Most small businesses operate on a traditional work schedule. They are open regular business hours and closed during the evenings and on the weekends. What differs is how after hours calls are handled. Some businesses choose to forward calls to their personal phone, while others record a message with business hours. The method that you take is preferential and usually depends on the type of business you own. However, many business statisticians claim that a 24 hour live answering service is required and has many business advantages.
Increased customer retention rates
Consumers are used to getting what they want now. If they have a question about a product, they simply do a search on the internet. If they want to purchase something, they log online and order it to be shipped within two business days. Having a live after hours phone answering service meets this immediacy need and gives consumers the information they want now. They are more likely to shop or do business with the small business. Otherwise, they will search for a business that is open and can provide them with the assistance they need.
An after hours phone answering service is also important for handling consumer complaints in a timely matter. According to Forrester, telephone customer service has the highest satisfaction compared to other online customer service channels, at 69%. Many studies state that increasing loyalty and handling current consumer complaints is more valuable than marketing to new customers. A 24 hour answering service gives the customer a live person to handle and ultimately, solve their complaints.
The ability to handle emergencies
Some small businesses should be available for emergencies. A plumber, for example, might be open to late night calls for plumbing emergencies. They can help the consumer out, while also charging a premium fee for after hours services. A medical office should also be available for any medical emergencies or to minimally, inform the patient of where to go with a medical emergency. An after hours phone service can ensure that the consumer reaches a live person to handle their emergency. Just make sure the calls are not heavily scripted in emergency situations. They may not be the best approach as they can eliminate two elements that are essential to the customer service experience, empathy and emotion.
An increase in sales
Many small businesses rely on increasing sales. Having limited availability can affect a consumer?s decision to spend more with a specific company. With after hours phone answering services, the consumer can get their questions answered, get assistance with their online order, and order additional items. Also, two thirds of consumers would be willing to spend more with a particular company, 13% more on average, following an excellent customer service experience. While there are many ways to improve the customer experience, availability with an after hours call service is one useful option.
The ability to screen calls
Screening calls might be important to those employees on call after hours. Screening is also useful for directing consumers with time sensitive issues to a person that can help them. When you use after hours phone answering services, you have the ability to understand every caller?s need and to direct them to the appropriate place. The consumers with non urgent issues can be sent to an answering machine, while the consumers with time sensitive complaints can be forwarded to someone that can help them.
One of the biggest struggles of operating a small business is being available to your consumers at all times of the day and night. In a world that is dominated by technology, consumers expect solutions to their problems immediately. Small businesses can take advantage of after hours phone answering services to screen calls, answer complaints, handle emergencies, and increase customer satisfaction.