Whether you’ve started a new endeavor or are maintaining last year’s small business, you need to be as efficient as possible. In the current economic climate, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to cut costs and turn a profit. Unfortunately, that’s especially true for small businesses. There are so many little things that need to be taken care of that you’ll find yourself, and your staff, running around to get it all done in time. And that’s not time or cost efficient for anyone.
But is it possible to cut out those menial tasks completely? And at minimal cost to your company? Yes it is. And here’s how: by investing in an answering service which is specifically tailored to your needs.
Why Not A Receptionist?
Having a receptionist might seem like a necessary evil (who else is going to answer the phones and relay messages?), but is actually a waste of money and the time of the employee in that position. Instead of answering phones, they could be performing tasks which will actively benefit the growth or sales of your company. Receptionists are not only expensive, but are limited in their functionality. You might have the best receptionist in the world, but he/she can’t be there 24 hours a day. As a growing business, and one which might end up dealing with international clients, you need to be available at all hours. That’s where the answering service comes in.
What an Answering Service Can Offer You
If your receptionist is already multitasking and you simply don’t have the extra hands to take on all those calls and queries, then you know it’s time to find a better solution. Answering services can offer more than just a 24 hour automated receptionist. It’s possible to request a fax, order-taking or patron payments service in addition.
When selecting that all-important service, be sure to check that they are available at all hours, including on weekends and during common vacation periods. Unfortunately, you won’t always have the same receptionist answering your phones – but, let’s face it, you didn’t with your switchboard – and there’s no guarantee that they’ll be able to answer the questions that your customers ask. However, providing detailed scripts and information about your company can solve this issue. The right answering service will also route the call through to you or another employee when familiar clients call.
A customized call service will provide these extras, though you will have to request specialized training. Try to get voice-mail and message alerts included when signing on, as these up your level of communication with your customers as well as increase the level of professionalism associated with your company. If you invest in a plain automated answering services, you might suffer in the long run. Most customers will hang up as soon as they are put through to an automated service, which isn’t conducive to profit-gain.
Before you select an answering service, screen it to ensure that it’s are the right match for your company. Consider it an interview. If you go with them and they mess up, it’s akin to having a receptionist that doesn’t perform properly. Select a service that’s been around for a few years, since they’re likely more reliable. Most people base their impressions on accents (especially over the phone) you should go for a service that is local to your region and will be more familiar to your customers. It might be possible to get a service which is specific to your industry as well.
Time spent answering phones can be better invested in other areas such as sales training for staff, product marketing, or general administration. Selecting the right answering service for your small business is key to cutting costs and creating a better work atmosphere—you won’t have to worry about professionalism and will be confident that your customer service is doing your business justice. So, remember to screen the service before you select it and to provide all the details you have. Read the fine print!