As a business owner, you know that keeping customers happy is a priority whenever possible. Every call that goes unanswered is a frustrated customer. Or worse, it could have been the biggest job or order that your business has ever seen. Every unanswered call is lost revenue, both in the short term as well as in the long term aspect of customer life cycle. Particularly for small business owners, every customer counts. Whether you are a plumber, realtor, or candle stick maker, landing new clients and maintaining your repeat business is your financial lifeblood.
Let’s take a look into a day in the life of a plumber. There’s a strong likelihood that while he’s in the middle of a job, hands covered in grease and grime –his smart phone will ring. Maybe it’s someone with a basement full of water and a real emergency on their hands. It could in fact end up being the best customer he will ever have. Opportunity is knocking, but his hands are full.
There are two options here – 1) he can stop what he’s doing, free and answer the phone to field questions about the plumbing emergency, or 2) he let the call go to voice mail.
Now, let’s look at the ripple effects from both options. If he stops working on the current job to answer the phone, he’s wasting valuable time doing what he does for a living. Not to mention throwing off the rest of his scheduled day and upsetting the customer that is paying for a plumber at that moment. On the flip side, if the call goes to voice mail, odds are that caller will not think he values their emergency and they’ll start frantically calling other plumbers. Neither of those options are ideal. He can either speak to a potential customer, or focus on the job at hand.
A better solution would be to look for an answering service to field and triage all incoming phone calls. An answering service can answer basic questions, schedule or adjust appointments, provide quotes and estimated times.
Utilizing an answering service takes you out of the lose-lose scenario presented to small business service providers every day. Can you juggle doing the actual work and setting up the next job? A simple and cost effective answering service keeps you working, customers happy, and new customers coming into your business. Even if you could balance service and support at the same time, what about those rare days off? Evenings? Weekends?
Many of you may be wondering why not just hire a receptionist at that point? The difference between an answering service and a receptionist is simply efficiency. A receptionist will generally work and get paid for 40-hours in a week, regardless of productivity. Additionally a receptionist can only handle one phone call at a time, still leaving the opportunity for calls to go unanswered. An answering service will have multiple people trained and available to answer the phone call; while only charging you for the productive time talking when a call comes in. With an answering service, multiple calls from your customers can be fielded at once, almost eliminating the risk of unanswered calls.
Happy customers mean repeat business, protect your reputation, and ultimately can keep your business thriving.