- Plagued by incessant calls as you try to run your small business?
- Want to spend more time actually running your business, and less time on the phone?
- How can a virtual receptionist make your small business more successful?
Q: How can I spend less time answering business calls?
A: Small business owners can make the most of their limited time by using a virtual receptionist to answer calls. This solution is cost-effective, remote, and easily implemented.
According to Harvard Business School, boosting customer retention rates by just 5% can profit increases of up to 95%. American Express has found that the average customer tells approximately 15 people when they have had a poor customer service experience.
The implications of these statistics are clear:
Customer service is a double-edged sword.
If you take it seriously, it can help you carve out a path towards success and insane profits. If you dismiss its importance, it can inflict a wound from which you may never fully recover.
In a world filled with attractive digital marketing methods like social media and PPC ads, it’s easy to forget about the humble business phone line. The truth is that many of your customers prefer to call you and speak to someone directly.
If you don’t have enough time to answer, you could be losing thousands of potential leads. Worse still, unanswered calls can damage the reputation of your brand.
So what’s the solution?
It might be much easier than you expected.
The Most Important Challenge Faced by Small, Remote Businesses
The benefits of running a small, remote business are obvious. You get to enjoy all the advantages of a major company without the hassle of office space, numerous employees, and that tiresome commute to the office every morning.
This type of structure is especially effective for solo entrepreneurs and professionals, such as attorneys, financial experts, consultants, real estate professionals, and mobile business owners.
However, it’s not a perfect business model. When you suddenly find yourself handling virtually every aspect of your company – from branding and tax returns to software upgrades and research – things can get a bit hectic.
One of the most overwhelming aspects of running a solo operation is customer support. Some businesses don’t get many phone calls, while others are absolutely inundated with the sound of ringing throughout the entire day.
Whatever the case may be, you need a solid plan when it comes to answering calls.
eCommerce businesses are becoming increasingly popular in the modern era, and you can theoretically operate these enterprises with just a handful of employees. Today’s eCommerce platforms can handle virtually every aspect of your business, and numerous tasks can be completely automated.
But you can never automate the experience of an organic, human phone conversation.
When you’re selling thousands of products to customers around the world, these phone calls can completely overwhelm your business. Suddenly, you’re spending all day talking to customers with all kinds of complaints instead of actually growing your business.
While consultants, lawyers, and real estate professionals typically deal with fewer calls per day, the same issue is just as important for these solo entrepreneurs.
A single missed call for a lawyer can represent losses of tens of thousands of dollars – perhaps more. A high-paying client for a consultant can not only lead to income, but it can also lead to new networking opportunities. A satisfied real estate client can recommend you to their friends and family, leading to years of reliable work in the future.
This is why catching every single call is so important.
Let’s face it – even the most determined solo entrepreneurs need time off eventually. Funnily enough, it always seems like major clients decide to call at precisely the same time we spend time with the kids or go out for dinner.
And when customers do manage to get through, they need to be greeted with a cheerful, professional voice.
First impressions are everything, especially if you’re just getting started with your small business.
As many remote workers have discovered, one of the biggest challenges of this model is communication.
When you’re operating a solo operation, you don’t need to worry about communicating with co-workers – but you do need to worry about how you communicate with your customers.
Emails, messages, and ads can all be misinterpreted by your leads. Sometimes their only option is to call you directly to clarify concerns.
Another major issue for solo entrepreneurs is work-life balance. A home office can seem convenient and comfortable at first, but you need to make sure that your work doesn’t take over your life. It’s important to set clear boundaries.
If you find yourself answering work calls throughout the entire day, something is clearly wrong with your work-life balance. At a certain point, you need to log out, switch off, and focus on living your life.
How a Virtual Receptionist Can Help
A virtual receptionist is the ideal solution.
When you enlist the help of one of these professionals, you can delegate phone calls and focus instead on growing and expanding as a solo entrepreneur.
This means you’re spending more time building your business, building your brand, exploring new opportunities, and boosting profit margins. With a virtual receptionist, jobs that are more important than answering a phone call take center stage.
Here’s how a virtual receptionist for small business can help:
- Ensuring a Positive Customer Experience: Virtual receptionists bring strong communication skills to the table, allowing them to promote excellent customer satisfaction. This helps you make positive first impressions on new customers while boosting loyalty and retention with your existing clients.
- Never Miss Another Call: With a virtual receptionist, you’ll never miss another call. Take time off without worrying about losing high-paying clients. When you come back to work, you’ll have a list of new leads to follow up on.
- Boost Profits: Solid customer service is closely linked with your profit margins. Virtual receptionists can pay for themselves many times over by landing new clients and upselling your services.
- Protect Your Reputation: With a virtual receptionist, you won’t have to worry about customers spreading damaging information about your company. Since each customer has a positive experience on the phone, you benefit from positive word-of-mouth marketing – not harmful rumors.
Always do your research and weigh up virtual receptionist pros and cons before choosing a solution that makes sense for your business. That being said, a virtual receptionist is clearly an effective choice for a wide range of potential applications.
The Most Common Misconception of Hiring a Receptionist Today
You might assume that hiring a receptionist is costly and that it negates many of the benefits of a remote business.
After all, hiring a receptionist means organizing some kind of workspace for them and paying them an annual wage… right?
In the modern era, receptionists have become more accessible and affordable than ever before.
Virtual receptionists can carry out their tasks remotely – just like you. You don’t need to worry about where they’ll work, as a third-party agency will handle these details.
In other words, you get to maintain and expand your remote business model without hiring additional employees.
Your business can grow effectively with virtual receptionists. Remote tasks that were previously in dire need of attention can be handled effectively without causing unnecessary distractions.
In addition, virtual receptionists are incredibly affordable. While a completely free virtual receptionist is sadly impossible, there’s no need to spend a fortune on this service. Unlike a traditional receptionist, you can enlist the help of a live receptionist for a minuscule fraction of a typical annual wage.
This service is a viable option for even the smallest businesses with minimal budgets. On that same note, a virtual receptionist can be equally effective for successful, high-earning solo entrepreneurs who just want to keep operating costs as low as possible.
If you’d like to check out your options for virtual receptionists, check out Alliance Virtual Offices. Live Receptionist services start at just $125 per month, and they include unlimited minutes, voicemail, appointment scheduling, and much more.
A cheap virtual receptionist service can completely transform your business, leading to better reviews, long-lasting customer loyalty, and plenty of new opportunities for profit.
Remote businesses can benefit tremendously from having their employees work remotely – or having no employees at all.
- The remote-working challenge: ‘There are huge issues’
- 9 of the most challenging things about working remotely
- 5 Common Problems Plaguing Remote Workers And What To Do About Them
- Managing Remote Workers Toolkit
Thankfully, you don’t have to sacrifice this remote-focused structure when you hire a virtual receptionist.
These employees can also work remotely, and you can hire one through a third-party service like Alliance Virtual Offices to reduce costs.