If you have ever worked at night and needed to contact a company as soon as possible, you know how frustrating it is when you call, and the phone just rings. If you are lucky, there is an answering machine where you can leave a message. If you are unlucky, you get a message that the business is closed and try again in the morning. When this happens, you probably think less of the company despite it being a standard practice.
This doesn’t have to be the case. You do not have to have frustrated customers and clients during your off-hours. One of the best solutions is having an answering service. No matter what size business you have, there are many things that a live virtual answering service can do to improve things like productivity and customer relations.
It Can Do More Than Answer the Phone
A service can provide your customers with valuable information and answer some simple scripted questions. You can use your answering service to give customers the information that they need when they need it, rather than making them wait until you are in the office. The service can’t answer all questions, but they can take detailed messages and ask clarifying questions so that your client’s request gets to the right people.
It Is Not Just for Nights and Weekends
A live answering service tailored to your business can act as a virtual receptionist. Instead of taking up an assistant’s time, the answering service can screen calls for you and transfer them to the appropriate people. It is like having a living receptionist in your office without the cost of hiring and training one. Many answering services have workers trained in various business operations; this means that you can have someone who knows your type of business answering the phones for you.
It Means No Missed Customers
You’ve probably hung up on an answering machine and called a competitor at least once. With a live operator, you have a much better chance of retaining the customer and giving them a higher level of service even though they are simply taking a message for you. When a customer can talk to someone when they need your services, they are much more likely to leave their name, telephone number, and email. This puts you in control of getting them what they need. When you return their call, you have a better chance of gaining a customer. No missed customers means no missed opportunities.
It Makes Your Business More Professional
When you use a live person to answer your phones 24/7, it can make your business seem more polished. When people get what sounds like a half-hearted answering machine, they think of a small back office, but an answering service often brings to mind a call center full of people waiting to help them. This professionalism can help you gain customers that prefer live interaction to merely recording a message or, worse, being hung up on after your business hours are stated.
It Makes Your Business More Personal
You don’t have to sacrifice personal service for professionalism. When a client calls, they want answers. A live person can provide some of those answers, and even if they can’t, they can reassure your client that your office will address their question as soon as possible. They can also ask follow-up questions, so your customers don’t have to repeat themselves to you once you return their call. Most customers appreciate the feeling that they are being heard.
It Improves Productivity
Interruptions in the workday cause a loss of productivity. Scientists have studied how long it takes to get back into a task after an interruption. It can take anywhere from 5 and 25 minutes for you or your employees to refocus on a task again completely. This loss can impact your business over time. Your highly trained employees should be able to focus on their tasks instead of answering the phone.
An answering service has more benefits than simply answering the phone. It can give a small business the live presence you thought only large companies could have. With all of the ways that it can help your business grow, it is something to consider. Remember, an answering machine or voicemail is cheaper, but lacks the personal touch and versatility that an answering service provides.