Pros and Cons of an Answering Service in 2021
Looking for business solutions going into the new year? Here are the pros and cons of an answering service for small businesses in 2021.
Every small business knows one thing: the customer comes first.
But how do you manage that in an effective manner with a small business? Sometimes interrupting work to answer a steady stream of office calls can cause problems. Business owners can start to feel that their quality of customer service goes down, or at the very best, they can feel stretched a little too thin.
And with 30.7 million small businesses in the United States in 2019, the competition is stiff. No one wants a missed phone call to cost them a potential client. So is hiring a phone answering service the right fit for you and your small business?
Here are some pros and cons of hiring a phone answering service for small businesses to consider.
There is Always a Trained, Courteous Voice to Answer Your Business Calls
Pro: Extend Business Hours & Work Uninterrupted
Every business owner knows that same sinking feeling. It is the end of the business day. You turned off the lights and are about to lock up the office when the phone rings. Do you turn everything back on to get that one last phone call? Or leave it for voicemail?
Or say you have a deadline and you are working hard to meet it. Engrossed in your project, every time you start to get somewhere critical, you feel interrupted by another phone call. The time spent answering and completing a call could have been better spent getting your work done.
This is where having a professional answering service for your small business comes in handy. They are available to answer business calls after work hours. And they can also handle potential clients while you need to direct your attention elsewhere.
Most of the time, customers want to hear a professional voice that can answer their questions and direct them where to go. An answering service does just that.
Con: Not Helpful For Expert or Technical Phone Calls
An answering service for small business endeavors to provide basic phone solutions. What are they? To answer the phone, provide information, schedule appointments, and the like.
But, when it comes to businesses that receive highly technical phone calls, they may not be the solution you need. It is true that training and information are provided to the professionals working the answering service on the other end of the line. But they are not experts in that particular business’ field.
This can be frustrating for customers who call with inquiries that are industry-specific. And an employee or business owner who works in that field would know how to handle those types of calls better than an answering service.
Less Expensive Than Other Phone Answering Procedures
Pro: Less Interruption at Work (For More Money!)
For the most part, it is cheaper to pay an answering service to take your business phone calls than to pay employees to do the same thing. Why? Most employees have very specific duties outside of speaking to customers. The time it takes to handle a call completely from beginning to end can be exceptional.
And with 43% of small to mid-sized businesses in the United States reporting a significant to severe financial impact due to COVID-19, small business owners are looking to their budget to see where to save funds. Hiring a professional answering service can put them on the right track.
Con: Not a Replacement For In-Office Employees
Some small business owners go into hiring an answering service with the expectation that they are getting something similar to a virtual assistant or office receptionist. And while answering services can do a lot, they can’t do everything an employee working directly for the company can do.
For example, think of the many roles an office manager plays. Filing, communicating job details, and sending out emails are a few of their many responsibilities. Business owners who hire an answering service expecting these things to be done will be sadly disappointed.
Also, there are the basics of phone call management that an answering service is not capable of handling. For example, what if the owner had to step out for an emergency or have an unexpected delay affected a job? An answering service would have no way of knowing these outside factors. And it would be a mistake on the business owner’s part to expect otherwise.
Professional Phone Calls Are Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Pros: Customers Receive a Consistent Response
Answering services receive a script and background training about your business. A professional answering service will then have the tools on hand to provide excellent customer service. When a customer calls a small business, getting a consistent response can often mean the difference between whether you receive their business.
This can boost customer morale and trust in your business’ abilities. And it is done without business owners or employees having to handle the responsibility themselves.
Cons: No Micro-Managing Phone Calls
Many business owners or managers like to keep a ‘pulse’ on how their business is operating. This includes being able to make rounds in the workplace, being able to correct or train on the spot to help improve work performance.
Obviously, with a professional answering service, that can not be done. Calls are taken at another location and the ability to jump in on certain conversations does not exist. This can be frustrating to a business owner who likes to have a tight handle on everything that goes on in the business.
Find Out If a Phone Answering Service For Small Business Would Work
There are other factors to consider when deciding whether to provide phone solutions for your small business with an answering service. However, the goal is always the same: put the customer first.
Following that mantra, small business owners going into 2021 continue to work hard to develop and grow a thriving business.
Want more information on whether a phone answering service for small business is right for you? Contact us today for more information!
Author: Michael C
Michael has over 30 years of executive call center and answering service experience. He is a successful business owner and lead generation expert and shares tips to help other entrepreneurs build and grow their business through leads generation and lead capture solutions. His mission is to share carefully guarded marketing tips that will help small-medium business compete on a smaller budget.