Answering Services for Small Businesses

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You will love  Answering Services for Small Businesses and what it can do for you.

First of all, having operated Answering Services for Small Businesses over nearly three decades  I believe I have developed a pretty good idea of what works.

In fact, I started in the business because of my belief in their abilities to deliver business.

Whilst the business ran was like many others where the phone had to be answered in under 4-5 rings.

I would boom across the office with a terse demand to someone to pick up the phone, Now!
We were very strong on the issue but we were proven wrong. We trialled a message service set up by an associate and it proved the fact we did miss calls. Unfortunately, my friend went broke so I bought the remains of the business and started my own service.

 

Answering Services for Small Businesses

 

Starting at the bottom you have domestic answering machines. These are good for home but have no place in a business. The quality is at best basic, they support One line only and require manual viewing of the messages, a job often not done.

You have some message ability on a variety of business telephone systems.  Traditionally these were expensive to buy and maintain. These days of Hosted Phone systems the product has got better but still pretty basic.

Home-based services.

Answering Services for Small Businesses

You can divert all your calls to another office or home-based worker to take calls.
One company I know that is involved in Car window tinting had many branches spread across the country. This is a competitive industry and every call was a potential sale valued in the $hundreds.

They found an experienced lady that worked from home and was committed to taking after hour’s calls.
The business site calls would be diverted to her and she would provide a quote to the caller at the time. She would copy the site in for a follow up next working day.
Being paid a success rate she was enthusiastic  and managed to cover many of the requirements

Virtual message services.

By virtual it is a professionally recorded voice message that delivers a response and takes a message to be emailed to you. No people involved.
This may be Virtual Answering with a press 1 for sales or 2 for accounts reception service.

This type of service has many advantages over other styles.
First of all, it is volume. They are generally able to take multiple calls at a time and distribute them in accordance with your requirements

Finally, we look at a live service where a paid operator usually in a call centre takes your call and performs all the necessary actions for you.

Answering Services for Small Businesses
This may comprise filling in an appointment calendar, taking orders, calling service people or explaining situations.

 

What are the cheapest  Answering  Services

Cheapest is not always best so the decision lays in what you want out of a service. If the actions can only be completed in live answering you have decisions to make.
Do you want to be 24/7 answering or say 7 am to 6 pm only?
In these days without international borders will you object to calls be transferred to a low-cost nation for after-hours service.

Can you put up with peak period calls being put on hold when the message service has a peak call/ per operator load?

Cost of a live service will generally run at +%2.00 per call plus many extras

To answer your calls with a “WE are all busy message” is suitable for most situations with the caller’s message being relayed to you via email or call forward

Can you have different messages in an answering service?

Answering Services for Small Businesses

You should have messages for different occasions, a Day message, an after-hours message and a special occasions message at the least. These are all automated so once set in place there is nothing more to do. We talk more about this a Business messaging

Cost of an Answering service call from about $0.40 a call

 

Is live answering better than a machine

 

This comes down to need. Some things can only be done live so it is not a question.
If it can be done without a  live message service  the cost and availability options of a virtual service
put it in front of the pack

 

Do I really need an answering service?

Especially relevant is that every call coming to you comes with a purpose. It comes because of all the money invested in marketing and promoting your business.

Calls that go unanswered are wasted resources be they during a busy day or in the middle of the night.

You must take every call live or virtual to be truly on top of your game. You have Line busy or engaged times, everyone busy or out of the office, the result is the same a missed opportunity.

In some heavy call industries where callers are chasing quotes or information and the line is busy or not answered they simply move on. Gone and wasted.

Answering Services for Small Businesses

There is a funny thing about missed calls, You never know the value lost unless you monitor your traffic with a good overflow business messaging service.

The author has operated a service in Australia for the past decade called Verdi business messaging and has a range of clients across the country.

Answering Services for Small Businesses

Answering Services for Small Businesses

Peter Hanley, This is part of a series on small business products

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New business phone line

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New business phone line

A new business phone line is always a dilemma particularly now with so many choices available. Peter Hanley discusses the best options for your business and why you should use them.

Local number

The first consideration is how many numbers you will need based on both expected call traffic and staff availability.

More than one in-bound line requirement will most likely lead to a phone system of a kind or a hosted network where
the numbers and equipment are cloud-based.

New business phone line

Don’t just buy numbers or lines because it looks good, they do cost money and there are better ways to achieve this.

