If you run a small business, then chance are you’re always looking for ways to keep costs down. One surprising way to do so is by hiring a live telephone answering service. This will free you up to focus on improving your business (instead of spending your time taking routine calls), will cut down on your labor costs by ensuring you need fewer in-house workers, and will keep your customers happy because they’ll be able to promptly reach trained customer service agents whenever they need to. But small businesses operate differently than many of the big companies that use answering services, so there are a few specific things you’ll want to keep in mind as you choose a service. Here are three tips for your search:
- Specify Your Individual Service Needs Up Front
Since you’re probably looking less for a call-center format and more for an answering service that will mimic the experience of an in-house customer service agent or office manager, it’s best to be very specific about your needs. Do you need someone to give directions to the office, and schedule appointments, or someone to answer questions about a product? Being able to clearly articulate your needs going in with help you to rapidly narrow down your options.
- Look for an Answering Service for Small Businesses
Not all answering services are set up to work with small businesses; many cater either to larger companies or to specialty services (such as doctor offices). You might have a hard time finding an answering service for small businesses that identifies itself as such, but you can simply give a company a quick call or send an email asking how many employees their typical client has.
- Ask If Flexible Scheduling Is Available
Many small businesses don’t need round-the-clock service but aren’t strictly 9-to-5, either. If that’s the case with your business, then finding an answering service that’s highly flexible with scheduling, rather than offering rigid tiers of service, will probably save you quite a bit of money in the long run. That way, you’d be able to get someone in the early morning, for example, without choosing a 24-hour option.
Have you ever thought of how hiring out call answering could benefit your small business? Discuss in the comments.