The importance of having a real person answering customers’ enquiries whenever you are unable to do so cannot be overstated. Just think about how you feel when you call a retail outlet to ask about a product they sell and have to leave a message on a machine instead of talking to somebody and you will know why this eventuality should be avoided at all costs when you are trying to establish a new business.
If you cannot afford to hire a full-time receptionist or it does not make sound financial sense to do so, you will have to think of another solution that will ensure prospective customers can talk to a friendly, well-informed company representative whenever you are unable to come to the phone. Message taking services, sometimes bundled as part of a virtual office package and sometimes sold as a standalone solution, offer a cost effective way to handle the problem that does notinvolve making a long-term commitment. Flexibility is important when you first start out in business as it is very difficult to forecast future turnover with any degree of accuracy and therefore what level of services you may require in six months’ or a year’s time.
The main benefits
We have already touched upon two of the biggest benefits of hiring a firm to take messages on your behalf but to make it easier for you to evaluate your options, they are listed below with some notes on why they could be important to your business.
· Making your clients feel important - machines may be efficient at recording messages that people leave but they do not make your clients feel special so they should be avoided unless absolutely necessary. Whether you use a service such as those outlined above or have your calls forwarded to a mobile phone when you are away from your desk, do not use an answering machine to field enquires on your behalf.
· Presenting the right image – if prospective clients get the impression that your company is operating on a shoestring, they may be less inclined to give you their valuable custom. A professionally trained and experienced receptionist will ensure that callers have a positive impression of your organisation after they have put down the telephone.
· Customised responses – unlike a machine, a receptionist that works for a message taking service can be given instructions on how to deal with different types of calls, thereby ensuring that any urgent business is attended to promptly. We recommend reading our post on how to mention on facebook mobile version.