Every business needs to maintain good relationships with its customers. And one way to do this is through customer service — by having someone personable to interact with your clients and resolve their issues. Whether it is to simply direct calls to different departments, answer simple questions about the company, or assist with complex tech support, customer care is necessary. A virtual answering service is a new way to engage with a company’s prospects. And businesses, especially small ones, are looking for answering services that can take some of the burdens off of them. So, is a virtual answering system something you can start on your own, and from the comfort of your home? Yes!
A Virtual Answering Service: The New Trend in Customer Care
Many small businesses are unable to hire someone to answer company calls 24/7. These companies, therefore, choose to outsource their office calls to a call center or an answering service that can do the job for them. With someone else handling customer calls, businesses can focus on other areas that require more immediate attention.
Now, starting your own answering service is easy. However, it is even easier when you consider going digital with it. A virtual answering service lets you create an online office with remote employees and virtual communication tools like virtual numbers. Let’s have a look at the different steps required when starting your own home-based answering service.
1) Create a Business Plan
The first step to starting any company or enterprise is to create a business plan outlining goals and market projections. This plan will take into account market research, ideal customer profiles, budget and expenses, and a plan of action. You may want to include potential investors you’d like or how many employees you want to hire, and so on.
2) Open a Business Bank Account and Start Budgeting
Once you have a business plan ready to go, you can reach out to investors for funds or start funding yourself. Either way, you would need to open a business bank account and start planning your budget. Think about how much you want to spend on employees, phone bills, equipment, and so on. This will later help you determine how much you should charge for your service.
3) Register the Business
To ensure potential customers take your company seriously, you need to take it seriously first. This means legitimizing your enterprise by registering it with the secretary of state or county clerk. Obtain a tax identification number and an employer identification number (EIN). These aside, make sure you get the necessary licenses and permits for your location.
4) Purchase Necessary Equipment
This is a necessary step because to properly run a virtual answering service, you need the right equipment and software. The best part about starting a digital answering service is that you are not limited to traditional phone lines. That means that you do not have to spend funds on getting several phone lines that connect to your public telephone network (PTSN). Instead, you can set up a voice over internet protocol (VoIP) phone system. This allows you to work with multiple virtual phone numbers that run through the internet and, therefore, just one traditional line. Calls made to virtual numbers can be answered anywhere in the world and on any device, which makes them an ideal fit for a remote answering business. This aside, research and purchase a call management software that works best for your needs.
5) Hire Remote Employees
If necessary and depending on the scope of your company, you can choose to hire a few remote employees to share the workload. This can also be done after your business starts growing.
6) Decide Your Service’s Rates
Based on the expenses incurred, plan out how to price your services so that you make a profit. Rates would depend on the number of hours you work out with your clients. You can charge various prices for standard work hours and additional for after-hours. Similarly, provide different packages with additional features or incentives. And if you extend your services to include other virtual office duties, you can increase your monthly income.
7) Market and Network
Once you have everything set up and ready to go, start promoting your service everywhere. Optimize your website by making it informational and educational. Then, utilize social media to get the word out. Market your website, your services, and everything you have to offer. Advertise your virtual number on billboards, business cards, and more. Also, consider email marketing and paid ads as ways to stay on your target clients’ screens. Build your professional profile and engage in networking on career sites. Look for job opportunities on major job boards and seek places that can utilize an after-hours answering service.
Offer Communication Solutions to Your Clients: Get a Virtual Phone Number Now!
Begin your process of starting your own virtual answering service with virtual numbers from United World Telecom. Sign up today or call us for more information about business numbers and how they can benefit your new company.