New data from financial information company Sageworks shows seven of the top 10 industries with the highest sales growth are related to construction. However, Sageworks also reports that the construction sector has below average profitability relative to other small businesses. For construction business owners, the opportunity for financial success is ample. So why are so many failing to attain it?
Customer service may be playing a big part. Walker Info anticipates that by 2020 customer service will replace price and product as the key differentiator. And for growing businesses, the phone is a critical customer touchpoint—in fact, according to PH Media Group, 79% of American consumers report being unsatisfied with the way construction businesses handle their phone calls. But on the flip side, 80% of callers are likely to become repeat customers after a positive phone experience (Source: Invoca).
As a contractor, good customer service sets you apart from the competition—but being available whenever a customer calls is incredibly challenging. A virtual receptionist service can help you deliver exceptional service to every caller, while increasing your productivity and profitability. Here’s how:
Make great first impressions
According to Consumer Reports, 72% of callers who reach an automated answer will hang up without leaving a message—and potentially call a competitor. You don’t want miss out on a job because you’re too busy to get to the phone. A virtual receptionist service provides the coverage you need when you need it, so potential customers don’t fall through the cracks. No more risk of losing customers to voicemail—every caller is greeted by a live, cheerful person prepared to follow your custom instructions. And if you’re looking to hire subcontractors, virtual reception is a solid asset. Receptionists will answer live when candidates call and gather or relay any info you need, so you can make an informed follow-up.
Keep current customers happy
When you’re on the go all day, you’re not always able (or in the mood) to answer the phone in your warmest customer service voice. But that’s exactly what a virtual receptionist can do, no matter if you’re at a job site or with a customer. A virtual receptionist service gives you a team of talented people dedicated to being friendly, professional, and above all, helpful—so callers are happy, and you look good.
Get more done, earn more money
Little interruptions can add up to a lot of lost (billable) hours. In fact, according to a University of California Irvine study, “it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to the task.” A virtual receptionist connects only the calls you want and happily fields the rest, so you can focus your attention where it matters most. Some of the best services allow you to change your call-handling instructions on the fly, so wherever the day takes you, your virtual receptionist team is always informed and equipped to handle calls to your exact specifications. With the freedom to focus, you’re able to accomplish more each day.
Gain peace of mind
You’ve worked hard to build your business, and with a virtual receptionist, you can actually enjoy the freedom of owning a business. Whether you’re on the road, at a job site, or taking a well-deserved break, you’ll rest assured knowing every call is handled by a customer experience expert. Best of all, a virtual receptionist service provides that reassurance at a fraction of the cost of hiring an in-house employee.
Choosing the right virtual receptionist
Now that you know how a virtual receptionist can help you increase profitability and productivity, how do you pick the service that’s right for you? Here are some important questions to ask when evaluating your options:
- Will 100% of my calls be answered live during business hours? Believe it or not, many virtual receptions services on answer like 70-80% of the time, and often taking up to a minute to answer the call or sending callers straight to an automated greeting.
- Where are your receptionists based? It’s important your customers receive a consistent experience both with speech patterns and colloquialisms, but also that there isn’t background noise or distractions around them.
- How can I update my call preferences? When you’re on the go, you’ll want to be able to update your call instructions quickly and easily. Ask if there is a desktop and/or mobile app available, and if I’m temporarily unavailable, how can I update my call instructions so the virtual receptionist always knows the best time and method to reach me?
- Does your service include these features?
- Live Transfers: The virtual receptionist is able to transfer calls to you wherever and whenever you prefer—your office, your cell, or your home.
- Custom Greeting: Personalizing a greeting is the perfect opportunity to connect with callers right off the bat.
- Call Preferences: Each of your callers has a different need, and you’ll want special call instructions determined by you for all of them.
- FAQs: Can the receptionist answer basic questions about your business (hours, location, etc.)? Delegating this responsibility saves you valuable time each day.
- Messages: What information can be collected? Can messages be sent to you via email and/or text? How quickly are messages sent? Ruby® can collect any information you’d like, including a short intake form, and send written messages to you by email, text, or both.
You need a virtual receptionist to answer when you can’t
Your customers depend on you for quality work, but they’re looking for quality customer service, too. A virtual receptionist service can empower you to run your company more efficiently, and create great experiences for your new and current customers—helping you rise above the competition and build word-of-mouth buzz that drives referrals.
Ruby Receptionists answers 100% of your calls live and 98% of time within four rings. And all of our receptionists work out of our office in Portland, Oregon. To meet the needs service businesses, Ruby offers a full-featured mobile app and customer portal where you can manage your calls on the go from anywhere.
If you’re interested in learning more about Ruby’s services, visit callruby.com, or better yet—give us a call at 866-611-7829 (RUBY)!
About the Author
Nicole Campagna is the Channel Marketing Manager for Ruby Receptionists, a live answering and virtual receptionist service dedicated to helping small businesses grow throughout North America.