Competition in business is cutthroat these days. And every customer has their finger poised over an online review button the second they walk in, call, or send your business a message. If you’re not always at the top of your game, you risk a less-than-ideal customer interaction that can impact your bottom line.
For example: A mind-blowing 74% of consumers admit they’ll probably switch to a competitor after one bad phone experience. Missed calls don’t help any, either. That’s one reason why live call answering is so critical!
Every call is either an opportunity… or a missed opportunity. So, the right call management is essential. But with all the responsibilities small businesses juggle daily, handling every call right might seem impossible. It’s not, though—if you have a live call answering service on your side.
When we say live call answering, we’re not talking about automated, interactive voice response (IVR) systems. Yes, those can seem efficient… but it’s not very efficient if customers hate them (which they do, and that’s been scientifically proven).
Consumers want a personalized touch. Always have, always will. That’s why Ruby’s virtual receptionists are so popular (with over 14,000+ small businesses served and counting). As live call agents, we’re on standby 24/7, 365 days a year to ensure no call—or opportunity—is missed.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg, so let’s run down nine tangible benefits of live call answering for your business!
Editor’s note: This article was updated in February 2024 with more information about how small businesses and their customers can benefit from live call answering.
1. Increased customer satisfaction
Guess what they do next? They dial your competition and never look back. That goes for existing customers, too (at least sometimes). Everyone calling your business wants (and deserves) fast, responsive, personalized service from a fellow human being. Don’t you?
That’s why virtual receptionists ensure callers get what they want—to be heard and valued. IVR, on the other hand, sends a bad signal that callers aren’t important enough to spend time on. Only personalized attention boosts customer satisfaction, which can transform a routine inquiry into a loyal customer relationship. It boosts customer satisfaction, bolsters your reputation, and drives business growth.
2. A better customer service reputation
In our automated, digital world, you’d be forgiven for thinking word-of-mouth marketing is dead. However, you’d be wrong.
Approximately 72% of customers share positive customer service experiences with friends, family, and even strangers! Therefore, for every caller who reaches a friendly, capable representative of your business, that’s one more volunteer cheerleader you potentially just added to your squad.
But the same goes for negative experiences. If a caller can’t get through—or reaches an unhelpful program instead of a person—you can bet they’ll complain to everyone about that, too.
Fortunately, it’s not hard to avoid that fate, as long as you can provide the people you serve with responsive, human customer service.
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3. Collecting call information
Wouldn’t it be great if you could capture all the details of everyone calling your business—their names, contact information, and reasons for reaching out? With IVR, voicemail, or other automated systems, you’ll never capture that valuable lead information from the bulk of your callers.
In fact, if a live person doesn’t answer, most callers won’t leave a name or bother to call back. But a human agent? Well, now we’re talking!
At Ruby, our trained professionals collect those juicy details so you can take action accordingly. We can even offer help with basic queries, respond to FAQs, screen spam callers, and develop leads. We’ll make sure no opportunity for personalization, follow-up, or sales is missed.
4. More business opportunities
What fuels customer loyalty and business growth better than live call answering? OK, yes, there are the great products and services you provide. And pricing is important, too.
But customers will become repeat buyers based on positive phone experiences! So clearly live call answering should be on your top three list of business priorities.
It’s not just about service, though. It’s about seizing every single opportunity for growth, with no call going to waste. To drive home the point, check out these two notes from Outbound Engine:
- “Acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing customer.”
- “Increasing customer retention by 5% can increase profits from 25-95%.”
In other words, a little investment in providing better experiences for your existing customers can lead to serious savings and lucrative opportunities for your business.
5. Standing apart from the robo-crowd
Despite the clear benefits of live call answering, 85% of companies are using or plan to use IVR or other automated solutions.
They’re literally doubling down on a system known to annoy and inconvenience callers.
Sadly, most of them will never realize how much business they’ve driven away.
But don’t feel too sorry for them, because they’re handing you a gift with a bow on it. You have the chance to stand out from the pack, offering your business as an alternative to automated calls we all wish would just go away.
When you focus on delivering extraordinary customer experiences over the phone, you’ll delight callers, improve your reputation, and make more money.
The best part? You don’t have to do it yourself or manage calls entirely in-house. With the right virtual receptionist solution, you get a top-rated team of customer service professionals ready to represent your business over the phone—at a fraction of the cost of a full-time employee.
6. Faster customer intake
It’s not just about answering. Virtual receptionists can also help streamline your customer welcoming process. They can gather essential information swiftly and accurately while maintaining a professional, courteous manner that makes a strong first impression for your business!
At Ruby, we go even further. Our team members are so efficiently integrated (thanks to our industry-leading proprietary software and training), callers will never even realize they aren’t speaking to someone at your workplace.
7. Better payment processing
Now, don’t get us wrong. There’s definitely a time and place for automation. Payment processing, for instance, is ideal for automation—and with an effective virtual receptionist solution in place, businesses can facilitate smoother transactions directly over the phone.
How? At Ruby, we do it through a combination of tech integrations and customized call handling. Our virtual receptionists can guide your callers through payment using the tools you choose, reducing delays and improving cash flow!
8. Easier scheduling
Scheduling appointments should be fast and painless… but sometimes customers want to chat on the phone, and a 30-second task can turn into five, ten, or more minutes of back-and-forth. Over the course of a month, that can add up to several hours of lost time and productivity.
Enter live call answering. Virtual receptionists can keep calls on track while managing your scheduling, ensuring appointments are hassle-free and off your plate. This saves your business both time and money by freeing you up to focus on work.
9. 24/7 service
The best virtual receptionist solutions have real people ready to answer 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. That’s exactly what we do at Ruby. With us on your team, you’ll never miss a call or an opportunity to connect a real person with a potential customer or client.
Consumers still expect to reach live representatives when they call. We say: give the people what they want!