If you’re going to grow a business you have to market it in many advertising mediums. New customer acquisition is not only necessary for business growth, but it’s also a requirement to maintain existing levels. At the very least, for every customer you lose, you must replace it with one of equal value. Of course, in the real world most entrepreneurs hope to add two or more customers for each one they lose.
For many businesses capturing a single customer can easily pay for a $200 investment, and once the marketing costs have been covered, each new customer thereafter is considerably more profitable. For this reason business managers will also generally spend a lot of time tracking which advertisements bring in most customers and which one do not even cover the initial investment for marketing. However, more and more business owners are learning that all advertisements could be performing far better simply by investing a couple of dollars into a live phone answering service. Here are a few things to consider:
The Customers You Paid to Reach Might be Calling Your Competition
No matter if the marketing program was hugely successful and just slightly, the responders are not only calling during normal business hours, but after hours as well. And you may be saying, “no problem, they’ll just leave a message and I’ll call them back in the morning”. The reality is that consumers in today’s world expect live customer service no matter what day, or what time they may call. This is especially the case in the event of an emergency, such as a pluming problem or a need for a tow truck. In these cases, and many more, the consumer finds your business advertisement, calls and gets a machine, hangs up and calls on another advertiser. Simply by using a business answering service and having a live receptionist answer calls at night and on weekends you would likely increase your ROI on adverting by at least 25%.
A Service Does Not Have to Cost a Ton of Money
Most people think that outsourcing to a call center or 24 hour Answering Service will cost a fortune, but in truth they very inexpensive. Further, as you should be capturing a few new customers each month, you’ll need to weigh in the money that you make as a result of the small investment. Most call centers bill in time based measures, so simply by limiting the amount of questions that are asked to your prospect will keep your bill to a minimum. Most people only need a service to capture the name, phone number, and message, plus maybe one or two other pieces of information. What’s important is that your remote receptionist assures the caller that their needs are important that your office will take care of them right away. That basically stops them from calling anyone else for service.
Instantly Find Out Which Advertisement Works Best
With modern technology call centers today have the software to help you know which of your marketing messages work the best. Let your phone answering service know the places where you are advertising and have them ask each caller how they heard about your business. From there the service can store the information into a database and send you a report of which source each customer called from. This may even help you to eliminate some non effective marketing expenses and free up money to invest in more profitable products.
Choosing the Right Answering Service
There are more than 2,000 phone answering services and some may be right for your business that would not be a good fit for another. For example, if you run a medical business or some form of emergency business and you absolutely can not miss a call, then you need a service with multiple locations and a good back up system in case one office closes, perhaps from inclement weather or maybe loses power or electricity. A small call center with one location may cost less but you’re almost guaranteed to be without service a couple times a year. The next thing you’ll need to do is insist on a one week free trial, and most every service will gladly offer this to you. This let’s you test the service and determine how professional their agents are. There are tons of billing options, but don’t just go for the cheapest per minute charge without reading the small print. For example, one service may bill in one minute increments, and another will bill in one second increments. Also, one service may bill every month while another every 28 days, which means you’ll get hit with one extra bill each year. And don’t forget holiday, because some charge a hefty fee for every holiday, regardless of how many calls they take for your company.
A final suggestion is never sign a contract longer than month to month. Most call centers do not require lengthy agreements and the downside of one is that if service levels should eventually stop meeting your needs there won’t be much you can do about it if you’re stuck in an agreement.