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Online phone answering for small businesses

online telephone answering

Many of us have ideas of how we could change the world, make lives easier, or improve on a service or product that existing businesses offer. In contrast, however, few of us put our ideas into practice by investing in and starting a business. Ideas are worth nothing to you unless you execute them.

Running a small business can be inspiring and rewarding. You can be your own boss, work the hours you want to and make a difference in the world. Or at least that’s how it looks from the outside looking in. In reality, running a business is often very stressful. If you are a solopreneur – you may have to wear many different hats and fulfill many different roles within the company on a given day.

If you are working to a tight budget or don’t have the time to recruit, hire and train additional employees to help make your working day more streamlined and efficient, outsourcing might be the answer.

Why use an online phone answering service?

With outsourcing, you can hire people from anywhere in the world on a temporary or ongoing basis. For example, you could hire a web developer to create and then maintain your company website or a virtual assistant to filter and reply to emails on your behalf. Phone answering and receptionist duties can also be easily and affordably outsourced.

With an online phone answering service, there is no hardware required other than your cell phone. With Moneypenny, there are no setup costs, and it takes less than 24 hours to get everything ready so that your dedicated receptionist can take calls on your behalf. A phone answering service, can provide all the benefits of an in-house receptionist, for a fraction of the cost.

Reduce interruptions & increase productivity

It would be great if, as a business owner, you could create a forcefield or protective bubble that prevented interruptions. It can be infuriating when you are trying to work on the core of your business, and you get sidelined by an unnecessary interruption such as an unwanted phone call.

Recent reports have concluded that the number of spam and unwanted sales calls is increasing, both in the US and the UK. These calls can be a problem, especially when you need to get your business phone number listed on your website and online directories to generate essential phone calls from potential customers. These numbers can easily be scraped or copied by bots and then used for sales phone calls.

A single interruption, research suggests, can destroy your focus and productivity, and it can take around 25 minutes to get back into the flow of things with the task at hand. Scientific studies also show that interruptions increase levels of anxiety and the number of errors that are made.

Our data suggests that people compensate for interruptions by working faster, but this comes at a price:

 

“… experiencing more stress, higher frustration, time pressure and effort.”

Quote source

With these facts and figures in mind, it is easy to see how a phone answering service can make your working day much more efficient. With Moneypenny, for example, whenever you want to get your head down and focus on a task, with a single touch of the Moneypenny app, you can update your status to “do not disturb.” Your polite and professional, dedicated receptionist will then answer any incoming calls on your behalf.

Never miss a call or business opportunity

While unwanted calls are disruptive and annoying, legitimate business phone calls can often be the lifeblood of any small business. If someone is taking the time to make a phone call to inquire about your service and/or products, they are highly likely to ‘convert’ to a customer or client.

Our research suggests that one in three business calls are missed. This surprising statistic is bad for business for (at least) two reasons. Firstly, a missed call is often a missed sales opportunity, and secondly, an unanswered call is frustrating for the caller.

In addition, with an out-of-hours answering service, you can enjoy the benefits of a 24/7 service. It can be tough to switch off as a business owner, even when you are not supposed to be working. It’s not easy, for example, not to listen out for your cell phone all the time, even when you are attempting to enjoy a recreational activity or an evening with the family. With a 24/7 service, you can relax and enjoy the peace of mind of knowing that all of your calls will be taken care of by a Moneypenny Receptionist.

Provide a great customer experience

What people remember most about any brand or company is how they were made to feel, especially when it comes to interactions. If someone makes an effort to call your business, they will feel frustrated if the call goes unanswered and are unlikely to leave a voicemail. Chances are, too, they will go on to ring a direct competitor.

Conversely, if the call is answered promptly, in your business name, by a polite, helpful and highly professional receptionist, the person on the other end of the phone will feel valued and that their custom is important and appreciated.

If you were to opt for an out-of-hours phone answering service, you could also ensure that all of your calls are answered, regardless of the time of day. Enabling potential clients and customers to call your business at any time can also provide a superior level of customer experience. With more people than ever working shifts, the ability to reach a business outside of regular office hours can provide a distinct competitive advantage. Being able to call outside of normal hours can also be beneficial for a range of reasons. For example, a working parent might prefer to contact a business in the evening, after the children are in bed.

If you have invested time and money into creating your business, then your reputation is vital. Using a phone answering service can provide a significant competitive advantage and help your business to thrive.

Build a superior brand

When it comes to building a brand, PR and marketing experts often categorize the process as fitting into three distinct stages:

– Pre-purchase

– Purchase

– Post-purchase

Many business owners would consider their company’s brand as consisting of a website, logo and strapline. In reality, a brand consists of all the emotional and tangible touchpoints that a consumer has with a business. It is a perception specific to each consumer by every form of communication and interaction. In a sense, you don’t have a single brand identity; you have a brand for every individual who is aware of your business.

The pre-purchase stage of branding is vital because it motivates a potential consumer to learn more about your business. This stage may involve the design elements that go into advertising or the tone of voice used on your social media account.

When someone begins being a customer or buying from your business, they enter the purchase stage of branding. If someone visits your company website, for example, the time the site takes to load, the design of the website, and how easy the website is to use will all help the user form an image or concept of your business. At this point, using live chat, providing instant answers, and making the purchase process more fluid and personable can have a significant impact.

If the consumer then attempts to contact your business via the phone, an unanswered call will leave the caller feeling that they are not valued or needed by the business. Conversely, if the call is answered by a helpful and polite receptionist, who can build an instant rapport with the caller, the brand is likely to be perceived as professional and proficient.

After completing a purchase or transaction, if the consumer wants to get in touch via the phone again, having their call answered promptly by a helpful receptionist will provide a much better experience and perception than an unanswered call.

Ideal for remote working

The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed how many of us work. According to The Economist, in the United States, the proportion of people working from home full time has shifted from 1 in 50 people to 1 in 3.

This increase in remote working has raised many questions regarding our relationship with work and business. Working from home now appears to be a legitimate option for all different types and styles of business, drastically cutting some of the major startup costs and overheads related to leasing office space.

Outsourcing phone answering duties to a hone answering service provider such as Moneypenny can complement a remote working model – “the new normal” exceptionally well. As far as any caller is concerned, they are talking to a full-time, in-house employee when they speak to your Moneypenny Receptionist – this can help to legitimize and reassure many potential customers that your business is a professional outfit or organization.

Why use Moneypenny’s Phone Answering Service?

If you want your callers and customers to feel appreciated and valued, then Moneypenny’s dedicated receptionist service can take your business to the next level in terms of customer experience.

We hand-pick the very best receptionists, put them through an extensive training program, and match their skills and abilities to your business. Unlike hiring a full-time employee, there is no need to invest time and effort into recruiting and training your own receptionist. In addition, you will not have to endure filling out lots of employment-related legal documentation, and there are no permanent contracts – ideal if your business is seasonal or you want to grow your business while mitigating financial risk.

With over 20 years of experience in business communications , our award-winning service has excellent reviews on both Trustpilot and Google.

With a seven-day free trial, you can experience the benefits of Moneypenny’s Phone Answering service for yourself.

We give you amazing people and technology:

Phone Answering

Your own Moneypenny Receptionist to answer calls exactly as if based in your office.

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Live Chat

Amazing people, briefed by you to manage chats whenever you can't.

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