If you notice any of these indicators, then it’s time to seriously consider partnering with a live answering service for your business.
You’ve finally done it! Your start-up business has landed its first customers and they’re excited about your products or services. In fact, you’ve even been collecting leads that are eagerly waiting for your follow up call. Now the real work begins.
Now you have orders to process, leads to nurture, customers to service… The list goes on and on. It is becoming pretty clear that even though a successful launch was important, it was still just one piece of the puzzle. What you need to be able to do now is manage a sustainable and repeatable business.
Maybe it is time you considered getting some help. The trouble is, you have already done your homework and you know that hiring an employee is one of the most expensive things you can do as a business owner. Perhaps you have even had personal experience managing your own employees in the past and learned that keeping them engaged, on task and effective is difficult, time consuming and doesn’t always give you the return you are looking for.
So what are your options? How do you survive as a small business competing against the giants in your industry? If this sounds like you, it might be time your business considered using a call answering service robust enough to enable your business to service your customers with a level of professionalism and responsiveness perhaps even beyond that of your biggest competitor. But how do you know when you are ready to take this step?
We’ve put together this short list of some of the most critical indicators you should pay attention to for determining if now is the right time for you to consider hiring an answering service:
1. Your in-house team is overwhelmed
This is the first, and most obvious sign you need help. You may have launched your business on a shoestring budget and managed to get pretty far with the weight resting on the shoulders of your small team, but if you are in this for the long haul and determined to be a greater success than you are right now, you have to consider what is best for the future of your business. The last thing you want to do is continue to overwhelm your team and burn them out. It is important to pick resources that can flex and grow as your company grows. That is why a call answering service is often so much more appealing than hiring an employee. With a call answering service, you have the ability to rely on an agency to manage the phone agents and maintain the highest standard of quality possible. You also are able to set up the roadmap of how you want all customer service representatives to handle the different call situations, protecting you against the cost of future training and turnover.
2.) You’re receiving messages at night and over the weekend
Just because your business runs from 9-5, doesn’t mean your customers have clocked out until you are available to take their call the next business day. You may notice you receive calls after hours and your clients or customers are leaving messages with their concerns, questions, and perhaps even an intention to place an order or schedule an appointment. This is a solid indication that you have callers that are interested in getting in touch with you during hours you currently don’t provide service. According to a Forbes article, 80% of callers don’t leave voicemails because they don’t think they’ll be heard. That means any voicemails being left afterhours could represent a significant number of callers who are simply not connecting with you. With an answering service, your phones could be covered 24 hours a day at just a fraction of what it would cost you to hire an employee to handle calls during regular business hours.
3.) Your productivity is suffering from the distracting phone calls
Calls are pouring in and your team seems to be on top of it, switching from one call that is on hold and helping the next customer before quickly switching back and closing with the first. Things almost seem under control, right? If this sounds familiar, it is probably important you stop and take a look at what tasks aren’t getting done while your team is tied up on the phones. Your internal resources should be focused on the unique responsibilities you hired them for in the first place. If your team is particularly small and you are finding yourself on the phone throughout the day, this is even more concerning. As the business owner, you are uniquely qualified to take on the larger, strategic planning and decision making tasks that prepare your business for the future. Hiring an answering service could free you and your team up to manage the crucial objectives that are keeping your business from being wildly successful.
4.) Leads are not converting into sales like they should
Your business is doing well enough to collect leads and the list is continuing to grow, but for some reason you just don’t seem to be converting very many into sales. This could be because your team just doesn’t have enough time to dedicate to nurturing and closing those leads like they should. Doing this takes a steady and consistent focus on customer communication and follow up. With a call answering service that is capable of scheduling appointments, you can contact your customers when it is most convenient for them and effectively close sales to help bring revenue back into your business.
5.) Negative Customer Feedback
This is the last thing you want to see as a business owner. If your business has languished long enough without the resources it requires, this will eventually trickle down to your customers. Even a highly capable team will eventually drop the ball when they are not provided with enough support to manage a heavy workload. When this happens, your customers are the ones that feel the pinch, and some will find ways to let you and others know about it. Maybe it is a poor review on Google, or a negative post on Facebook. Maybe you have product reviews on your site that a customer writes and includes their experience of feeling ignored or neglected by your team.
Whether this was your intention or not, your customer suffered for it and they felt compelled to share that experience and maybe even help keep it from happening to others. If your business has allowed itself to be under-resourced to the point of failing the customer, you don’t have a moment to lose. A call answering service can help pick up the slack to reassure customers that they are valued and being taken care of.
When it comes to deciding the right time to hire an answering service, the earlier you do it, the better. Being proactive could prevent your team, business or customers from unnecessarily suffering while you hesitate. However, if you are already experiencing any of the indicators we have listed above, now is the time to make “the call” and let someone else handle your calls.