What’s the Point of an Answering Service?
As you look at your business’s monthly expenses and annual budget, you may ask yourself, “What’s the point of an answering service?” That’s an astute question to ask, and there are many answers.
Some initial ideas are to stand out from your competition, to provide great customer service, and to present yourself as a professional organization. Other considerations include to meet your customers’ expectations, to do all things with excellence, and to give you an edge over your competitors. This is just a start. With a bit of thought, you can surely come up with more ideas.
These are all substantial reasons to hire an answering service and to continue to use one. But whatever reasons your list entails, from a practical, actionable business perspective, there are but two quantifiable and undeniable reasons to have an answering service.
The bottom line in this discussion is the bottom line on your income statement: the point of an answering service is to keep existing customers and get new business. Everything else is secondary and feeds into these two primary objectives.
Keep Existing Customers
The first key point of an answering service is to help you keep the business you already have. It’s that simple. It’s that critical. If you fail to answer your phone when they call—regardless of what time it is—they are apt to go somewhere else.
Your competition is but one phone call away. Never forget that. That’s how easy it is to lose business if you’re not available when a customer wants to reach you.
And don’t for a minute think sending them to a clunky answering machine or forcing them to interact with an inflexible voicemail system is the answer. It’s not. Throwing technology at your customers is a sure-fire way to push them away and send them somewhere else—into the open arms of your competition.
If a customer takes the time to call you—even at 3 a.m.—they have a good reason. They don’t want to talk to a machine, record a message, or listen to the phone ring. They want to interact with a real human being who will understand their concern and provide them with the answers they seek or move them toward a resolution.
Treat your customers right and they’ll stay with you. Disrespect them and they’ll leave. It’s that simple.
Get New Business
The second key point of an answering service is to help you gain additional customers. For most businesses, one sale to a new customer will more than cover the cost of their answering service for the entire month. And the lifetime value of that customer could pay their answering service bills for an entire year. That’s a phenomenal return on investment (ROI) that will be hard to replicate anywhere else.
Though many prospects will make a point of calling your office during business hours, not all will. Instead, they’ll call you when their felt need is the greatest. This may or may not be when your office is open. So why take the risk of not answering their call?
Some prospects will even call you in the middle of the night on purpose. This is a test to see how available, accommodating, and responsive you are. Pass their test and you’ll gain their business. Fail their test and they’ll call someone else.
What prospects might call in the middle of the night? It may be someone who’s a customer of your competitor. They’ve just placed an urgent call to this other company and the response—or lack thereof—underwhelmed them.
They want a better solution, and they want it right away. That’s why they’re calling. That’s why you need to answer.
For all the many reasons to use an answering service, we can summarize the essential points in two key elements: to keep existing customers and to get new business. Whenever you can accomplish these two objectives, your business is well-positioned for success.
Now that you know the point of an answering service, don’t delay. To realize these two key benefits for your business, contact us today to discover how we can serve your existing customers and your potential customers.