If you have a seasonal business, you have several options available for handling your incoming calls. For instance, you could answer all of the calls yourself, hire a secretary/receptionist, let your calls go to voicemail, answer the phone then hang up, and a personal favorite, answer the phone and not say “hello,” but instead wait for the other person on the line to start taking first. Better yet, you can make the smart, cost effective decision and hire a live answering service.
It may be difficult for seasonal business owners to find a solution that works during both your busiest months and the rest of the year when you need to scale back or shut down operations entirely. We know there aren’t too many people calling Mr. Plow at the peak of bikini and Speedo season. But Mr. Plow needs to be ready for action when the snow starts a fallin’ or he’ll risk being victimized by the Plow King, who’s gonna steal business because he has an answering service and a flashy commercial starring Linda Ronstadt.
That name again is customer service when you need it.
If you are keeping up with the Simpsons references, then you must be a pretty savvy business owner. When things are in full swing, you need to be focused on managing your company. Handling your own calls might work fine during the off-season, but this is not a very effective option once business picks up. Delegating the task to one of your employees is a possibility, but this could detract from their other responsibilities and most likely adversely effect their NCAA bracket.
If you sign a contract with a call center that loves long contracts, you could find yourself paying for a resource even when it is unneeded and goes unused. Contracts are great for landlords and record executives, but not so great when you are paying for 500 minutes and using none. However, a month-to-month answering service or a pay-per-usage outsourcing model in a call center can provide everything you need; the efficiency of operator based support on demand, and the flexibility of a contract-free account. The choice should be obvious. If you aren’t picking up what we are putting down, then allow us to quickly recap: you need an answering service!
What can an answering service do for you?
The real question is, “What can’t an answering service do for you?” An answering service can’t tie your shoes or sing the alphabet backwards, but what it can do is make your small business look big while making your big business look super friendly and approachable.
It slices and dices! And you only pay for shipping and handling!
From basic message taking to high tech support, there are innumerable ways to customize a solution for your business. Here are some of the benefits of utilizing an answering service. These points apply to any business, not just your seasonal one:
- Answering services handle responses, inquiries, customer service, and other issues. Although some advanced features can only be provided if you contract with a specialized call center service, like having someone answering your Twitter feed or posting pictures of your office paperclip collection on Pinterest, oftentimes a basic answering service is all you need.
- Unlike the services available 10 or so years ago, modern answering services can accommodate a lot more than just voice; they offer live chat, email, and social media options.
- Automation is also an option, but a live operator is strongly encouraged.
- Does it stop at everything we mentioned above? No way! If your seasonal business needs more than just a live agent, answering services excel at outsourcing with options like making reservations, setting appointments, customer service, dedicated agents, and even making outbound calls to drum up some business.
Depending on the size of your company, volume of calls, and the types of services needed, you will be able to find a straightforward billing structure on a month-to-month basis.
What are the benefits of using an answering service?
So glad you asked! There are many benefits to choosing an answering service solution for your business. Rather than hiring an additional employee or signing a looooong contract with a call center, you can have all of your calls handled professionally by an answering service without any long-term commitment. Amazing!
What else? How about these 12 points:
- An answering service doesn’t shut down at five o’clock; operators are on staff around-the-clock, ensuring you never miss a single call.
- Calls are answered according to your specific instructions.
- Answering services never go to the bathroom or call off sick.
- Services can often accommodate much more than simple messaging needs.
- For many virtual companies, an answering service can give the impression of having a real office without having a real office.
- Not relying on voicemail makes your business look much more professional.
- An answering service never chews gum while talking on the phone.
- Professional operators are trained to maintain your company’s image, saving you money while continuing to provide topnotch service.
- Services can be extended online. Why limit this useful service to just one mode of communication when you can apply it to every aspect of your business?
- Productivity will increase, without reducing the attention and personalized service provided to your customers.
- You can focus on other aspects of your business and leave the phone calls to your answering service.
- An answering service will be your best friend.
There are a variety of choices on the market for managing business communications. For the seasonal business owner, though, none is more beneficial or economical than an answering service. Voicemail is cold, and forwarding calls to your cell phone doesn’t always go over well.
Answering services are great. Not only because of the saving time and money angle, but because a telephone answering service will give your seasonal business the opportunity for great customer service without long messy contracts and tear-filled breakups.
I love you, I just don’t ‘love you’ love you…It’s not you, it’s me…It’s just not working out…
Your seasonal business needs seasonal customer service, not bad customer service. Get in touch with a friendly neighborhood answering service today and season the season with some powerful call center spices, making this season’s customer a repeat customer next season. Tis’ the season!