Owning a business is an expensive endeavor. When it comes to making the business run smoothly, there are so many factors to take into consideration that it can all get incredibly overwhelming, especially for those just starting out. From manufacturing and distribution costs to rental space to computers, phones and Internet, the bills just keep adding up.
Savvy business owners are always looking for ways to minimize their expenditures while still getting the most out of their investments. And, one of the handiest tools a business can have in its toolbox is an answering service. Live answering services offer a ton of benefits at a fantastic value, all without sacrificing the services or quality you need to make your small business successful. In the unforeseen economic downturn brought on by COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to manage your budget wisely and stabilize inbound revenue. Here’s how an answering service can help.
#1. Act as a buffer for down-staffing
As of March 2020, the salary for a receptionist can range anywhere between $30,000 and $40,000 per year. But the true cost of an employee is much greater than salary alone. Medical and dental insurance, 401(k), paid time-off, pension, social security, disability, etc. all add up, significantly raising your baseline expenses. If you are among the many who have had to temporarily down-staff or let people go entirely, you’ll need to think about how to manage the workload with less workers.
With wages and employee benefits no longer debiting your account, you’ll be able to devote a portion of that savings towards a professional virtual receptionist. Utilizing an answering service will allow you to keep costs at a minimum while ensuring that every customer receives the assistance they need. Depending on the amount of call volume your business receives, you may be able to pay as little as $1/day to have your calls answered by not one or two, but a whole office of agents.
#2. Provide round-the-clock availability
If you are one of the lucky business owners who was able to retain your staff during the course of this pandemic, then you may have been able to do so only by cutting employees’ hours. Even if you still have coverage 40 hours a week, what happens during the other 128 hours when calls are still coming in?
If your back up plan is to send calls to voicemail like many small businesses, then you’re kissing valuable leads goodbye. Did you know that 8 out of 10 callers will hang up if they reach voicemail? That means 80% of business opportunities are passing you by and going right into the sales funnel of your competitors. 24-hour answering services don’t ever clock out. They are available anytime you need them, whether it’s at 2 AM on a holiday weekend or smack dab in the middle of your work day – pandemic or no pandemic.
#3. Make staffing as easy as signing up for service
Once the COVID-climate clears, you may come to the conclusion that rehiring former workers will not be feasible for some time. It’s also possible that the people you would like to rehire were forced to find alternative avenues of employment to maintain their quality of life. Normally, there is a lot of time, money, and investment put into finding the right employee. On average, it takes about 42 days to select a candidate to hire and fill the position.
All things considered, there’s a lot that goes into recruitment, including taking into account that the newbie may not work out. Should that occur, which so often does, the process then restarts and the investments must be made again. Outsourcing to an answering service eliminates recruiting, hiring and training new employees. Answering service agents are already trained and ready to field calls on your business’s behalf. What’s more, they are fully set up with all the hardware and software necessary to do the job.
#4. Retain your competitive edge and ROI
So much goes into making your phone ring and obtaining leads: thousands spent on SEO and advertisements, hours spent on cold calling or door-to-door outreach. As a small business owner, you give everything you can to cultivate success for your company. Then, imagine living through a global pandemic and watching all that hard work fall by the wayside. Well, you can skip the imagination part – the novel coronavirus fallout is everyone’s new normal. And having an answering service in place will ensure that your considerable efforts are not lost.
Since most callers prefer to speak to a live person, giving them a consistent point of contact during these uncertain times offers an edge over your competition. The more calls your virtual support staff answers, the more opportunities there are for growth and ROI maximization.
#5. Maintain balance
Owning and operating a business warrants an abundance of expenses, not all of which are monetary. There’s a huge expenditure of blood, sweat, and tears, as they say. Over time, the resulting stress and fatigue can lead to serious health problems. And that’s under normal circumstances. Add COVID-19 into the mix, and you’re looking at a flood of physical and mental distress that must not be ignored. With an answering service there to unburden you, you’ll be in a better position to balance work and leisure without skipping a beat.
Yes, work is how you can afford to live. But if there is anything that the coronavirus has taught us, it’s that living to work pales in comparison to the importance of spending precious moments with family and friends, and taking time to foster your own physical, emotional, and mental well-being. An answering service is a reliable shoulder to lean on, whenever you need one.
No matter what kind of business you run, expenses are never-ending. As we all adjust to the current economic climate, we need to be mindful of how much is going out even more than on how much is coming back in. Partnering with an answering service is a worthwhile investment that will offer efficient and professional services, whether you sign up for a free trial just to help you hurdle the pandemic, or you reap the benefits well into your COVID-free future.