When someone calls your office, what happens?
Don’t answer this question with what you hope happens or what you ideally want to occur but with the typical response the caller actually receives. Also, don’t focus on the exemplary instances, but instead consider the difficult occasions. This is what callers remember—and what they will share with others.
So what actually happens when someone calls your office? Does the phone ring too long? Are callers accidentally disconnected because someone isn’t sure how to work the phone system? Does juggling two calls at once leave both callers frustrated? Are messages lost or not given to the right person in a timely matter?
Some companies struggle so much in answering their ringing phone with excellence that they would be better off not answering at all. I’m only half joking. When poor service is worse than no service something must change.
You need an answering service.
While no answering service, just like no employee, will handle every call perfectly, a professional answering service will definitely tip the balance in your favor. Here are some of the things you can expect from an answering service:
You want your phone answered the same way every time. This seems easy, but in reality it is not. Employees like to ad lib or put their personal twist on greeting callers. Other times distractions make them stumble over their words or busyness encourages shortcuts. An answering service realizes these issues and has processes in place to avoid them. Expect your answering service to answer the right way every time.
Answering services use special message taking software that guides their receptionists and enforces the capture of all the information you require. There’s no way they can forget to take the phone number or skip getting the caller’s name. These errors happen when your staff relies on paper forms and manual methods, but answering services have technology in place to fully handle messages.
Answering services don’t just take messages; they can also give information to callers. Think of this as verbal FAQs—and more. When your answering service does this for you, your callers get the answers they want fast.
What about emergencies? Answering services will follow your protocols in responding to crucial situations, quickly and effectively.
The last words said on a call provides the caller with a lasting impression. Answering services understand this and strive to close each call in a positive manner.
Answering services provide all these benefits and more. Plus, their processes promote consistency. This is key in today’s quick-to-criticize society, with their demanding expectations. Also, telephone answering services specialize in answering and processing phone calls. It’s what they do. They have built their company, staffing, and training around this singular goal. So when you use an answering service, you gain their years of experience and serve your callers better.
Janet Livingston is the president of Call Center Sales Pro, a premier sales and marketing service provider for the call center industry, which helps clients improve the effectiveness of their communications and grow their business. Contact Janet at email@example.com or 800-901-7706.
Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer from Southwest Michigan.