When compared to the cost of hiring staff to do it in-house, using a telephone answering service may be one of the best bargains available—anywhere. For a fraction of the cost of one full-time equivalent (FTE), your answering service can handle more calls, offer around-the-clock coverage, and provide professional customer service to your callers and customers.
Given that an answering service is such a great deal, which offers sought-after outcomes, why would anyone try to shave a few cents a day off their monthly answering service bill? Yet some business managers, with laser-like focus on the bottom line, overlook the positive customer service benefits that an answering service provides.
The unfortunate outcome of their penny-pinching ways is that to save a few dollars, they end up keeping their answering service from doing their best work, to the best of their ability. It’s like asking someone to type with one hand. They can do it, but it’s not efficient, and the results aren’t good.
One common mistake that budget-conscious managers make is replacing the professional and personal service offered by real people with impersonal computer automation. Yes, this could save a few dollars a month on their answering service bill, but they’ll irritate all their customers in the process.
Most people don’t want to interact with technology. That’s why they picked up the phone in the first place. They seek a real person to help them out and address their concern. Listening to a recording and pressing buttons seldom accomplishes the results they seek.
Another shortsighted approach is to scale back the number of hours that you’re answering service answers your phone each day. Yes, this reduces the number of calls they answer and therefore lowers your answering service bill. However, it will also reduce the number of people who receive the help they want when they want it.
If they call your company and can’t reach a person, they’ll hang up. But they won’t call back during regular business hours. Instead they’ll start calling your competitors until someone does answer.
Great, you save a few dollars on your answering service bill and lost a customer in the process. That doesn’t make financial sense.
Business managers sometimes make the mistake of viewing their answering service as an expense. Instead it’s an investment. It’s an investment in serving your customers, turning prospects into customers, and keeping the customers you have. For most businesses gaining one new customer or keeping an existing one is worth far more than the cost of an answering service for a whole month, maybe even for a whole year.
As the old saying goes, “Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish.” This goes for your answering service bill too.