Why a Virtual Receptionist will help grow you business
For most businesses, your phone is your lifeline to current and potential customers. Your phone is what brings in business and what helps keep business coming in.
However, even with digital forms of communication like web forms, email, chat, and text message, the most important way to communicate with your customers is by telephone.
Over 80% of business communication is done over the telephone and is still the first option customers use when they need something handled quickly. They may start their search online, but ultimately if it is something serious, they are going to call. As a service provider, the last thing you want to happen is to disappoint a customer with a missed phone call.
Missing a phone call is in many cases a missed business opportunity, and it is better to grab every opportunity by having all your calls answered by a Virtual Receptionist. The consequences don’t stop there. When you don’t have a Virtual Receptionist to answer your phone, you not only risk losing a customer, you also lose the chance to build or maintain essential relationships needed to keep your customers happy.
So, what happens when you miss a call?
- Customer calls, when there is no answer, they hang up
- Customer calls, when there is no answer and they leave a message (if they have the option)
There are not too many options for the customer when you miss a call. And even if they leave a message, chances are they are calling someone else who may answer the phone.
Why are you missing calls?
- Not enough employees
- Employees are busy
- After hours call
From a customer standpoint, they have no clue as to why you didn’t answer their call. More than likely, their perception of your business is going to be on the negative side. They called you because they needed your service, but you were not available to provide it to them.
So, what is the real cost to your business of missed calls?
Lost Business– This one is obvious, but do you really know how much it costs you? Let’s say you miss 1 phone call 3 days a week. That doesn’t seem like that much, I mean, you only missed 3 calls last week. However, if you span that out over the whole year that is over 150 missed business opportunities. And if your closing 50% of your inquiries, you just missed out on over 75 sales.
Irritated Customers – In today’s society, and especially within the service industry, customers expect prompt customer service. Above all the forms of communication they are willing to wait for, someone answering the phone is not one of them. If they are calling you, it usually means they need something now. By answering the phone when they call, you’ll be meeting their expectations and they are more likely to want to do business with you.
Wasted advertising spend – If you are spending money on any advertising, chances are your advertising is what is bringing in phone calls from new customers. When you don’t answer the phone, those advertising euros are wasted.
Customer reaction – When a customer calls and you don’t answer the phone, most of the time they will not call back and will take their business elsewhere. If these calls are from potential customers who need service, the cost to your business could be high. Because most of your customer service involves your telephone, it is crucial that you make sure calls don’t go unanswered.
Reputation – People will tell 50% more people about a bad experience than a good one. Because bad news spreads further than good, do your best to make sure all the news about your company is positive.
Daily, the real cost of missed calls can be hard to calculate. However, if you add up the compounded effects over time, it can be devastating to service-oriented businesses. Especially businesses that thrive on reputation and referred customers.
How a Virtual Receptionist ensures that there are NO missed calls in your company?
It’s impossible to be able to answer every call every time, unless you have a dedicated receptionist. However, not every business can afford a dedicated receptionist. In this case, there are steps you can take that will better your chances of retaining customers when you can’t answer your phone.
Call Answering Service with a Virtual Receptionist – This is the most effective way of ensuring you do NOT miss calls. Call Answering companies can answer your phone for you and send you the client information via email or text. This sort of service depends on what your call level is and how many calls you may be missing. Typically, a call answering service will have a group a trained telephonists who will convey a very professional image of your company, answering all calls to a script as agreed with you and either taking a message and emailing /texting on to you or transferring calls direct to your extension or mobile.
This service can be quite cost effective and you will only be charged for the calls taken on your behalf. Using such a service will allow you to free up staff to get on with the core activities of your business, safe in the knowledge that all calls to your business will be handled in a timely and professional manner.
There are other methods of dealing with missed calls. Among them are:
Professional Voice Message – Make sure you have a professional voice message set up that clearly states whom they have called, your company name, and when they can expect a call-back. If you know you will not be able to answer the phone for some time, like after hours, set your phone up to go directly to voice mail. Many people do not like leaving voicemails. So, you still run the risk of missing calls by using voicemail.
Call Forwarding – If you have multiple employees available to answer phones, this may be an option for you. Most call forwarding services will allow forwarded calls to smartphones, landlines, and VOIP phones, depending on what you determine. As well, you could have all available phones ring at one time, which would almost virtually ensure that the call gets answered. The disadvantage of call forwarding is that the calls may not be answered as professionally as a call answering service as the recipient may be working on something else at the time of the call.
Call Back – Similar to leaving a voicemail, but more convenient to the caller, this service allows the customer to press a number to get a call back. Calling the customer back in a reasonable amount of time, say less than an hour, gives you a better chance at retaining them as a client. However, you lose the advantage of answering the calls immediately and professionally. Often prospective customers will have moved on and made calls to your competitors when they can’t connect with you immediately