My name is Jenifer De La Garza. I am the owner/operator of Administrative Support Group. Our group currently consists of myself, specializing in Real Estate and General Administrative; Diane who is a Medical Specialist; Christy specializing in General Administrative Support and Data Entry.
Sadly Craig, I believe you are right. Not about it not being so important to answer every call if possible, but about people in general feeling they ARE important. When you are starting a business or trying to grow a business every call is a potential customer and missing those calls or sending them to voicemail in this the "Age of Narcissism" could mean losing them. Doesn`t mean you have to be the one to answer. I think most people would be more content to leave a message with a human than a machine. I know I would.
We have to adapt to the changes in our world. Marketing strategies change all the time. You wouldn`t send a potential customer a cassette tape right?
A virtual assistant could be an affordable option. I happen to be one and would be glad to speak with you about options but, consider this:
A virtual assistant is not an answering service and can learn the ins and outs of your business
A virtual assistant can be available to answer calls during regular business hours in multiple time zones and most have the option to forward to their mobile phone if they are out of the office (I do).
A virtual assistant can do many other tasks besides answering calls so you may find you have more time to answer those calls or work on building your business.
I do agree with Janie though that if you are watching every penny and you aren`t seeing a huge drop in buiness over not answering directly then you might just leave things as they are.
I am a Virtual Assistant specializing in Real Estate. The trouble I`m having is that the Real Estate Market is very soft right now and a lot of agents are unresponsive. I currently have one regular client but he`s cutting my time down due to the market conditions. I really need this business to grow so I`m considering going outside of my niche and offering more generalized services. Is this going to adversely affect how I market within my niche? My website is not very specific to my niche and is very general but my marketing materials, postcards and brochures are specific to my niche.
I just remembered a particularly BAD experience with customer service and thought I`d share. Once when shopping for a bike for our child, we visited a certain "Big Box" store. We called for an associate to come and help us and answer some questions. My final question was this. "If we get it home and put it together and are not happy with it, can we bring it back?" His reply was, "Of course, people bring these back all the time". We did NOT buy our bike there.
I think that is a good model. As a consumer it is very frustrating to get an untrained person thrown at me. I don`t think I would mind so much leaving a message like you said if I was confident my call would be returned quickly, although, that`s not often the case so I wonder how much business walks away when they don`t get through to a human right away.