If you’re the owner of a construction company or a construction manager, you’ll be familiar with the challenge of balancing on-site responsibilities with the demands of runnin g a business. Small businesses often struggle to make the budget stretch to cover all the resources they need; effective prioritisation is key.
A business answering service may seem like a luxury, but here’s why we think it’s an essential investment that will deliver results and make life easier in the short and long term.
Never Miss a Call or Lose Important Details
Construction sites are noisy places and it’s often impossible to respond professionally to incoming calls or even to hear the phone ring. Answering a mobile phone on-site can also seriously compromise Health and Safety.
A business answering service allows calls to divert to different phone numbers or locations, be that a mobile phone, landline or voicemail. This process can be controlled manually — for example, if you are momentarily or unexpectedly unavailable — or you can set up scheduled calling, so calls divert between specific times, for instance, out of office hours.
Redirecting calls ensures customers always receive a professional response and are promptly connected to the most appropriate individual to handle their query. This not only avoids the dangerous use of mobile phones on-site, keeping staff safe, but it also improves customer experience. All of which is likely to lead to more business, repeat custom and an excellent company reputation.
Manage Peak Periods Efficiently
Most companies in the construction industry fall into the “SME” or Small to Medium Enterprise category. SMEs in the industry make up 20% of all of the UK’s SMEs. This means many construction companies lack the resources to set up a physical office or to hire a receptionist. As a result, construction managers, business owners or other senior staff members are left to juggle business calls with on-site duties. This may work during quiet times, but in peak periods calls will be missed or dropped and business will be lost.
A business answering service or virtual receptionist costs a fraction of employing a full-time staff member and ensures a consistent level of service. During peak times, the phone system can effectively and efficiently handle calls, meaning on-site work continues uninterrupted and customers aren’t left hanging.
Build and Maintain Positive Working Relationships Relationships
Small construction companies tend to rely on a network of professionals and partners to deliver the comprehensive service customers expect. SMEs often lack the budget to employ a team that can offer the breadth of experience required to complete projects satisfactorily. They make use of subcontractors, surveyors, suppliers and partners with
relevant trade experience to help them deliver results within agreed deadlines.
The success of such networks and partnerships relies on trust and reliability. If a subcontractor repeatedly struggles to make contact with your company to gain the necessary support, advice or approvals they need to keep a project moving, they will soon move on to a competitor. A business answering service ensures important calls are never missed and information reaches the appropriate person in a timely fashion. This
supports the development and maintenance of effective working relationships between professionals.
Enhance the Reputation of Your Company
In the UK, there is an unpleasant stereotype of builders and construction workers — they are often seen as unreliable “cowboys” who need to be avoided or carefully monitored.
The Federation of Master Builders estimates that such unscrupulous operators cost the UK economy £10bn a year.
SMEs in the construction industry must work hard to build a positive reputation and prove their worth. A crucial element of building trust with clients is to keep the lines of communication open. If a project falls behind, the worst thing you can do is hide away and leave the client to make up their mind about what’s going on. An answering service ensures clients always have a way to get in touch.
The system can also be used to signpost help and support when staff are unavailable to take a call — for example, sharing the details of a FAQ page or relevant information pages on the company website.
Construction companies do not deal in small-ticket items. They are not selling hair dryers or clothing. Clients have generally invested a significant sum of money — not to mention time and effort — in the project they have engaged your services to complete. They will be understandably frustrated and dissatisfied if they cannot get in touch and are denied
regular project updates.
How to Find the Right Business Answering Service
A business answering service has many benefits for construction companies, from improving customer service and enhancing company reputation to building business networks that will help your business thrive. But how do you choose the right one for your business
Choose a company with experience and a good reputation — How long has the business been in operation? Do they have positive testimonials on respected review sites like Trustpilot?
Make sure the service can scale with your business — You may not need the
most advanced features now, but next year, or the year after, who knows?
Avoid having to switch providers and learn a new system as the business grows by finding a service that offers more than you need currently.
Do they offer a payment plan that suits the budget? — Don’t pay for a host of features you’ll never use. Look for a provider that offers a variety of plans and choose the one that best suits your current business needs.
Is the provider UK based? — Choose a provider located in the same country as your business. You don’t want to be unable to reach customer service in a crisis because they operate in a different time zone.
Do they offer a free trial? — It’s difficult to judge a system until you’ve tried it.
Look for providers that allow you to try before you buy.
Look for added value — Can they offer additional services such as 0800
numbers, or live PAs that may add value to the service?
How easy is it to get up and running? —Is the signup process lengthy and
complex? Is there a long waiting period before you can “go live”?
Any new investment is daunting for an SME. However, a business answering service is relatively low-cost and low-commitment that could transform your business.