When do consumers want something? Right now. When do they need your attention? 5 minutes ago. People don’t check their watches to see if it’s a good time to want or need something. They want when they want and they need when they need. But that means your business must be ready to accommodate around the clock.
Nobody Listens to Voicemail
There are two main ways that being available 24/7 can improve your business. The first is upgraded customer service.
If you are available to handle customer support issues, answer their questions, and assist them with their needs 24/7, then you are already doing better than the majority of companies. It is true that many businesses have begun to realize the importance of greater availability to field customer calls and that some have even expanded their support hours by a bit, but there are still far too few that provide 24/7 coverage.
Consider this: Say you’re a parent who works during the day and has children to take care of until they go to bed. There’s not much of an opportunity to get around to calling up a business with a question until 8 or 9pm. Odds are that the business you call is closed and you simply reach a voicemail. If you’re like most people, you don’t leave a voicemail for a business. Who knows if they’ll even listen to it? So you finally get a chance to call the business during the day, but it’s the weekend. Well, that’s when everybody else has the opportunity to call them too, and their phone lines are busy and you’re put on hold for far too long. Frustrating.
Now imagine how happy you’d be if you could reach a business and get prompt service whenever is most convenient for you. You’d probably be pretty happy with that business for being available to take care of you on your schedule. You could be that business! Improved customer service leads to improved customer retention. And we all understand how important customer retention is when it comes to the success of your business.
Stand Out From the Crowd
The other main way that being available 24/7 can improve your business is in the sales/revenue realm.
Think about it. If someone calls your company outside of normal business hours, but they can’t reach you, they simply call the next business on their list until someone picks up and fills their need. Not only did you just lose out on making a new sale, but you also just handed a new customer to your competitor. Ouch.
Consumers with urgent needs aren’t going to sit around and wait until you open your doors in the morning. And they aren’t going to leave you a voicemail and sit patiently by the phone until they hear back from you. They will always go with the company who responds promptly to their request. That company could be yours!
Now, you may be thinking, “Sure, having the availability to take care of my callers on a 24/7 basis would be great in theory, but there are some problems with that. I need to have some kind of work-life balance and can’t be answering calls at all hours of the day and night. Also, I can’t afford to hire more staff just to handle the phones 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.” You’re absolutely right!
As a small business owner, it is incredibly important to maintain some work-life balance. And hiring additional employees is costly. However, there is an alternative. Partner with a call center and they can provide you with a virtual receptionist who learns your account and is available to take calls for your business whenever you prefer. This keeps your costs low, but enables your company with the ability to be available 24/7 to assist your customers and bring in additional revenue.
Failure to support your customers on a 24/7 basis is almost sure to cost your business in a number of ways. Establishing a plan to be there for people when they need you is a fast track towards success, so don’t hesitate to begin formulating your process for making your business available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and truly improving your organization.