All business owners understand how stressful it is to own their own company, whether you run a small business or a large corporation. The pressures and frustrations are apparent most days and while being a business owner can be very rewarding, it can also be a lot of strain. One of the things that you can do to relieve some of this pressure is take advantage of outside services. Outsourcing some jobs such as telephone handling can be hugely beneficial, especially to small and medium sized businesses looking to grow and expand but that need to keep their costs to a minimum.
So, how does a telephone answering service work?
It is basically like hiring a receptionist but they will work from a remote location instead of on-site. This means that you save a lot of money on the following costs:
- There is no need to pay them a salary, as they work for a far lower monthly fee
- You don’t need to provide them with any benefits or bonuses
- There is no need to provide them with a work space
- They don’t need equipment such as a computer or a phone, as they are responsible for their own equipment
- You don’t have to pay them holiday or sick pay
- There is no need to give them maternity or paternity leave
All you need to do is provide them with a monthly fee that will be a lot less than a salary of a fulltime member of staff and you get to all enjoy all of the same perks as you would if you were to have someone working on-site, without the costs and responsibility that this incurs.
Hiring a virtual receptionist gives you the opportunity to increase your own productivity by freeing up your time to allocate it to do other jobs that need your expertise. As a business owner, you might have to run payroll or meet with clients and stopping to answer the phone all day long can be very distracting. You can employ a virtual secretary to work at the weekends and out of regular office hours to help you to avoid working excess hours when you should be relaxing.
Here are some of the duties you can concentrate better on as a result:
- Meeting with clients
- Talking to investors
- Planning direct marketing strategies
- Developing new business ideas, products and plans
- Managing the accounts
As a business owner, time really is money so the more time you can dedicate doing the jobs that need your skillset the better it will be for your business and taking calls is not something that you need to do all of the time.
You might be surprised about the amount of time you spend taking calls throughout a regular day, from trying to work out what the customer wants through to dealing with cold calls from other companies selling things. It disrupts your workflow that needs your full attention and hiring a virtual receptionist to handle your incoming calls for you allows you to focus on growing your company and push it forward to the next level.
Test It Out
If you want to try using a virtual receptionist to see how much you enjoy it, then you should find a company that offers a free trial period. This will give you the opportunity to test it out to see if it is a good fit for you and many business owners who are dubious about employing someone who works offsite will benefit from sampling the service before committing to it.
Improve your Customer Service
As you never have to worry about your receptionist taking a day off sick, needing an afternoon off to visit the dentist or going on holiday, you can be sure that all of your calls will be answered. This is important to your customers, as this means that they won’t ever be left with the phone ringing off the hook because a devalued customer is someone who will simply move onto your competition.
In fact, virtual receptionists are well known for offering a far superior service to customers compared to someone who will work on-site, and they will take some time to learn about your company and the business in order to be able to respond to questions and queries on your behalf.
They will be trained to handle all of the following:
- Customer complaints
- General questions and queries
- Pass on important phone calls
- Provide information
Having a phone ring out is not good for any type of business, as you never know what that one call might have been about. Even if someone calls that only wants to talk to the business owner, it is better to have a virtual receptionist answer this call and pass the message onto you to return the call than it is to have the call go through to voicemail.
Give off a Professional Image
In the cut throat world of business, it is important to be able to show professionalism all the time. Having all of your calls answered quickly and is a professional manner goes a long way to show your customers that you are serious about your company and their input.
A virtual receptionist will answer your calls by using your company name and you can choose between the following options:
- Having a message sent to you about the call via SMS
- Having a message sent to you about the call via email
- Taking the call immediately
The benefits of hiring a virtual receptionist range from reducing your costs and improving your productivity to being able to provide better customer care and ensuring you don’t miss a business opportunity. Not only is it a cost effective business solution but it will help you to be able to grow your business without incurring the high costs that this often attracts, as well as the extra responsibility.