Does your business take orders over the phone? What happens if no one’s in the office when the phone rings? Most people don’t know that a telephone answering service can handle phone orders, too. Here are some of the ways an answering service can help your company with telephone orders: Provide Flexible Coverage: Regardless of when you need your order lines answered, telephone answering services have you covered. It might be after-hours, weekends, and holidays. Or maybe 24/7. Other businesses only need help with overflow calls if things get busy or to help with the influx of calls during seasonal upswings. Whether it’s around-the-clock, specific days and times, or on demand, a telephone answering service can take your phone orders for you. Suggest Cross Sells and Upsells: Your answering service can suggest complementary products (cross sells) or premium alternatives (upsells) to callers as they place orders. These are subtle, low key, and not pushy suggestions, but this simple effort can increase your average order amount significantly, more than covering the cost of the answering service. Access Your Database: Answering services can enter orders into their order-taking system and file transfer records to you when you need them. Or if your database allows for secure, remote access, your answering service can enter the orders directly into your system. Offer Co-Browse Assistance: Answering services are able to offer co-browse aid when it appears a website visitor needs help. They can also assist when customers call about website navigation frustrations or product questions. In both cases the answering service agent can offer to control the caller’s browser to direct them to answers or solve problems. Standby For Text Chat: Most all product websites offer visitors the option of text chat, but many restrict the hours of availability. An answering service can extend text chat hours to around-the-clock coverage. Or they can offer a 24/7 solution to their clients who want to add text chat to their websites. Process Credit Card Payments: Answering services can connect to your merchant services account and process payments for you as they take orders. This way any credit card issues can be immediately resolved during the phone call, eliminating problems later on. Plus, this speeds payment to your account. Generate Support Documents: When answering services use their own order-taking system they can also produce pull tickets, shipping labels, and invoices, as well as various management reports or any other type of document you may need. Today’s answering services are so much more than a “name, number, and message” provider. They offer an array of advanced telephone services, including telephone order taking. Janet Livingston is the president of Call Center Sales Pro, a premier sales and marketing service provider for the call center and telephone answering service industry – and who helps businesses and organizations find the perfect answering service. Contact Janet at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800-901-7706. Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer from Southwest Michigan.