Small businesses are constantly growing, and a part of positive growth is managing employee costs. Hiring employees and managing the related expenses and benefits programs can add up quickly. By outsourcing the management of your call volume to small business answering service providers, small businesses can cut front desk-related costs and expand the number of hours they are available with a LIVE voice. Financial savings can then be directed towards another area of the business.
Why are Small Businesses Important to the US Economy?
Small businesses are a vital part of our communities. They provide sole proprietors with the opportunity to put their own entrepreneurial ideas and business vision into action. They stimulate local economies and support neighborhoods. Individuals who work for small businesses also often report great job satisfaction.
Unfortunately, when times get tough, like during the coronavirus pandemic, small businesses are among the most affected. Now more than ever, small businesses need resources and advice to get through the next few months as communities begin to reopen.
According to the Small Business Association Office of Advocacy, there are 30.7 million small businesses in the United States.
With small businesses making up over 99% of all businesses in the country, it’s easy to see why they are the cornerstone of the US economy. They employ thousands and thousands of individuals, provide numerous opportunities for diversity and creativity, and provide unique and specialized services. But they also do more than simply create distinctive businesses in every community. They help ensure that money stays in the community and stimulate growth and prosperity in these communities. They are more adaptable and flexible to the community’s needs than larger corporations. They help sustain the neighborhoods they are a part of, by not only employing nearby citizens but also by providing personalized and high-quality goods and services to a smaller customer base. All of these aspects benefit the local economy, feed the local tax base, and generate economic growth for the community.
Why are Small Local Businesses the Backbone of the US?
The wonderful thing about small businesses is that it allows individuals to take their ideas and passions and turn them into a business model that allows them to share their creativity and talents with their local communities. Not only do small businesses provide essential goods and services to towns and neighborhoods across the country, but they are also a key source of employment for these communities as well. From 2000 to 2018, small businesses created 9.6 million new jobs in the United States, while large businesses created only 5.2 million. Put differently, small businesses were responsible for 64.9% of new job creation during that time. Small businesses also provide more opportunities for minorities and women. In 2012, minorities owned 29.3% of small businesses and women owned 36.3%. Clearly, small businesses are the backbone of our country in that they support our communities and the people who live within them.
Why Do Small Businesses Need An Answering Service?
In today’s tough economic times, many offices are working short-staffed. Without the appropriate staff to handle incoming calls, calls often go unanswered. Unanswered calls can mean lost appointments, lost sales, or frustrated existing customers. Many callers will hang up after 4-5 rings, and will not leave a voicemail. If the call is from a potential new customer, they may move on to the next phone number on the list.
One way to help take the pressure off existing staff, bring in new customers, and avoid upsetting existing customers is to hire an answering service for small businesses to handle overflow calls. Most phone carriers provide a service called Automatic Call Forwarding (ACF). ACF allows for the calls to automatically be rerouted after a predetermined number of rings (usually 3-4). For example: If the phone rings more than four times in the office the call is then transferred to the telephone answering service. The answering service then takes the call, asks the required questions, and sends back the information to the office (via email, fax, text, etc.) The office staff can now prioritize the calls and take appropriate actions (call back to set up appointments, make a sale, or handle a customer issue). And the monthly cost of hiring an answering service is significantly less than hiring and training a new employee to manage calls.
Small Businesses Often Rely on Outsourced Help
Small businesses often outsource needs in order to compete with larger competitors. They also often need to help with the most mundane, repetitive, or simple tasks such as not missing incoming calls. By knowing where to focus their energy for the best return on investment, small business owners can turn to payroll, small business answering services, accounting, financial advisors, and other helpful service suppliers that often save them money in the long run.
What Are The Benefits Of Answering Service For Small Business?
- Reducing the Pressure on your Employees: Having an answering service for small business can take the load off of your employees so that customers can get most or all of their questions answered from a call center agent. This can cover everything from hours of operation and billing questions to product questions and order fulfillment.
- Managing Emergency Calls: Professionals, as well as service providers ranging from doctors and dentists to plumbers, electricians and beyond, are also prone to heavier calls during the holiday season. The truth is that these are often urgent or even emergency calls which require immediate attention. More often than not, they come at a time when the service provider is already in the field or after business hours.
- Efficient Communication with Customers: Answering services for small business can provide the knowledgeable voice on the other end of the phone to answering general questions, and based on need, route calls while also setting appointments so customers get the personal attention they need. Although this is true any time of year, the need becomes even more acute at holiday times where small businesses are already stretched thin in terms of personnel.
