Throughout history, sellers have continuously strived to find new, effective, and innovative ways to advertise their products and improve their services. Many of the selling methods that we now consider to be old-fashioned and outdated were actually incredibly clever and original when they were created — and in some cases, they date back to hundreds of years ago.
Despite the fact that business has evolved so much in the last couple of decades, humans have always sold products. From bread and cattle in the past, to modern tech gadgets and virtual services, sellers have had to strive to sell their products in ways that were more effective than their competitors’ so that they could generate larger profits.
The first selling catalog that was recorded in history was created by a Venetian publisher, called Aldus Manutius, who used it to advertise the books he had available for sale in 1498. Before any of the modern technologies that we now take for granted were available, sellers such as Manutius were already aware of the need to create selling and advertising methods that were easily accessible to a wider audience in order to attract new customers and grow their businesses.
And as communications and transportation methods evolved, so did sales. Once railways and postal services became available in many countries, businessmen hailing from different trades used these new technologies to increase their profits and reach new markets. This resulted in mail order catalogs, which were sent by sellers via train to potential customers in different cities, towns, and settlements. Then, these customers were able to place orders from these differing geographic locations and receive products that had never been widely available before.
These methods were, of course, rather slow compared to our modern sales; however, they represented an incredible innovation at the time and allowed many different businesses to grow exponentially. For the first time, businesses weren’t held to geographic constraints and were able to sell products in areas where they didn’t have brick-and-mortar shops.
And customers also benefited greatly, since they now had access to a much wider variety of products and services, even if they lived in rural or less populated regions and had to wait longer times to receive their purchases. Simply being able to receive these products represented a huge technological advancement which improved the quality of life of millions of people around the world.
Once the phone was created and popularized, sales underwent another historic shift. Instead of having to send orders by mail trains, which could take days or weeks, customers were now able to choose products from catalogues and place their orders through a simple phone call. They still had to wait to receive physical catalogues and products, but waiting times were now shorter and communications were more effective. And then, of course, the internet arrived to change everything — once again.
Even with modern technologies available, it’s important to preserve your business’ human touch
As technology evolves, businesses sometimes underestimate the effect that human connection can have on their sales. The internet makes it easy to provide online catalogues or product listings, take orders, and even receive reviews without ever having a real conversation.
But making sure that your business is still able to connect with your customers can greatly increase their satisfaction and loyalty, improving your reputation and revenue. If a customer calls your business and only received automated, pre-recorded messages, it may be difficult for you to gauge their needs and requirements.
One of the easiest ways to create human connections is to make sure that your phone lines are being handled by knowledgeable operators. A virtual answering service can provide professional operators who will guarantee that each caller gets to hear a warm, friendly voice whenever they contact your business.
Virtual answering services can make it easier for you to offer 24/7 customer service
It’s no secret that modern technologies have shifted customers’ expectations. From having to wait weeks or months to receive a reply by mail train, customers now know that they can simply send a message or make a phone call to contact different businesses.
But if you have a smaller business with a reduced staff, it may be difficult for you to provide your customers with 24/7 customer service. Having staff dedicated to taking each phone call, answering enquiries, and checking up on orders can be quite complicated and expensive — especially considering that running a business involves many other responsibilities, such as contacting providers, handling collections, and stocktaking.
However, a virtual answering service can provide an affordable and effective solution to this problem. Customers who call will be able to communicate with one of your remote operators, who will handle each case according to your specifications. Even if your business is closed, unexpected emergencies strike, or your staff is on holiday, every customer will receive the care that they deserve and expect from your business.