If you own a small business you know all too well that it’s a good sign when customers are calling, but it’s also a challenge to answer their calls while staying on task. At some point, you’re likely to decide that you need help fielding calls, answering questions, and scheduling appointments. Do you hire an in-house receptionist or outsource your calls to an answering service? Let’s compare the financial commitment of each for a small business, along with the benefits.
The holidays are upon us once again, and many of us are planning on spending some extra time with family and friends. Meanwhile, business goes on as usual as far as most customers understand. So how do you take time off without being tied to your phone? And how do you keep your business going without your calls piling up or your customers getting frustrated?
Despite technology advances with email, texting, and social media postings, the phone call remains the foundation of business transactions. People still—and always will—rely on direct human connection and conversation to make decisions about which products or services to invest in. Whether people call a business for information, to get help with an issue, or to make an appointment or place an order, how their phone call is handled makes all the difference in what they do next. In fact, a recent Invoca study shows that after a negative phone experience with a business—
An article in Forbes described how attorney Fabian Lima left the law firm life to work independently on the legal cases that mattered most to him—immigration and criminal law. Lima is not alone in his desire to work on his own. The article cites Intuit’s Future of Small Business report, which reveals that the number of small businesses in the U.S.—most of them one-person operations—will rise from about 30 million in 2014 to about 42 million in 2026.
Any lawyer, whether practicing solo or with a large firm, can testify that answering calls and responding to voicemails and emails is a job in and of itself. Dedicating proper time and energy to these tasks often distracts from other attending to other pressing legal matters. We understand because we’ve helped several attorneys in the same boat. If you’re in the legal field and are wondering whether an answering service would help you run your practice more efficiently, check out this handful of posts that our clients in the legal field have found most helpful:
When business owners or office managers begin to consider hiring an answering service, one of their first questions is, “There’s a lot of information out there about call centers and answering services, but what’s the difference?” Good question—because while the terms are often used interchangeably, the process each uses to manage your calls can be quite different. The key is to focus more on what the service or center offers rather than the terminology. That said, let’s start with the typical interpretations of the two.
If your phones are ringing off the hook, or at least ringing more frequently than you can keep up with, the good news is that your business is in demand. However, the bad news is that your calls aren’t being answered promptly, which gives callers the impression that you’re too busy for new business.
It’s common for potential clients to tell us that they’d been considering hiring an answering service for quite awhile before they finally decided to reach out to us. Sometimes they just weren’t sure if their call volume warranted an answering service, or if their business would really benefit from it. Other times they weren’t sure exactly what an answering service could do for them, or if they really afford it.
You’ve decided it’s time to hire an answering service to help manage your business calls, but do you know the right questions to ask about how you’ll be charged? Answering services use a variety of ways to charge their clients, so understanding and comparing how call centers bill can make a big difference in which service you choose.
While never putting a caller on hold may be the ideal in when it comes to customer service, we all know that it’s just not always realistic. Every business has spurts of busy times when the phones are ringing off the hook, or when staff members are simply tied up with other tasks and simply can’t answer calls.