- Increasing Customer Satisfaction: No matter whether your small business is retail, direct seller, professional, or a service provider, answering services for small businesses can be the answer to increased customer satisfaction at a time of year when employees are busier than ever. By adding a customized answering services for small business, business owners can cost-effectively increase their bottom line during the all-important holiday season while ensuring that every customer has the prompt, courteous, and informed personal attention that keeps them coming back as lifelong customers.
- Customized Scripting Control: By having a small business answering service, you know exactly what the person who represents you will say and can be assured that every call will be answered. You can provide daily instructions that can be modified so that they can provide more definitive timeframes for the callback, and small business answering services from Anserve including appointment scheduling on your behalf. When you set the protocol for what exactly constitutes an emergency, agents can forward the call directly to you so that you can take it immediately.
- Records for Everything: Between service calls en route to the next appointment, you can review recorded calls to determine callback priority, and also squeeze in new appointments when the current schedule moves faster than expected. With many calls coming after business hours, you’re sure to have an informed and courteous live voice answering them and following protocols for appointments or contacting you in the event of an emergency.
- Cost-effective Solution: By having an answering service for small business service providers, you can have a cost-effective customer communication solution that works well for the holidays and beyond. There is no better way to keep your appointment book full, keep revenue flowing, and set the stage for a productive year.
Why Small Businesses Can’t Afford to Miss Calls During the Holidays
The holiday season is not only the busiest time of year for businesses, it is the most crucial time of year in terms of the bottom line. Being busy in the last quarter is not the exclusive province of retail businesses, as professionals and those in the service industry are also dealing with more calls. All of these businesses can benefit from small business answering services during the holiday season to help manage the many facets of customer communications.
While all small businesses deal with spikes in business throughout the year, most are short and fairly unpredictable. The holiday season is one time of the year when small businesses know that they will see an increase in customer calls.
For small businesses that provide services ranging from plumbing and electricians, to construction and HVAC, taking time out to answer calls, or worse, missing customer communications all together can cost a lot of revenue. This becomes an even costlier venture during the holidays when every appointment is an “emergency” and the workload in the field is intense. These are situations when an answering service for a small business can truly make or break it for your business.
Customers expect to have a service provider’s full attention when they are on the job site, and this is especially true during the holidays. The challenge is that this is the time of year when call volume can be high and the feeling of urgency becomes widespread as people prepare for guests and events.
You may be losing business because most people are too impatient to leave a message when they don’t know if you will return the call they see as “urgent.” And most often, when voicemail picks up, they hang up and are on to the next potential service provider on the list.
In addition, you run the risk of missing real emergency calls. The same result can happen with new customers, but it also can involve returning customers. In either case, you are losing business in the short term and throughout the year from repeat business and referrals.
You have the option to hire a receptionist, which ensures that you have a live voice to answer all of those “emergency” calls during the holidays, but as a small business, the costs can be prohibitive. Additionally, it’s difficult to find good help at any time of year and nearly impossible during the holidays.
Today, every business is utilizing their web presence as a primary means of sales contact with their customer base. While this potentially opens up the business to customers from around the globe, the holidays mean that the need for customer interaction via telephone or online will also increase.
Even as the economy recovers for many businesses, adding holiday employees is still less of an option than in years past. Even when businesses can afford the extra help, the hours must be minimized and the work must go beyond answering the phone to other important physical tasks such as in-store sales and product stocking. Answering services for small businesses can bridge the gap in terms of having that extra employee to field calls and answer customer questions in a highly cost-effective way so that holiday hires can concentrate on other tasks, which makes them more cost-effective as well.
What Business Resources does a Small Business Need?
Depending on the type of business, a small business’ resources and needs may vary. Nevertheless, there are a few key resources that every small business requires in order to thrive.
- Funding: Financial capital is one of the most important resources to help a small business get off the ground. Startup costs are significant and add up quickly. Just registering your business’ name is an upfront cost that will have to be covered before you can begin turning a profit. Loans are one option for obtaining financing if you don’t want to risk your own funds to get your business going but be sure to do some research to see if you might be eligible for a grant as well.
- WorkForce: Once your business idea is in motion, you’ll need to hire employees to help your business operation run smoothly. There are dozens of online recruiting websites that can help you find experienced workers, but local staffing agencies are another great resource to find the perfect fit for your business.
