So we’re going to start off this week’s informative blog with a statistical whammy for you to consider. Forrester Research’s US Telecommuting Forecast notes that, “34 million Americans work from home. This number is expected to reach a staggering 63 million – or 43 percent of the U.S. workforce – by 2016.” If you’re part of the projected 43% of Americans working virtually, you need to consider the benefits of telephone outsourcing.
This statistic shows us that the modern business reality is that more and more businesses are operating from home offices and/or virtual workspaces. Having the freedom to work from anywhere is a great incentive to start your new business venture. But keep in mind, working virtually also has its setbacks.
What happens when you’re working at a local coffee shop and you receive an incoming business call. How professional will it seem to your caller when there’s loud chatter in the background or unprofessional noises that are out of your control? If you’re a one-employee show, who is answering your incoming calls when you’re in a meeting or on location performing a service order? How much time are you wasting on the telephone each day when you could be performing more skilled tasks?
Let’s jump right into the top 7 benefits of hiring a virtual receptionist to answer the lines for your mobile office.
1. You Will Have a Diligent Gatekeeper
Time is money and as a virtual office business owner, you have to dedicate your limited time to revenue generating tasks. Having a gatekeeper is optimal if you’re constantly being pulled away from pressing matters to answer your ringing cellphone or home office line.
Yes, we think that each phone call is highly important, as you never know when your next customer is going to reach out. You can’t afford to send away new customers so answering each phone call is vital to the growth of your business. But at the same time, do all calls generate new business for you? A gatekeeper will be able to help weed out any leads that will not end in a paying transaction by asking a series of prequalifying questions.
For instance, when you have a gatekeeper, you can find out key information before investing in a particular call. Can the caller afford your services? Does the lead agree to your unique policies? When you ask important preliminary questions like these, you stop working harder and start working smarter.
Enjoy how a virtual receptionist closely guards your time and attention without having your customer service response time suffer.
2. Your Customers Will Have 24-Hour Access
One of the main benefits of hiring a virtual receptionist team is the mere fact that your past, current and potential customers have access to your business 24/7. Being available for new customer orders and general inquiries 7 days a week, 365 days a year will increase your annual revenue. It’s a numbers game. The more leads you’re able to speak with and provide personal attention to, the more conversions to customers you’ll have.
Also, with 63 million other virtual office workers out there, offering your customers 24-hour access will be a great competitive edge. When you hire a virtual receptionist, you know when your phone goes off that you’ve got a real VIP, emergency or revenue generating caller on the line.
Hand over your calls to a digital call center and enjoy on-call answering and messaging services in real-time.
3. Zero Interruptions Gives You Freedom
The daily woes of a small business or virtual office owner: constant interruptions throughout the day. These disruptions can be self-inflicted, like when you surf the Internet for the new shoes you’ve been thinking about buying. Or, they can be natural and common office disruptions, like a ringing telephone.
Either way, to run a successful and lucrative business, you have to be able to decrease your daily disruptions in order to increase your productivity levels. Answering your callers’ frequently asked questions can easily be outsourced to a virtual receptionist team. So when your virtual receptionist is informing your callers of your rates, locations served and other time-consuming questions, you’re working on more pressing matters of your business.
Telephone outsourcing ensures that you won’t be interrupted while in an important meeting at 3 pm or be woken up at 3 am to answer a silly FAQ.
4. A Professional and Polished Image
Let’s go back to the café example we mentioned earlier in this article. Let’s say that you run a mobile carpet cleaning business. A homeowner with a nasty stain calls your business line to discuss your services, availability and to get a price quote for cleaning their carpet. Your cell goes off while in the busy coffee shop and the conversation goes a little something like this:
You: “Hello and thank you for calling Mario’s A+ Carpet Cleaning. How can I help you today?”
Caller: “Hi, what’s the name of your business again? I can barely hear you.”
You: “Sorry about that, this is Mario’s A+ Carpet Cleaning.”
Caller: “Oh okay. My cat peed on my gorgeous shag rug and I wanted to know if you’re able to get out animal urine stains and smells.”
*During this point of the conversation, another coffee shop patron asked you if the seat next to you is taken.
You: “Oh no, you can sit there.”
You: “No I was talking to someone else… Now, what’s the size of your carpet?”
Caller: “I’m sorry, but I just can’t hear you. Goodbye.”
Simply having a virtual office and mobile workspace leads to conversations like this one. You want your potential customers and clients to get the best first impression of your business when they call. Not having a designated office space means that undoubtedly, you’ll come across situations like this one that are out of your control.
5. Gain More Hours in the Work Day
One of the biggest pitfalls of new business owners is poor time management. You don’t have the money to devote to growing your staff and so you’re working on a shoestring budget; trying to wear several hats at once. By not outsourcing administrative tasks, you’re increasing your workdays without even giving it a second thought.
Also, you have to consider how much business you’re losing when you turn off your business lines after-hours and on the weekends. We recently calculated, “There are 168 hours in a week. If no one answers your calls after normal business hours, you are losing 128 hours of opportunity to grow your business each week. By the end of the year, you will have lost 6,656 hours of opportunities. Can your business survive that?”