Unless you run a 24-hour business, chances are good that you let calls that come in after hours go to voicemail. That’s a pretty standard practice across most industries. It’s also a major mistake.
Here’s the thing. Those after-hours calls? They’re legitimate prospects. Some might even come from current customers with serious challenges that only you can solve.
Of course, you’ve got your hands (and budget) full handling calls, questions, emails, and other communications during standard business hours. And you can’t afford to hire someone just to answer the phone once the doors shut. An after-hours answering service can help you avoid handling the task in-house, but is it really worth it to find a way to answer those calls?
The answer is a resounding “yes”. An after-hours answering service can create more sales opportunities for you. Here’s how.
Your customers don’t live their lives on a 9 to 5 schedule, and your business shouldn’t operate that way, either. When a potential customer needs help or information outside of regular hours, they contact your business just as they would during the day. If their call is not answered or goes to voicemail, chances are good they’ll call a competitor.
According to one survey, 85% of consumers abandon phone calls after reaching an auto attendant or voicemail. Can you afford to miss that many phone calls? When you consider that many people cannot contact businesses until they get off work, you might be seeing a significant number of after-hours calls and never know if those callers don’t leave a voicemail.
With an after-hours answering service, you’re able to give those callers an alternative to an automated system or voicemail. A live receptionist can greet the caller, take their information, answer questions, enter contact details in your CRM, set appointments, and more.
Customer engagement is a critical metric, but most businesses only measure it during normal business hours. However, doing so misses those customers who call after you close. It’s essential to engage with customers at the right moment, and that usually means when their need occurs. If a customer tries to contact you after hours, it’s usually because they have an emergency or a significant need for your product or service.
With an after-hours answering service, you can engage those customers at the time of their need. While an answering service won’t handle the actual sale, a virtual receptionist can help boost engagement and increase the likelihood that the caller will convert to a paying customer. They can provide important information about products or services, answer questions, provide guidance, take messages, and more.
How much time do you and your team spend listening to voicemails left overnight and trying to qualify those leads? Chances are good it’s substantial and that it could be better spent doing something more productive. Why not hand that over to an after-hours answering service?
Lead qualification is an essential part of many businesses, but it’s time-consuming and often takes your team away from more essential tasks. With an after-hours answering service, you can vet potential leads when they call. An experienced virtual receptionist can ask questions, record answers, collect contact information, verify the caller’s challenges and how they dovetail with your business’s offerings, and much more.
Another way an after-hours answering service creates more sales opportunities is by transforming missed calls into scheduled appointments. Whether you operate a medical clinic, a law firm, a home services company, or something else entirely, your business runs by appointment. Scheduling those appointments is an essential first step in converting leads into paying customers.
In the conventional process, if a customer calls after hours and actually leaves a message, you’ll need to spend precious time calling them back. They may or may not be available when you call, which leads to even more lost time as you try to synch your schedules just to schedule an appointment.
An after-hours answering service can set an appointment when the customer calls the very first time. A virtual receptionist can speak with the caller, determine their schedule, and then make an appointment when it works for them as well as for your business. They’ll enter that information in your CRM so that you can see them when you open for business the next day.
Once, potential customers would call your office. Today, they have multiple channels to choose from. Some customers might prefer to email, while others may use the live chat feature on your website. If your business is closed and has no after-hours support, you’ll miss all those communications.
With the right after-hours answering service, you can answer customer queries no matter whether they prefer the phone, email, or live chat. This ensures that potential customers receive a professional, live response no matter how they choose to communicate and no matter what time of day or night they reach out. Not only does that help ensure that you don’t miss those communications, but it also helps create an exceptional customer experience, which improves brand loyalty and increases word of mouth.
One of the most critical components of running a successful business is understanding customer expectations and preferences. With an after-hours answering service, you can delve into those through in-depth data and analytics. It becomes simple to track things like common call times after your business closes, where customers are calling from, common reasons for after-hours calls, and more. You can then use that information to fine-tune your processes, better train staff members, or even introduce new products or services.
When you partner with Smith.ai, you’ll benefit from a team of virtual receptionists who can act as your 24/7 answering service. Never miss a single sales opportunity, even if they come after you’ve closed for the day. Plus, we can offer a wide range of additional services, including lead intake, appointment scheduling, and call intelligence and metadata.