- Equipment and Products: Your small business will likely need some sort of workspace or equipment to produce your goods or provide your services. Whether you require a warehouse that will manufacture several unique products or simple office space with a desk and a computer, small businesses need proper equipment that they can rely on to help their business succeed.
- Education: The more a small business owner knows about their industry, competition, and internal organization, the more likely they are to succeed. Professional trade organizations and the Small Business Association can provide you with tools to help small businesses make smart decisions when faced with a challenge.
Anserve’s small business answering services can be a resource for small businesses. Our answering services for small businesses can answer calls around the clock to scheduling appointments.
What Resources are Available for Small Businesses After COVID?
The COVID-19 pandemic forced many companies to close their doors while the initial wave of the virus passed. Now that states are beginning to allow certain communities to reopen, many small businesses are faced with the challenge of reopening in a way that is safe and cost effective.
Unemployment rates have skyrocketed. Many small businesses simply cannot afford to go for an extensive period of time without continued patronage. Studies show that small businesses have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic in every industry, but those who provide public accommodations and food services have been affected the most.
Joining a professional trade organization or seeking out the local chapter of the Small Business Association can be excellent sources for small businesses to seek out advice. Small business owners in New Jersey may want to consider consulting the New Jersey Business and Industry Association (NJBIA), an advocacy group that focuses on promoting its members’ business interests in a wide variety of industries. Such associations are equipped with the resources and expertise to provide small businesses with essential business advice and better prepare those businesses to make their business goals a reality. Local Chamber of Commerce organizations are also extremely helpful for small businesses, improving networking, and conveying local information quickly. Anserve is a member of the NJBIA and the Morris County Chamber of Commerce.
Anserve’s small business answering services can be a resource for small businesses that may be understaffed coming out of the pandemic. Our answering services for small businesses can seamlessly answer calls when the call volume is overwhelming for your staff, and after hours, on holidays and weekends. In addition, Anserve can route emergency calls to the proper staff member/department.
How Does A Business Answering Service Provide Many Solutions To Small Businesses?
Every small business owner is aware of the importance of customer service. Unfortunately, many of these individuals simply don’t have the resources to effectively manage the amount of correspondence they receive from customers and prospects. This is where a small business answering service can help.
Traditionally, a telephone answering service for small business took phone calls and messages and delivered those messages as requested by the client. Today, consumers like to communicate with companies in a variety of ways beyond just the phone, so a good business answering service must be prepared to serve in a number of ways.
Anserve has live phone agents available to manage phone, text, e-mail, instant messaging, voice mail, and other critical communications for its clients that have chosen to work with an answering service for small business for several important reasons.
- On-call Around the Clock: Just because a business closes at a certain time of day doesn’t mean its customers or prospects aren’t trying to get in touch. With professional call center services, no calls or messages are ever missed.
- Superior Service: Most small businesses don’t have the training or comprehensive management to ensure that their staff is consistently giving informative responses to those contacting them. On the other hand, our live phone agents are trained to maintain the highest professional standards in dealing with every call and message.
- Accurate Routing of Messages: At Anserve, we prioritize the routing of messages according to each client’s specific requirements. This way they are assured that they receive their most important messages rapidly and in the desired format.
- Economical: Because companies who use an answering service for small business pay only for the time that staff is working on calls or messages, they save considerable expenses compared to what they would pay staff to sit by the phones around the clock.
- Flexibility: In order to be an effective partner for its clients, a call answering service needs to offer a variety of programs and plans so that companies using the service can customize services to their specific needs. No two businesses are the same, so no two answering service plans should be the same either.
These are just a few of the reasons more and more companies are working with an answering service for small businesses in managing the wide scope of communications with their customers. If these small business answering services could benefit your business, we’d love to help you design a plan to fit your exact needs. Call Anserve at (800) 980-9770, or contact us online.
How to Choose Answering Services For Small Business Needs?
Running a small business is a time-consuming endeavor. Between managing staff, reviewing budgets, evaluating sales, and handling day-to-day tasks, it sometimes feels as though there just simply aren’t enough hours in a day. If this is the case, you may have decided that it is time to hire an answering service to take care of your phone calls, while you deal with the most important tasks. However, you might be wondering which answering service for small businesses should I use?
