When you own or operate a business, you usually have a long ‘to do’ list that involves hiring employees, working with the board of directors, ordering office supplies and a host of other duties necessary to make sure the business is running smoothly and making money. One of the most important aspects of any business is the initial point of contact that both customers and potential customers access on a daily basis. More often than not, this point of contact is your receptionist or an administrative assistant. But what happens when that employee is out on leave, away on a holiday or becomes ill for a few days?
Because it is vitally important that all initial phone calls and visits to the company be handled in a professional and discreet manner, having someone to fill in for a receptionist or secretary is of the utmost importance. It is also crucial that your replacement person is knowledgeable, friendly and professional so that all visitors or callers will get the same customer service they’d receive if your regular employee were still there. How is this possible? These days, the answer is simple because there are companies that offer professional phone-answering services to fit a variety of business needs. Best of all, most of them offer their services at very reasonable prices.
Services Provided by a Phone-Answering Company
Phone-answering companies provide a wide variety of services, including:
- Virtual receptionist duties, where all your calls are answered by a professional 24/7 and can then be relayed back to you
- Basic message-taking services that are delivered to you via text, email or phone
- 24/7 emergency response phone calls, such as those phoned into utility companies when customers lose their electricity
- Overflow phone calls, which you can use when there is an unusually high number of calls for a specific time
- Outbound services, such as when you need people to call a list of customers to get updated information from them
- Media response calls that result from an advertising campaign and include calls requesting information, a brochure, etc.
- Temporary coverage for the phones, such as when an employee is out sick or on holiday
The biggest advantage of using this type of service is that your phone calls with be answered in the name of your business, so callers will never know that the person answering the phone isn’t a regular employee. In addition, phone-answering services train the people answering the phone so that they have some knowledge of your business’s products or services. This allows the answerer to converse with callers and discuss any details you wish for them to have, so that the callers can receive the information they need.
Advantages of Using an Answering Service
In addition to the reasons mentioned above, there are other advantages to using a professional answering service. You can easily turn the answering service on or off at any time by simply punching in a few numbers on your regular telephone. This is especially convenient when you wish to use the answering service only occasionally, but also have times when you’d prefer to answer calls yourself for awhile. Switching back and forth between the answering service and your regular office is extremely easy.
Another advantage to hiring a business call answering service is that they can assist businesses of any size, from two-person mom-and-pop stores to large corporations with hundreds of employees. Regardless of the size of your business or the industry you’re involved in, a phone-answering service can assist you when you need its services. This is vitally important for any business that chooses to use one of these services.
Of course, one of the main questions would-be customers ask of an answering service is how much it will cost. Particularly if you are a small business, the price of an answering service may seem prohibitive, but these days this is simply not the case. In fact, many answering services charge very reasonable prices, usually starting at approximately 70p per call. In addition, many of these answering services offer a free trial, which allows you to use them for a short time and then decide whether you wish to continue.
How to Decide Which Answering Service is Right for You
Choosing a professional phone-answering service isn’t difficult if you know what to look for. Companies that offer this service usually have well-maintained websites that give you a lot of the information you need to make a decision. This includes testimonials from other customers, which are excellent ‘word of mouth’ advertising. They usually also have a presence on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, which is yet another way to familiarise yourself with the company. Most importantly, though, is the fact that these companies offer you flexible pricing, free trials and an easy way to contact them with any questions you might have, so you can easily decide which answering service is right for you.
Hiring a professional answering service is a must in today’s hectic business world. An answering machine just doesn’t work anymore, particularly when you consider that seven out of 10 people will automatically hang up once they hear they’ve reached a machine. There is also no need to worry about your calls being answered quickly in the event of a large influx of calls coming in at the same time, as answering services always hire plenty of workers that can answer any call quickly, usually within a few seconds. After they answer your calls, they immediately relay them back to you via text, email or a telephone call – whatever method that you decide upon.
Phone-answering companies are open 24 hours a day, seven days per week, so they never close. Plus, with most of them there is no long-term contract, and you can change your pricing package at any time. Because of these and many other reasons, there is simply no reason not to trust your business to a professional answering service when you need it.