April 10, 2017 Monday
It’s easy to make a case for contracting with an after hours phone answering service. Despite the proliferation of digital channels available, many of your customers or clients still want to call you on the phone. And when no one answers their calls, they’re not happy. Studies have found that 72% of clients who don’t get through on the phone will not leave a voicemail, and 69% will never even call back at another time. That leaves you potentially losing a lot of business.
But even if you have decided on hiring a live telephone answering service, you might be stuck on how to choose one. Here are the five things you need to look at for each one you’re comparing:
- What Kind of Flexibility Is Offered?
Some after hours phone answering services will require you to set certain hours, while others will be more open to taking overflow calls or letting you scale your services up and down as needed. This may or may not be important to you, depending on how regular your business is.
- Which Services Are Available?
Full-service phone answering companies sometimes act as a sort of remote assistant or customer service agent, scheduling appointments and recording vital information as well as resolving complaints. Others will simply take messages and forward calls. The former can be a better value if it allows you to cut some costs when it comes to in-house labor, but it ultimately depends on your needs as a business.
- Where Are the Operators Based?
You want to make sure that your calls will be handled by operators based in the U.S., not overseas. Language and cultural barriers often increase customer frustration.
- How Is Pricing Handled?
Do you pay per call or per minute, or is it a flat rate? Keep in mind that some lower-priced plans end up being worse deals than they seem because they offer low rates but tack on exorbitant surcharges for weekend calls, patching, messages, etc.
- What Quality Control Is in Place?
If these people are going to be interacting with your customer base, it’s very important they be courteous and well informed. Ask about quality control measures so you can be comfortable knowing that your customers are being treated well.
Are you thinking about hiring an after hours phone answering service? Discuss your criteria in the comments.
How a Phone Answering Service Can Help
So how does a live telephone answering service relate to keeping your existing client base? Well, the fact is that, despite developing technology offering more and more customer service options to consumers, the majority of them will still give you a call when they need something — and their experience on that call can determine whether or not they remain your customer.
Providing a good customer service experience over the phone is harder than you think. First of all, it’s important to answer promptly — every single time. One survey of more than 2,500 consumers found that almost 60% thought a minute was too long to be on hold (32.3% thought any hold time whatsoever was unacceptable). And 72% of clients who don’t get through won’t leave you a voicemail. If you’re trying to hold onto customers, that’s not good. By hiring a phone answering service, you know that your customers will always be promptly greeted by a trained operator qualified to help them with their needs or transfer them through to one of your in-house employees.
Do you see how telephone answering services could make life easier for you and help you keep your customers happy? Share your feedback in the comments.