Who answers your company phones? Many businesses rely on automated systems and voice mail but is that really the best thing for your business? For a number of kinds of business, it is not. Many businesses need to have a live person answering the phone. This is the reason they get a small business telephone answering service. Stores, restaurants, legal and medical offices need to have live operators to pick up when their customers, patients and clients call.
If you are on the fence about who should answer the phone, consider the following facts. More than 60% of all American consumer prefer dealing with companies on the phone rather than via email or other ways. Most people do not leave a message when they get a voice mail and never call back.
Things to Consider when Hiring a Small Business Telephone Answering Service:
What is their phone style like? Call the company you are thinking about hiring and think about how they treat you. Are they professional? Do you feel they take your questions and concerns seriously? Do they take the time to talk to you? A good small business telephone answering service will hire professional people who have a pleasant demeanor. If you call them and do not like what they sound like, go somewhere else.andnbsp;
Remember, the person who answers your phone is the face and voice of your company. A person’s customer service experience can begin and end with one phone call. More than 80% of United States consumers report that they will stay with a company because they like the customer service they receive. Moreover, people are much more likely to complain than to compliment so they will tell their friends and family when they get poor service. You want to avoid that.
What kinds of things do you need the small business telephone answering service to do? Some only answer the phone and direct calls to individuals who work for you. Others can set appointments, answer basic questions and act as if they are a part of your business. If you run a restaurant, you may want that for the time when your staff is busy helping customers and people are calling to make reservations.
How is the small business telephone answering service with confidential information? If you are a medical or legal firm, your clients and patients need to know they can talk to the small business telephone answering service and that their private information will remain private. If your after hours answering service were to give away patient information, it could be disastrous for your office. This is not just a breach of protocol but is against the law. The Health Information Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 has very specific guidelines for what can and cannot be divulged. You also want your clients and patients to be comfortable enough with your answering service to leave their personal information. They will not stay with you if they do not trust the people you have answering your phone.
Do you need the service 24/7? Not all businesses need this and not every small business telephone answering service will provide that. You may need a live operator answering service during peak or business hours. Talk to the different companies about their costs and what they can do for you.
People like calling a business and getting a person. In a world where most of the time you call a company and are ushered through a seemingly endless series of computer prompts, talking to a person with a small business telephone answering service can feel really refreshing. It happens so infrequently that people who do call a company and get a person rather than an automated system will rave about that to their friends and family. This is exactly the kind of word of mouth advertising any business needs.
Some companies worry that the expense of hiring a small business telephone answering service may outweigh the benefits. Only you can make that decision for your business but talk to a few answering services and see if their services can improve your relationship with your customers and clients.