Make the Most of Your Online Presence to Better Serve Customers and Grow Your Business
By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD
Does your telephone answering service have a website? I hope so. What does your website do for your business? Over the years, I’ve seen a wide range of TAS websites, from severely lacking to impressively professional.
They fall into some common categories. Consider which category yours fits into. Then determine if it’s the right one.
Some websites are nothing more than a placeholder. It may say “coming soon” or have generic text that gives no specific information.
I suspect this is from companies that registered the domain name to use for email purposes. Or maybe it’s businesses that registered the name but never got around to setting up the site.
Either way, be aware that prospects and others looking to learn about your business will stumble upon it. The message a placeholder website sends is not a good one. You’d be better off if it didn’t exist.
An Online Brochure
Moving beyond a do-nothing placeholder website is turning it into an online brochure. Effectively this means taking what once would have been in printed marketing materials and putting them online.
Typically this begins as a one-page website. There’s nothing wrong with this. At a basic level, an online brochure provides visitors with some information about your operation. It’s a great start.
An Information Center
Building upon a website as an online brochure, add other content that prospects will find helpful. This means adding more pages. In addition to your marketing information, you’ll want a homepage, an about us page, and a contact page.
You may also want a blog to post news and content marketing pieces, but don’t jump into starting a blog without first thinking it through and making sure you or someone on your team has the commitment to produce content on a regular basis.
A Marketing Tool
You can expand your website beyond an information center and turn it into a marketing tool. You can add pages that cover services offered, specialties or industries served, testimonials or reviews, pricing, and a sign-up form.
Which ones you include will vary with your marketing strategy, so don’t think you need to pursue every suggestion. Just add what makes sense for your situation.
A Client Support Resource
Until now we covered website options from the perspective of a prospect. It should also have a section for clients. Provide client-specific information to help them get the most out of their experience with your answering service.
You can also include a client portal to allow them to access messages, submit a customer service request, and make on-call or employee directory changes. You can also allow them to pay their bill online.
Most or all these options should require a customer login, thereby blocking prospects from accessing this information or trolls intent on causing mischief.
Your Online Hub for All Interaction
The best websites are both a marketing tool and a customer support resource. It becomes your online hub for communication with both prospects and clients.
If your website is currently at this level, well done! But that doesn’t mean you’re finished. Look for ways to make it simpler to navigate and more user-friendly.
A website is never done and requires ongoing tweaking. The goal is that each change makes it better and more effective.
Learn more in Peter Lyle DeHaan’s book, How to Start a Telephone Answering Service.
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of TAS Trader, covering the telephone answering service industry. Check out his books How to Start a Telephone Answering Service and Sticky Customer Service.