There may come a point when your business gets overwhelmed with incoming calls. When this occurs, you may be looking into hiring an answering service. But first, what exactly is an answering service? What type of assistance can they offer, and is employing one a good and profitable idea for your business?
If you’re asking these questions, that’s a good sign you’re ready to explore your options. After all, there are some huge benefits that can come as a result.
To get you started on your way of discover your options, here is a detailed definition of what an answering service is, an explanation of what one can do for you, and five signs your business is ready for an outsourced upgrade of not only your telecommunications, but of your customer service satisfaction record as well.
What is an Answering Service?
An answering service is a telecommunications service provider that a business employs in order to process incoming phone calls for them. The types of “processing” an answering service offers can include:
- Setting up appointments
- Putting through orders
- Answering customer questions and concerns
- Solving repetitive problems such as returns and exchanges
- Billing and payment support
- Screening calls for non-urgent or superfluous calls
- Replacing an on-site receptionist for occasional excess phone traffic
- Relaying urgent calls to on-call personnel
There two types of market segments that answering services serve. The first is vertical and the second is horizontal.
Vertical markets include doctors, property management companies, utility and maintenance services, hi-tech firms, hospice and funeral services, and other such businesses that deal with more urgent, complex, and detailed customer needs.
A professional answering service satisfies customer needs with customized customer care ( properly representing the tone and practices of your specific business), utmost discretion and respect for privacy (including HIPAA and PCI compliance), 24/7 coverage, tracking and analytics, and a reduction of your own risk and liability.
Horizontal markets cover most other types of businesses such as eCommerce, retail, various types of customer service, and tech help desks. These calls from customers tend to require little hands-on or high-end expertise of those who answer the phone, instead employing predetermined information and scripts to quickly and reliably solve predicted customer situations.
A professional answering service accomplishes these customer needs with live chat, SMS texting, multi-channel support, and subscription services. Representatives are experts in customer acquisition and retention strategies. Qualified sales agents know how to successfully upsell and cross-sell.
Depending on if your business sits in the vertical or horizontal market, different answering service assistance and techniques are used in order to satisfy your customers’ needs as well as your own business objectives.
5 Signs Your Business Needs an Answering Service
If you’re searching for the definition and explanation of an answering service, then you’re probably also wondering if hiring one for your business is a good idea.
To make that decision easier for you, here are five common signs that it’s time for an answering service to take over your incoming business calls:
- After Hour Calls: Do you come into the office in the morning to find your voicemail box containing more than a few overnight messages? If your business has customers calling outside the normal business hours of 9am-5pm for questions or service (especially if you receive middle-of-the-night calls) then you may need an answering service.
- Customer Retention: Are you having trouble winning customers over or are losing the customers you already have due to low customer satisfaction ratings? If so, a professional answering service with representatives that are trained in customer acquisition, upselling and cross-selling, and developing business-to-client relationships with impeccable customer service may be just what you need.
- Interruptions: Are your employees being constantly interrupted by phone calls, hindering them from accomplishing their core work during their time in the office? If you are paying your employees too much for work that isn’t getting done, you may want an answering service for your business’ financial well-being.
- Turnover: Do you have high receptionist turnover because of boredom and unfulfillment from having to answer the same customer questions and concerns all day long? If your incoming phone calls tend to require performing repetitive requests and actions, then your business may benefit from an answering service.
- Customer Data: Would you like to have interesting and important customer data and analytics so you can better understand what your customers need and how your business can accomplish it? If you need more information to make better business decisions, then an answering service can help get that for you.
If an outsourced upgrade to your telecommunications system and your customer service satisfaction record is what your business needs, contact ROI Solutions!