How do call answering services work?
If you have not considered call answering services before and you are not sure how they work or what the benefits are, this article will tell you everything that you need to know.
Different Types of Call Answering Services
There are a few different types of call answering services that can benefit your business in a number of different ways. It’s important that you understand the different types of call answering service when you are deciding which is best for your business.
Automated call answering services
Automated call answering services are a great option if you want to screen calls and give your customers some basic information. When people call up, they will be put through to an automated service that gives them a few different options, which they can select by pressing keys on their phone. This helps to direct customers to the right call operatives and collect some basic information, so your customer service staff can solve issues more efficiently.
Live call answering services
Live call answering services cover a lot of different areas and they differ from automated services in that the customer will immediately be put through to a real person. This person will then try to answer any queries that they may have or put them through to the relevant person at your company if they are unable to deal with the issue themselves. You can use live call answering services as a cost-effective alternative to a traditional call center, or you can use virtual receptionist services to help manage your incoming calls and your schedule.
How Do Call Answering Services Work?
Many business owners are reluctant to use call answering services rather than handle all of their calls in-house because they worry that the customer journey will be negatively affected. However, once you understand how the process works, you will see that it is very beneficial to your business.
When a customer calls your business, their call will promptly be answered by a virtual receptionist. You can still keep the same number, so existing customers will be able to reach on the number that they have always used. Call answering services use a large pool of virtual receptionists around the country, which means that there will always be somebody on hand to answer the phone right away.
The virtual receptionist will see which business the customer belongs to, so they can give an appropriate greeting. The customer will never know that they are speaking with a call answering service and they will assume that they have called straight through to the business. Even if you are only a small company, you can give the impression that you have a well staffed call center and a team of receptionists on hand, which makes you look a lot more professional.
The staff members that answer the calls will be trained to deal with the common queries that your business is likely to receive, and they will know how to use your scheduling software as well, so they can deal with calls efficiently. They will be able to answer the majority of questions that your customers have, but if there are queries that they cannot deal with, they will pass the customer on to the relevant department.
Call answering services also include a lot of features outside of simply answering calls. For example, you can get free email messaging and a free voicemail to email service. This makes it so much easier to manage all of your messages.
How Flexible Are Call Answering Services?
As a business owner, it is important that you invest in flexible services that do not tie you into long contracts. Call answering services are incredibly flexible and there is a range of different plans that you can go for.
The most basic plans start at $20 per month, and they will still add value to your business. There is no obligation to stick with the plan, so you can try it out to see whether it works for your business. You are also free to update the plan that you are on whenever you like, so you can add and remove features as and when you need them.
Basic plans are operated on a pay as you go system, so you will pay for the calls that are answered for you. The more comprehensive plans include a certain number of calls in the base price and then you will be charged for each call over that limit. These plans are all very flexible so, whatever your needs, you will be able to find a call answering service that suits your business.
What Are The Benefits of Call Answering Services?
Although automated call answering services can be useful, they don’t have anywhere near as many benefits as live call answering services. Some of the amazing benefits of call answering services include:
Reduced Call Wait Time
When customers call a business, long wait times can be incredibly frustrating. If people are already upset with their product or service that you have provided and they are calling for a resolution, putting them on hold for a long time will only make the situation worse. In fact, studies show that the majority of customers will not wait for more than two minutes before hanging up and many people say that no amount of waiting is acceptable. This means that wait could be seriously damaging your relationship with customers. However, if you use call answering services, you have access to so many virtual receptionists to answer calls, so the wait times are drastically reduced and your customers are a lot happier.
Call Screening Services
Customers also get very frustrated if they are redirected over and over and keep speaking with people that cannot solve their problems. But call answering services can help here as well because they allow for better call screening. When the virtual receptionists answer the phone, they will collect relevant information from your customers and answer their questions there and then if they can. If they are unable to deal with the query, they can use the information that they have collected to direct customers to the right department immediately.
Round The Clock Support
Consumer expectations are changing and people want to be able to get in touch with you outside of normal working hours. Your customers are at work all day long, and if they cannot contact you in the evenings or at weekends, it makes things difficult for them. Call answering services give you access to so many call operatives that work shifts throughout the day and in the evenings and at weekends. This means that you can extend your customer service working hours and make them more flexible for your customers.
A Professional Image
Image is important in business, and crafting the right image can be difficult for smaller businesses. If you don’t have the money to invest in a large call center, a call answering service can give you the same end result. Your customers don’t know the difference and it gives the impression that you have a well staffed customer service department, making you look a lot more professional.
Flexibility During Busy Periods
Every business has its busy periods and slow periods, and it’s important that you adjust accordingly to demand. Holidays, for example, are busier for most businesses, which means that the demand on your customer service department will be greater. Using call answering services is a great way to meet that demand and ensure that the quality of service is not affected. The flexible plans available mean that you can increase the number of calls that are answered during the holiday period, and then scale back when things get back to normal again.
If your business is to run efficiently, it’s important that all of your employees make the most of their time. Answering calls is not always the best way for people to use their time, and they could be more productive if they were doing something else. Having a call answering service to deal with all of the incoming calls and only transfer them when absolutely necessary means that everybody has more time to dedicate to more important tasks.
If your business is not using call answering services, you are missing a big opportunity. They are flexible and affordable, and they can benefit your business in so many ways. If you want to improve the customer experience and save time and money as well, you should start using call answering services right away.