When it comes to servicing your customers, someone must be available to answer that phone during business hours. Nothing can be more frustrating than calling a business, only to run into a long menu of choices that never seem to get you to a person. And when you finally figure out which selection should bring you to a person, you end up talking to a machine, leaving a message that may or may not be returned.
Today’s customers are demanding, and they want answers fast. Though your website is likely a first-stop-shop to answer those questions, customers will often turn to a phone call when they can’t find what they are looking for quickly. When a customer decides to call, they want to talk to a person. They want to be greeted with that friendly voice, and they want to know that their questions or concerns will be answered or addressed.
5 Ways an Answering Service can Lower Your Operational Costs
Many business owners think that an answering service will cost them more than they will save. And many small business owners, in particular, get caught up in the day to day of running the business and lose sight of the customer experience. When looking at both of these concerns, it would seem there is a conundrum. But in reality, an answering service can do both – reduce costs and improve the customer experience.
- Receptionists don’t come for free – Of course, neither does an answering service. However, consider that the average receptionist salary in the United States falls somewhere between $30,000 to $45,000, and that doesn’t include benefits. Benefits alone can often exceed 30% or more of a base salary. Further, that receptionist needs to take breaks and is only going to work 40 or so hours per week. This means that if your business is open for more than 40 or so hours, you will need more than one receptionist. And customers don’t necessarily limit their call times to your office hours. Answering services provide an excellent alternative in that they provide answering services at any time of the day and on any day of the week. This allows you to reallocate the money you would put towards a receptionist to other personnel needs and cover the costs of your answering service.
- No time spent on training or retraining – R Receptionists will often come and go. Whether they find a new opportunity elsewhere or get promoted within your organization, you will need to train a new receptionist at multiple times during the tenure of your organization. Also, back-up receptionists need training to cover breaks and time-off. This means less time for the office manager to focus on other necessary tasks. The average tenure of employees at Hartley and Associates is seven years, which means that our staff will become experts in answering calls from your customers.
- Phone systems are expensive – Phone systems can get quite expensive, and technology is always evolving. Professional answering service organizations make that technology investment on our behalf and use their systems to answer your calls and manage your account.
- Grow the customer experience – A real person can make a real difference when a customer has a challenge or question. No business is perfect, and the chances are that you will have a frustrated customer now and again. When a professional on-shore individual handles that call, the customer situation can often be diffused quickly. Even happy customers calling with a general question can easily be put off when getting a machine or answered by someone with a non-local accent.
- Grow your business – When your customers are happy, they’ll be likely to spend more money with you. Not only that, but happy customers are the best advertising that your business can get. Positive word of mouth can work wonders for a small business. An answering service can help you nurture leads at the top of your sales funnel, just by ensuring that the call is answered, fundamental questions are answered, and the call is promptly routed to the appropriate party to take the call to the next level.
Virtual Answering Agents Can Provide Further Bang for your Buck
Virtual answering systems are becoming a popular choice for small businesses that still want to offer an above and beyond experience to their customers after hours. Not all companies need a live person on the other end of the phone at all times of the day. If your business doesn’t need that person on the other end of the line, then a virtual answering system can be switched on for those low call volume hours.
A blended live person and virtual answering service can offer improved flexibility and enhanced cost savings. Whether you need a blend or one or the other, a professional answering service can be the ticket to help you bring your business to the next level. Contact Hartley & Associate today to at 866-918-8700 or fill out our online contact form to see how we can help you.