In business, as in everyday life, first impressions count. In many cases, the first point of contact between a business and a potential customer is via a phone call. According to a recent poll, over six out of every ten people prefer to contact small businesses over the phone. While websites and social media profiles certainly offer innovative ways to attract and interact with people who might be interested in what your company offers, phone calls continue to be the main form of communication between customers and the brands or businesses that they seek out. The first impression you make on your customer, then, is often not via a face-to-face meeting, but rather over the phone. Hiring a local answering service, then, ensures that no phone call is left unanswered and that your customers receive immediate, precise, and accurate customer service during that ever-important first impression. This short article outlines the top four reasons why your business should consider hiring a local answering service today.
Reason to Hire a Local Answering Service #1: Improve the Effectiveness of your Marketing Strategies
The U.S. Small Business Administration advises businesses to spend somewhere between 7 and 8 percent of their gross revenue for marketing and advertising. B2C companies will most likely spend a little bit more (in the range of 10 to 12 percent) for their marketing budgets. While your marketing budget will certainly depend on the type of industry your work in and the type of customer you are trying to attract, virtually every type of business reinvests a large part of their revenue in attracting and retaining customers via publicity and advertising.
Even if you have an extremely effective and successful marketing strategy, however, transforming those leads and customer interest into sales requires an efficient customer service strategy. For example, imagine a local company that spends several thousand dollars on an integrated marketing strategy focused on billboards, local TV commercials, and paid social media ads. Your company´s phone contact information is visibly shared throughout the marketing materials, giving those potential customers a timesaving and straightforward way to contact the company. If, however, you miss several of those calls, or simply do not have enough personnel to deal with the growing volume of incoming phone call traffic, your advertising dollars will essentially have been wasted.
Hiring a local answering service will ensure that no phone call ever goes unanswered. With dozens of phone calls occurring after normal working hours, an answering service will also be able to give you extended customer service hours, with some companies offering 24/7 service. In many cases, the answering service will essentially pay for itself through the extra sales that are generated.
Reason to Hire a Local Answering Service #2: Improved Customer Service with a Fraction of Labor Cost
According to Indeed.com, full-time secretaries make an average of $26,114 per year in salary. The average hourly pay for a part-time salary is above $15 per hour. If your business is located in larger metropolitan areas, however, you should expect to pay significantly higher rates. While a full-time secretary can certainly help a small business improves its customer service over the phone, the extra labor costs that this entails can be a hard financial load to bear. Besides the salary costs, vacation pay, medical insurance, and other benefits can quickly offset your labor cost budget.
Hiring a local answering service, on the other hand, allows businesses to benefit from a group of highly-trained customer service professionals at a fraction of the total labor cost. A local answering service thus offers the potential for enormous savings when compared to handling your calls in-house. Along the same lines, working with a local answering service allows small businesses to assemble a remote working team. Around 16 percent of companies hire exclusively remote workers. This growing workforce trend can cut back on office-related overhead while also reducing the threats associated with potential COVID outbreaks in the workplace.
Reason to Hire a Local Answering Service #3: Free Up Time for Your Workers to Generate Revenue and Grow Profitability
If you or other important members of your workforce are spending long hours of the day taking customer phone calls, chances are that you are losing opportunities to grow revenue and increase the profitability of your business. As any business owner knows, the lists of tasks associated with running a successful company is essentially endless. Hiring a reputable and professional local answering service will not only ensure that your customer´s phone calls are well attended to, but will also free up time so that you and your team can dedicate energy to innovative marketing schemes, conquering new markets, releasing new products, and the dozens of other growth strategies that you have been struggling to find the time to implement.
Reason to Hire a Local Answering Service #4: Moving Beyond Simple Customer Service
Hiring a local answering service to make sure that no phone call goes unanswered is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg in terms of what an answering service can do for your company. Many of the best local answering services will provide your business with a team of professional receptionists who have relevant training, experience, and legal compliance in your industry. Not only will these professional receptionists have the knowledge to adequately respond to your customers’ questions and inquiries, but they can also engage in other tasks, such as transferring calls to the appropriate members of your team. Some answering services can even integrate with your business calendar software, allowing the local answering service to book, cancel and rearrange appointments for your company.
The local answering service Hartley & Associates, for example, has trained professional receptionists in dozens of different industries. Their services no only include live answer and customized greetings for your customers, but they can also do reservations and appointment setting for your company. This is a great strategy to cut back on time-consuming admin services. Furthermore, Hartley & Associates can also offer outbound call services, including appointment and schedule verification, surveys, and sales follow-up.
With a team of professional receptionists ready to interact with your customer´s phone calls around the clock, every business stands to see major sales growth at a fraction of the cost of hiring a professional secretary. Today is the time to hire a local answering service to take your business to the next level.