Good customer service is important to companies of any size, and the expectations of a customer are always growing. With many smaller firms facing stiff competition from large corporations, they will want to offer the same level of service that they do, and for many industries this means offering phone support 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
While larger companies will often have dedicated staff on night shifts, this isn’t necessarily cost effective for small and medium firms, and that’s why they look at solutions such as call answering services to cover them outside of their usual hours. Here are some of the advantages of offering 24/7 phone support, and ideas for implementing it at your firm.
One of the main reasons for offering a 24/7 service is that you can deal with a broader range of customers, and out of hours you might have calls from:
• Shift workers
• Those who can’t call during the day
• People in different time zones
• Those with emergency issues
• Night owls
These are all people who are valuable customers, yet they may struggle to fit within your strict opening hours. Many customers still prefer being able to pick up the phone and speak to a human, as opposed to e-mailing, and if you don’t extend your hours then you might lose out on their business.
No matter what the size of your company, in the age of the internet, you’re working in a global environment, and this can mean dealing with people from around the world. While you may feel that your business is small and local, by opening yourself up to global expansion you can enjoy many benefits, from an increased customer base, to being able to specialise in a niche product. However, dealing with people from around the world means that you’re dealing with different time zones, and this can be tough for smaller firms. You could therefore look at expanding your customer service times by a couple of hours, and then have a phone answering service for out of hours services, ensuring that any customer from around the world can speak to a human who represents your company.
Another reason why 24/7 phone coverage is advised is that it helps you deal with emergency situations before they escalate. For example, someone may need maintenance or repairs, or have a situation which just can’t wait until you open until 9am. If you aren’t available, then they may take to social media to register their unhappiness, or it could cause a difficult situation the next day when some poor customer service representative has to deal with an irate client.
If you don’t have your own staff available to cover the phones at night, then you could look at solutions such as a virtual receptionist. They will be able to take calls for you, and should an emergency arise, can get in touch with an appointed person to take care of things, meaning things can be dealt with quickly.
If you want to compete with the bigger companies in your industry, it’s important to offer complete professionalism, and to show that you can offer the same level of service that they do. When you call a big company, you expect them to pick up the phone at any hour, and if you can also offer this service, then you can show you’re in the same league as them.
A 24/7 phone service shows that you:
• Are a globally-focused firm
• Care about your customer’s needs
• Can provide service at all hours
• Have the resources to deal with bigger clients
While you may not be a big enough company to justify hiring night staff, or putting people onto shift work, you can get cover for calls out of hours, with calls answered with your company name and dealt with in a professional manner.
Missed calls = missed opportunities
Opportunities do not just come knocking between the hours of nine and five. People work much differently now to how they did a decade ago, and they expect business people to be constantly reachable and ready to deal with their enquiries. When they call up and get an answer phone, then they might simply hang up and move onto the competition. That’s why having someone there at all hours, even just to take messages, can really help when you’re trying to grow and compete in the global marketplace.
Let’s face it, despite the various technologies for getting in touch with a company, nobody wants to be on the receiving end of a recorded message or an e-mail telling them you’ll get back to them soon. They want a human voice on the end of the phone, whether it’s during office hours or in the middle of the night, and having someone to answer the phone is incredibly reassuring.
Although there are many new ways to help with client’s queries, from virtual chat to social media, it’s still the old-fashioned touch that many people prefer, and that means being able to talk on the phone to UK based customer service staff. By offering this service 24/7, you combine the best of old-fashioned service, with the demands of modern life, ensuring that you build up relationships with customers, with the hope that they’ll recommend you to others.
While your business might only run between nine and five, the lives of your customers do not. That’s why it makes sense to have 24/7 phone lines, whether you’re dealing business to business, or directly with the public. This will help you to stay in touch with the people that matter, and ensure that they get the best level of service when they pick up the phone, no matter what time of day. With solutions such as phone answering services available, it doesn’t necessarily have to be an expensive change, but it’s one that could make a big difference to your company.