Running a business is a delicate juggling act of managing multiple tasks at once and often responding to situations as they arrive.
With so much going on, answering the phone when it rings can be harder than you might think.
You might be busy and unable to answer.
Or you might just not hear or feel the phone and miss the call.
When you’re a small business or running a solo business, answering the phone becomes even more difficult.
And when any missed call can mean a lost customer or missed sale, not being able to answer the phone can cost your business literally thousands of pounds a year.
One solution is to invest in a telephone answering service.
This isn’t a call centre.
It’s a dedicated team of virtual receptionists and call answers who work as an extension of your business to make sure you never miss a call, and make sure any calls are answered exactly how you’d want them to be.
If you’ve never used a call answering service before, or currently use a call centre and are wondering whether you could be getting a better service, here’s a few simple benefits you can get from a telephone answering company.
Never miss a call
When you’re too busy to answer the phone you might just send callers to voicemail or hope they’ll call back later.
Afterall, if a customer is interested in your services why wouldn’t they call back.
But customers have a tonne of choice today, more than they’ve had before and are more likely to simply move onto the next company until someone does answer the phone.
Plus, not answering the phone sets the wrong tone for what it would be like to work with you if your customers think they’ll be left in the dark because they can’t get you on the phone.
Extend your business hours
We all know that all customer enquiries come between 9-5 or that new customers will want to call us when it’s convenient to us.
Often they’re busy at work themselves during the day and can only call you out of hours.
You can try and up your hours yourself, but when you’re busy and stressed from running your company, it’s not a sustainable answer.
Instead, a call answering service could extend your business hours for you.
They’ll handle the calls that come in earlier or later in the day, or even at the weekend.
It means you can keep taking calls or booking meetings hours after you’ve already finished for the day without having to take on any extra work yourself.
Take breaks during the day
Taking breaks during the day are essential to refocus and get energised again.
Without these breaks, no matter how short, we’ll quickly burn out before the end of the day and over the long-term it can have seriously negative impacts on our health.
And what you don’t want, is to take a break and spend the whole time wondering if you’re missing calls or having your phone out and ready.
That’s removing the benefits and point of taking a break in the first place.
With a call answering service you can take breaks and decompress without worrying that your customers’ calls aren’t being dealt with.
Take meetings offline without worrying
Sending emails and dealing with colleagues and customers electronically can have its benefits when you’re in a rush or dealing with simple questions.
But you’re never going to build trust with customers without taking time to go and meet them and discuss issues face-to-face.
Especially today after we’ve all spent the past two years hiding behind a Zoom screen, building up those personal relationships again is key.
But when you’re in a meeting, you can’t take time out to deal with phone calls.
And that runs the risk of missing a new customer.
It can also take your focus off the client you’re meeting with.
Using a call answering service means you can fully focus on your important in-person meetings, without worrying that calls are being missed while you’re away.
Free up your staff to focus on their work
If you’ve ever worked in an office and are busy you know the feeling when the phone rings.
You know it’s important and someone has to answer it, but your staff will often leave it for longer than you’d like hoping someone else will pick the call up.
And when they do, the call can be treated more like an inconvenience than a potential sale or customer enquiry.
A telephone answering service can take the stress of call answering away from your employees.
They can focus on their work, and not have to worry about losing time dealing with cold calls or taking messages.
Plus, you’ll get the benefit of a service that takes down all the information you need to respond to messages, rather than the inconsistent details you can often find yourself with when staff are eager to get off the phone quickly.
Deal with more than one call at once
If you hire a receptionist to deal with your calls, then you’ll definitely have a dedicated call answering service.
But the problem is your new, expensive, receptionist can only deal with one call at a time.
As soon as they’re on the phone they can’t deal with another one.
Or they’ll have to put the current caller on hold to deal with the other call.
And given that being put on hold for long periods is one of the biggest complaints customers have with the way businesses deal with phone calls, this probably isn’t the best idea.
Again, a telephone answering service can solve this.
That’s because you get a team who can cover for each other.
If one receptionist takes a call and someone else calls, your other receptionist picks up.
Same if one takes a break, or is on holiday. You’ve always got a team dealing with your calls and making sure every one of your calls is being dealt with.
Get more call answering with less investment
Hiring a full-time or part-time receptionist is an expensive proposition.
Minimum you’re looking at £18,000 a year, upto £35,000 for more experienced staff.
That’s a lot of money for someone who can’t answer more than one call at once, doesn’t work beyond your opening hours, doesn’t work weekends, and actually costs more in holiday, sick pay and taxes.
Not to mention you lose your call answering the second they step away from the phone.
On the other hand, with call answering services you only pay for the service you use, and you can adapt it around your business.
You usually pay by volume of calls dealt with, or time spent on the phone.
It’s much more cost-effective for the call answering itself, plus you don’t have the additional tax and benefits expenses, or the admin that comes with hiring someone.
Improve your business with dedicated call answering
If you want to easily improve your customer service the simplest way to start is making sure someone is available to answer the phone when a customer calls.
You shouldn’t be taking this one yourself, you’ve got too much to do running and growing your business.
But with a telephone answering service you can ensure you never miss a call or opportunity, without the expense of a new employee.