You put a lot of thought into your marketing, probably even going as far as revising your marketing plan each year to capture those customers who seem to consistently get away.

Effective advertising and marketing tools are a great way to draw them in, but you may be losing a significant portion of your new potentials because you can’t deliver the customer service they expect. In fact, according to research by NewVoiceMedia, U.S. businesses lose $41 billion a year from poor customer service experiences.

Even though more customers are getting online, many still want to reach you via telephone — NewVoiceMedia found that 75 percent still believe calling is the most effective way to get a quick response and 59 percent prefer to contact a business by phone even if it’s not urgent. Unfortunately, calling can backfire on you as a company, too, since 53 percent of callers are irritated if they don’t speak to someone immediately.

An Answering Service Can Help Hook New Customers

As intimidating as the numbers might sound, there could be a simple solution to your marketing woes — hiring an answering service.

If you can’t always get to the phone, an answering service will keep those callers happy and loyal. A service like this is more than just someone to answer the phone; it employs and carefully trains customer service professionals to help busy businesses deliver a consistent level of service even when regular employees are unavailable.

They also help support your marketing efforts in these ways:

Answering common questions. Although an answering service isn’t the same thing as a dedicated customer service team, sometimes it can do double duty. If you provide your answering service with a list of common questions and the answers, it can help your customers make better decisions about products, solve taxing situations or simply stay informed about store hours. Above all else, an answering service can act as your front line team, answering the phone as soon as it rings to impress and win over new customers.

Helping to find you in an emergency. Depending on your business, you may be contacted in the case of emergency. Doctors, lawyers, contractors and tow truck operators are often needed all around the clock, but it’s costly to keep staff around to answer the phone 24/7. Leaving worried potential customers wondering if you’ll get their message at all isn’t a solution, either — emergencies definitely require a human touch. After-hours answering services employ various tools that allow them to find you, no matter where you might be, in case a customer who really needs you calls.

Dealing with disaster recovery. Not every day will be a beautiful day, unfortunately. When disaster strikes, you have to have a plan in place or you risk losing customers new and old. An answering service can act as your disaster recovery team in times of trouble, reassuring your customers that you’ll be back in business soon, helping them with issues that can be managed over the phone and even acting as a conduit for information about when your doors will open again. Customers don’t like uncertainty, but knowing you’re always going to be available helps further cement your relationship and salvages marketing dollars otherwise lost under unforeseen circumstances.

When you built your marketing plan, you probably weren’t thinking about who was going to help you execute it — but it’s not too late to fix that mistake. An answering service is a cost effective way to add a team of people pleasing experts to your team. They can help you build better customer relationship and even improve your ROI when coupled with a strong marketing effort.