How Available is Your Small Business to Its Customers?

In the business world, it’s often thought that 80% of new business leads go to the 20% of companies that provide immediate assistance at the first point of contact.

We’re not talking about chatbots and other automated systems, either.

When a prospect calls your business to inquire about a service or product, the 80/20 rule suggests that you should offer a quick, human response

Your company needs to quickly and efficiently provide prospective customers with the information they need, or it’s very likely they’ll take their business elsewhere. This is true regardless of your industry or niche.

Why today’s small businesses need an online presence 

In today’s digital age, most consumers search for businesses online. They perform a search and then “shortlist” two or three companies based on things like online reviews and how helpful the website is.

Let’s face it — if a company doesn’t have an online presence, there’s a strong chance customers won’t even realize it exists.

If you want to have any hope of getting onto your target audience’s shortlist of options, you need an online presence. A website and a Google My Business account are the first steps to ensure that potential customers can find you. 

Once someone has found your contact information and decides to reach out, they’ll expect quick answers to their questions and concerns. If they’ve opted for a phone call, best practices suggest that they should be able to reach a real human receptionist the first time they call. 

Why you never want to send prospective customers to voicemail

Some people don’t mind leaving a voicemail. Others will immediately take their business to a company that does pick up the phone.

Simply put, businesses that follow the 80/20 rule mentioned earlier are going to earn more customers. 

If you want to grow your business, you need to find a way to provide excellent customer service from the beginning. You don’t have to hire a full-time receptionist to deliver this level of customer support, either.

How to find affordable and professional small business receptionist services

While most people don’t expect 24/7 live phone support from businesses, most do expect that they’ll be able to reach someone quickly when they call. 

Traditionally, companies met this demand by hiring part- or full-time receptionists and administrative assistants. Today’s small businesses, however, have the option to work with virtual receptionists and administrative assistants who can provide amazing customer service for a fraction of the cost of a dedicated employee.

Regardless of your industry or niche, live phone support is more affordable than you might think and it’s something that your business should certainly consider. If you’d like to learn more, head on over to this page that explains how you can get affordable and professional phone support from a virtual receptionist.

If you’re not ready to hire a virtual receptionist quite yet, don’t worry. There are ways to send customers to voicemail without losing business.

Voicemail greeting guidelines for small businesses

If you are going to route customers through a voicemail system after the business has closed for the day or when you’re too busy to pick up the phone, be sure to follow these guidelines:

  • Provide relevant information, like when the customer can expect a call back (and be honest!).
  • Keep your greeting short. Between 10 to 30 seconds is ideal.
  • You want your message to be short, but don’t speak too fast.
  • In most cases, there’s no need to direct a customer to your website. They probably already know how to find you online, after all.

For more help creating a voicemail greeting, take a look at this article from our blog archives: How to Create a Voicemail Greeting for Your Business (Including Scripts You Can Use).

How to be more available to prospective clients and customers

Again, live phone support is the best way to show that you’re available and open for business. 

If you’re ready to provide an enhanced customer service experience, get in touch with your local Intelligent Office branch by filling out this form to request a free, no-obligation quote. 

Our team will learn more about your company, its customers, and what you offer. Then, we’ll help you choose the best virtual receptionist solution for your unique needs. Before you know it, you won’t have to spend any more time worrying about whether the phones are being answered.