While it isn’t necessarily true for all businesses, answering the phone is right up there on the list of the most challenging daily tasks to overcome. If you’re running a (busy) small business, this job is likely made even more challenging by the lack of staff available to answer the phones and do all the other things that are important to the success of the business.
Adding administrative staff to your business might not be financially feasible or even desirable (eg., lack of space, no time to train, etc.) Outsourcing this need to an outside answering service provider is often the only smart option for small business CEOs.
Reduced HR headaches
It’s rare to come across the perfect employee on your first attempt at hiring for a new position. Whether it be trouble finding people familiar with your type of business, problems in getting them trained properly, or encounters with serial job-hoppers who bounce from one job to the next.
When you outsource your reception and other phone service tasks, the provider takes on the headache of hiring and training, leaving you with fewer HR headaches to deal with.
Service levels go up instantly
Few small businesses are equipped to run things in the office or store, and deal with the constant interruption of phone calls. Particularly when call volumes increase suddenly such as during emergencies like service outages affecting your customers, or during busy shopping holidays such as Christmas season.
A telephone answering service can rise to the challenge by ramping up the number of representatives answering your phones (usually for additional fees, depending on what package you choose). This means that when the “poop” hits the fan, both you and your customers will be way less stressed.
Less miscommunication from message-taking
Whether it be a stressed out employee with far too much on their plate, or a customer leaving a message on your automated voicemail; important messages can easily get lost in translation when the phone isn’t answered by a focused service rep.
With a telephone answering service taking your calls, you can rest assured the caller is getting their full attention, and that the rep is making sure messages are accurate and transcribed with all key points intact.
Increased sales appointments due to after hours call taking
Let’s face it, occasionally even the hardest grinding entrepreneur needs to turn their phone off. We can’t all be 24/7 accident-lawyer-types, after all. In those times when a business isn’t answering calls and thus letting potential clients and other opportunities go to voicemail, appointments aren’t being set – nor is good customer service being performed.
Call answering services will often cater to SMB and SME owner’s needs by training their staff to answer pre-sales questions and set up appointments for that business’s sales and service staff. This can also extend to during business hours too, if you wish, so your sales and service staff aren’t burdened with phone calls while hard at work running the business.
More than just answering the phone
This won’t be true with all telephone answering services, and you might not even require this type of service. However, the majority of quality telephone answering services out there now offer added call taking services like technical support staff trained in your products and services, email filtering/forwarding/answering, online chat support for your website.
They will often offer these functions in multiple languages to service all your client’s demographic needs. Even if not required now, it’s nice to have such options available as your business needs grow.
Significantly reduced labor costs
Consider that your average new hire costs around four-grand to hire and train, and will cost up to four-thousand a month in salary and other expenses to keep them sitting at a desk. Depending on the number of extensions you require, a telephone answering service can start in the low double digits in monthly fees.
Even if you need multiple extensions to service your customers, the price of one in-house employee can buy you countless outsourced agents to answer your phones – and do so more efficiently and effectively!
Call answering services are more consistent leading to better branding
The reason people choose brands like McDonalds and Dominos for their dinner plans isn’t because they offer higher-quality food, made with better ingredients than mom-and-pop shops. Consumers choose franchise brands for all their food and other service needs because they’re consistent.
Someone answers your call or takes your in-store order with a smile and the food is (arguably) the same regardless of what location you find yourself at. In the case of call answering, the more consistently professional and friendly the call process is, the better your customer service image will be overall.
Call answering services offer flexible messaging options
Whether you want text notifications or full message transcriptions available online or delivered to your email, you can have your messages delivered via whatever media and in whatever format you need.
Having your calls and messages dealt with in this manner also allows you to quickly determine which calls need answering (clients, distributors, contractors) and which do not (ie., telemarketing calls).
Save money on equipment and inter-office infrastructure
Your business won’t need to install call routing hardware and software if you outsource your phone answering to a specialised service provider. Everything is taken care of. All you’ll need to do is sign up for a monthly plan, and continue to use the same equipment you do already in your day-to-day business operations.
A phone answering service is a turn key solution to all your call-answering needs, that can grow exponentially with your business as its call-handling needs change. Your job is to choose the right one, and let the phone answering team take care of the rest.