Whether your business has been up and running for less than a year or for several years, there are certain tell-tale signs that indicate your operations and staff are starting to flail. As any business grows, tasks and responsibilities naturally increase as well, which no doubt increases the workload for you and your staff.
Sometimes it takes a crisis for the strain to become apparent, but you shouldn’t have to get to the point of a business-damaging crisis to see that you need some extra help. If any of these 5 signs sound familiar, it may be time to consider hiring an answering service to help you run your business more smoothly:
A Slowdown In Productivity
A growth in business means an increase in customer inquiries, especially through phone calls. But answering and returning phone calls is distracting and time-consuming, making it harder for your staff to focus on the crucial tasks that keep your business afloat.
For too long the business community has touted multitasking as the holy grail of success, implying that you should be able to talk attentively with customers on the phone while balancing a spreadsheet or providing a service to another customer.
However, studies are debunking the myth of multitasking as research shows that distractions ultimately slow the growth of your business. In fact, one study reports that we’re about 50% less productive when tackling two or more tasks at a time.
If you’ve had a handful of customers complain about the hold time when they called, or about not having their calls returned at all, it’s time to take notice. Neglected calls give your customers the impression that you’re probably too busy to handle their actual business needs as well, which will more than likely prompt them to check out your competition.
Most customers will quietly move on to another business without giving you a head’s up about why, so consider those customers who do alert you to long hold times a welcome canary in the coal mine.
Speaking of customers moving on quietly without giving you feedback about why they’re jumping ship, hang-up calls are another warning sign that you’re losing control of customer service. A recent Invoca study shows 49% of callers say being put on hold is one of their top annoyances, and only 47% said they would be willing to wait five minutes or less. Well over a third of customers surveyed said they would hang up as soon as they heard a voicemail prompt or were asked to hold. Simply put, missed calls are missed business opportunities.
Relying On Voicemail
In addition to long hold times or failing to return calls, don’t fall into the false security of relying on voicemail. While letting calls go to voicemail is useful to some degree from the staff’s standpoint, it leaves the caller with a sense of uncertainty.
Customers wonder when their call will be returned and if they’ll be available to take the call when it does come in. Plus, being prompted to leave a voicemail message when a customer is calling about an urgent matter is always frustrating.
Once negative reviews start to show up on your business’s online sites—including Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, Yelp, or your website—the damage to your business’s reputation is likely well underway and is available for the whole world to see online. After a negative customer service interaction with a business, 70% of consumers are likely to complain to friends and family, either by word-of-mouth or through online reviews.
The impact can require some serious damage control, given that 88% of consumers report that they are influenced by online reviews and testimonials when making decisions about choosing a product, service, or business to work with.
The bottom line of these 5 signs that indicate your business is suffering is that it may be time to partner with a live answering service so you can focus on taking care of your customers and growing your business.
How your calls are handled plays a major role in the growth, or stagnation, of your business, and using the right answering service can make the difference between losing or gaining a customer.
Answering services are designed to handle much higher phone traffic than your staff can manage, promptly and professionally, 24/7/365. The receptionists at a live answering service will also be trained about which type of calls to forward during business hours or to your on-call staff after hours, and which are fine to let the office staff handle the next day.
With 30 years of experience and an 82% referral rate, Voice Link of Columbus, Inc. provides live answering services that exceed your expectations, 24/7, 365 days of the year. We offer month-to-month service agreements with no hidden fees to meet the needs of any business, regardless of size.