In the business world, an entire day can be spent fielding and directing incoming calls or emails. Although we all love interacting with our customers, clients and other business contacts, staying constantly glued to the phone or laptop responding to inquiries doesn't leave much time for your other responsibilities as a small business owner or manager.
One way to manage or avoid this scenario is to invest in an answering service. Answering services allow for businesses to manage and optimize all of its communication channels in an organized and effective manner.
Whether it be in the form of automated services (auto attendants, voicemail systems or interactive voice response systems), live virtual receptionists, or internet-platform services (automated email response, social media monitoring or live web chat); an answering service can have impactful logistical advantages for your small businesses.
These advantages are most apparent in three, interconnected areas: time efficiency, flexibility and customer service.
1. Time Efficiency
Time is both a shared and limited resource. In an ideal world, customers and contacts would call at times most convenient for you, when you have the time to address their concerns. In our real, unfortunately, unideal world, they do not; thus it’s impossible to give everyone reaching out to your businesses equal and divided attention. While an answering services does not allow for every inquiry to get your full and undivided attention, it does allow for your business to meet all inquirers with a consistent response.
Most importantly, though, an answering service frees up time to small businesses to address other business concerns. The time and resources saved from using an answering service directly attributes to the perceived value businesses derive from answering services. Recent Clutch research indicates that users are overwhelmingly satisfied with their answering service. Specifically, less than 1 percent of businesses claim that they receive “below average” value from their answering service.
Directly related to the value time management provided from answering services is the organizational flexibility they allow. Most answering services are month-to-month and usage-dependent (i.e dependent on how many minutes used). This is a crucial advantage for small businesses, as it prevents unnecessary resources from being wasted on a service that is needed at all times. For example, a business may only need to use an answering service during a period of heightened business, like a retailer during the holiday season.
3. Customer Service
Customer service is the lifeblood of small business. Many small businesses primarily thrive, and pride themselves, on providing personal and intimate care of their customers and contacts.
What time efficiency and value, along with the organizational flexibility for businesses, ultimately amount to is an improved customer service apparatus for small businesses. As stated above, the use of an answering service can standardize your business’ response, which ensures that no incoming communications fall through the cracks, avoiding any frustration for those reaching out to your business, a guarantee that ultimately shores up a business’ customer service capacities.
So, combined, these three areas of advantage—time and resource efficiency, business flexibility and improved customer service—make answering services an investment small businesses should consider, especially in the age of instantaneous communication. That way, all communication channels can be monitored and at optimized guarantee that all incoming communications are addressed, while allowing for flexibility to devote ample time to other aspects of your business.
Photo credit: BrAt82/Shutterstock