Small businesses are under increasing pressure to compete as a global economy opens up their traditionally exclusive territory to rivals for customers from around the world. Providing exceptional customer service is one way small businesses can rise above competitors, but providing top notch service on a small business budget can pose a seemingly impossible challenge. Using call centers like Personalized Communications can help small businesses excel in taking care of their customers’ needs without breaking their budgets.
Modern telecommunications and transportation technology have made it possible for businesses to compete in areas once denied to them because of distance and other barriers. A mom and pop maple syrup shop in Vermont can now market its products to customers around the world via the Internet. Unfortunately, this technology has also opened the traditional local markets of small business to competition from large companies. That same mom and pop store may find its prices undercut by a huge food services company headquartered in another country.
To survive in this hypercompetitive environment, small businesses must differentiate themselves from competitors. Good branding is one method of differentiation, as a strong reputation and likable image will attract customers and help keep them loyal. Offering solid products and services is another method to stay competitive in a crowded market. Yet another way small businesses can stand out from big corporate rivals is to provide exceptional customer service.
Phone service is one area where customer satisfaction is essential, but many businesses struggle to provide it. Small businesses often do not have the staff to provide outstanding phone service, as answering the phone is often a secondary task picked up by whoever is available. These employees often have many other tasks to perform and, try as they might, customer service may not be in their skill set. This can result in less-than-satisfactory customer experiences.
According to Walker Information Inc., customer service is rapidly overtaking other concerns, such as price and product quality, as the deciding factor in whether consumers purchase a product or service. The vast majority of consumers who have a positive customer service experience with a company are likely to recommend that business to others. Phone service is a key piece of the customer service puzzle. A report by SQM Group says that just a one percent improvementin first call response service can yield huge savings for businesses. For many customers, phone interactions are their primary means of communicating with your business. That’s why ensuring they speak to friendly, knowledgeable staff members who can help them quickly resolve any questions or problems is so important.
How Outsourcing Can Help Your Small Business
Although improving call response can greatly improve customer service and profitability for businesses, many companies simply don’t have the money to invest in the personnel and training needed to run a first-class phone customer service operation. Paying money for the salaries, benefits, payroll taxes, equipment, and training needed to establish a quality in-house answering service diverts money away from investments in the core mission of a small business. Outsourcing to a telephone answering service provides small businesses with access to a first rate call center operation without the heavy costs associated with an in-house operation.
When companies hire a third-party provider of call services, they pay only the fee negotiated between themselves and that provider. Companies are not responsible for payroll, benefits, taxes, or other costs that would be associated with hiring employees to handle calls. Because call centers have multiple clients, they’re able to offer these services at a price that is often lower than the cost of hiring employees.
Third-party telephone answering service providers have their own phones, computers, office furniture, and other gear, eliminating a cost that their clients would have to pay if they set up a call answering operation of their own. Quality call answering service providers can easily mesh their technology with yours to enable seamless call transfers and other integrations needed to ensure customer convenience.
In addition to reduced costs related to personnel and equipment, third-party call answering services also provide trained customer service professionals. Because handling customer calls is the core of a third-party provider’s service, their personnel can often provide better service than workers at client businesses who often must stop their primary jobs to answer customer calls.
More than Just Answering Phones
There is quite a bit more to the services provided by call centers than just answering the phone. Personalized Communications offers a number of services to its clients, including:
- Call answering – Personalized Communications offers traditional call answering service that takes calls and forwards messages during your business’s off hours. The company also offers Spanish speakers for bilingual businesses.
- Customer support – Personalized Communications can provide full customer support for your business. Clients can provide personalized communications with scripts and other information concerning how they want customer service calls handled, and how company representatives will handle these calls for them.
- Appointment scheduling – Customer service representatives can schedule appointments for clients’ customers, taking over a key administrative function that many businesses struggle to execute. Personalized Communications staff can take appointment calls, set up appointments, mark them in client calendars, and call customers to remind them of appointments.
- Order processing – Personalized Communications can ensure that client businesses can take orders 24/7 by providing around the clock call services. Clients can call your company at any time, and Personalized Communications staff will be there to process their orders.
- Event registration – Customer service representatives can take care of the tedious task of signing up customers for events, allowing clients to focus their energy and resources on making those events great.
- Alarm monitoring – Personalized Communications can monitor your business’s alarms, notifying you and law enforcement in the event of an emergency.
Determining If a Telephone Answering Service Is Right for Your Company
Investing in a call center service provider can represent a substantial investment for a small business. For companies considering contracting with a third-party call answering provider, consider the following:
- Evaluate your current operations. What is your current phone experience for customers? Are calls answered promptly? Are all orders being processed? Do all customers get to speak with a knowledgeable and enthusiastic representative? If your customers are currently having a less-than-satisfactory experience, outsourcing may be the right move.
- Weigh the costs. Calculate how much your company would have to invest to hire employees to handle calls, purchase or upgrade telecommunications equipment, and train the new employees. Then shop around call answering services and determine what move makes financial sense. In most cases, outsourcing will be the clear winner.
Evaluate your options carefully. There is a great deal of difference among third party call answering services. Some offer only a very basic suite of services, while others have more substantial offerings. Some offer native U.S. representatives, while others are entirely based overseas. Read online reviews and talk with other business owners before making a decision regarding what company to hire.
For small businesses seeking a reliable partner for call center outsourcing, Personalized Communications is the right choice. Personalized Communications has reliable technical infrastructure to ensure calls are never lost or dropped. Unlike other call centers, Personalized Communications has low turnover, meaning that your calls are handled by trained and experienced customer service reps with strong loyalty to our company and yours. The company’s investment in its people yields tangible customer service advantages.
To realize the advantages of outsourcing customer service operations to a company of qualified and enthusiastic call center professionals, get in touch with Personalized Communications today.
For more information about how you and your customers can benefit from call center services, visithttp://www.callcenteragency.com/services-we-offer.html