In business, first impressions count. A telephone answering service makes it easy for customers to contact your business, and this can mean the difference between capturing new clients and losing them to one of your competitors. Crucially, it also allows you to concentrate on other aspects of your business whilst ensuring that no potential customers are neglected.

Here are our 15 reasons why your small business should be using a telephone answering service.

1.  Never Miss a Sales Call Again

Sales calls are the lifeblood of your business. What’s the point in spending money on marketing or any other aspect of your business if you’re not going to make yourself accessible to your clients? Although a lot of business and sales are now done online, there are still plenty of people who prefer to use the phone. Clients prefer to speak to an actual person. Getting just one sale a month through your telephone answering service could mean that it will pay for itself.

2.  Saves You Money On Hiring a Receptionist

Hiring a receptionist can be expensive for a small business, and you probably don’t have enough incoming calls to justify paying someone to handle them full-time. Even if you get members of your existing team to take calls, this will draw them away from their other tasks, effectively costing you money.

Telephone answering services represent a huge savings in comparison to handling your calls in-house. Not only do you avoid having to pay a salary, you also save on the costs associated with having someone in the office. As well as this, many small business teams work remotely, and telephone answering services are a great way to organize and manage a remote team.

3.  Call Answering, Message Taking and Order Placement, Even When Your Business is Closed

Unlike a real receptionist, a telephone answering service can be on hand all day, every day.

This means that even outside of office hours, your business has a real person manning the phones, ready to deal with enquiries and provide any other aspects of customer service required.

4.  Free Up Time For Your Team to Generate Revenue and Grow Your Business

Even during office hours, dealing with the flow of inbound calls can be extremely time-consuming and distracting. It’s no good hiring great staff to improve and grow your business if they are going to be glued to their phone all day answering mundane enquiries.

As well as this, a telephone answering service filters and forwards calls, so that you can screen calls during busy periods or times when you need to focus on working without distractions. Without picking up the phone, you can find out whether the call is from an important client or from someone trying to sell you a photocopier. A phone answering service can handle many of the day-to-day enquiries, allowing you and your team to concentrate on growing your business.

5.  Book Appointments and Manage Your Calendar

Many telephone answering services can also do other tasks, such as acting as a switchboard to transfer calls to the appropriate people. Even better, some virtual receptionists can be trained to use your calendar software, which means they can book, cancel and rearrange appointments for you (usually a small extra fee).

This is a great way to cut down on time-consuming admin.

6.  Personalized Service For Each Individual Company

Call answering services usually let you choose from a number of options, so you can get the service

that’s right for your business. At the most basic level, a service will take messages for you and filter out unwanted calls. If you want more, you can provide the receptionists with bespoke scripts and briefings, product descriptions, and FAQs, which you can update as often as you like.

This means that upon calling you, your customers will be greeted with a well-informed, polite and friendly service, which will feel like a part of your actual business. We’ve found that good providers are able to build their services around you, and meet the needs of your company. You can give them service briefings, product descriptions and info about your staff, which allows the receptionists to handle a lot of basic enquiries without ever interrupting you in the office.

7.  Eliminates The Headache of Handling Hiring, Absences, Training and Performance Monitoring

When hiring staff, small business owners need to take into account more than just the wage they’ll need to pay. Time, effort and money all go into the process of hiring people, as well as making sure they are doing a good job and are happy in their role. As well as eliminating another name from your payroll, a phone answering service gets rid of all of the added responsibilities and stresses of hiring a dedicated receptionist.

8.  Creates The Illusion of “Size”

A virtual receptionist lends your business a bit of legitimacy and the illusion of size. Even in a startup’s infancy, when the business is run from an old laptop in the living room, a telephone answering service is necessary because we knew that we needed to have good brand perception. Because with many services you can provide your virtual receptionist with custom scripts, you can maintain any brand voice and personality that you may have already created online or elsewhere.

9.  Messages Taken Can Be Sent To The Business By Text or Email, Meaning You Can Access Your Messages Anywhere

With most telephone answering services, your messages are comprehensively logged and securely stored, so you’ll never lose or accidently delete an important message ever again. Even more importantly, many services give you access to a catalogue of your messages wherever you are, which is a great resource when dealing with potential customers or pitching to new clients. It also helps with coordinating the activities of everyone in your team. With a messaging service, everyone is kept in the loop and there are no slip-ups in communication.

10.  Usually No Contract and No or Low Set-Up Fee – Pay As You Go So You’re Never Paying Over The Odds

Although it varies from provider to provider, as a rule you won’t need to sign any contract and you can monitor spending by either paying a fixed monthly rate, or a pay as you go tariff, so you’ll never receive any unexpected bills.

11.  It’s All About The Personal Touch

Answering machines should be banned for small businesses especially the phone tree (press 1 for this and 2 for that). If Office Alternatives was in charge of the country, the first thing we’d do is make it illegal for small businesses to use answering machines. It reflects badly on you, makes you look disorganized and will turn customers off before they’ve even had a chance to get through to you. A call answering service means that whenever they call, potential clients get through to an actual human being.

12.  Free Trials Or Low Cost Trials Are Often Available

If you’re not sure you really need a telephone answering service, or want to test how effective it will be for your company, many providers offer a free trial. A free trial means that you can measure whether a virtual receptionist really will improve your business.

It’s a good idea during this test period to do a couple of “secret shopper” calls yourself to make sure that the service is satisfactory. Ring up with a couple of messages or a question so you can evaluate for yourself how the receptionists handle your enquiry.

13.  You Can Have An 800 Number Or a Landline, Even If You Only Have a Mobile

This is especially useful for small businesses that need to be able to provide clients with free support and assistance. As well as this, only having a mobile number on your website is a sure sign that your business is a one-man band.

14.  Ensures That Calls Are Answered Promptly and Efficiently, Even At Busy Times, So You Won’t Miss a Potential Client

Having a virtual receptionist means that calls will never ring through or go unanswered. As well as this, during busy periods the service provider will be able to handle any unexpected spikes in the number of calls, meaning that you’ll never lose out on potential business.

15.  Increases Productivity of Your Staff

Research has shown that telephone calls are the single biggest distraction people face in the workplace.

Answering the call isn’t necessarily the problem, either. When you are constantly having your workflow interrupted, it breaks your momentum. The time wasted isn’t the time it takes to answer the call, it’s all the time it takes to get yourself back into the swing of your work.

When you and your staff are being bombarded with calls, this can be a serious drain on the productivity of everyone in your office. A telephone answering service can field all of your calls, so not only will you never need to take a cold call again, but when you need to concentrate on something important, you only need to handle high priority calls.

Next step: Try us out today.