A skilled telephone customer service representative can help answer a full range of customer enquiries. In fact your agent can accomplish much of what you’d expect from a full time employee, including tasks like scheduling appointments on your behalf, contacting you with meeting reminders and more.
5. It can boost your own productivity. Knowing that your incoming telephone calls are well taken care of will allow you the time to properly focus on other aspects of your business without the constant fear of interruption by a ringing telephone or the worry of what you might be missing. You can plan your day around the things you know are important as you work to grow your business, confident that your phone calls are being handled both promptly and professionally. And you will never, ever, have your work interrupted by a wrong number again.
6. Telephone answering services offer an enormous amount of flexibility. An answering service is always at your disposal, but only when you decide you want or need its assistance. That can be all day, every day, or it can be only on those occasions when you feel you’ll be too busy to give your phone the necessary attention. If you’re heading into a meeting you can forward the calls on your business telephone line or your VoIP telephone system directly to your answering service. The same applies if you’re going on vacation, visiting with a client, heading out on the road or just trying to spend a little quiet time with your family. And if you have a seasonal or cyclical business you can arrange for your answering service to give that extra support only during what you know will be your busiest times of the year.
7. An answering service can help you look more polished. Let’s face it; we’re not all great on the telephone. There’s an obvious advantage to having your incoming calls answered by a professional whose job it is to sound courteous and polite, who will make a positive first impression and who knows what questions to ask to get to the bottom of what the caller needs. If it’s done right, a telephone answering service will serve as a seamless extension of your business while treating your callers with both consistency and professionalism. And that makes both you and your business look good.
8. When you work with a telephone answering service your business will be there when your customer needs you. By now we’ve all figured out that the days when business hours meant 9-5 Monday to Friday are a thing of the past. Today’s consumer has become used to reaching out as and when his or her schedule allows and in a global market place that could be any time, night or day. With a telephone answering service monitoring your calls you can maintain the appearance of operating 24 hours a day without incurring the expense of around the clock staffing, or the lack of sleep of trying to do it all yourself!
9. You’ll be dealing with professionals. A good answering service will aim to respond to an incoming call by the third or fourth ring at the latest. That greatly reduces the possibility that your caller will change his or her mind and hang up before the call gets through. Once again, this is about delivering consistent, high-quality service and making every customer feel that his or her call is important.
10. With an answering service you’ll get the information you need. Your answering service will be able to give you a detailed breakdown of how many calls you have received, who the caller was and what action was taken. You’ll receive contact information for the people who have called so you can follow up with them at a time that’s convenient for you.
Your telephone is the lifeline of your business. Make sure it’s getting the attention it deserves. With a telephone answering service you can focus on what’s important knowing you’ll never have to miss another call.
At Intercon Messaging we can help develop a customized plan of business telephone solutions that exactly meets your needs, whatever the size of your business. For more information give us a call at 866-605-2558 or contact us today.