Running a small business is all about keeping your head above water and somehow growing your business. Most of your work involves trying to increase the amount of customers or clients you have, and increasing your volume of output. Essentially, you are trying to grow your business. If you tap into something very popular, however, or if you have a seasonal business such as Christmas ornaments, you might experience growth that you can’t control. For many small business owners, this would be the best possible problem to have. However, growing faster than you can account for is still a problem.
What Does Too Much Growth Look Like?
You might be wondering what it even looks like for a business to grow faster than it can handle. Typically, it means that you are starting to fall dangerously behind on your work. If you work on commissions or standing orders, and you start to take too many and can’t fill your orders quickly, you are probably taking on too much work. The best way to accommodate that volume is to hire someone to help you out. If you have a seasonal business or just a very small one, that might not be feasible. If you are an artist, for example, you can’t really rely on anyone else to make art with you. It is just not practical. However, the irony of many small businesses is that the owners do not even spend the majority of their time working on the products or services their business offers. The majority of the time, small business owners are instead working out the logistics and managing of their businesses. They are paying bills, responding to emails, and talking on the phone. Talking on the phone is one of the most time-consuming jobs because it requires immediate attention and a specific kind of commitment. An email sits in your inbox until you want to respond to it, so it is not as strictly time-sensitive.
However, when it comes to phone calls, customers and clients expect an immediate response. Think about it. In the 21st century, there are several different businesses that will cover just about any and all needs. You can buy your trainers from Dubai, order food from Beijing, and commission a sculpture from Los Angeles. If you call one company that sells something you need and they do not respond, you will probably just call another company that sells the same thing. Your clients and customers are the same. That is why it is so important for you to respond to phone calls quickly. If your business is expanding faster than you are comfortable with, you might be tempted to start letting phone calls slide. Instead of that, you should simply hire a virtual receptionist.
What Is a Virtual Receptionist?
A virtual receptionist is actually a real person who works for a phone answering service. These services are run by a company that specialises in answering phone calls. They work in some different ways, but all of the best ones have a few things in common. You will set up an arrangement with the message-taking service. When you can’t answer the phone for your business, you will forward all of your calls to your virtual receptionist. If a person calls your company, the message-taking service answers the phone on your behalf. They take a detailed message and send it to you in whatever manner you choose. Some people like an email, while others prefer a text message. Typically, you will pay the service a small fee per phone call. Get in touch with Message Direct to get the exact details of their service – theirs is one of the best.
Why Not an Automated System?
Some people might be tempted to input an automated system that answers the phone and directs customers around by pressing buttons or saying words to the automated voice. But these systems are incredibly frustrating, especially the voice-activated ones. Also, recent research has found that 80% of customers don’t like speaking or dealing with automated phone answering services, and 45% of customers even went so far as to say they are less likely to buy from a company that uses an automated system. You could be alienating almost half of your customers with an automated system. So, you might crunch the numbers and feel that the automated system will save you money in the long run, but you have to also account for the amount of money you could be losing by doing something your customers don’t like.
Is it Really That Helpful?
There are many people who are sceptical of virtual receptionists for several reasons. For one, people don’t realise how much time they spend on the phone. They also don’t realise how much their business could expand if they were available round the clock. For example, when it is night in London, it is the middle of the workday in Los Angeles. If your customers from the west coast of the United States call you when they get off work, they will be calling in the middle of your night. You could ignore that phone call or you could try to wake up for every single phone call, but waking up multiple times in the middle of the night will just make you sleepy and less productive. Your best option is to have a 24/7 virtual receptionist answer your phones for you. You won’t have to worry about staying awake all night on the off chance that someone might call from halfway around the world, and your customers won’t have to worry about not being able to reach you.
Furthermore, people don’t realise that they tend to spend hours every day on the phone. The hours they spend are just seen as part of the job. If you could pick and choose when you are on the phone, though, you could definitely streamline your workflow.
There are many ways that a small business can actually expand too quickly. While it is a good problem to have, it is still a problem that has to be addressed. A virtual receptionist is a great way to do that.