You've got a small business. Things are going well, but you need a little extra help. It's come to a point where you can't do it all anymore, and a small business answering service seems like an affordable way to get that help without risking too much of the bottom line. What else is there to know and to think about? Here are three things to think about when considering a small business answering service:
Upcoming Business Plans
Small business answering services are meant to be long term solutions, not something to have for a month or two or while someone is on vacation for a week. Therefore, before deciding whether or not a small business answering service is a good solution for your business, you need to consider your upcoming business plans and goals. Will a small business answering service help you to reach your sales goals? Will it allow you more time to grow your business? Can it be a part of a long-term business direction? These questions, and more, need to be asked.
A traditional receptionist will cost over $2,000 a month, not to mention the additional costs of interviewing and finding the right person and paying for any extra space and equipment you might need to keep them in house. However, a small business answering service typically costs anywhere between $80 and $300 a month, so it is a much more affordable option. Not all small businesses have an extra $2000 to spend, even if the help is badly needed.
Even if you can afford a traditional receptionist, you also need to consider what you'll have the traditional receptionist do. If you only need someone to answer the phone, then a small business answering service might be a better solution because it accomplishes that at a fraction of the cost. However, if you need someone to receive customers when they enter the office, or to perform research for you, or to help with other administrative tasks, then the additional cost of a traditional receptionist justifies the workload.
What Are You Currently Doing?
How are you currently handling your customer calls, and is it working well? Are your customers happy with how calls are handled? What's the cost? Would outsourcing your calls free up time for you or your receptionist to work on other things? Things may not be broken, but there may be a more cost-effective way to do things or a way to do things that makes your customers happier. We certainly wouldn't want you to fire your receptionist because a small business answering service is cheaper, but if that person can be much more productive doing something other than answering the phone, then switching things around to make improvements may prove to be a good investment.
Choosing a small business answering service, or even deciding that such a service is the best solution for your small business, is no easy task. You have to know what you're trying to solve, and whether this solution will work today as well as in the long-term. Not all solutions are scalable or will meet the needs and goals of your business. Therefore, consider these three things when thinking about a small business answering service and whether it's right for you.