Voicemail: How To Stop Losing Business Now

by : Samantha Cannell

It is estimated that eighty percent of callers hang up when they hear a voicemail message. Will they call back... of course they won't. For very small business operators it is impossible to answer the phone all of the time. What happens when you attend a networking event or are meeting a client? Of course that all important prospective client calls and hears your voicemail message. Will they be in the twenty percent that leave a message or in the eighty percent that hang up. If they are in the latter you may not even realise that you are losing business.

So how can the small business owner overcome this common problem? A modern day solution is to outsource some or all calls to a virtual receptionist or call answering service. Choosing to invest in such a service is a significant business decision. Your business rests in the service provider's hands so you need to be confident in their ability to represent your business. If you decide to forward your calls to a call answering service you need to look at a few important factors before deciding which company to use:

1. What is their technology like? Have they invested heavily in it? If so you are dealing with a serious operator rather than a 'fly by nighter'.

2. What are their staff retention rates like? These people will be representing your business - you want them to sound happy.

3. What charges are included and what are extras? Often the services that have very low monthly service charges will add on 5 to 10 dollars here and there for extras... it soon adds up and they are no longer the cheapest. Add up all the costs and then compare. Remember if you are winning more business as a result of your calls being answered you can afford to be particular.

4. Testimonials - can they provide testimonials, who are their existing clients and are they happy with the service?

5. Hours of operation- do their service hours suit your business and what operating hours are including in the monthly price? This varies widely and a lot of operators charge extra for the additional 5.30-6.30pm slot.

6. Can you visit the call answering business? A good operator will welcome you with open arms.

7. What is their minimum contract length, notice period and do they offer a trial period? It's important to remember that you will never get a full idea of the service from a one week trial.

Utilising a call answering service can add a huge amount of value to your business particularly if you are missing out on opportunities due to missed calls. The decision of which company to use is very important and take the time to compare all the options. The company you choose will be representing your business so you need to be 100% confident in their ability to answer your calls in a professional manner. Choosing wisely and investing in a quality call answering service may be your best investment yet.