After Hours Answering Service Solutions
When Your Business Is Closed, Make Sure Your Telephone Continues Working for You
If you’re like most businesses, you’re only open a fraction of each day’s 24 hours and each week’s 168 hours. For most businesses, this means being open 40 to 45 hours each week and closed the rest of the time. During hours of operation, you can meet with customers and receive their phone calls.
But what happens to those calls the rest of the time? If someone phones when you’re closed, after regular business hours, what happens to their call? Though it was once okay to let those after-hours phone calls ring, that’s no longer an acceptable business strategy.
Today, an unanswered phone means lost business and a negative reputation in the marketplace. Businesses that care about their customers and their future make sure that no phone call goes unanswered, regardless of when it occurs.
Aside from ignoring these all-important calls, here are three solutions to consider that will address after-hours phone calls.
The less than ideal After-Hours Answering Solution
At the most basic level, cash-starved businesses hook up an answering machine to their main telephone line or route calls to an impersonal voicemail system, sometimes called voicemail jail. At an elementary level, these technological solutions address the need of answering phone calls. But merely answering the phone is not enough.
Callers today expect a response from a real person, not dictating a recorded message in hopes that someone will someday listen to it and call them back—if they’re lucky. They called after business hours because they have a need they want to be addressed. They seek an immediate response, with an answering machine or voicemail system falling far short of meeting their expectations.
Few people will leave a message when they encounter a recording asking them to do so. What will they do? They’ll hang up and call your competitor. Your inexpensive technological solution to answer your phone has just lost you business. This is simply unacceptable.
The Expensive After-Hours Answering Solution
The second option is to hire additional staff to answer these after-hours phone calls. This provides a real person to answer every phone call. It’s customer service at its best. It’s also expensive.
If your business is open 40 to 45 hours a week, that means you’re closed over 120 hours. It also means you will need to hire three full-time people to answer your phone calls when your office is closed. Your prospects and your customers will love it. But your budget won’t.
Few businesses can afford to add three full-time people to the payroll just to answer after-hours phone calls. And even if you can afford it, why go to the extra expense when there’s a much more cost-effective answer.
The Ideal After-Hours Answering Service Solution
Today’s advanced telephone answering services smartly fill this gap between impersonal technology and cost-prohibitive additions to your employee count and payroll. For a small fraction of the price of hiring just one person (who could only cover your phone for 40 hours a week), you could hire the professional staff at your answering service to personally answer and proficiently handle every after-hours phone call.
When you turn your phone over to an after-hours answering service you will provide your callers with the personal interaction that they expect and the professional touch that only a real person can offer.
But your after-hours answering service will do much more than answer the phone. They can answer routine questions for your callers and give out information to them.
Your after-hours answering service can also take messages from callers who can wait until the next business day. In this regard, it’s important to note that most people are fine leaving a message with the person because they have confidence that someone will actually call them back. This doesn’t happen with automated solutions. And if you let your answering service know your processes, they can even tell callers when to expect a return call and who will call them.
A final consideration of your answering service is that they can route urgent calls to the appropriate on-call person. These critical calls can’t wait until the next business day. They need a faster resolution. And your answering service can screen these callers and make the appropriate decision on how to handle them based on your specific criteria.
Though you have options on how to handle your after-hours phone calls, only one makes sense from a cost perspective and a customer service standpoint: hiring a professional after-hours answering service.
Contact us today so we can begin serving your business and your callers with our full-featured, flexible, and cost-effective after-hours answering service solutions.