Choosing an answering service for small business is an important decision. The organization you hire will often be the “face” of your organization that interacts with all of your clients on the phone. Although it is an important decision, it does not have to be a difficult one! Having a proper plan of action before you scout out options will fast-track the process.
Your business is getting a higher call volume and customers queries. Well, that’s great news! That means your business is growing! Now’s the time to hire a small business answering service to help you retain existing customers and provide positive experiences to help convert leads into new customers. Here is what you need to do to get set up.
Determine the Functions your Answering Service will need to Perform.
You may need live agents to:
- Take orders over the phone
- Provide customer support
- Follow protocols for emergency or other time-sensitive calls
- Schedule appointments
- Offer multilingual support
- Provide 24/7 assistance
- Provide voicemail services
At the forefront, you will need to think through exactly what you want the small business answering service to do. Are you simply looking for someone to take messages for your office, or are you looking for a comprehensive team that will be able to answer client questions and provide customer service? The better you are able to communicate your expectations to a potential business answering service, the more likely they can meet them once hired.
Do you want to Incorporate New Means of Communicating with Customers?
A good time to enhance your customer service options is when you’re setting up your business with an answering service. Our small business answering service offers services that can supplement traditional answering services, like adding online chat services to your website or setting up text alerts.
A large part of being able to communicate your expectations to a potential small business answering service comes from understanding the ins and outs of your small business. If your business consists of a few departments and many employees, you might only have a global view of the institution’s operations, rather than an understanding of the intricacies each area deals with. If so, you may have to involve other employees in the conversation to ensure the small business answering service has a full picture of the daily operations. The more detail you can provide an answering service about the capabilities of your small business, the better they will be able to accommodate your needs.
Another aspect you should consider when hiring an answering service for a small business is to think about the ways the answering service will improve some of your shortcomings. Are you falling behind on orders because you’re spending too much time on the phone? Are you receiving calls outside of business hours? Is the sheer number of calls just simply too much for your staff to handle while also performing their other job duties? It is important to not only communicate these concerns to a potential answering service, but you should also determine whether or not a small business answering service will be able to address these issues.
Once you’ve evaluated the needs of your company and the areas where a small business answering service can offer improvement, it’s time to start sorting through potential services to hire. As you interview potential partners it’s helpful to have a list of discussion points to bring up during the conversation. You should be able to convey to the answering service how many calls you expect them to handle and the nature of those calls. Also, consider your budget, and have a frank discussion of how much your small business is able to spend on these services.
At this point, it is also a good idea to read through the reviews for the small business answering services and their website to get a better understanding of the services they offer. If the answering service has a lot of experience working with your particular industry, they might be a better fit than other options. Another important factor to look into when picking a company is determining what kind of technology they use to field calls, and if that software is sufficient for your needs. Finally, you’ll need to decide if you want to work with a local answering service that has a better lay of the land in your immediate area, or if you’d rather work with a more remote service.
Hiring a small business answering service is a great way to shave off some of your workloads and continue focusing on your favorite parts about running a business. With a little bit of research and some planning, you’ll have no problem finding the right fit for you.
How Do I Set Up A Telephone Answering Service?
It’s relatively easy to set up a telephone answering service. First, evaluate your needs. Are you looking for extra coverage when the phones are unattended during the day? Do you feel you’re missing phone calls or are your callers more likely to try and get in touch with you after business hours? Does your company rely on employees to be out in the field? Cell phones serve as a direct line to that person…are your employees really taking every single call that comes to their cell phone? Once you have answered these questions and determined your requirements, contact Anserve to find the right plan to improve your business.
How Much Does It Cost For A Telephone Answering Service?
The cost of a telephone answering service varies depending on your needs. Every business has different requirements and an answering service can be customized to meet the demands of your small business. Each script is devised with the specific business in mind, so your clients will get a personalized experience when they call. Contact us or call (800) 980-9770 to discuss specific pricing plans.
What Is The Best Telephone Answering Service?
There are many answering services out there, so choosing the best one will ultimately come down to the availability and flexibility of features and the customer support that your business receives. The best small business answering services will provide a custom fit for your needs. They will help you create a script specific to your clients, right down to the time of day the call comes in. At Anserve, our customer service is unrivaled, with 24/7 bilingual answering services and friendly, empathetic agents. A phone call has a myriad of potential outcomes – you need a service that will route messages to the right department (or people) courteously and efficiently.
How Does A Telephone Answering Service Work?
