What does it take to provide top-notch customer service over the phone? It’s far more than you might think. A happy voice and a pleasant greeting isn’t nearly enough.
Customer service reps need to be prepared to answer any and all sorts of questions about your company and service. They need to be charismatic, yes. But they also need to efficiently get your prospect or customers what they need.
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Not all organizations employ this type of person, however. So what does a small business without the budget for a dedicated customer service rep do?
You need a top telephone answering service.
These support services often yield better results and minimize the drain customer service expenses can have on your resources. Your customers will likely experience better service than they might if you took calls in-house, too.
The following are four of the greatest reasons why a top answering service can help boost your business.
As your business grows, your budget will grow with it. But dedicating employees specifically to answering your phones is expensive. Beyond the cost that person’s salary, necessities such as a desk, phone, computer, and more add up. You may also offer your employees health benefits, another expense.
Some businesses make answering the phones a team effort. But you don’t want to pull other employees from their work to answer the phone. It cuts into their productivity.
A telephone answering service, however, gives you all the benefits of a highly-qualified customer service rep at a fraction of the cost. You’ll still get quality service and a knowledgeable person answering your phones.
The impact of a top answering service shows on your bottom line, too. Statistics show the close relationship between your customer experience and profitability:
Consumers have come to expect businesses to be available 24/7. They call whenever it’s most convenient for them.
Only answering the phone during business hours leaves 16 hours a day when customer calls can go unanswered. And most callers won’t leave a message or wait for a return call. In fact, 67% of customers hang up if they’re unable to reach a real live person.
As much as business owners focus on generating new sales, building up the value of your existing customer base is a much more affordable venture, especially when you partner with a top answering service. It’s often more fruitful, too.
Working with a telephone answering service that can answer after-hours calls ensures your customers are taken care of. With a live answering service, current and potential customers won’t slip through the cracks. Having peace of mind doesn’t hurt either.
As much as we focus on the positives, there are the downsides to poor customer service.
Today, information is readily available, and review sites like Yelp and the BBB are a key source of recommendations for many consumers. One bad experience and review can be the difference between another potential customer using your small business or choosing a competitor. And it takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience.
Whether a busy business owner or intern picks up your phone, they become the voice of your company. And especially if a new prospect is on the other line, this could be their first experience with your business.
A top answering service – with dedicated, fully-trained receptionists – ensures that your prospects’ first impressions are always good impressions. As the voice of your company, your receptionists are there to answer calls promptly and politely, and in a quiet office to eliminate bad connections, dropped calls and generally bad experiences.
To a caller, an answering service receptionist may as well be sitting in your office or place of business when they answer. And no matter the size of your business, callers couldn’t distinguish between a 5-employee company and a 500-employee company. That’s just another benefit of a top answering service.
It can be difficult for any size company to handle its call volume. But it can be especially tough for small businesses to manage. With several employees wearing many hats, many responsibilities are a team effort.
But with answering the phones often a lower priority, a busy time during the day could play out like this:
You answer one call and engage in a 10-minute conversation with your customer. During that time, two more calls come in, which you’re unable to answer. One of those callers leaves a voicemail. When you call that customer back, another call comes in, which you miss. And you ultimately can’t reach that person who left the message. That’s three potential customers who weren’t able to reach you, all within a 15-minute window.
It doesn’t help that some calls simply don’t apply to you. But a telephone answering service can weed through your calls for you. And taking the duty of answering calls away from your team frees them to focus on their more value-added responsibilities.
With an answering service, only the most important calls be forwarded to you, freeing your entire team up.
Working with a top answering service is a smart move for many small businesses. You simply need to decide if your time, effort and money are best spent on other tasks, or whether a partner best suited to help you.
Whether you need an answering service during business hours or prefer giving your customers 24/7 support, finding the right team can have a big impact on your company.
These days, small businesses don’t have to face the same disadvantages of competing with big business. And a top answering service will help you deliver a customer service as well as any large company – delighting your customers and improving your bottom line.
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