Sometimes, it’s obvious that an answering service is necessary to make operations run more smoothly for your company – but it’s not always so cut and dry. To that end, we’ve compiled a list of six situations in which a 24-hour answering service is precisely what’s needed to ensure that operations continue ticking over without any hang-ups or slow-downs.
1. When an emergency situation has made it impossible for your team to make it into the office.
Depending on where your business operates, this may seem like an unlikely scenario. However, you never know when inclement weather or other circumstances could make it impossible for you and your crew to make it into the office.
Of course, the fact that your staff are not on site doesn’t mean that the phones are going to stop ringing. Instead, your callers are going to expect the same level of prompt a courteous service that they usually receive when they call in to speak with a representative.
Just remember that emergencies are – by nature – unexpected and unpredictable. That’s why it’s important to make preliminary arrangements to have the lines covered ahead of time. That way, when a crisis strikes, you’ll be ready to give your preferred call bureau the go-ahead to swing into action and start picking up calls as they come in.
2. When your office’s phone system is offline or in need of repair.
It may not be the end of the world, but a malfunctioning telephone system can be an enormous hassle for businesses – especially when the company relies on phone communication for a portion of its sales or customer service initiatives.
However, technology does fail us from time to time. That’s why it’s absolutely essential that you make advance arrangements with a specialist to take over when such problems occur. You’ll find that most providers of after-hours phone answering service also offer emergency cover in situations like this.
3. When you’re dealing with unexpected absences.
Unexpected absences are inevitable in any work environment, but that doesn’t mean that you have to resign yourself to simply falling behind during those periods. Instead, with a bit of planning and preparedness, your crew can continue plugging along as if they were operating at full capacity.
One of the most important things that you can do when you are short-staffed is to get the phone lines covered. When some of your team are away, a ringing phone becomes much more of a disruption than usual.
With your team’s attention already divided by an increased workload, the last thing that you want to see is an increased level distraction in the office. By hiring a company like Netcall Solutions to take care of answering the phone, you can help your team to maintain focus until you return to a full roster.
4. When your target customers are likely to call in during non-business hours.
In some situations, our clients find that they have no problem keeping up with ringing phones during primary business hours. The problem is that a significant number of their target customers call in outside of these hours.
There are a few different ways to approach this problem. To begin, you may simply leave an outgoing message telling your callers that the office is closed but that they are welcome to leave a message and a representative will call them back tomorrow. Of course, few (if any) are really going to leave messages. Instead, they’ll just call someone else who is ready to answer the phone and speak to them right now.
Another means of dealing with this problem is to bring on staff to man the lines for you in the evening. This has the potential to be successful. However, that additional employee is going to operate unsupervised when the rest of your team have already gone home. Accountability is difficult to ensure.
After-hours answering services are a preferable alternative for many reasons – not least the assurance that your callers are receiving prompt and professional attention regardless of the time of day. This goes a long way toward bolstering the company’s public image and ensuring customers of your dedication and commitment to customer service.
5. When a marketing campaign was extremely effective.
Sometimes, marketing campaigns simply outperform expectations. Suddenly – and seemingly without warning – the phones are simply ringing off the hook. If your facilities and crew are not equipped to deal with this surge, the situation can be overwhelming, to say the least.
But problems like this are good ones to have. They indicate a company that’s growing and ready to tackle new challenges. Just remember that mishandling this surge in calls can ultimately lead to missing out on serious new sales. Furthermore, it can put some customer off of dealing with your company in the future.
If you’re planning a new marketing campaign that you expect to generate substantial new interest in your company’s products or services, it’s worth taking a moment to consider how you are going to deal with the surge in calls, emails and other contacts that are likely to result.
6. When your company is serving clients or customers in a different time zone.
Today’s e-commerce environment continues to affect the way our businesses operate. It’s easier than ever for customers on the other side of the world to navigate their way to your website and take an interest in your business’ offerings. Of course, this means that you are going to have to rethink your company’s office hours if you want to cater to this new base of target customers on an ongoing basis.
The good news is that a reliable after-hour answering service makes it easier than ever to ensure that the lines are covered regardless of the time of day. You and your team can leave the office at quitting time with the assurance that any new enquiries and sales calls coming through in the evening will be properly dealt with. When you return to work in the morning, notes and messages from those calls will be waiting for you.