*Sponsored content from AnswerConnect.

Business is never static. That’s especially true in trades, where the nature of the job can change from one day to the next.

But the dynamic nature of trades too often focuses on the work itself. In fact, there is another issue facing many tradespeople. It’s an issue that is rarely broached, but it can seriously inhibit a business’ ability to operate. That’s the issue of linear growth.

What is linear growth?

Linear growth means your business can only grow its capacity in proportion to the number of people you have working for you.

But we’re not referring to hiring more contractors. Instead, we’re referring to your support and sales capacity. Customer support is one of the hardest departments to scale without hiring significantly more staff.

When you hire people to represent your company, you want trained professionals. But getting new staff to that level takes time, money and work. So what’s the solution? Businesses are turning in ever greater numbers to live answering services to expand their support network and facilitate business growth.

What is a live answering service?

A live answering service is a B2B service in which a third party provides prospect and customer support on behalf of your business. Live answering services cover a range of sub-services, but the most common are:

  • Live telephone answering: A team of ‘virtual receptionists’ answer inbound calls on your behalf. This also encompasses message taking and appointment setting.
  • Live web chat: Virtual receptionists respond to live chat messages through your website and social media channels.
  • Call transfer and routing: Your virtual receptionists transfer customer calls to a specific member of your team or external third party based on your chosen call-flow.

The freedom to scale

To move from linear growth to sustainable growth, you need the ability to scale in line with your ever-changing requirements - even from month to month.

If you’ve just launched a promotional campaign to win more contracts, you’ll already have anticipated an increase in calls. Of course, you can hire additional staff. But that means added cost in advertising the role, training and managing contacts.

For example - let's say that with your current set up, you can answer 20 calls a day. You anticipate around 10 to 15 additional calls per day as a result of your marketing campaign. Instead, you get an additional 30. So what do you do?

Clearly - you think - you need to hire another person to answer your calls. But that takes time and work. By the time you’ve got another receptionist in, the influx of calls may have dropped. Or you might have lost several potential clients from missed calls.

And what about when the busy period ends? With no clear indication on the horizon of when you’ll need a full team of receptionists again, you’re faced with a dilemma - let your newly hired receptionists go and risk having to rehire (and possibly retrain) new staff if demand rises again, or continue to pay for a team, even if the work could be done by fewer people.

The fact is, as long as you’re reliant on hiring individuals on a full-time contract, you’re limited to linear growth. By using an answering service, you have a scalable workforce on hand. And with minutes-based plans, you can scale up or down according to changes in demand from month to month.

On-site but available

When you receive a call on a job, you face a dilemma. Do you answer and take time away from the job at hand - potentially angering your client? Or do you let it ring out and hope you can call them back later? Even if a caller leaves a message, you’ll have to take time out of your day to get back to them.

An answering service solves this dilemma.

With call routing and transfers, your receptionists can direct calls to specific people in your team. If you’re a one-man team, they can route calls to you based on your availability - which you can update at any time. If you can’t respond, your virtual receptionists can take a message, book an appointment using your calendar and even resolve queries and issues there and then.

That extra coverage is vital to ensure you don’t miss opportunities; 80% of callers who reach voicemail don’t leave a message. In fact, BT Business calculated that missed calls cost UK small businesses £90m each year in lost earnings.

Achieve untethered business growth

With all your calls covered, you can focus on doing what you do best; completing jobs to the highest standards.

And with increased support capacity comes increased availability outside your usual business hours, which can win you more business.

Market expansion often entails partnering with other companies with an established foothold in that industry. An answering service can play a central role in maintaining communication and responding to queries generated on the back of new partnerships.

Whether you’re looking to take on more public sector work, expand into new markets or book more local jobs, an answering service offers an effective solution. From increasing call capacity to strengthening your support network, an answering service can help you break free of a linear growth model.

Get in touch with AnswerConnect today to find out how you can grow your business.

*Disclaimer: This blog post is sponsored content, which is independent of the FMB. Publication does not constitute endorsement or recommendation from the FMB.

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