If you operate a small business, you will be well aware of just how important it is to make savings wherever possible. Savings are obviously important for business of all sizes but unfortunately it tends to be the independent, small to medium sized businesses which can suffer the most during these times of economic depression and potential double-dip recessions.

Businesses that struggle to stay afloat and maintain a reliable profit margin can only do a number of things to continue to operate in the event that the amount of income reduces. Unfortunately, these options are often not desirable and some can have a negative impact on the business:

  • Reducing staffing levels
  • Re-location
  • Reducing size of operations
  • Reducing or minimising advertising costs
  • Reducing wastage and becoming more efficient

Out of these options the need to relocate or downsize as well as the requirement to cut jobs can be unavoidable. However, what if you still require the services and the functionality that is provided by having had those business roles in the first place?

For example, if you need to save between £11,000 and £17,000 pounds this year in order to remain afloat, an easy option would be to avoid hiring a necessary new member of reception staff. However, without this receptionist there will be times of the day when those phone calls, emails and letters will be left un-attended and unanswered. This could then mean that your business suffers even more in the long term with lower sales and less new business customers.

In order to prevent this scenario, but importantly still make savings, there are options. A telephone answering service could be purchased for a fraction of the annual salary cost of a full-time receptionist. This service can also extend to mail forwarding and email forwarding. What this facility means for you is that you can provide the same ‘business as usual’ services for your customers (i.e. telephone greetings by real people taking down messages and answering simple enquiries in the name of your business), but without the usual cost.

A well sourced telephone answering service can provide your business with several customisable options relating to how much you wish to pay and what you exactly wish to receive. For example, you can pay for call-forwarding services and simple query answering services. These include a person that answers calls to your business number with an agreed business name greeting and an agreed set of instructions on how to proceed with various call types. Depending on your requirements, the telephone answering service agent can take messages or even forward the caller through to your business mobile phone. You can decide how many calls you wish to be forwarded each day (this can affect costs) and you can also decide what hours of operation your business phone line is manned (maybe your telephone answering services only covers weekends due to your lack of weekend reception staff? Maybe it will provide constant cover if you have no in house reception staff?).

Before making any decisions about which cost saving changes you need to make for your organisation, be sure that you have researched options such as telephone answering service so that reduced costs don’t necessarily have to mean a reduced service to your customers.