A small business answering service is designed to answer every single incoming call while also reducing hold time. Most agencies utilize technology to achieve set metrics, manage call volume, script each call, and relay the necessary info to each client. Expect small business answering services from Anserve to be an extension of your brand; we will follow the same guidelines your in-house employees also follow.
After properly forwarding your calls, your small business answering service is responsible for following the agreed-upon protocol for call flow – closing the loop of communication right up until your employees step back into the process. If you are interested in evaluating small business answering service options, please give Anserve a call or contact us!
What Questions To Ask Your Small Business Answering Service Provider
- How will the virtual receptionists learn your business?
- Can you help write customized scripts?
- What is the process for updating any scripts and how quickly will these changes be implemented?
- Will the representatives follow any protocols that you establish for special situations?
- What is included in any service packages they offer, and how much does it cost to add more?
- Are all calls answered in real-time?
- How will the answering service typically communicate with you?
- As your business grows, will they be able to meet the demand?
When discussing these concerns with Anserve, you will be at ease knowing you’re working with experts.
Anserve is a small business answering service that provides a comprehensive selection of phone, web, texting, and other services to business owners, doctors, lawyers, and many other professionals. Visit our website to view our services and don’t hesitate to give us a call at 800-980-9770.
What Features are Most Important for a Small Business Telephone Answering Service?
A small business answering service is extremely helpful for small businesses that want to save on employee costs while still ensuring that clients’ needs are being met. Some small businesses rely on ownership to get involved and even answer calls. But this takes them away from the strategic planning required to manage the business.
Your business is relying on an answering service for 24/7 reliability, so power redundancy and data protection for your answering service should be towards the top of your list of requirements. Make it a priority to understand how your small business answering service ensures 24/7 availability. Anserve’s primary offices are in a 12,000 sq ft facility powered through local sources and solar panels. In the event of a power outage, our building’s natural gas generator automatically transitions to support the entire facility. Anserve also has a robust technology strategy. We are redundant in several off-site locations and carry a relationship with the nation’s premier colocation services for mission-critical data protection. This colocation also serves as a boost to bandwidth, remote capabilities, and a support to telephony services.
Anserve provides a 24/7, never-miss-a-call environment so business owners can focus their time elsewhere, and not have to hire additional staff or stress the current personnel, and still have all calls answered no matter when they come in.
Why Trust Anserve’s Answering Services For Small Businesses?
When you’re looking to contract with an answering service for small business, keep in mind that not all are alike. Anserve is the largest call center in New Jersey and is able to provide a wider range of services than smaller answering services, and this range of services benefits small businesses.
As a small business ourselves, Anserve understands the challenges small businesses face. We know that running a small business requires business owners to juggle finances, inventory, employees, and other managerial aspects of the job, while also making time to interact with customers and provide excellent customer service. Simple things like answering the phone can become a challenge, but it is such an important aspect of ensuring that customers feel that they are being heard and helped. Anserve’s small business answering services can help alleviate at least one challenge by fielding all of your incoming calls, making sure that every customer receives the ideal customer experience they expect when working with a small business.
Years ago, fielding calls and relaying messages was about all answering services did. At Anserve, we believe we’ve perfected the system. A telephone answering services company should have ample staff for the phones and experienced management staff to keep operations running smoothly. It should also provide bilingual answering services to serve as much of the market as possible.
Phone answering services must hire the right people and train them to be polite and courteous when speaking to customers. Live agents are supplied with accurate materials and resources that guide them in exactly how to deal with callers for each client. Clients expect a lot, so phone agents have to be able to perform.
For message taking and delivery, small business answering services from Anserve use automation for proven success. The best services will automatically fax or email your messages to you at any place in the United States at no cost. This can be done at pre-arranged times or on-demand.
Answering calls is an important service for all clients, but especially for those who experience calls at all hours. Doctors, dentists, attorneys, plumbers, contractors have urgent calls coming in at all hours. For these cases, phone agents must be able to take messages and get them relayed quickly and accurately.
Since 1969, Anserve has offered answering services to a diverse clientele. Anserve invests in the latest telecommunications and data security equipment necessary to operate a modern small business answering service. We are headquartered in Butler, N.J., in a modern 12,000 square foot facility, and use state-of-the-art digital Pinnacle hardware and software, and the world renowned CenturiSoft voicemail system. If you have any questions about how our services can help your small business be more successful, don’t hesitate to call (800) 980-9770, contact us through our website.