Thankfully there is a viable alternative that offers the same benefits but at a more cost-effective price: a live answering service.
What is a live answering service?
A live answering service gives callers to your organisation an opportunity to speak to a person rather than a voicemail system. Live answering services work in much the same way as receptionists: they answer incoming phone calls and direct them to the relevant people.
Your callers, especially your customers, have an opportunity to get answers to their questions and won’t feel frustrated or confused. Live answering services give callers the impression that the call handlers are part of your business.
The call handlers from live answering services can get trained to provide necessary information to callers. Plus, they can forward calls to relevant teams in your business, or take messages during staff absences. Live answering services are ideal for firms of all sizes.
The main advantage of your business using a live answering service is you don’t need to hire anyone in-house to answer your calls. Live virtual office services are based at external locations and aren’t directly employed by your organisation.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a self-employed contractor or you run an SME or even large business. Live answering services evolve with your organization and adapt to the changing needs of your business.
So, with all that in mind, what benefits could a live answering service offer your business or organisation?
You’ll enjoy real cost savings
Perhaps one of the most notable advantages of using a live answering service for your business is the money you’ll be saving. If you hired one or more receptionists to answer calls at your organisation, you’d have to pay them each a salary of $46,866 on average.
You’ve then got to cover other costs such as taxation, insurance, employee benefits, and so forth. When you take into account those extras, you’re looking at significantly more than $46k per year to hire a receptionist!
However, if you used a live answering service, you could potentially pay a fraction of those costs depending on the volume of calls you receive each month. With the money saved, you can grow your business much quicker and with less financial burden placed upon it.
You can be open for business 24/7
If your business sells to an international audience, you want to ensure that you’re available to deal with customers during their working hours. As you can imagine, that can be somewhat difficult if there is a considerable timezone difference, such as ten hours!
Given that people can’t work 24 hours a day, a viable solution to such a problem is by using live answering services. The beauty of such services is you can provide a 24-hour service to new and existing customers.
If your business must support customers from all corners of the globe, it needs to have the facility to fulfil such a commitment. According to research from HubSpot, 90% of customers feel an immediate response to their questions is essential.
Using a live answering service ensures that your business can be there when your customers have urgent questions that need the right responses.
Your business will get portrayed as highly professional
It doesn’t matter what industry your business is a part of, nor what products and services it sells. The thing that does matter is how professional your business gets portrayed to new and existing customers.
Let’s compare two businesses that are selling identical products. You contact both organisations to ask for information and pricing on something that your business needs:
The first company sounds professional, has courteous and helpful staff answering the phone, and answers your questions with confidence and clarity;
The second company gives you the impression they are too busy to deal with you and leaves you feeling frustrated and annoyed, and without the answers you need.
If you had to choose one of those businesses to make a purchase, you are more likely to call the first company back to place an order. Plus, you’re highly likely to place repeat orders with them as well. As for the second company, you’d happily tell others to steer clear of them!
Of course, you want your business to offer the professional image that the first company in our example above provided. First impressions are critical in the business world, especially with non-personal contact such as telephone conversations.
The good news is that a live answering service will enable your business to offer that professional image to customers that contact your firm via telephone.
businesses sound more established
One of the frustrating things about launching a new business is that it takes a long time for your brand to become known in the market. The ugly truth about consumers is that they find it hard to trust a new brand, especially for mission-critical products and services.
There are many ways that startup businesses can promote themselves and speed up brand awareness. But, if there are only one or a few people in the startup firm, and they’re covering a plethora of roles, how does that translate when customers call them?
It’s highly likely that those people building their startup brand are busy working on growing the business. They’re working on products and services that they feel their target audience would enjoy. And they’re already improving the ones they’ve already put to market.
The last thing those startup founders and key personnel want is to spend much of their time on the phone. They’d instead prefer to direct the majority of their day to other areas of the business.
If you’ve just launched a new business, you’ll no doubt be aware of how important it is to give the right first impression to your customers. How can you do that if you’re busy doing about five or ten other jobs simultaneously?
A live answering service can provide the help and support your startup needs. It can take care of screening your inbound calls, offering answers for the most commonly asked questions to your business.
Another benefit of live answering services to startups is they make new businesses sound established. It’s an advantage that is of particular interest to sole traders looking to grow their brands and hire employees as their businesses grow.
Ideal for businesses with remote teams
Thanks to the marvels of technology, companies can have groups of employees working from a variety of different physical locations. A growing trend is to have remote workers carrying out their duties from their home, either on a full or part-time basis.
If there’s one telephone number that acts as the point of contact for external enquiries, it can be hard to direct those types of calls internally within the business. Luckily, a live answering service can simplify the process for you, your customers, and other business stakeholders.
For example, let’s say that your business has three teams of remote workers: sales executives, customer support, and accounts. Many consumers find it frustrating trying to get through to the right department if they have to key in different options on their keypad.
There may also be times where callers aren’t sure which department or team can best answer their questions. The days of such consumer problems in your business are over once you introduce a live answering service to your organisation.
Call handlers can get provided with training to learn more about your business and how it operates. They can then determine which team is most likely to help with a caller’s queries if they are unsure where their call should get directed.
You’ll never lose a call again
Let’s face it: one of the biggest problems businesses of all sizes face is their abandoned call rates. If you run an organisation that relies on customers contacting you by telephone, it’s even more of a critical issue for you than other firms.
Even if you feel that you’ve got enough staff to answer inbound calls, what happens during peak periods when you encounter exceptional volumes of incoming callers? With a live answering service, you’ll never have to worry about such problems again.
You might not realise it but live answering services have plenty of staff available to answer calls for your business. They can direct callers to specific departments in your organisation, or you can ask them to take messages.
If you’d like to learn more about how a live answering service can meet the needs and goals of your business, contact us today.