How do you know if you really need a phone answering service?

By Graham Hill

February 28, 2018

Camper van for phone answering serviceInvesting in a third party service to filter, manage and transfer your incoming calls is not the right choice for every business. However, having somebody handle your calls is a must for all. That onus cannot fall on the boss, who should be out there bringing in more work, or the technical staff, who should be out there delivering projects and providing services.
To put it simply, you have two options:

  1. Hire a full-time or part-time receptionist
  2. Secure the service of a company who specialises in call handling

Both can work brilliantly, depending on the requirements you have. I could spend days discussing the merits of either option, but for the purposes of this article, let’s focus on how you figure out if a phone answering service is the right choice for you.

You’ll get a bigger return on your marketing spend

The way your phone is answered can have a massive impact on the impression your caller leaves with.
If their experience involves a generic voicemail or a grumpy response, they will not be left feeling good about your business. If their experiences involves a polite and positive response, it’s another story altogether.
Consider call answering the ultimate source of grass-roots marketing. It is your opportunity to delight your clients from the very first interaction… and ensure that they come back again and again.
Improving the quality of your call handling can also benefit your more in depth marketing activities. If you run an ad in a local paper, sponsor an event or do a flyer drop, chances are that your call to action will be for people to call in for something. You’ve put in the time and money it takes to run a decent marketing campaign so it’s worth your while to invest in the follow up.
If those new prospects get in touch, only for you to miss those calls, you’re pouring money down the drain. But if every caller is greeted by a friendly professional and dealt with appropriately, you can get a much better return on your investment.

You’ll be able to stop relying on mobile numbers

There’s something to be said for the stability of a landline number.
You could be a superstar at what you do, but some customers will be put off if you are only accessible via mobile, partly because it can make you look less permanent but also because of the increased cost involved for the caller. There are other implications too. For example, if you want to register your business on Google My Business and increase your local SEO, you need to have a local landline number for your business.
Wouldn’t it be frustrating to lose out on clients over something so silly?
Luckily enough, this is a quick fix. A good call answering service will get hold of a “ghost” number for you. What this means is that you’ll be provided with a phone number that looks like a geographic landline, which can then be diverted to either your virtual receptionist or the mobile of your choice.

You’ll never have to worry about holiday cover

If you started your business from scratch, I bet you remember the days of working weekends and forgotten holidays. It’s easy to fall into those habits when the weight of the business rests squarely on your shoulders. Perhaps you’re still immersed in those days right now.
If you are, you’re doing yourself a disservice. You are your biggest asset and if you don’t take care of yourself you will burn out. Taking time away to relax and reignite your enthusiasm is a surefire way to up your productivity.
The same applies to your employees. If you have members of staff in your employ, you wouldn’t expect them to work year round, would you? So why do it to yourself?
Using a call answering service is the simplest way to ensure that your phones are covered consistently, no matter who is in the office at any given time. Knowing that you have that continuous cover in place in your absence is what will give you the freedom to enjoy your holiday, stress-free.

You’ll stop missing important calls

No matter how vigilant you are, there will always be times when you miss calls. It could be when you’re driving somewhere with poor reception. It could be when you’re in a client meeting. It could be when you’re out to lunch or on the other line.
Having a pro to handle your calls for you while indisposed is what makes you (and your business) seem polished and professional, which is exactly what you want. Hiring a phone answering service is not necessarily the same as paying someone around the clock, instead, you could use an overspill service. What that means is that when your phone line is engaged, your caller will go straight through to your virtual receptionist. If your line is free, they’ll come to you.

You’ll free up time to focus on your priorities

How much time do you spend running your business on a day-to-day basis?
Dealing with customers, answering the phones, catching up on emails, meeting your client deadlines… it’s all pretty time consuming. And it’s not all conducive to growing your business. You also need time to strategise, to design creative marketing campaigns, to experiment with new offers or services, and more.
The fact of the matter is that if you aren’t carving out time to work on your business rather than in it, you’re missing out on the potential for massive success. Removing some of those administrative tasks, and also some of those activities that seem to interrupt your flow, will free up the space you need to look at the big picture.

You’ll uplevel the customer service you provide

The way you answer the phone in your business is part of what creates your brand as well as establishing expectations for your clients. If your clients can’t get hold of you, and they don’t get to speak to someone who can tell them where you are and when you’ll call back, how does that make them feel? Pretty unimportant.
But if they feel confident that when you’re unavailable, a friendly voice will answer the phone, take their message and explain what you’re doing and when you’re going to call them back, they’ll feel valued.
You don’t need me to tell you how important this is. Your client base is the lifeblood of your business.
Like I said at the start, a call answering service isn’t always going to be the right choice for every business. However, if any of the points in this article resonate with you, and have made you think about your options, I encourage you to check out our free guide below: How to choose the RIGHT phone answering service for your business.
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