Theresa Alacante has been making fine, hand-made ceramic tiles for upscale clients for twelve years. After she graduated with her Masters in Fine Arts from UC Davis, she taught art in the public school system. At the same time she designed and crafted fine hand-made ceramic tiles on the side.
Theresa’s reputation grew. Many upscale designers began specifying her work on major construction and design projects. Soon, Theresa realized she had to make a choice. In order to meet demand, she gave up teaching to pursue her business full time.
As a new small business owner, Theresa attempted to handle all of the tasks her growing business demanded. She even kept a cordless telephone on her glazing table and juggled purchasing, inventory management, and customer orders herself. A friend helped her launch a website and later a printed catalog that she sent to designers around the state.
She soon found she had as little time to concentrate on her art now as she did when she was teaching. Because she worked from a home studio, Theresa was reluctant to hire staff, which would have subjected her to various health, labor, and safety regulations that did not otherwise apply to her as a small, home-based business.
In order to cope Theresa outsourced her telephone calls to a virtual receptionist service provided by a telephone answering service. Later she rolled over her 800 number so her catalog orders could be accepted along with her routine calls. Thanks to the proficient staff and sophisticated order-taking software at the answering service, her callers were greeted by professional operators who could answer questions and process orders.
A few months later her work was featured in a national designers trade publication, and Theresa’s business was inundated with requests for her catalog. The answering service took every one of the calls that flooded in. They even mailed the catalogues for her, over a thousand of them.
“There is no way we could have coped with all those phone calls and catalogue requests,” Theresa said. “It was all my husband and I could do to keep supplies coming in and orders going out. If someone had told me a year ago how much this would have grown, I’d have never believed it. But thanks to my answering service it was all manageable, and we couldn’t be happier!”
Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer from Southwest Michigan. Contact us to learn how a telephone answering service can answer your calls 24/7 to better serve your customers.