Making sure that your customers are taken care of in a timely fashion is an important part of business. Being able to do so, however, can be difficult – particularly if you have customers or suppliers who are located outside of your time zone. This often leads to businesses asking themselves if they need an answering service, and if so, what sort of services are worth their hard earned capital. First, let’s take a look at what benefits an answering service brings to your company.
Why Consider Using an Answering Service?
There are three key reasons why every business can benefit from the services offered by a messaging service such as Message Direct:
1. They Make Businesses Money
The first impression that your business leaves customers with is incredibly important when it comes to customer acquisition and retention. Every time the customer on the other end of the phone speaks to someone representing your business, you are reinforcing their trust in your company, as well as acquiring new clients.
2. They Give You Much Needed Downtime
No business owner can run a business 24 hours a day. It is unhealthy for the owner and damaging to his or her relationship with friends and loved ones.
Even the most dedicated entrepreneurs need that time to spend relaxing with family and friends. By having an answering service, business owners have the assurance that their business has been left in capable hands and will continue to move smoothly even when he or she is absent.
3. They Keep You Covered
Life is full of unforeseen incidents and emergencies. Whether it is a business owner needing to leave suddenly on an emergency or a receptionist calling out sick for the day, having an answering service on deck means that your phone is always being answered and that you are always covered.
Take a look at you numbers and consider the financial benefit that an answering service can bring to your business. Many of these companies are flexible, being only available and offering the services necessary when needed. This means that businesses can choose the services they need to fit their budget and business needs.
With that said, answering services often offer one or both “styles” of answering service:
We’ll break down what you can expect from each service below.
What to Expect from a Basic Answering Service
A basic answering service package will likely offer businesses “the essentials,” which usually means telephone services. With this type of package, there will be one or more agents dedicated to answering calls regarding your business during a pre-determined time frame. These agents are usually trained to tackle any basic customer service questions or queries, and they have the ability to triage your calls appropriately. Basic services also may include message taking and call escalation.
What to Expect from an Advanced Answering Service
Advanced answering services tend to be more expensive, but they offer a whole lot more in what can be a more financially beneficial package. In addition to the basic services offered above, advanced answering services are often able to assist with a number of other imperative business tasks, including:
The restructuring of your company database
Responding to media queries
Taking orders from customers
Sending orders to suppliers
Inbound sales services
Emergency service dispatching
To provide this level of service, some time and preparation is required on the business owner or business manager’s part. Each scenario must be considered, scripts must be written, and information must be readily available to every agent who will be working on behalf of your business.
What About an Automated Attendant?
As a cost-saving measure, some businesses may instead choose to have an automated attendant field phone calls from customers when they are unavailable. Unfortunately, this “investment” can actually act as a detriment to your business.
Once a customer hears the voice of an automated attendant, they often feel disappointed, frustrated, or even angry. These systems can make a customer feel alienated from the company and can be confusing to navigate through. When your customers call you, they want to speak to a dynamic human being – not a static robot with nothing more than basic information to provide. Strongly consider hiring a flexible answering service before choosing an automated attendant to field your most valuable phone calls.
Choosing the Right Answering Service for Your Company
Whether or not a particular answering service is right for your company will come down to a number of factors, including pricing, flexibility, and services offered. There are a few basic items that every business should take into consideration, including:
The Reputation of the Answering Service
Well established answering service companies may come with a slightly higher price tag, but what you receive in return is invaluable. Reputable companies are reliable companies, meaning that your customers will be treated to a knowledgeable and helpful attendant every time they call to speak with “you.” These companies select the best agents for the job, are experts when it comes to up training their employees, and act in partnership with you to make sure that all of your needs are covered.
Their Hours of Availability
Ideally the answering service you choose will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week regardless of whether the day is a weekend or a holiday. This means that while you and your staff are sleeping your customers will still be treated to a friendly voice and helpful information at all hours of the day.
Customized Messaging Service
The messaging service you choose should give you the option of customizing the messages or scripts that are being delivered to your customers. If they don’t, then your money would be better spent on a basic automated answering service.
Look at what it is that your specific company needs in order to operate. Web-integrated solutions may be an integral part of your business operations, or you may require a bilingual answering service to field your phone calls. Make a list of your specific needs and then begin your search for the perfect messaging service which will take your business to the next level.