You have enough to worry about when it comes to disaster preparedness: stocking and packaging enough food, water and appropriate clothing for yourself and others, maintaining an out-of-state contact and putting a plan for evacuating or sheltering in place. As a business owner, you also have to worry about obtaining adequate insurance for your business property and inventory and having a backup plan in case you are unable to fill orders. In any disaster situation, vital lines of communication often falter. Even when you are prepared to handle the physical aspects of disaster recovery, you can’t afford to lose contact with your clients and customers. September is Emergency Preparedness Month, and one great way to start is with a small business answering service.
What is an answering service and how does it work?
A business answering service provides receptionist services so that anyone calling your business phone reaches a live operator. Incoming calls are answered on behalf of your company according to a script you create, and operators can handle appointment-setting or simply inform clients of your status in the process of disaster recovery. To get started, you’ll need to set up a business phone number. You can choose a new number or forward your existing business number to the answering service through the number selected. Next, provide a script of how you would like your calls answered.
Once your account is set up, the live operators will begin answering your calls as directed, with a high level of professionalism and confidentiality. The operators then relay messages to you via email, text message or sometimes even a mobile app. Depending on the services you have selected, they can also forward live calls, capture client information, collect ordering information or dispatch employees.
Is a business disaster recovery plan really necessary?
Natural disasters seem to be on the rise. A single incident of flooding, fire, high winds or utility outages can put you out of touch with your customers and empty out your sales pipeline. Small businesses thrive on relationships with their customers, and when one side of a conversation goes silent, relationships diminish. Your customer base will likely ebb and flow during the lifecycle of your business, but if your communication goes silent and you are suddenly unreachable after a disaster, you may lose all of your customers and have to start over from scratch. This is a huge hit to any business, large or small. Taking the time to plan ahead can save you much time and effort in the rebuilding stage.
What if a disaster never occurs?
Unlike insurance, having a business answering service in place provides real value even if the unthinkable never happens. Imagine being able to take a sick day or a vacation, having full confidence that your customers’ phone calls are being received by friendly, competent live operators. Imagine being able to provide helpful, live assistance to any clients who may call from overseas at odd hours. Many callers who won’t bother to leave a message on a machine will happily interact with a live receptionist, who may then transfer the call to you or take a message and relay it to you, depending on your previous instructions.
The low cost of a live answering service is a small price to pay for improved customer interaction every day and business continuity during a time of disaster recovery. Hiring an answering service makes good business sense, and it only takes a few minutes to set up your phone number and reception script. Don’t put off this vital part of your small business disaster plan.
Not sure what you need for your business, or need some help in deciding how to prepare your disaster recovery plan? VoiceNation is here to help! Contact us today and let us help protect your business. 877.679.3777.