With the sharp increase in people deciding to take the plunge and go it alone in business, whether that is because they have been made redundant and want to try their hand at something else, or for parents wanting to return to work with more flexibility to fit around their growing family, there has never been a better time to set up an answering service.
Many new entrepreneurs or sole traders in particular may not be able to afford an office or a PA to look after all of their incoming business calls. Many small operations prefer to keep things simple by working with an answering service, which can actually save them a lot of time and money.
At theanswercentre.co.uk, we offer a very cost-effective way for small business owners to manage their business calls and keep their costs down. For anyone thinking of starting their own answering service, we have listed five steps to take to launch a service of your own:
1: Decide what kind of service you will provide
This is an important step because you don't want your customers to assume you run a 24/7 service when you don't. Other important questions to ask yourself include:
Will you work for just one client, or multiple clients?
Will you be taking calls and messages, or answering questions?
Will you take orders or book appointments for your clients?
Will you offer extra services such as emailing information or taking deliveries?
Work out what you feel comfortable doing and stick to your guns. Make it clear to your potential clients exactly what services you offer.
2: Work out your charges
Decide on your hours and charges. Consider whether it would be easier for you to charge by the hour or offer a package deal for a monthly flat-rate for clients that may need your services long-term.
3: Set up your office
It helps your mindset if you treat your new answering service as a professional business. This means setting up a proper office with a desk, filing system, phones and equipment.
4: Purchase your essential equipment
You will need to purchase a virtual call answering system for your computer. This can identify incoming callers so that you know which of your clients they are calling for (if you have more than one client). This means you will know exactly which greeting to use when answering the call.
Start off by building yourself a website for your call answering service. You can keep costs down by using one of the many website building packages offered by most hosting companies. Set up business pages on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to help raise the awareness of your services and link them up to your website so potential new clients can find out more about you and your services.
Take out some online advertising with Facebook or Google to attract new customers – a good move if you intend to expand and grow your answering business and employ other call handlers.
If you want to attract local clients, then it is worth running off a few simple flyers and posting them out to local sole traders, small businesses and creative people who may be very glad of your help.
Remember to register your new business with HMRC so that you are all above board and legitimate for tax purposes.Updated Date: 22 November 2018, 05:51