A business in the service industry is defined as any business that does work for a customer. These services could include anything from food services to household contracting such as plumbing and HVAC. In many cases, service businesses are running a tight ship, with employees wearing many hats. Outsourcing is a highly debated topic among those in the industry and for good reason. When your business pays the bills, how can you trust someone else with your customers?
Benefits of Outsourcing
Customer acquisition and retention are the lifeblood of any business. The smaller the business, the more important each customer to its survival. For those in the service industry, attempting to be everywhere at once is especially challenging.
The first line to a service business customer is the telephone. If a phone call from a potential or current customer isn’t answered, there’s a chance the customer may call someone else. Competition is fierce and a service business owner can’t afford to miss an opportunity. Outsourcing basic tasks, such as answering the phones, taking appointments, resolving minor problems and escalating major ones, may be what keeps customers coming back when they need help.
Hire like An Employee
Once the decision has been made to outsource, the next question is how. Just as you’d hire an employee, consider the same factors when outsourcing. What skills do they need? What attitude should they show? Consider the following factors when hiring the outsourcing company representing the first line of your business:
- Leadership – the company you hire should have great leadership and a clear vision of the future to help guide your own business growth.
- Professionalism – the right company will be able to handle conflict gracefully, with courtesy and professionalism.
- Culture – a great company culture will ensure that employees answering your phones will be positive and helpful.
- Personality – the representatives at the company should “get” your business and make you feel comfortable.
- References – just as you wouldn’t hire an employee without a reference check, the same should apply for the company talking to your customers.
If the company you hope to hire passes the above tests, you might consider additional capabilities for an answering service or call center representing your company. Can they work with you as your business grows? Are they flexible enough and trainable to understand your products and services? Are their call statistics in line with what you would like to provide to your customers?
Remember, when you are considering outsourcing a task as important as answering phones for your service business, the answering service or call center is an extension of your business.