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4 Best Features of an Answering Service for Small Businesses

 

An answering service can be best friend material for small businesses. Here are a few of the most helpful features that your small business should know about.

Image of four answering service agents for small businesses

Small businesses can quickly realize the positive benefits of using a telephone answering service. However, there are four features of an answering service that really stand out and can make an immediate impact on your business, no matter what line of work you are in.

Call Patching – Virtual Receptionist
Answering services can provide prompt, efficient call patching services. This allows your service to act as a “virtual receptionist” for your business. Callers can be immediately connected with you or members of your staff. And what is even better, they are under the impression that they are speaking with a receptionist in your office. What a great way to alleviate the stress at your front desk. When call volumes rise, your virtual receptionist can back up your front desk staff, or even replace them completely!

Scheduling
Are you getting bottle-necked in your scheduling department? Only have one scheduling assistant and she is busy doing 19 other things in the office, too? Are you answering a bunch of voice mails in the morning from customers that called you last night wanting to schedule or change or cancel an appointment? An answering service can provide you with professional appointment scheduling day or night. Now your business will never miss another schedule request. To process schedule requests at any time, your answering service will use a web-based scheduling service that you have complete access to. That way, your staff and your answering service are all working from the same calendar. This is a great service and not enough businesses take advantage of it!

24/7/365 Presence
For a very reasonable (and often extremely low) price, your can make your business available to customers 24/7. Usually, moving to a 24/7 customer support model is cost prohibitive to businesses simply from a staffing standpoint. Who can afford to put 2 or 3 extra people on the payroll to sit around at night waiting for just a few calls? A good receptionist usually can cost about $25K or $30K per year and he or she can still only process 1 call at a time. Sign up with an answering service for as little as $45/month and have an entire staff of professionally trained people to answer your calls, handle important sales inquiries, schedule your appointments and provide general information to everyone. What a perfect way to stay ahead of your competition!

Reduce HR Expenses
I noted two areas in this blog where you, the business owner, can make a significant dent in your HR and Payroll expenses. But let’s list out a third category:

  1. Add 24/7 staffing at a fraction of the cost of what it takes to hire internally: Why hire a $30K per year receptionist to move your business into a 24/7 support model when you can hire an entire team of trained professionals for 1/20th of that cost? We are in a 24/7 society. You almost have no choice but to get your business on the front line of customer service.
  2. Replace existing staff: Repetitive tasks such as transferring incoming callers to a member of your staff can be easily assimilated by a virtual receptionist. So why pay a premium when an answering service can mimic this function very quickly and very efficiently? Re-purpose your front desk to focus on back office functions or administrative tasks that can only be done in-house. Let your virtual receptionist handle the calls.
  3. Add overflow or backup staffing day or night: If you like handling your own calls – great! Lots of businesses feel the same way. But you will have call spikes and busy times when your existing staff is not enough. So help them out and have an answering service provide backup. Your service can be available at a moment’s notice 24/7. Just forward your lines or automatically roll your calls over and your service will sound as good as (or better) than your receptionists. This service is a no-brainer and a must for small businesses.

Easy to set up, low cost and no long term contracts. What have you got to lose? Take a serious look at investing in a telephone answering service for your small business today.

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This entry was posted in Answering Service, Business and tagged , by Brian Gabriel. Bookmark the permalink.

About Brian Gabriel

As the Call Center Manager for Sound Telecom, Brian is responsible for overseeing the daily operations and long term success of the company while managing a variety of inbound customer support programs. He also has a hand in taking care of the Solaxis services division. Prior to joining Sound Telecom, Mr. Gabriel held management positions with several prominent Internet Services companies including XpenseWise.com and Greatfood.com. Brian started his career in advertising and sales before moving to Washington State. He joined AEI Music in 1995 and supervised their international customer service department and technical support call centers. Brian received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism with a minor in Spanish languages from San Diego State University. Brian teaches adult education at his church and actively supports Christian ministries.