Whatever type of business you’re in, it’s hard to be sure you’re spending the right amount of time on the phone. If you’re reliant on high-value leads, you’ll need to make sure you’re not missing potentially huge opportunities when they appear. If your business relies on a larger number of low-value leads, you’ll need to balance time spent qualifying leads with the need to focus on other tasks.
If this sounds like you, it might be time to start thinking about using a call-handling service. In this article, we’ll cover the early warning signs that your business might need to start handling its calls differently.
What is a call-handling service?
‘Call handling’ is a service provided by an external organisation to manage phone calls on behalf of your business. This can include calls from other people (inbound calls), or calls that you’re making to others (outbound calls).
Sometimes, this can also mean an overflow handling service to offer extra support when you’re swamped by calls. At other times, it can mean an out-of-hours handling service to manage calls during evenings, weekends, or during holidays.
But what are the signs that your business should start thinking seriously about a call-handling service?
1. You find yourself missing calls while you’re working
There’s no better feeling than getting into the flow of things and really focusing on a meaty and challenging task. You’re making rapid progress and doing some of the best work you’ve done in ages. And when you finally snap out of a trance, you realise hours have gone by in the space of what felt like minutes. But then you look at your phone and your heart sinks… how many missed calls?
If you’re missing calls while you’re working, it might be because you’re focusing on the things you feel are most important for your business. But at what cost?
We might be living in a digital world, but many customers still prefer to pick up the phone when they need to get in touch. According to Google, 70% of mobile searchers say they regularly call a business from a mobile search ad.
Luckily, with a call handling service, you can rely on someone to pick up your incoming calls for you. That means you can focus on the jobs that require your best thinking.
2. You struggle to maintain a routine because you’re constantly answering calls
Sure, variety is the spice of life. But don’t underestimate the importance of a regular routine. Professionals say that a routine can help you:
· Manage stress more effectively
· Sleep better
· Eat more healthily
· Make more time for exercise
But if there’s one thing that’s going to blow up your routine, it’s constant phone calls. When people call you on the phone, it’s because it’s a great time for them. But all too often, they never consider whether or not it’s a convenient time for you. That means a post-work run or quality time with the children can easily be disrupted by a call coming out of the blue.
If you’re reading this and nodding your head, it might be time to take back control of your routine with a call answering service.
3. You have to stop in the middle of important tasks to answer calls
Does it sometimes feel like you’re too available? When you’re in the middle of something and you find yourself… wait, hang on a sec…
Sorry about that. Anyway, when you’re in the middle of an important task, sometimes you have to stop because… oh, sorry about this, just two seconds…
Right, where was I? Oh yes. When you’re in the middle of an important task, there are few things more enraging than having to constantly stop and start because you keep getting unexpected phone calls.
And that’s not only annoying, it’s also terrible for your productivity. One academic study found that when you’re interrupted, it can take up to 25 minutes to come back to the same project.
This means that switching to a call handling service won’t just be good for your stress levels, it will also almost certainly mean you’ll get more work done too.
4. You come into work to find voicemail messages from customers
Voicemail is a 20th-century technology in a 21st-century world. Constantly asking customers to leave a message after the beep? They’ll probably be muttering a few words under their breath that ought to be beeped too.
Sending a customer to voicemail not only says “we’re old fashioned”, it also says “we don’t care about you”. After all, nothing communicates “giving your customer service a human touch” less than asking them to leave a message with a robot from the 1980s. Voicemail takes too long, it’s frustrating, and it’s boring.
Connecting your customers with a real person, however, is a great way to show you really care.
5. You start half your messages to customers with “Sorry I missed you.”
A wise man once said that “sorry seems to be the hardest word”. But if you find yourself starting every interaction with an apology, it’s going to sound pretty hollow if you’re not also changing your behaviour. After a while, “sorry I missed your call” starts to sound like “you’re just not a priority for me”.
And let’s be honest, if you have to start with an apology, you’re already on the back foot. Need to have an awkward conversation about putting your prices up? Good luck getting them to agree if they’re already grumpy with you. Trying to keep hold of a client who might be walking out the door? Suddenly your appeals just sound a little bit desperate.
Using a call-handling service means your calls are picked up by a highly-trained operator who won’t drive your customers mad. As a result, they’ll be in a better mood for any difficult conversations you need to have.
6. You miss important personal moments due to out-of-hours calls
The world has never been more globalised, and the rise of remote working means work schedules have never been more flexible. In theory, that might be great, but in practice, it all too often means never being able to truly disconnect.
If you’re finding yourself constantly late for dinner with friends or ducking out of a wedding for a quick call, it might be a sign your work-life balance is off-kilter.
Most of us need to work to live, but that doesn’t mean we should all live to work. Working with a time-based call-handling service means you can give your customers a personal touch, without letting them interfere with your personal moments.
7. You’re having most of your calls in the car
If you drive, taking advantage of your car phone can seem like a great way to multitask. After all, while using a device in your hand is illegal, in the UK you’re allowed to use hands-free devices in the car.
Most people assume that using a mobile phone while driving is safe as long as the driver uses a hands-free phone. However, research from the University of Sussex has shown that conversations on hands-free devices can be equally distracting, and are significantly more dangerous than conversations with passengers.
If you’re finding that you’re regularly having important conversations on the road, it might be worth thinking about whether it’s really worth the risk.
Time to think about a call-handling service?
If any of these signs sound familiar, it might be time to learn more about how a call-handling service can help you.
In a flash, you could be on your way to happier customers, improved productivity, and a better work-life balance.
Interested? Learn more with our guide to everything you need to know about call-handling services.