If there is one thing I have noticed trending amongst my customers right now, it would be; price sensitivity. 

Prices have gone up everywhere and small business owners have been impacted the most. Business owners have had to deal with the highest inflation rate of the past 3 decades as well as meet the increased wage demand. So, it is not surprising business owners are looking to find ways to streamline their operational costs wherever they can. 

To reduce costs and improve client satisfaction, we are focusing on the following three customer-facing solutions that any business owner can implement quickly. 

  1. Phone systems and why less is more.
  2. Appointments and why you need software to manage them. 
  3. Virtual staff and why specialized off-site team members are better than hiring in-house.

These 3 solutions are quick and effective ways to help small business owners cut some of their costs and create improved systems to help them grow in 2022.

Get Rid of Your Landline

Physical office phones are no longer sustainable. They are a much bigger crutch than you realize. Landline phones:

  • Cost more.
  • Are less reliable.
  • More difficult to use.
  • Create friction for clients.
  • Can hinder your company’s growth.

VoIP-based phone systems are a quick and easy way to manage one of your business’s most important communication tools: your phone number. They can cost as little as $20 to $30 per month and provide far superior coverage as long as you have good internet. Most VoIP-based phone systems can be accessed through your smartphone and your settings can be updated on the go. Companies like Ooma, RingCentral, and Grasshopper have options for companies of any size. 

A VoIP-based phone is a low-cost and effective way to have full control over your business’s phone system which is crucial for delivering great customer service. 

Set Up Online Booking

It is now more crucial than ever to be available for appointments as customers want a guaranteed time and date that’s convenient for them to discuss your services. An online booking option gives them the freedom to pick a convenient time all within your schedule. The great thing about online booking is that you set your hours making it a win-win. 

Online booking can have a huge impact on your revenue. In fact, service-based companies offering an option to book online can see a potential increase of 37% in revenue. It is an incredible option for small business owners dealing with the rising costs of inflation. 

There are so many scheduling systems available, that it can be difficult to choose the right one. So, we have made a top 3 list to help you narrow down your choices and make life a little easier!

  1. Jane

This system was designed from the ground up for healthcare professionals. It allows you to book, chart, schedule, invoice, process payments, and run your entire practice online. At Smiledog, we love Jane because:

  • It’s user-friendly.
  • It’s easy to view and mark off blocked time.
  • It has multiple schedules based on different locations.
  • The tagging feature allows you to link different appointments to different practitioners to ensure bookings are always done correctly.

  1. Calendly

This system is great for solopreneurs. It syncs two-way with Gmail, Outlook, and iMac making it easy to ensure your online schedule matches your calendar allowing clients to book when you’re available. Calendly is great because:

  • It takes 30 to 60 mins to set up.
  • It has all the right features without being overwhelming.
  • It’s free to start and upgraded plans are very cost-friendly.

  1. Acuity

Acuity is great because it integrates directly with Square for online payments and processing. Their system is easy to use because:

  • It is very cost-friendly.
  • It integrates with various other software.
  • Its search feature makes it easy to find available appointments.

Hire Virtual Staff

Now that you have full control over your phone system and schedule you’re ready to get help from a virtual assistant (VA) and/or receptionist (VR). What are VAs and VRs and why do you need them?

Virtual Assistants (VA)

VAs help you with your highly specialized needs and they will give you expertise in maintaining and developing workflows for complex tasks within your business. A VA can help you with:

  • Email Management.
  • Social Media Management.
  • Direct billing & Insurance claims.

Virtual Receptionists (VR) 

A VRs focus is on the front lines. They are your customer service team managing your daily call flow. Your VR will make sure you book appointments while you’re in appointments. Your VR will:

  • Answer your phones with a smile.
  • Manage and book your schedule. 
  • Help with customer service and FAQs.

For small business owners, hiring virtual team members can be more effective than hiring in-house staff. The average monthly costs are easily identifiable and the savings can be huge. The unseen added cost of in-house staff can hinder your business’s growth. 

For business owners, hiring and training is a huge time investment without the guarantee that a person will stay long-term. Reliability is also crucial when you’re trying to grow your business. Not showing up or calling in sick can wreak havoc on your day’s productivity.

Highly specialized virtual staff can be a great option for small business owners who need some help. Find the area in your business that is causing you the most pain and have a virtual service solve that problem with less cost and time investment needed.

Wrapping up

Growing a business and ensuring its success can be one of the hardest things someone can do. On the other hand, when you finally get over that hump and see your company start to succeed, I promise you it is one of the most rewarding things in life. It creates humble confidence in yourself that you know you can take on anything. Hopefully, some of the advice we provided today like getting rid of your landline, setting up online bookings, and hiring a virtual service can help give you that little extra lift you need to improve your customer service and experience.

We at Smiledog specialize in virtual reception and appointment setting services. We want to help you ensure that your customers always feel welcomed and taken care of the first time. If that sounds like it may be of help to you and your business, we would love to chat more and see if we could be a fit for what you need. 

Schedule a free consultation with us now or find out more about our services here: 

Virtual Reception and Appointment Setting.