Is An Answering Service Right For Your Small Business?
When you call your telephone or cable companies – which are typically multinational corporations – you get a call center. Sure, these companies can vertically integrate their own operators, or afford a large service plan.
However, it could be argued that small business is in need of answering services more than any enterprise company. Your up-front costs may be magnified from the outset, but what you get in return is more time and resources to focus on the more important, strategic aspects of your business, which can foster quick growth.
Affordable Answering Services for Small Businesses
The first question any small business owner asks is the most obvious – what’s the cost? It’s about affordability. You should find an answering service that doesn’t charge you an arm and a leg. But there are plans designed for smaller companies that cost less than $100 monthly, depending on your call volume.
Most small businesses don’t communicate strictly by telephone. All answering services should be able to provide voicemail, message and email services as well. This is an integrated approach where you can find all of your communications on an electronic messaging platform. Furthermore, do you have a CRM tool, and is your prospective answering service capable of integrating with it?
Take an opportunity to research your primary goals for hiring an answering service. This should be a tangible solution. Things like increased revenue and decreased costs are easy to calculate. But customer satisfaction and retention can be a tad more difficult. Set up surveys and ask your current customers why they continue to return to your product or service.
What Does A Good Answering Service For Small Business Provide?
A good answering service stands behind its work. They offer fast onboarding, and no termination fees. A free trial is offered to ensure the team is capable of handling the work, and if an answering service provides value. Additionally, an experienced answering service:
- Can take care of customers and vendors – and distinguish a qualified lead from a waste of time.
- Is adept at call forwarding (patching) – understanding the urgency of callers needs to determine whether to run them to your business or take a message
- Can take calls from existing customers to answer simple questions about service status, product updates, hours and other simple inquiries
- Can receive from new customers to discuss services and products offered, offer helpdesk support in transferring questions to the proper contact
- Has the ability to work within your own company software to book appointments
Understanding Your Brand’s Voice and Tone
How do you sound on the phone when you’re talking to current customers? Is it different than new customers? Getting an answering service is often a time small businesses should think about their brand.
Think about it:
- If you’re an HVAC service business, you would treat your customers different than if you were a dog groomer.
- If you’re a doctor or medical service, patients get treated different than customers.
- Spanish-speaking customers are treated different than English-speaking.
One thing to note is the perils of hiring an answering service not based in the United States. Though these services can be much cheaper, you risk hurting your customer base with error-prone service providers and an impersonal customer experience.
Would you like to know if answering services are right for your small business? Or maybe you just aren’t sure if an answering service would help your business in general. AnswerLive offers a 14-day FREE trial of our services and can give you a free consultation. The lightning-fast on-boarding happens in less than one week. There are no contracts to sign! Give it a try. You might be surprised on how much time your small business is actually saving. Whether you have a home services company, law firm, property management, or medical, we may be able to help spark your customer service!