 

 

Mobile phone number

Many small business and home-based businesses have adapted to use the mobile phone. Now in itself, this can work
to deliver calls to you at all times.
However, there are several  problems or downsides to this;

1)  Using a mobile number states you are a small one-man business and may be hard to get. I know I shy away from these numbers when seeking a tradesperson of service.

2) It interrupts your workflow and costs you valuable on the job time.

3) Clients often get snarky when you are taking calls in their time, they are paying you an hourly rate for you to chat on the mobile.

Generally, I  would actively dissuade you from this approach.

 

Free call number 0800, 1300

A free call number is a number and not a line. You need to point it to a line either local or mobile.

These numbers are great if you are operating interstate. You could be a corporation as the number does not place you in a location. An ideal opportunity in this circumstance.

New business phone line
Furthermore, my recommendation is do not consider this if you are plying a local trade. Customers want a local business to deal with and not an unknown identity.

Name numbers

This is for the advanced style business. 0800 mobile or something like that.

You generally have 6 numbers to play with and these are shown clearly on your handset.

If you use more than the six number/ words the others don’t count and the system ignores them.
Certainly, you get an increased number retention rate and thus more calls but at a cost.

Recommended where appropriate.

 

Virtual Phone number

These days you can get a Virtual number that is cloud-based but in a local number range.
The number can point to your mobile phone, home phone or even a message service.
The cost is minimal to set up but you do pay more on heavy use.

As the Internet grows you will see more and more of this type of service.

 

Back up answering service

Always have a back up answering service. Phone calls are important and missed calls could be missed dollars.
If you are using your mobile it will have a message bank service within the package.

The Author runs a Service in Australia called Verdi that backs up all telephone calls with a great message service

Conclusion

Finally, each option has its own benefits and negatives depending on your needs.

 

 

 

 

Peter Hanley

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Phone numbers for business

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Phone numbers for business

 

Working from home or small office and want phone numbers for business use you have several ways to do it.

Here we will explore a few ideas and define expectations.

Firstly though, having a separate number provides some benefits along the way. If You move or sell your business you don’t want your mobile or home phone number disappearing

Local Telephone Number

When you get a home or office landline, or even calls on an internet package you receive an allocated number.

This may be an idea if you are going to make or receive a lot of calls. You can have a separate landline for personal use and have two handsets.

Phone numbers for business

In many areas you can purchase a virtual number, a number in the cloud that is yours to use and calls are patched to you or a message service. Generally, there are no calls out but you have a presence.

1300-800 Numbers

In all countries,

you have what is called free call numbers. The USA is 800, Australia is 1300 UK 0800.

This type of number is expensive to you, the call receiver. You pay for the line and then termination rates depending on where the calls originate.

The numbers are good if you want to be seen as a countrywide service. All USA or UK or even Australia. The numbers make your location invisible. This is not so Internationally as many numbers cannot be called from outside your boundaries. You would need to supply an alternate number for this.

If, you are a local supplier you are better served with a local number. Your buyers or subscribers want to purchase local and the number indicates where in the country you subscribe

Inbound mobile numbers

Phone numbers for business

You can purchase an Inbound mobile number that will deliver SMS message directly to your email. You don’t need a phone at all and you can SMS that number, advertise it and use it just like a mobile phone.

I believe a business should have a real number and perhaps an SMS number as a backup. A real number gives an aura of size and not a small part-time operator. Furthermore, it will become a fixed asset that you may wish to sell in the future.the number can be advertised in any way you want and draw business for years to come.

Fax numbers

Now here is a conundrum that is country based. In The USA a fax is still a dominant number used for many commercial and legal reasons. In Australia, as an example, it is being fazed out and replaced with Emails.

A great benefit here is that fax line numbers are cheap and can go straight to email. No fax machines or equipment other than your email service. You can generally send and receive faxes at any time.

Phone numbers for business

Does having a fax make you look more professional? I think so and as you can achieve it for just a few dollars it is well worthwhile. Fax to email services are available worldwide and in Australia at Verdi messaging

 

Getting phone numbers cheap

The deal here is to shop around and get the best deal. Every country is different but make a few calls and get some quotes. Numbers in the cloud are available and as long as you pay the small fee they belong to you

Conclusion

In conclusion, the purchase of numbers depends on your need and everyone requires them for a variety of reasons. I can supply more advise if you comment below and give a brief summary of what you wish to achieve
Phone numbers for business
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