While your business has regular operating hours, they may not always line up with all of your clients’ needs. Often, customers are not able to call during your regular hours. For those times when they are not able to get a member of your staff on the phone, is voicemail a good enough solution?
While voicemail is inexpensive, it may not be the most cost effective choice for many businesses. As communication technology continues to make us all easier to reach, consumers are losing patience with technology like voicemail. According to a study commissioned by USA Today, individuals left 8% fewer voicemails this year than they did last year. If even one lost contact per day sends a client to a competitor that uses a live answering service, that can add up to thousands of dollars of lost business every year.
Additionally, listening to voicemails can tie up hundreds of working hours for your staff every year. A message must be retrieved, listened to, transcribed and then sent to the correct recipient. The staff hours needed for this could be well-spent in other areas that build your business. An employee can potentially spend days playing phone tag and still never reach the prospective client, or by the time they do the prospect has already moved forward with a competitor.
Having a live answering service for afterhours calls can cause more prospects to choose your service than if they’d reached a machine. The positive impact on revenue can top the costs of a live answering service with every call.
Additionally, by allowing an answering service to handle after-hours calls or during high volume periods when other staff is busy, you can save on work hours and dedicate your knowledgeable staff to the tasks that benefit your business most. Your office manager’s time can be directed toward the most important tasks. In many cases, an answering service can reduce the need for support staff, saving you tens of thousands.
Often, a hybrid approach can work best. Have an answering service that can allow your clients to reach a live person at any time of day (or night!), and, use automated options during working hours when customer calls can be returned quickly. Additionally, depending on your business, it may make sense to use a live answering service for after-hours calls and only use voicemail when a message needs to be left for a specific employee. For important calls, you can employ a system such as our “follow me” feature. This feature will try to connect with one staff member, and then direct the call to another if the first is unavailable. It makes a great happy medium between voicemail and a live answering service during those busy times. By choosing which channels to automate and which require live contact, you can keep customers happy while getting the best return on your administrative dollars.