If you run an IT Solution Provider or Managed Service Provider (MSP) business then you’ll be all too familiar with the interruptions of telephone calls.
Whether you’re in the middle of a lunch, about to sit down to do some much needed admin work for the business, or you’re crawling under a desk trying to reconnect an Ethernet cable, your telephone is indiscriminate in it’s ability to interrupt and often, frustrate.
All of us feel compelled to answer phone calls, and if you’re working as a technician on a service desk, or manning the phones in the office, ignoring them is probably not an option. But if you’re finding yourself continuously distracted from important work by the phone then there is an alternative.
A call answering service does what it says on the tin. As a business, for a small fee each month they will answer your telephone calls in a professional manner, notify the caller you are unavailable, take a message and make sure you’re aware of it without disturbing you.
Nearly every IT business I’ve ever worked with could benefit from using a Call Answering service.
If you ever have clients on hold waiting to speak to your Service Desk during busy periods – overflowing these calls to a call answering service will help. People nearly always prefer to leave a message and have their expectations set on a response time rather than hanging on the phone.
If you never seem to find a quiet moment to get your team together for meetings – constantly being interrupted by telephone calls – a call answering service allows you to divert all telephones for a pre-set period of time. Just 30 minutes once a week can make a huge difference to your team's productivity, and there’s rarely a telephone call that can’t wait 30 minutes. Even if your client's server is currently in flames and they are desperately trying to get hold of you, you can tell the call answering service to only interrupt you with high priority calls.
If you’re a one-man-band and familiar with being disturbed by telephone calls while you’re on a client site, then a call answering service is definitely for you. As well as re-directing the office phone to a call answering service when you’re out and about, you can replace your cell phone voicemail with a re-direct to the call answering service too. What about those callers who don’t like to leave you a voicemail but continuously telephone you anyway? They’ll be more inclined to leave a message with a human being at your call answering service.
If you’re reluctant to use a call answering service because “my clients would hate it," then by all means, continue to be the telephone martyr and live with the lie that your clients won’t speak to anyone other than you.
The reality is that your clients run businesses too. They understand that not everyone is available at all times. But most people hate hitting your voicemail and leaving a message, and getting a busy tone when clients call you is a sure fire way to drive them insane with frustration. Having a well spoken human being take a message for you is preferable to a busy signal or a voicemail for your clients, and it’s preferable for you to being constantly interrupt-driven.
If you’re concerned that your clients will freak out at getting through to a different person each time they call you and hit your call answering service, then it’s worth knowing that many call answering businesses will assign one or two named individuals to your account. When I was running my own MSP business, clients assumed that “Sarah” at my call answering service was actually a part of my team – and you know what? Despite the fact she was sat miles away in her own office, she was a part of our team! We kept the lines of communication open. Sarah got to know us and our clients, and the relationship worked well for all involved.
If you’re living a life that is constantly interrupt-driven by the telephone – whether it’s in your office or while you are out on the road – you should consider building a relationship with a call answering service which can help relieve the strain.
Your clients will prefer speaking to a human being at a call answering service to leaving you a voicemail and anxiously waiting for a response, or worse, hitting a busy signal. And if you work with the right call answering service, you can reach a stage where your clients and other callers assume the call answering service people they speak to are part of your team.
Focusing on doing important work is a key way to grow your MSP business. If you can’t focus on important work because of interruptions from the telephone, then a call answering service may be your solution.