Small businesses are the backbone of the economy. Research has shown that in 2019, small businesses were responsible for 44% of economic activity and two-thirds of new jobs in the U.S.
Small businesses have to compete against bigger companies with bigger budgets so they need to use every opportunity they can to give their businesses the edge.
Call answering services have been around in some form for decades. Using a call answering service is ideal for small businesses looking to reflect a professional persona while also saving money. If you’re wondering if a call answering service is right for you, read on:
There’s a saying, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression”. Having your business phone calls answered professionally and promptly is a great way to make that first impression.
Unfortunately, if you’re self-employed or running a small business, you may not be available to take every call, or end up answering your phone stressed when you’re up against a deadline or having a bad day. You can’t leave it to chance that your competitors will make a better impression.
Knowing that your business calls are handled professionally is one less thing to worry about when it comes to making a good impression that will start your relationship off on the right foot.
Hiring someone to answer your phones full time can be expensive. In addition to salary, you need to provide training, benefits and a whole host of other things. Also, many businesses operate completely remotely now, with employees spread across the country and beyond. If this is the case then it doesn’t really make sense to employ someone to sit at home and wait for the phone to ring, it may as well be a third party who is responsible for the hiring, admin, equipment and holiday cover.
Research shows that up to 80% of people won’t call a business back if their initial call isn’t answered. Over the course of the year, this could lead to hundreds of missed opportunities.
A call answering service can make sure you never miss a call and have all important inquiries transferred through to you, or contact information collected to call them back. You can instruct your answering service to deal with potential sales calls in a different way to others so that you’re responding fast.
Having your calls answered quickly by a friendly voice is great, you can also tailor your answering service to your brand. You can provide scripts for the person answering your phone to use and also let them know what tone you’d like to get across.
You may feel that your call should be answered in a very formal way, or, your business might be trying to come across as friendly but still professional, so you can instruct the people answering your calls that they have a lot more freedom to show a bit of personality.
It can be very jarring for a potential customer to build up an impression of your business, only to have it shattered by the tone of the person answering your phone. Remember, it’s people that make a brand.
Sales calls are just a part of being in business, but endless calls about things you’re not interested in buying can take up time and energy. The time that you just don’t have.
Some people are great at getting rid of sales calls. Many of us, if we’re honest, aren’t as good at it and will end up talking for far too long, trying to be polite or waiting for the right moment to make our excuses. Having to deal with this multiple times a week (or even day), is going to cause some serious disruption to your day.
A call answering service can stop these calls getting to you, only passing on information of those that might genuinely be of interest to you.
We all need time off. Many self-employed people or small business owners think that they need to be working 24/7 so that they don’t miss an opportunity. Everybody needs downtime to focus on themselves and their families of they risk burning out.
Having your calls answered remotely can give you the confidence to kick back and relax on your vacation, or take back your evenings. All your calls will be answered. Non-urgent ones can be dealt with when you get back and anything urgent is flagged to you immediately.
From a customer’s point of view, it will give the impression of uninterrupted service so you don’t have to worry about looking unavailable.
One of the best things about call answering services is that they are extremely flexible. Contracts can scale up or down depending on your needs.
You don’t need to have your calls answered during office hours, Monday to Friday. A good service fits the needs of their clients. Need cover in the afternoons only? Or on weekends? Or every second Wednesday? Your service is there as much or as little as you need them to be.
If your business is seasonal, you can arrange to have extra cover for those busy months and return to your usual service levels once the busy period is over.
People who work in small businesses, or for themselves, often wear many hats. You end up being the accountant, office manager, marketing manager and everything in between. All these things need to be done, but they draw your energy and focus away from your core business activities that make you money.
Constantly being interrupted by calls can take focus away from important things. Other employees are probably feeling this too, as they want to do the work they’ve been hired for, not answer calls all day.
Of course, you might think that answering a call only takes a few seconds, but constant interruptions can affect people’s concentration and flow, which means they’re never going to do their best work.
Now, we’re not suggesting that you lie, but there are a few advantages to looking like a bigger business. Unfortunately, even if you are extremely good at what you do, some people are reluctant to work with freelancers or small businesses. A call answering service adds that professional edge to your reputation. If you provide services to a large geographic area, you can use national numbers so as not to draw too much attention to your physical location.
Remember, call answering services are good at what they do and people will not be able to tell that they are speaking to a service unless you tell them.
It’s easy to track your marketing results online. You can calculate engagement, visitors and return on investment. This data is invaluable for helping you to decide where to invest your marketing budget. However, if you get a lot of enquires by phone, your answering service can ask callers how they found out about you (social media, Google etc) and you can add this information to your results.
If you’re super busy, you might think you don’t have the time to set up your call answering service. The good news is, it’s actually very easy to do and you can be up and running in no time. You simply need to give some information on your company, let them know how and when you would like your calls answered and you’re good to go,
Good companies offer free trials so that you can be absolutely sure that their call answering service is right for you and your business.
Many call answering services, including here at Virtual HQ offer other services to help small businesses. This can include virtual office addresses, virtual assistant and similar. You’ll often see cost and productivity benefits to using the same company for all of these services.
Small businesses are big businesses and now have the opportunity to access services that can help them be competitive in the marketplace. Call answering is one of these services that allow you to provide excellent customer service, present the very best image for your company and save money too.
With Virtual HQ, the service is very easy to set up and you can be up and running in no time. Try out our answering services on a 7 Day Free Trial to see just how much time and money you could save.