As every business owner knows, the office or shop never really closes. There is always work to do in some form or fashion. Paperwork, phone calls and emails to return, and billing invoices need to be sent, received, or balanced.
These mundane tasks are what keeps a business running efficiently. However, they can take a toll on business managers who are already operating at full capacity. Busy professionals are always on the lookout for ways to make operations more manageable and increase productivity simultaneously. One way to accomplish both of these goals is through the use of an after-hours answering service.
What Can Businesses Expect From Answering Services?
Essentially, answering services can come in one of two basic forms. Companies either use an automated voicemail system or hire administrative support help for the purpose of fielding after hours phone inquiries. Aside from answering phones, some answering services support providers offer a host of other services as well. Just to name a few of the additional services available, here are the top four requests:
The most basic service answering services and similar providers offer is simply taking incoming phone calls when the business closes. However, some services can also be requested during peak hours or on specific days and times when phones are busiest.
Adding this service is a great way to ensure that you don’t miss any calls. This of course also means that no you will not miss any business opportunities or potential new customers.
In addition to answering incoming calls, some answering services also provide personnel to take phone or email messages as well. Depending on the nature of the business, the answering service can train specialty staff to respond to these routine calls or messages rather than simply sending a message of the missed call.
This feature is especially helpful for determining how a business or medical practice can best be serviced during off hours. Training temporary staff as needed can be a complex and inefficient use of resources. Instead, consult with an answering service and sign up for a service plan capable of addressing the business’s rote issues.
Most such service agencies offer their customers various ways to make their business more efficient. Specific terms of a contract or agreement can be personalized to create a list of services that will be perfectly matched to the custom needs of a business or medical practice. A small business answering service may be the right solution for many different reasons.
For example, a busy pediatrician may request answering services that can refer emergency patient situations to the appropriate substitute or on-call physician. The owner of a booming HVAC company may need the expertise of answering services that have the capability of also scheduling appointments for new customers, communicating changes in schedules, and confirming addresses or other necessary information.
Whenever businesses are consistently available to their customers, their reputation soars. Adding the hypothetical services mentioned above or contracting a professional service for more than simply answering phones can add to the validity of a new business. This type of service establishes a sense of professionalism and support that customers are seeking when looking for a new service provider.
Some offices only need an answering service to take calls when the business or practice closes for the day, or on holidays and weekends. Accomplishing this can easily be done through the use of answering services. For those who could benefit from additional services, negotiating them through answering services may be the most cost-effective method of meeting business needs.
This process can be as easy as providing a template of intake questions for a medical practice, access to an online calendar for scheduling appointments, or developing other shared access to professional services data. You can add or remove any of these proxy rights as necessary. Training individuals from an answering service is likely to be much less expensive and time-consuming than hiring a temporary agency or a part-time employee for the same services.
Who Should Use Answering Services?
A small business answering service is a great option for many different practices and types of businesses. Virtually any owner or business manager who wants to increase their public profile and attend to customers more efficiently can benefit from using professional and dedicated answering services.
New business owners are especially susceptible to an overwhelming influx of calls or office visitors. A professional answering or call monitoring service can alleviate this traffic. A professional monitoring service can make new appointments, explain policies and procedures, and attend to customers efficiently.
In essence, anyone who wants their business to thrive and wants to exceed customer expectations can benefit from using answering services. These dedicated systems have employees that are easy to contact and quickly trainable for a variety of needs. In most cases, contracting any additional help necessary can be within one or two business days.