How an Answering Service Can Help Your Small Business Grow
Small businesses across the globe have been using answering services for decades. Using an answering service can help your small business grow in a whole host of ways.
An answering service is a useful tool for many small businesses as it fulfils an essential role within a business, at a fraction of the cost required to hire someone in-house.
These are some of the main ways in which an answering service can encourage business growth.
As a small business, lack of hands and cash can often be a problem. Your small business may be desperate for a receptionist to handle calls but simply not be in a financial position to take someone else on board.
This is where an answering service comes in. An answering service fulfils the function of a receptionist without the financial commitment of taking on an employee, leaving your business with more time and cash to invest in business growth.
Your businesses customer service levels will see a drastic improvement when using an answering or call handling service. Great customer service is of course a huge factor in helping small businesses to grow. Whilst utilising an answering service you will never miss a call during office hours, and out of hours, customers can leave a message in your dedicated voicemail box.
In what can typically be the first point of contact with new and potential customers, you want to make a good impression. A huge bonus to a virtual receptionist is that they come ready trained in telephone manner and customer service, our team will get to know your business and speak to your callers as if they are in-house members of your team.
The Illusion of Size
A receptionist answering incoming calls can make your business appear bigger than it is, especially when combined with one of our virtual office packages. The virtual office packages offer an address for your business so it appears your business has a, or even an additional, physical location.
For smaller and start-up companies this can really help when competing with larger more established companies.
Time and Productivity
A virtual receptionist or answering service can drastically increase your own, and your teams’ productivity, and free up a huge amount of time day to day.
Phone calls can be a huge disruption and distraction in a work environment. Whilst it is important to take and respond to calls, not all calls are a priority. A virtual receptionist can filter out cold calls and make a note of or forward the calls that matter.
If you are too busy to take calls either because you are travelling, in a meeting or working on an important task, your answering service can pick up the calls and take detailed messages on your behalf. You can choose to divert calls when you don’t want to be disturbed, and prioritise calls in order of importance to you, all whilst maintaining a warm, customer service friendly, personal approach.
Telephone Answering Services for Small Businesses
There is an increasing demand for telephone answering services for small businesses and sole traders. This is down to the rapidly growing numbers of people choosing to work for themselves rather than for a large business.
However, the cost of hiring your own office space and fitting it out with all the telecommunications equipment needed, as well as hiring the staff to man your office, can be seriously prohibitive. Instead, it can work out to be far more cost-effective to forgo a traditional bricks and mortar office and hire a professional telephone answering service to handle your incoming business calls for you.
For example, at The Answer Centre, our clients come from lots of different backgrounds, but all want the same thing – to be able to have their business calls answered quickly and professionally by a highly trained virtual receptionist.
In fact, all of the services on offer from The Answer Centre are perfectly crafted for the busy entrepreneur, sole trader or small business owner. We offer you a top-rated telephone answering service with a fully personalised virtual receptionist, along with business address and mail forwarding services and smart state-of-the-art meeting rooms that you can hire by the hour.
We understand how important it is for your small business to create the right first impression with your existing clients as well as to prospective new customers. This is why you can impress your callers with our professional telephone answering service. Their call will be answered by a trained virtual receptionist from our small and friendly team.
You can use our answering services for when you are unavailable to take calls yourself, for example when you are in an important meeting or driving between appointments where it would be impractical to take phone calls. You may prefer us to handle all of your incoming business calls to create the impression that you have an established head office in a prestigious location. It is up to you when and how often you would like to use our flexible call answering services.
How our call answering services work
When a caller rings your number, their call will pass to your virtual receptionist. Their call will be answered in a friendly and professional manner using your preferred greeting. The call can then be passed to you or one of your colleagues on a specified number. If you are unavailable, a message can be taken and will be forwarded on to you immediately either by email or via text message.
We will know when an incoming call is for your business because we will issue you with a unique telephone number for your clients and customers to use. When your number is called, your receptionist will see a screen notification and will answer the call with your company greeting. The caller will think they are speaking to your own personal company receptionist!
