Many businesses choose to have a receptionist in the lobby, in order to make their company sound more professional when someone calls into the company. But, is the price paid for that person to answer your business’ phone really worth it? Brian Gabriel, the COO for Sound Telecom, has written about how the hidden costs of an in-house receptionist might actually be costing companies too much money. Gabriel discusses seven significant costs that an answering service can help companies to avoid. Those include: the cost of sick time, the cost of lateness and absenteeism, the cost of turnover, the cost of training, the cost of management, the cost of facilities, and the cost of poor response.
He points out the cost of a $2,500 a month receptionist missing a day due to illness will cost the company $83 a day. Although most companies concede to three days of annual sick leave, it does not allow for the time it takes away from other people’s work to cover the phones for that day. If it turns out to be a long illness, the costs for the employee starts to become staggering.
When a receptionist comes in late, it now takes time away from management to discipline the receptionist and to document the event, in case it becomes a persistent occurrence and warrants termination. The stress level rises for the manager as he/she has to start worrying if the receptionist will be on time the following day.
The problem with the current receptionist becomes too much, and they must be fired. The proper papers have to be filed, in order to avoid possible legal problems, and a new receptionist must be found. The average cost of turnover for the loss of a single employee within a company ranges between 16 percent and 20 percent of the employee’s annual salary.
Once the best applicant is found for the new position, that employee needs to be trained. It generally takes two weeks for a new employee to learn a new system. During that time, someone has to do the training and, sometimes, mistakes are made that could cost the company money.
During the training period, the receptionist will inevitably have questions, more in the beginning than once she is trained. It is most often, a manager that has to answer those questions. When the manager has to stop what he is doing to answer a question, it can cause the manager to lose his/her train of thought, which means it takes longer for a project to be completed by upper management, who works at a higher salary.
Having a receptionist, in general, means an outlay of money. That person needs an office, desk, chair, computer, Internet, phone, supplies, and other incidentals in order to do his or her job properly. This does not include the hidden costs of needing a bigger building and the costs involved with that.
Lastly, mistakes are bound to happen. If the phones are busy, calls can be dropped or not answered fast enough before someone hangs up. That could mean loss of revenue for the company.
Gabriel points out, that in the end, it is much more efficient and cost-effective for a company to use an answering service.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi