If you are running a small business, or indeed any business, one of the most important things that you can do to retain customers and ensure growth is to focus on customer service.
A lot of customer service is ensuring that customers can get the answers or information that they need as quickly as possible. For this reason, businesses are rightly focusing a lot of their time and attention on building up their digital presence so that customers can ‘self serve’.
While this is important, a lot of customers still want to be able to talk about their questions or concerns with a real-life human being, who they can feel a connection to. How much weighting should be applied to your digital presence and how much should be applied to your human customer service team will vary depending on which sector you are working in and who your customer base is.
For the majority of small businesses who do need a human contact center, an answering service is one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways to provide this service.
It will save your company money
Call centers are notorious for having a high turnover of staff. It’s difficult work, and many businesses seriously underestimate the amount of training and support that’s needed to help your contact center staff thrive.
The cost of hiring each new member of staff is not insignificant. Each person you employ will, of course, need a salary, which is not an insignificant cost. However, you also need to factor in the cost of the recruitment campaign that allowed you to hire them, as well as the cost of training, IT equipment, and more.
In 2020, small companies were spending around $1,500 per year on staff training alone. Plus, it takes a while for new members of staff to be able to operate independently; it’s been estimated that it will take around six months before you break even on a new hire.
In a high turnover department like a contact center, this could be a significant amount of money to risk.
By outsourcing your call center work to an answering service, the cost of recruitment and onboarding is neutralized. You will just pay a fixed amount that you can easily predict and have control over.
You will be giving your customers what they want
While a lot of customers do embrace using technology when they are communicating with businesses, there are a lot of people (55%, according to a recent survey) who would just prefer to talk to a human. This is, of course, provided that the human they are speaking to is helpful and can provide them with the information that they are looking for quickly.
Probably one of the best ways to make use of answering service companies for your SMB is to take advantage of the fact that they operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This means that your customers are guaranteed a response whenever they call, and you never have to miss a sale or prospect. To offer this same service with your own staff you would be looking at paying extra for working unsociable hours, as well as paying for a lot of ‘downtime’, that is, paying your staff to wait for calls that may not happen.
You can be responsive to changing business needs
If you’ve just run a campaign that has done particularly well or you’re offering a limited-time promotion, you can expect a surge in the number of calls that you are receiving, and you’ll need to be able to deal with them all to make the most of all of your hard work.
The problem is if you hire a load of people but you only actually need them for a limited amount of time, you’ll find that you suddenly have more staff than you need once the promotion is over.
Outsourcing to an answering service means that you can always deal with the level of calls that you are receiving without having to hire extra staff that you won’t always need.
Answering services make it their profession to provide courteous and polite customer service. This is something that can be difficult to guarantee when you are running a call center yourself! Providing excellent customer service takes a lot of training, and not only this but constant mentoring and performance reviewing. It’s a huge undertaking for any business, and a big learning curve.
Businesses lose $2378 per second due to poor customer service. Many businesses spend thousands on marketing and technology, only to lose business because the customer service they are providing is less than ideal.
Founder Dinis Guarda
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