If you own a business, it is inevitable that you will miss a phone call at least once. At some point, at least 93% of businesses will miss a call and the chances are that it will happen again. Customers and clients do not expect businesses to be open 24 hours a day and seven days week so missing a call does not have to mean disaster. It can lead to a new customer or client but it has to have been handled the wrong way. The worst is to have no answer at all. People find that very frustrating. You might be thinking about using a voice mail system but nothing is as effective at turning a missed call into a business opportunity. A small business answering service can do more than take a message. They can give directions, your hours and website and they can make appointments. Nearly 72% of people do not leave voice mail messages and 69% do not call back.
If you are thinking about hiring a live answering service, think about when your callers typically call. Do they call during business hours or do you need a 24 hour answering service. The main difference is the price. Their pricing options should be clear and transparent with no fees that pop up for services that should be included. Ask what they do for holidays.
The next thing to find out is how they will handle your clients’ and customers’ privacy. This is especially key in offices that use medical answering services.
Next you have to know they are going to handle the calls well. Tone of voice is one of the things customers rate companies. If the tone is perceived to have been nasty, testy, rushed or any way other than professional and interested in the person on the other end of the phone, that person will have a negative view of your business. The person who answers your phone is the face of your company for that call. You have to be sure you are comfortable with the style of people who provide that service.
The people working at the small business answering service you select need to pick up the phone right away. If you are inundated with calls one day, well they are human and may not be able to but if it possible, the phone should ring no more than three times. If they put someone on hold, they should not leave them there for more than a minute. Any longer and you lose face with the customer or client, whom you want to feel appreciated.
Hiring a small business answering service can do a lot for your company’s reputation. You look like a professional organization with your act together. That is exactly what you want.