It is exceptionally frustrating to a customer when they call a company for help, only to listen to the phone ring repeatedly. Even worse, they receive an answering machine message and find out the voicemail box is full, or they leave a message and don’t hear back shortly after. With so many companies providing information on their websites, when a customer calls, it is frequently because they aren’t technically savvy and didn’t go to your website or couldn’t find the information they need.
While this scenario is an indicator that your website needs to be updated, that’s a message for another day. We want to focus on how you can make sure that the customers who do call, receive prompt service. Professional answering services are in the business to do just that – answer your customer calls when you can’t.
Answering services are an extension of your company
Professional answering service companies are not the same as call centers. And, a misunderstanding of the difference between the two is often a driving factor in why business owners and office managers decide not to invest in answering service assistance. While a call center is designed to answer a high volume of calls in a short matter of time or on an ongoing basis, an answering service is a bit different.
Answering services are for organizations that need someone to answer the phones, much like an office receptionist would. However, answering services provide added value in that they can cover your business during office hours, nights, and weekends, and even 24 hours a day. The support coverage you receive can be tailored to the unique needs of your business. Plus, the investment you make in an answering service is often far less than the cost of a full-time receptionist who frequently gets pulled away to manage other office needs.
Answering Services Can Reduce Customer Hold Times
A few years ago, an article from MarketWatch indicated that the average American will spend 43 days of his life on hold. Many customers aren’t ok with hold times and expect that customer calls be answered immediately, often within three rings or less. Though it might not seem realistic to directly get to a call, answering services can do just that.
When an answering service professional answers your customer’s call, the customer often has no idea that they are talking to someone who doesn’t work for your organization. To start, the customer is so pleased that they didn’t have to hold that they tend to be more at ease from the get-go. But further, the professional answering representatives are well trained in your company and are prepared to answer questions and route calls that need follow-up to the appropriate parties. Answering services can also be hired to help return calls, ensuring that your essential customers are handled appropriately at both sides of the call spectrum.
Answering Services Enable You to Focus Your Staff
Rarely are receptionists hired to answer calls and only answer calls. Today’s receptionists often fulfill additional office duties, such as data entry, filing, and vendor management. With all of these other duties, receptionists often inadvertently put customer calls on the backburner.
When you partner with a professional call answering service, you can redeploy your stuff to more pressing matters within your business because your calls are in good hands. Imagine the savings you can experience for your organization if you can let your office manager focus on those duties, and other folks within the business focus on theirs. All the while, your customer calls are being professionally answered and routed as needed.
Answering Services Reduce Repeat Calls
A customer who doesn’t get their call answered will usually do one of two things. They’ll keep calling until they get ahold of someone, or they will take their business elsewhere. Neither of these is good. On the one hand, a customer that keeps calling is taking up bandwidth from your office resources as they work through various repeat messages, sometimes running out of time to return calls. And clearly, it’s not a good situation if a customer takes their business elsewhere.
Answering service professionals can answer calls related to office hours, holiday schedules, events, and promotions, and sometimes even help place an order on your website. Ensuring customer inquiries are addressed, not to mention calls answered play a tremendous role in preserving your business and elevating your customer’s opinion of you.
When you miss calls, you lose business. That’s no laughing matter. Instead, it’s one that begs the question about what is holding you back from bringing in an answering service to partner with you and your organization. When a live person answers every call, you avoid lost revenue opportunities and improve customer satisfaction.