Running a business in the 21st century involves using everything at your disposal to reach your customers where they are. In the past, you could rely on space and proximity to drive customers to your business. For example, if you were in Leicester City, you could be the only person in the city who was selling what you are selling. That meant you had a captive audience that couldn’t go anywhere else for your products or services. Your only real competition was from mail-order catalogues. Now, the amount of competition has expanded. With the rise of the Internet and its growing ubiquity, you have to be able to market yourself against companies all over the world. No matter what your business might be, the concept of the local business has been dramatically changed. Now, a local business is one that only has a few locations and focuses on people in the area. However, even a local business can have customers all over the world.
A Global Customer Base
If you have a global customer base, you have an advantage over your competition. Expanding your base is especially important for certain kinds of businesses such as seasonal businesses. For example, if you are running a business that sells snowboarding equipment, you might have a lot of success during the winter but business will drop off during the summer. If you are running a truly global business that is optimised for the Internet, you can market yourself to customers in other parts of the world who might be experiencing snowfall when it is still warm in your town. That will help you diversify and stay profitable year round. Just because it’s warm in your local area doesn’t mean it’s not snowboarding season somewhere else. However, that also means that it can be daytime for your customers when it is night-time for you.
Message Direct’s telephone answering services are a great way to keep in touch with your clients and customers regardless of where they are. When you expand your business into a truly diverse entity with a wide range of customers, you’ll find that you also no longer have normal business hours. It might be the middle of the workday in Los Angeles, dinner time in London, and the middle of the night in Laos. That means you have to be able to accommodate all of those different time zones. That’s where a telephone answering service comes in.
How Does It Work?
A telephone answering service is very simple. You set up an account with a company that takes messages. When you need to, you forward your business’s phone calls to the message-taking service. They will answer the phone on behalf of your business; they will answer as if they are your business. They will take a detailed message from your client or customer. Then, they will forward that message to you in whichever form you prefer. That’s all there is to it. It’s very simple and very easy.
You should choose a message-taking service that charges you per phone call and doesn’t have lengthy contracts. If you sign up for a contract with one of these companies, you have to pay them repeatedly even though you might not be using their services. That could be a waste of your money and cut into your profit margins.
A call answering service is great for several different reasons. As discussed earlier, a call answering service allows you to be in touch with your clients at any time of day. Because time zones vary so greatly all over the world, you need to have a truly 24/7 business. Furthermore, call answering services are great because they save you money that you would otherwise have to spend.
How They Save You Money
A telephone answering service saves you money over hiring an actual receptionist and buying an automated answering service. If you have ever dealt with automated phone answering machines, you know how annoying they can be. The research backs you up as well. Researchers have found that 80% of customers have a negative view of automated telephone answering devices. They complain that the options are limited, it’s too difficult to get the machines to understand what you’re saying, and they don’t like how slowly they move. Of those customers, 40% say that they have actually decided not to do business with a certain company because they used an automated answering machine. That 40% of customers could make a huge difference in the amount of money your business is able to make.
Furthermore, telephone answering services save you money over actual receptionists as well. That’s especially true if your business doesn’t get very many phone calls. If you don’t get many phone calls but you get more than you can handle alone, you might think about hiring a receptionist. You would need to pay the receptionist every day, though. That’s true even if there are not many phone calls. Inversely, you only have to pay the telephone answering service when you get phone calls. That will help you reduce the amount of money you would spend on a receptionist.
Essentially, a telephone answering service is instantly scalable. Scalability is a term in the business world that refers to how quickly and effectively a business can get larger or smaller. Seasonal businesses have to focus on this intensely. A shipping company has to be able to scale up during the Christmas season and then quickly scale back down. An answering service greatly increases your scalability. With the help of the answering service, you can become a business that is available all day every day. Any time your customers need you, you’ll be available because your virtual receptionist will work around the clock.
It also lends a sense of legitimacy to your business. The professionals at the answering service will represent your business well in front of your customers. Sometimes, that first impression is all you get with a customer; you should make sure it’s a good one.