As a small business owner, you are always looking for ways to lessen your stress, be more productive, and make more money. A great way to do all three of these things is to utilize an answering service. Using any perks available to enhance your business is what a smart business owner does.
Having your own online store gives you the benefit of being your own boss, scheduling your day as you wish, and letting your creativity soar. But being interrupted numerous times when you are on a strict deadline or missing important calls that could have lead to future business can lead to a feeling of being overwhelmed and can cause a lack of productivity.
Having a small business answering service is a great example of how you can change how you do business and be more effective. If you are just starting out and have no employees nor have any intention of having employees, then having an answering service is a great resource.
Benefits of Live Answering Services
When you are on your own and working to keep up with customers’ orders, inventory, marketing, and social media, you will need someone to take some of that load so you can focus on the growth of your online store. A live answering service does much more than just answer your phone and take a message. Here are some of the benefits that an answering service can provide you:
- Answers your phone in a timely and professional manner. A live person will answer your customers’ calls and assist them. Sometimes just the voice of a person rather than a recorded message can make the difference in your reputation and if the customer will even come to you with business. You can also supply a script that the operator can utilize when talking to your customers and even refer them to your website.
- Takes orders over the phone. One of the advanced features of an answering service is the ability to take orders over the phone for you. This can be a game-changing moneymaker if you are not able to answer your phone during the day or after hours.
- Answers your calls 24/7. You have to have personal time off. At night, on weekends, when you are ill, and for vacations. This allows you to walk away from your business at the end of the day or when you need it, but your online store won’t miss a call or an order while you are away.
- Provides Bilingual representatives. Your service can provide you with bilingual representatives. This can boost your orders even more, especially if you are not bilingual.
- Consistent service while you are away. Not only is taking personal time off easier but owning an online store requires you to travel to the market to order new inventory. You also will need time away for photoshoots of products, as well as dedicating time to online social media. This important business activity takes you away from your work and requires uninterrupted time, but you don’t have to miss out on new business.
- Fields your unwanted calls. Don’t get trapped with telemarketers or non-business-related calls that waste your time. Let someone else field your calls.
Costs Associated With an Answering Service
There are different ways a service might charge. Here are three examples:
- Per-minute billing is the most common. These fees can range from $1.10 to $1.75 a minute. Some services have a monthly set fee based on the number of minutes you will use per month.
- Per call will charge for each call received.
- Per unit will often charge for each call received, each transferred call, and any message delivered.
You need to research the various companies, see what they have to offer, and compare that with how much actual phone ordering you receive as well. Take into consideration any additional or hidden fees that are not included in a monthly plan.
In the long run, it should pay off for you to add an answering service rather than hire an employee. Especially if you are working from your home. The extra room in your house may be sufficient for your business but not to house another employee. Plus there may be an extra expense of paying for benefits with an employee.