As the owner of a small business or firm, how much time do you spend on administrative duties rather than billable hours? If you could create an extra two hours per week for yourself, would you? There are lots of operational and productivity hacks to make small business owners more efficient. One of the most effective and easy to implement solutions is hiring a live answering service.
A live answering service takes your calls in real time, screens out solicitors and directs your most important calls to you. This way, you can avoid annoying and time wasting calls and have the most important ones sent directly to you. This service can be invaluable when you’re out of range, in meetings, away from the office, hanging out with your family, or just taking some time off.
A live answering service eliminates the need for a receptionist to answer calls and lets small firms compete with much larger competitors. If you’re concerned about prospects passing you over because you’re a small firm, a live answering service is a good way to demonstrate that, even though you’re small, you are as capable, professional and accessible, as any large firm or business.
There are numerous live answering services available. Here are eight tips to help you find the right one for you and your business.
1. Service When You Need It
If the goal with your live answering service is to make sure clients and prospects are always greeted by a human, then you need service during the hours you do business. You never know when calls will come in and you can set yourself apart from the competition with an always-on, live answering service that directs your most important calls right to you.
2. Make sure the service operator answers calls the way you want them answered
The idea with live answering is to provide professional service to your clients and present your business in the best light possible. Choose a service that matches your brand and company values by ensuring that your live answering service answers calls in the way you want them answered.
3. Get professional call introduction
A live answering service should promptly and professionally forward your most important calls to you and introduce the caller. This is a great feature for independent professionals and small business owners who need to project a professional image in order to compete with larger firms and businesses.
4. Screen calls in real time
A live answering service should screen calls in real time and forward the most important ones to you immediately. Make sure that you’ll receive your most important calls as they come in.
If the point of hiring a live answering service is to cut down on the time you spend on administrative duties, the last thing you want is to have a bunch of voicemails you have to listen to and sort through. Make sure that, when you are away from the office, your live answering service sends you emails with an attached file of the message. That way you can see what needs to be done at a glance rather than listening to numerous messages.
Having a live answering service should help boost profits by allowing you to spend more time generating leads and bringing on clients and getting work done. Find an affordable, live answering service that suits your needs and budget. That way, if you bring on one new client per month in the time you’re not stuck screening phone calls, the service has more than paid for itself.
No Contractual Obligations
One of the benefits of being a small business owner is being able to make quick decisions and changes, and course correct as needed. This means having access to services that help lighten your administrative load without weighing you down with contractual obligations. Find a live answering service that provides top-quality service without unnecessarily locking you into a contract.
8. Make sure they offer trained staff to answer calls
To compete with larger firms, you need to demonstrate your professionalism at every level—and phone calls are one of your first points of contact with potential clients. Make sure your live answering service comprises a trained team of professionals who will represent you and your business in the best manner possible. That initial point of contact can be a make or break moment for a prospect.
When hiring your next live answering service, make sure that you get a plan that works for you and your business. Office Evolution offers professional, affordable, live phone answering services that cuts down on your administrative to-dos and lets you focus on what you do best. Learn more about our live answering services.
Written by: Peggy Barron
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Office Evolution has more than 70 locations open, 140 units sold in markets across the country and is poised for further growth as the demand for affordable and safe, workspace close-to-home continues to rise.