Every business owner wants to be there for their customers in their time of need. But when that time falls between 10 pm and 6 am, well, you’re more likely to be in bed than behind your desk.
So, what’s the solution?
That’s the question keeping small business owners up at night as they compete for customer loyalty. And while staying awake all night is one way to serve your customers around the clock—there’s only one way to keep up with expectations in the long term:
By offering 24/7 service.
In our previous article, we explored whether or not it makes sense for your business to be available 525,600 minutes a year. Now comes the next part:
Figuring out how to make it happen!
24/7/365 service is a tall order. There’s no way a single person can man the phones all day, every day—which means it takes careful planning (and a whole lot of support) to successfully get things off the ground. Fortunately, we’ve put together a handy checklist with everything you need to go all in on 24/7 service. Let’s jump in!
What you need before taking your business 24/7
Before you make the jump to 24/7 service, you’re going to need a little backup. Even the smallest businesses will need at least 2-3 employees to answer calls and questions both during normal business hours and after.
That may sound manageable to some. However, when you consider that the average customer service rep’s salary is around $36,000 per year, it can end up being prohibitively expensive for small businesses with limited resources and budgets.
Additionally, we’ve run into a national labor shortage, putting even more of a premium on reliable workers. Regardless of the cause, the lack of talent makes it harder for any business to stay open and fully staffed.
If recruiting and compensating these vital team members is within your budget—or if you’ve already hired them—then proceed to the next step.
It’s no secret that unfettered online access is the driving force behind customers’ expectations around 24/7 service. Your company’s website and social media channels provide a touchpoint between your business and customers that they can visit whenever they prefer—even if that’s late at night.
And while the ability to handle phone calls is still essential, being able to engage with customers through these channels is equally important.
Adding live chat to your website, and using tools that allow your customers to communicate with you via text, are two key ways to meet rising expectations and extend your service. Of course, you’ll need to ensure your team members have enough bandwidth to cover these channels.
If they do, great! On to the next step.
We’re going to bounce back to our previous article and run through the list quickly to see if your business belongs to an industry that demands 24/7 availability.
Do you …
- Conduct international business?
- Work in healthcare, legal, or home service industries?
- Have locations open 24/7?
If your answer to any of these is yes, then you can move right along to the next step.
If you answered no, that doesn’t mean your business won’t benefit from extended hours. That’s because a growing number of opportunities come in the form of after-hours calls, regardless of your industry. That said, the demand does need to be there to justify the costs involved. Make sure to evaluate these factors before investing in 24/7 service.
Every good business knows its customers. After all, small businesses are built on relationships. However, there may be some things about your target demographic that aren’t on your radar yet.
For instance, did you know that 51% of customers expect businesses to be reachable 24/7?
That doesn’t necessarily mean that 100% of the people you serve expect the same, however. Consider using questionnaires and customer surveys to determine exactly what new and existing customers expect from your business. And remember: if nobody in your industry is providing 24/7 service, but there’s a demand for it, you could be the first to step out and capture the lion’s share of your market.
Not sure if your business is ready to go 24/7? Ruby can help!
If your business could benefit from after-hours service, but you’re missing some of the items on our list, that’s alright. Like we said, 24/7 is a tall order!
Fortunately, Ruby has everything you need to start offering exceptional around the clock. Our team of virtual receptionists os here to support both you and your customers with:
- 24/7 live call answering
- 24/7 live chat
- Business number texting
- Appointment scheduling
- New customer/client intake
- Lead qualifications
- And more!
Best of all, Ruby is able to do all of this for a fraction of what it would cost to hire a full-time team—and our virtual receptionists are ready to start immediately, no recruitment or training required!
Interested in learning more? Click the button below to see how Ruby helps you capture more opportunities by extending your availability and leveling up your current service.