Could answering the telephone be costing you money?

By Nick East

July 27, 2020

Wait…last week we were saying not answering the telephone costs you money, now we’re saying answering the phone costs money. What’s going on?! Well, of course, answering the phone is critical to your business – but it’s important to think who should be answering it…

What made you decide to establish your own business? Usually, business owners say it’s because they wanted to pursue their passion. They’re driven to provide either a new product or service or apply their unique touch to an existing service. However, many business owners lament that administrative and sales tasks take them away from their passion. Answering the phone to respond to customer enquiries is time-consuming, distracting, and costly. Answering the phone also requires excellent customer service skills which can be exhausting to deliver when balancing that with your work.

Answering the telephone is time consuming

Owning and running a business means taking on additional operational responsibilities that can eat into productivity. A recent report has shown that sales representatives spend on average 4.9 hours per week on customer service activities such as customer inquiries, handling complaints, and account maintenance. A sale representative typically spends 13 minutes on the phone per call, while complaints can take 19 minutes. This can be quite the time-suck for smaller businesses, especially if they don’t have the personnel for it. Client admin/processing takes on average 5.2 hours per week. This includes generating quotes, pricing repeat orders, and entering orders. Ten hours per week is a high price to pay. Answering calls and processing orders isn’t only time consuming, it’s distracting.

Phone calls can be a costly distraction

Staying focused on your work while responding to the demands of your customers, staff, and work is challenging. In a study conducted by Randstad, UK workers were asked questions about their productivity and communication practices in the workplace. 36% of respondents said they create moments during the day when they ignore contact. On the other hand, 40% said they felt like they were falling short when they don’t respond to an email or the phone immediately. Carving out time to focus on important and urgent tasks is essential to good productivity. However, it can also negatively impact your emotional health.

Image by Ketut Subiyanto from Pixabay.
Scheduling quiet time is important for your productivity and wellbeing. Image by Ketut Subiyanto from Pixabay.

The Alternative Board were interested in identifying ways to help business owners reduce distractions at work. In a time management survey they launched, business owners were asked to rate on a scale from 1 to 10 what would help them improve their productivity. Scoring 8 or higher, 45% of business owners wished they had to deal with fewer distractions. To reduce distractions, 56% felt delegating administrative tasks would be helpful. Delegating administrative tasks, however, can be difficult. Whether if it’s looking within you business or outsourcing, you want to ensure that whoever is taking up your administration tasks are qualified. Every moment you linger on this conundrum, your business might be losing money.

UK small and medium enterprises (SMEs) lose 120 days to admin tasks

In the global 2017 aptly named report “Sweating the small stuff: the impact of the bureaucracy burden”, SMEs reported that they lose on average 120 days to completing admin tasks. For UK business, that means a loss of as much as £33 billion a year. The study suggested that government intervention such as offering training schemes, upgrading technology, and digitisation can help. However, it takes time to develop and implement these schemes and implementation can be quite expensive. In the midst of COVID-19, saving time and resources is especially crucial. 

 Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay.
A telephone answering service could be the missing piece to save you time and money. Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay.

Reclaim your time with Verbatim’s help

We’re guessing you didn’t start your business because you wanted to complete admin all day… unless you’re us of course! We love answering the phones, identifying hot prospects, diary management, and everything in between. We promise that we’ll match the amount of time and passion you invest in your business into speaking to your customers and clients. We don’t use a cookie-cutter approach when it comes to supporting you. Each business has unique needs, which is why we tailor our services for every single client. Investing in a new service can be scary. That’s why we offer a 30-day trial, 100% money-back guarantee. Your passion deserves your full attention. Don’t waste another second, get in touch today.

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