Why not try out our phone answering services for yourself – free of charge! We can offer you a two-week free trial of our service so you can see for yourself how valuable and cost-effective our phone answering services are.
Companies use a Telephone Answering Service for a variety of reasons, ranging from the fact that it is much more cost effective that employing a full time receptionist to the need to ensure that the right impression is created every time a call is answered.
However, recent activity in the office services market has highlighted other reasons why companies are currently favouring the use of a Telephone Answering Service as their preferred choice for reception cover. With Theresa May having recently triggered Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty at the end of March 2017, many businesses are postponing staff recruitment and similarly do not want to commit to long term office rental agreements. This is where Telephone Answering Services are providing a convenient flexible alternative to the recruitment of permanent admin staff.
Andy Gillen is Managing Director at The Answer Centre and he is noticing an upturn in demand for Telephone Answering Services ahead of Brexit. “Since the decision was taken to exit the EU in June of last year we are finding that more and more businesses are choosing to postpone staff recruitment and our service gives them the flexibility that they need in a time of uncertainty. We have been enjoying high levels of growth in recent months and there is no doubt that Brexit has been a factor in driving demand within our sector” he said.
If you are considering using a Telephone Answering Service or a Virtual Office then please contact The Answer Centre on 0800 093 7333
When The Answer Centre opened for business on 1st June 2000, the Telephone Answering Service was still a relatively new type of service. We would contact a prospective user of the service and they would be both surprised and amazed that we could actually answer their calls in their company name and put calls through to them. Most prospective users of the service would say ‘I didn’t even know that services like this existed’. But of course the Telephone Answering Service sector has grown massively since then and advances in technology and telecoms mean that the possibilities are now endless in terms of the type of services that we can now offer.
From simply answering calls and taking a brief message we can now offer a fully comprehensive Virtual Office service including Telephone Answering Services, a Business Address Service and also Meeting Room Hire.
For more information on how we can help to support your business please give us a call. You can call FREE on 0800 093 7333.
In August this year our very own Alisa who works in our Edinburgh office, and her boyfriend Neil will be walking the West Highland Way in aid of The Willow Foundation.
The Willow Foundation is a national charity that provides special days for seriously ill 16 to 40 year olds and provides a little bit of brightness in a time of great darkness. Every special day aims to provide beneficiaries and their loved ones with a break from the realities of their diagnosis and treatment. At a time of uncertainty, spending quality time with family and friends can help restore a sense of normality, boost confidence and create precious memories for the future.
The West Highland Way is 97 miles long, starting in Milngavie and finishing at Fort William and Alisa and Neil plan to do it over six days. The terrain ranges from lowland moors, dense woodland and rolling hills, to high mountainous regions in the Scottish Highlands.
If you would like to donate then please visit Alisa and Neil’s JustGiving page at www.justgiving.com/Alisa-Neil
Our Virtual Office Address service has turned out to be our top selling service during the first quarter of this year here at The Answer Centre. As small businesses continue to be cautious with their spending in the current downturn, they are continually looking for products and services that will offer them maximum value for money.
And our Virtual Office Address service certainly ticks that box. At only £35 per month for a prestigious business mailing address it is undoubtedly great value for money.
Office Manager Jane Gardner at The Answer Centre’s Wokingham office recently reported that demand for the Virtual Office Address service had even outstripped demand for our core telephone answering service during the first quarter of the year:
“Here at The Answer Centre our core business has traditionally been to provide our customers with a high quality telephone answering service where we answer calls in their company name and provide first class outsourced reception services.
However in the first few months of this year we actually had slightly more new clients signing up for our virtual office service than our call answering service. We think that this is due to the fact that the service is so competitively priced, but it is also partly due to the fact that we actually own our own office buildings and they have impressive reception areas which are all maintained to a very high standard.
Our customers love the fact that if they are going to arrange to meet a client or a prospective new client at our premises then they will be meeting in a prestigious environment and they will be greeted by one of our own receptionists who is trained to be both friendly and professional to all visitors.”
For further information on the Virtual Office Address services offered at The Answer Centre you can call us free on 0800 093 7333.