Just a few short decades ago, businesses didn’t have to find ways to stay open and available to their customers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. But times change rapidly, and businesses must adapt to new innovations all the time.
New means of communication, such as mobile phones and the internet have given way to online shopping, social media, live chats, and many other internet-based tools. Much like anything else in life, these new resources have brought both advantages and disadvantages to the businesses that employ them. On one hand, these tools allow businesses to conduct larger-scale operations and reach a wider audience even in places where they aren’t physically present. It has given many companies the opportunity to expand significantly and have their products or services reach thousands, or even millions, of new customers.
But on the other hand, these virtual advancements have created new and higher expectations for customers. Whereas before, clients didn’t expect to receive quick answers or overnight shipping, these features are practically necessary for businesses that wish to thrive now. If you don’t offer these services, you risk losing potential customers that may choose to do spend their money on competitors who do offer these features.
Although ensuring ‘round the clock availability for your business may seem like a daunting and expensive task, there are many simple strategies that can help. In most cases — and depending on the industry that you specialize in — businesses aren’t actually open and actively working 24/7. However, different techniques and resources can help you maintain a line of communication with your customer that is always available to them.
Here are some simple tips that can help any business operate ‘round the clock — even when it is not physically open.
Tip #1. Create a remote call center using a virtual answering service
One of the first steps you need to take to make sure that your business is operating ‘round the clock is to have 24/7 customer service. Even if your business only opens to the public during certain hours, 24-hour availability will allow customers to interact with your team, solve issues, and ask for information whenever they need to.
Creating an on-site call center may not be an option for most businesses, especially if you are in charge of a small or medium-sized enterprise with limited resources. But a virtual answering service allows your business to rely on a remote call center that can operate all day, everyday.
Operators will be able to handle your phone calls regardless of time or date, guaranteeing that each caller will be greeted by a friendly and professional voice. These services can provide 24/7 call centers and you can customize them to fit your business’ needs perfectly.
Tip #2. Make sure you reply to messages as soon as possible
In some cases, customers will contact your call center with inquiries that can’t be answered immediately. If an operator is unable to solve a customer’s request, they will make sure to take a message and forward it to you or your staff using the method that you have specified.
If you find that you have messages from clients whose inquiries couldn’t be answered, it is important to get back to these customers as soon as possible. In many cases, leftover messages are simply forgotten and the client never receives an answer. But by doing the opposite and making sure that these requests are met as soon as your business is open again, you will make sure that clients know how valued they are.
This practice will create a sense of trust and loyalty from your customers to your business, since they will see that you are truly committed to providing great customer service ‘round the clock.
Tip #3. Feature a comprehensive FAQ section on your website and social media pages
When a potential customer has doubts or questions about any aspect of your business, they will probably visit your website or social media to get more information about the services or products you offer.
Even if they don’t contact you initially, your website or social media pages can offer vital information about your business that could convince clients to work with you. In order to achieve this, it may be very helpful to create FAQ sections that feature all the basic information that a potential client could want to know. Include information such as details about the services you provide, your location, payment methods that you accept, and your regular business hours.
More often than not, a carefully-crafted and informative FAQ section could answer most of your customers’ questions before they are even asked. This can improve your customers’ experience and help them come to a decision regarding whether they want to do business with you.