Earth month is a global celebration of hundreds of nations to drive education and engagement on environmental issues. At Specialty, we want to do our part to educate customers on how using an answering service can actually help reduce the impact that businesses have on the planet. That’s why we’ve created this environmental answering service guide, and we invite you to join us in implementing the tips below to help put the planet first – this month and every other month!
Even if it’s only a few days a month, letting your employees work from home can help cut down on the amount of resources they use in the office, which will help lower the environmental impact your business is leaving on the planet. Some activities that occur every day that suck up energy include:
When you outsource to an answering service that can handle the same basic tasks your staff does, you eliminate the need to have your employees come into the office every day, since most of their tasks can be completed remotely. While they may need to come in to meet with customers face to face, the majority of their work day can be spent in the comfort of their own home while your answering service fields all incoming calls and handles basic receptionist tasks like transferring calls to your remote team.
No matter how much you think you need more space – you probably don’t. Instead of spending more money to hire more employees and increase your office space, you can outsource your calls to an answering service instead and use the money you’ll be saving to reinvest back into your business. Answering services can allow your business to grow without actually needing to grow physically. Smaller offices are easier to manage, cheaper, and much better for the environment.
In fact, an answering service can help you run a business without the need to have an office at all! Unless your business requires that customers come in for appointments, consultations or because you run a brick and mortar shop, everything else can be done remotely through your service. For example:
If you already occupy a large office space, consider the benefits of using an answering service to handle the same tasks some of your employees currently do, and how downsizing to a smaller office space would help your business succeed. Remember, it’s not about the size of your business, it’s about what you can do with it that matters!
For the businesses that use intricate, outdated phone systems that suck up a lot of electricity, outsourcing to an answering service that uses energy-efficient VoIP phone systems is a great way to decrease your carbon footprint, your electric bill, and the amount of customers who are annoyed at being stuck in your IVR loop. Answering services are also typically available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so they are able to handle all of your incoming calls if and when necessary. That means you can ditch your phone system without worrying about your customers not being able to reach you.
Snail mail is so last year. More and more people are opting to receive and pay bills online for a number of reasons. Not only are you able to have immediate access to your invoices, but you also don’t have to worry about your check getting lost in the mail, which may result in late fees. Additionally, the more bills you can pay online, the less paper you use in the form of stamps, envelops, return address stickers and the bills themselves. So, by opting to pay your bills online, you are helping save the planet as well as your wallet!
If you’re using SAS as your answering service, there are a number of ways you can check your bill online. If you’re new to the scene, we’ve broken it down for you below:
If you want your invoice to be sent through email only, then you’re in luck if you’re using SAS, as we always send invoices via email by default. For customers who specifically want their invoices sent via standard mail, they must reach out to our customer support department to enforce the change.
Every year Americans use over 90 million tons of paper products, which means millions of trees have to be cut down to support the paper industry. Many businesses rely on daily reports sent from their answering service in order to reach back out to clients, analyze metrics and determine marketing strategies. However, instead of having your service fax you these reports, see if they can send them via email or better yet – if you can generate them yourself through an online portal. Taking steps to reduce paper waste means a smaller carbon footprint and a happier mother Earth. By eliminating faxed reports, you are also not at the mercy of the fax machine if it happens to break or stall. Your reports can be sent immediately through email or you can have access reports on-demand through an online portal.
If you happen to use a service that doesn’t offer an online portal and faxing reports is your only option, try reducing the reports to be sent daily (instead of with each incoming call), or weekly (if you’re not relying on the reports to return calls).
If your answering service offers a mobile app, use it! Using a mobile app will eliminate the need to print out messages, on-call schedules or directions for service technicians. As long as all of your staff has access to a smart phone, they should be able to access your service’s mobile app. From their mobile app, they should be able to do things like:
While it may not seem like using a computer is harmful for the environment, you should know that computers are energy hogs. Depending on the type of computer you use (i.e., a laptop vs. a desktop). A desktop computer uses an average of 200 watts/hour when it is being actively used. A computer that is being used for 8 hours a day would typically use about 600 kilowatts/hour which emits around 175 kg of carbon dioxide per year! Now times that by the number of staff members you have and you’re leaving a pretty big carbon footprint. Some ways you can reduce energy consumption from your computer include:
Letting an answering service enter data into your system means less time you’re in front of the computer. Your answering service agents can update CRM records via an integration, schedule appointments, process orders and troubleshoot basic issues. While you won’t be able to cut out the need to use a computer entirely, reducing your energy consumption is always a step in the right direction.
According to the EPA, discarded cell phones and their components that are lying in landfills allows lead to seep into the ground, air and water, which can then be consumed by humans. If your business uses an on-call schedule that rotates between your employees, you can cut down on resources by having your employees share one on-call phone that rotates between them. The less cell phones and cell phone chargers that end up in landfills the better. If you’re not sure how to go about sharing a phone among employees, here are some tips:
Taking into account how many paper products are used each year, you can opt for email instead, and use your answering service to send important documents to your callers. With SAS, this can be done in a few different ways: