Today, economic necessity and the desire for greater control over time and finances are leading millions to start their own business. Unfortunately, the demands on time for those working a full-time job as well as stay-at-home mothers running a house, raising kids, and constantly running errands makes it difficult to grow that start-up or home-based business. Most of these overburdened budding entrepreneurs are unaware of the ways that a telephone answering service can affordably help them balance their full-time jobs while helping to grow their business.
Whether your startup business provides products online via an ECommerce store or services that require client interaction in the field, working a full-time job, running a household with family or both can make it impossible to find the time to grow the business. Working full-time in an office environment can be the most challenging when it comes to running your business. If you work in the field or have a flexible work schedule, it becomes easier.
Phone Answering Services: Use your Spare Time More Efficiently
If you’re working in an office environment, the first priority in terms of loyalty is to your full-time employer. You are likely already using your “spare time” to run your business. That “spare time” includes using lunch breaks and work commutes to work on your business.
The use of this spare time can encompass everything from marketing, social media and checking e-mail to making calls and setting appointments. If your startup requires interaction with customers, clients, and vendors, answering phone calls can be a challenge that will either put your full-time job in jeopardy or stifle your start-up business’s growth.
The affordability of phone answering services can provide a live agent to answer the calls for your startup business and allow you to apply protocols for answering questions, order fulfillment, and call prioritization that allows you to use your “spare time” more effectively. If you are running an ECommerce business, the myriad options of a telephone answering service can provide you with online live chat help desk features from a live agent or via email support and text messaging. You can utilize your “spare time” to keep track of discussions, interactions, sales leads, and vendor inquiries via your smartphone.
Customization Allows You to Manage Calls and Messages
Since today’s modern phone answering service offers almost infinite customization and à la carte service functionality, you can take advantage of their technological infrastructure to affordably stay in contact with your customers and vendors during the day. These services allow you to provide a virtual assistant that can answer questions, fulfill orders and prioritize call emergencies.
Some answering services utilize apps that allow you to turn your smartphone into a dual messaging center/pager that allows you to structure voicemail, email and pager functionality without any IT infrastructure. These apps allow you to manage all incoming calls without having to constantly monitor your phone at work and create a divided work allegiance where your employer and your business suffer.
Affordable Answering Service Makes Running Your Business Easier
It’s important to keep in mind that phone answering services offer a broad range of services and technology that can make running your business much easier while still remaining affordable. These services that lessen the time it takes to perform important tasks are not only worth the investment in terms of growing your business’s bottom line, they are also tax-deductible, which increases its affordability.
Build Relationships With Your Customers
To become a valued and reputable business, you need to know your customers. In order to provide top-quality services, you must maintain an open line of communication between you and your customer. Any details the customer provides about their needs and expectations can help you build trust and provide better service.
Communication between the business answering service and the customer is essential. The customer must supply the answering service with as much information as possible about the finer points of their business or practice. When assisting clients or patients, the answering service must provide accurate, up-to-date information. This includes establishment hours, business specialties, and emergency contact information.
Establish a relationship with your customers. Building a bond assures your customer that they are a priority, and can help your answering service feel comfortable and dependable. Above all, this can be achieved through accountability for both the customer and the callers.
As the middleman, the small business answering service takes responsibility for providing customers with accurate information. The answering service must direct callers in the right direction—one forgotten detail may result in a frustrated, misled customer. The answering service and customer must work together to efficiently take care of callers. Getting to know each other is the greatest step to achieving quality answering service and a strong relationship.
Most answering service customers forward their phone lines during certain times to a designated line provided by the phone answering service. In many cases this is a manual process where the customer dials *72 or #72 (depending on the carrier) and then the call forwarding number in order to send the calls to the small business answering service. If someone forgets to manually forward the phone then the calls do not go to the answering service but ring unanswered in the customer’s office. Contrary to what many people believe, nothing is done on the phone answering service side when the calls are forwarded (no buttons are pushed, no switches are flipped on the answering service side). So if the office staff forgets to forward for some reason (for example: the office closed early due to weather, a new employee forgets to forward, etc) very often there is a panicked call to the answering service from an office person saying, “Can you please put my phones on forwarding so I don’t have to go back to the office and do it?” Unfortunately there is nothing that can be done if the customer has regular call forwarding.
However, for a few dollars a month ultra call forwarding can be purchased from most carriers (Verizon, Paetec, etc). Ultra call forwarding allows the customer or small business answering service (if the codes are provided) to forward the office lines from anywhere at any time. Most answering service customers do not know about it and do not have ultra call forwarding. Ultra call forwarding can save a lot of time, gas and worry even if it is only used a few times a year. Contact Anserve to learn more!