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Many small businesses have complained in the past about losing customers simply because they were away on a vacation and were unreachable, or had turned everything off. Ideally, a dedicated full-time person for this would be perfect, but it will only add to your ongoing expenditure, and hence, is not a viable option for a small operation to hire one.
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Phone answering services have been around for a while, but to a lot of people, it is still not clear about who they are, or what purpose do they serve. To put simply, these are highly-trained customer service experts who are available 24/7 and will answer your calls whenever the need arises and regardless of the time. The only difference is that they are not physically present in your office, but in a remote location. They are able to do so due to technological advancements such as high-speed internet and will answer your calls for you during all hours of the day.
You can help them find a “voice” that sounds like your own, so the answers are personalized and to the point. The representatives are trained professionals and you can help further by letting them know how and what to say in a certain situation so that the client gets an impeccable experience.
So how can your business benefit from such a service? Let’s take a look at how you can make more money while you sleep with the assistance of such a service.
You have already called it a day after putting in a 10-hour day and have gone home for some rest and recuperation. But you have clients who work late or are in a different time zone and need to contact you or your representatives at an hour which is not really convenient for you.
In ordinary circumstances, it would be the good-old answering machine that would instruct the client to leave a message after the beep. This can go two ways, the client may actually leave a message, or, could be offended by the impersonal response and never call back.
A phone answering service will take care of the latter for you. The highly-trained personnel will not only pick up the call cordially and take instructions from the client, but also relay any instructions that you may have left with them to the client. At this point, the client doesn’t need to know who has answered the call from where. All they know is that their call has been attended to. Not only has the call been answered by the virtual receptionist for you, but they have also retained an existing client and assured continued business from them. This way, you would have also maintained your professional image and have greatly impressed your client.
Their queries have been answered satisfactorily by a courteous person and the client is sure to tell that to their peers about how professional your firm is.
The most important factor about taking the help of an answering service is that you are saved the cost of hiring a person full time, just to take calls. This cost includes health benefits, a basic salary, conveyance, insurance and so on, so it is indeed a tidy sum. A full-time secretary may cost you upwards of $2,500 to $3,500 or more (depending on the number of tasks the secretary is supposed to take care of) per month. Compare that with a competent phone answering service that would cost a fraction of that amount (starting from $150 a month) and you will begin to see the overhead cost difference. You can choose a monthly plan that suits your needs and most are flexible, which means you can always scale them up or down depending on your needs.
It also saves you the cost of emergency expenditure, such as in case a full-time employee were to fall sick or needed a vacation, you would have to hire someone else temporarily to fill that gap. If you have the services of a phone answering service, these factors do not arise, as there will always be someone on the other end of the line to take care of that.
At the same time, you are also rescued from the effort and cost of installing hardware (such as an automated answering service) at your office, saving you massive costs on apparatus itself and its installation. The need to buy new supplies for such equipment is also eliminated.
Imagine yourself calling your phone service in the middle of the night in a state of duress and getting an automated response that all the executives have gone home and there is no one to take care of your call at that hour. This happens to a lot of people and leaves a bad taste in the mouth, with some people even swearing off the service. Now that you have put yourself in the shoes of your client, you know how it feels.
If you were to be greeted by a soothing, knowledgeable voice on the other end, you would be assured that you are in the right hands and your problem would be solved, and hence, you would be a satisfied customer. Similarly, your client wants the same assurance, and hence, it builds reliability, especially if it is a new client who approaches everything gingerly. The client will love the fact that there someone is always available, whether it is 5 a.m. or 5 p.m. and will come back for more.
Your phone answering service will take care of that just fine, assuring the client that all is well and his problems will be addressed in a rightful manner. The client hears a live voice on the other end and is immediately hopeful and hence starts a circle of trust and reliability between you and the new client.
If you are a small firm, it is very difficult to juggle between client inquiries and scheduling appointments or answering phone calls. Most of the time, you will find yourself doing these same things yourself and that would eventually lead you to spending a lot of time attending to these mundane but crucial things and lead you away from your core capabilities. You cannot be handling receptionist duties and take care of your own work at the same time, all the time. You may lose a valuable number of hours on days on end attending and returning calls and get bogged down by the end of the day because of this time sink.
It would also lead to frustration in the long run as your client base increases and would result in long hours spent at work, taking away the work-life balance.
With a phone answering service at your side, now that you do not have to worry about taking calls all the time, you can concentrate more on your business priorities without having to think about that aspect of your business. The client has a professional, intelligent sounding person at the other end of the phone that is taking calls during non-business hours as well, leaving your clients happy and retaining them, and in turn, making you more money.
If you have clients that do not speak English, you know where this is going. Dealing with such clients can be otherwise problematic because it would ordinarily mean finding and hiring a secretary who speaks more than one language and hence you would have to pay more for that add-on service.
With a phone answering service that offers services in more than one language, you can be assured that your clients in Mexico or far off Spain are not left out and are serviced as well as your local customers, resulting in bolstering your reputation as someone who takes care of all their needs and hence, expanding your customer base, and as a result, add to your earnings as word gets out.
You will gain tremendously if you decide to hire the services of a phone answering service. The executives hired by them are highly trained and know how to tackle a situation, know enough about your business (with a little help from you) without having to bump up queries to you every time a client calls.
As opposed to hiring secretaries who themselves might get overwhelmed by the call traffic and even handling multiple calls at the same time (attending a call while putting another on hold), a phone answering service will make sure you have enough people assigned to you (depending on your business) to take care of the volume of calls.
You don’t need to worry about the “virtual” secretary having a sick day, the company they work for will simply assign another one for your tasks and your business is taken care of uninterrupted. So, if you want to save money on overheads and enjoy the benefits of a stress-free (from queries) business day, go right ahead and employ the services of a phone answering service. Not only will it save you a lot of time, but it will also bolster your business, and make you more money as an end result!