Setting up a small business to provide consultancy services is very popular. Many work from home but need to create a professional impression, which an answerphone cannot do if you are out with a client. Our receptionist team will answer in your company name giving the impression you have a small team of people based in an office.
A distinct group within our professional services customers is those who are creating or running a business as an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). The notes below explain why creating the right impression on the first telephone call is vital for an IFA but would equally apply to other consultancy services.
Independent Financial Advisers (IFA) – how a virtual receptionist will reassure your clients
Independent financial advisers know only too well the importance of reassuring and building trust with clients. Sometimes though, simple things such as the impression left when people try to contact you by phone can undermine that trust.
The complexity of people’s monetary affairs and the lack of confidence many people feel when it comes to making financial decisions, together with the horror stories of mis-selling all chip away at people’s confidence when it comes to choosing an independent financial adviser.
While personal recommendation is great, many people will also use web searches and sites such as Vouchedfor.co.uk to find a list of independent financial advisers in their area. After drawing up a list, potential clients will probably look at a financial adviser’s website to check their credentials and suitability and then pick up the phone or email to make that initial contact.
So what happens if they don’t get hold of you when they phone, either because they get an engaged tone if you’re on another call, or their call is bounced onto a mobile voicemail or home landline?
Well, in today’s world where people are time-poor and are keen to make arrangements there and then, they’re likely to turn back to their potential list of advisers and contact one of your competitors before they try you again.
There’s also the matter of what impression the phone answer system leaves after they’ve called you.
For people who don’t know you there’s something reassuring about ringing an office number rather than a mobile particularly in an industry where trust is paramount.
While you can record your own message, the beauty of a simple call answering and re-routing system is that the latest technology comes into play, ensuring you get the message straight away via email and text message and can minimise the chances of losing out to a competitor if you’re out of the office.
Employing a virtual receptionist is often not an option for many independent financial advisers but you can still have the benefits of one cost-effectively by establishing a virtual service.
In this situation, your office calls can be answered by a professional receptionist who is able to respond to callers appropriately, and most importantly without sounding like a call centre.
The virtual receptionist will then immediately relay a message to you, which again means you can act promptly.
Key considerations when choosing a virtual office provider:
• Transparent, simple pricing structure. For instance, we provide a straightforward breakdown of our pricing on our website.
• Flexibility. Like any business, there will be times when an IFA will need to change the message that callers receive; or information that the virtual receptionist has in front of them. In this situation, it’s good to know that it’s easy to get the information amended.
• Trusted service. Just as your clients expect you to be professional at all times and act promptly, so it’s only reasonable to expect the same level of professionalism and service level from your virtual office provider.
• Evolving your virtual office. Over time, your business structure may change. For instance, business may grow to such an extent that you employ another member of staff, or partner with another adviser. Choosing a virtual office provider who can evolve the virtual service in-line with this, can really play dividends.
• Empathy. As a micro business, dealing with another SME can be a bonus as they understand only too well the ‘juggling’ nature of running your own firm and the importance of being time-efficient to avoid a situation where your eye is taking off your core remit.
At Office Answers we work with a number of IFA customers as well as many other consultants so please contact us to discuss your requirements.