In a world where differentiation is critical for businesses, it can be a challenge for office managers and business owners to determine how to set themselves apart. For some organizations, that key differentiator comes in the form of personalization. Those in the medical, construction, veterinary, in-home care, legal, heating and air conditioning, and property management business, in particular, have learned that differentiation can come in that personalized touch.
In many cases and many fields, today’s consumers and patients can get the information that they need by visiting a website. But sometimes, they don’t know what they are looking for or need a quick answer. In these cases, nothing can be more frustrating than being addressed by an answering machine instead of a living human.
Enter in the solution that virtual receptionists can bring. These virtual receptions, otherwise known as answering service professionals, answer telephone calls that come into your business when your primary receptionist is not there, and when your business is closed for the day. These individuals are far more than just call takers; they can help you bolster productive and meaningful relationships with your customers and alleviate concerns from your customers that their need will go unanswered, literally, and figuratively.
When to Hire an Answering Service for Your Business
Perhaps you are unsure whether or not an answering service is needed. After all, you’ve been using an answering machine all these years, and things are fine. You ensure that calls get returned promptly once your business reopens, don’t you? But what about the messages that never got left, or those messages that are garbled and hard to understand so that you can’t return the call? And what about all those reasons that you have never considered?
If you are experiencing any of these five signs listed below, the chances are that your business should consider hiring an answering service.
- Your incoming call volumes are increasing. AAs your business starts to grow, your call volume will increase too. Most companies experience seasonality and the resulting peaks and valleys. Medical cents receive more calls during the wintertime when influenza spikes or when a pandemic hits. Construction crews start to receive more calls in the spring when it is time to plan for summer home improvement projects. An answering service can provide much-needed relief to help ensure that simple questions are answered and that messages and action items are neatly organized into a systematic queue for ease of follow-up.
- You do not have a full-time receptionist. If you manage a small business, you might not have the means to hire a full-time receptionist, or you might not have enough calls to warrant a full-time position. However, you do likely receive enough calls that trying to answer all of them on your own is taking you away from your role and responsibilities. An answering service can be the perfect answer to this challenge.
- Business continuity. In a world where anything can happen, every business owner knows that a national emergency, weather event, etc., can disrupt one’s ability to manage it when priorities need to shift elsewhere. An answering service, especially one located in a different geography than your organization, can ensure that calls get answered and that customers still receive that personal touch, even when your phone lines aren’t working.
- You receive a lot of questions that can be answered easily. Though most websites today feature an FAQ (frequently asked questions) where customers or patients can find answers to their inquiries, not everyone is tech-savvy or knowledgeable about how to use it. For those that don’t go to the internet first for their solution, an answering service that is equipped to answer straightforward questions can help the caller get back on their way faster. Imagine a customer that wants to know your clinic’s hours and gets frustrated by the many choices available on an automated recording. They may not be able to get their questioned answered on their own. With an answering service, however, their question can be answered quickly and by a friendly individual on the other end of the line.
- Calls are not being routed effectively. With an automated answering system, calls are often all routed into one queue. This means that someone needs to listen to all of the messages on the next business day and needs to determine who the best person is to return each of those calls. With an answering service, the caller gets to speak to a real person, and the answering service representative is trained to ask the right questions to determine who should be returning that call. This creates a better experience for the customer, and it makes the office more efficient.
Live Answering Services are Great for your Customer and for your Brand
Though most of us appreciate the convenience of modern technologies, an automated recording that greets us when we need a quick answer or have an emergency is not one of those examples. Live answering service professionals are real people on the other end of the phone line, ready and able to talk to the caller. These professionals can talk to the caller and take the time to understand why the caller has placed the call. Though live answering services are not the same as call centers, these professionals can often answer simple questions, sending the caller back on their way.
Even when the answering service professional can’t answer the question and simply records the caller’s information so that the call can later be returned, the customer or patient will usually appreciate the personal interaction. This is a value-add for your brand as your customer will be better re-assured that their essential question or concern has been heard, and that they will be routed to the right person for resolution or follow-up. This can be a crucial differentiator for your brand and one that should never be under-estimated. Contact Hartley Associates at 866-918-8700 or fill out our online contact form to see how we can help you today.