An answering service does exactly what you might think: at its simplest, it’s a service that takes calls on behalf of your business.
When customers call, a friendly voice will answer and give them the information they need. The people behind those friendly voices operate offsite, away from your business, but can take and deliver messages, redirect calls, and schedule bookings and appointments as if they were right there with you.
An answering service can help you with most functions that you might hope for in handling and responding to your calls, short of keeping you company on your lunch break. Answering services don’t take breaks!
Making an answering service work for you
Missed calls mean missed revenue opportunities.
With an answering service you can take calls to your business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You work with professional client experience associates who will handle your inbound calls around the clock.
While a receptionist clocks out for the day, an answering service stays on the job so you don’t need to worry about missing calls that come through after hours or while you’re busy at work. If a customer calls, your business answers.
The personal touch: answering service vs voicemail
Nobody likes getting put through to voicemail. It means customers being forced to talk to a machine, then relying on you to get the message and call them back – not much use if they have an urgent problem.
Although they operate off site and online, client experience associates are real people with the warmth, knowledge and tact to talk customers through your products, pricing, and even answer pre-agreed questions.
Integrating an answering service into your business
Nobody knows more about your business than you do, and an answering service will use that knowledge to your advantage.
This is achieved with call scripts, which you create with the answering service to accurately represent your business. The information from these scripts will flash up on associates’ screens whenever a call comes in for your business.
A call script can also be used to and establish parameters for when a call should be patched straight through to you.
If you choose to share calendars with your answering service provider, they will be able to book appointments on your behalf.
The more information you provide, the easier it will be for associates to slot in seamlessly as a part of your team, reacting to real-time situations, tailoring their approach, and even helping convert general enquiries into paying customers for your business.
Why it might pay to use an answering service
Every business has a phone number, but they can’t all afford staff dedicated to answering the phones.
Answering services can work just as well for local businesses receiving ten calls a day as large corporations fielding hundreds. There is no one way to use them.
The chances are that somewhere along the way your business has missed a call from a potential customer, and the opportunity for business that went with it. Even if a customer gives you the courtesy of a callback, it’s at least as likely another has lost patience and went off to one of your competitors. Answering services exist to catch these calls.
If your business has ever let a call slip through the net, it might pay to give an answering service a try.