Is your business seasonal? Are you rushed off your feet at Christmas yet kicking your heels in the spring? Do you suffer from summer madness and winter doldrums? If you do, you will, almost certainly, be losing business when the panic hits. When you are chasing your tail, a new business call can be more of a curse than a blessing. When business is good it's sometimes hard to plan for the quiet times ahead.
But to ignore future business is a dangerous policy. A sales call lost when you are working 18-hour days is business you won't have when you really need it. But you can't do everything. Something's got to give!
A solution might be to forget the phone calls for a while by contracting out their management to a call centre fully briefed to handle them for you. “It's really very simple and doesn't cost a fortune,” said Jody Harkness. Jody is the manager at Answerlink in Bedford, a company that specialises in providing exactly this service. “Just 50p a message is about right. You can turn the service on whenever you need a break and back off again when the day-to-day panic calms down. If something really urgent comes up, something that needs your immediate attention, we'll pass the call through to you anyway.”
Many businesses are seasonal: gardeners, travel agents, removal companies and retail outlets all can benefit from using a call centre. Companies that supply fireworks in November, Easter eggs or anything for Christmas all suffer from seasonal overload. Some businesses get busy when the sun comes out, when it rains or if the snow falls. Some are affected by sporting events such as the Olympics, the Cup Final or Wimbledon. Even election time, a bank holiday or the month when a new car registration number is announced can funnel activity into a short period making the day-to-day business activity something of a trial.
Most businesses are busier at some times than others. When the going gets tough, the phone usually gets left to ring. Make sure this doesn't happen to you. Every enquiry is valuable so it's important not to miss any. By getting a call centre to do some of the work, you can concentrate on the customers you have today without missing out on future business.