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What is a call answering service?

It's a rather simple question but one that a lot of people don't actually know what a full answer entails.

The simplified answer is that when your business phone calls can't be answered, we'll answer them for you. 

Intrigued?

In actual fact, it is a very simple service but don't let that fool you, it's a simple concept alright but it's actually incredibly useful and utilised in the correct way, immensely powerful for your business. 

How it works is very easy to understand too. We give you a unique phone number that you divert your calls to. You can divert from your landlines, mobiles, VOIP systems and when you are unable to take the call, it'll divert to us and we'll deal with it for you.

Once we've dealt with your customer, in your business name, we'll then email and/or text you with the message details. This then leaves it open for you to contact them back with their enquiry.

Simple message taking accounts to roughly 80% of our customer base. Things needn't be complicated, with our trained telephone handlers we know just what to say to overt suspicion and get them to leave their contact details to be called back.

Can it be taken further? 

Yes!

Message handling like above works very well however some clients may need extra enhancements. So telephone handling like ours can incorporate many other features if our clients give us access to their systems.

Booking forms, taking orders, appointment scheduling, call patching, returning customer calls if our clients are too busy and much more. 

It turns from simple messaging into a full blown virtual receptionist.

But why?

Ah, why spend money on something when people will just try you again later or leave you a voicemail?

It turns out, it's very off putting for potential clients and existing clients if they can't get hold of you or someone at your business. Think how frustrating it is when you try and ring a big brand and it takes forever to get through. It's the same for your customers with you.

People want a trustworthy and reliable customer experience, if they're getting a voicemail or no answer during the middle of a working day, it does nothing for your or your business image. 

What will get a better reaction? A continuous ringing with no answer/voicemail in the middle of the day or a polite and helpful customer service representative helping your customer get the contact they need to start doing business with you?

The truth is, many people want things quickly in this day and age and by speaking to someone, they're being dealt with. 

Why let them ring elsewhere if you can now offer them the contact they need?

Is that everything?

In a nutshell yes, there are a myriad of arrangements and as you can see varying ways you can utilise such a service.

This is good for me and my business, can I try it before I buy?

Ahhhhh...glad you asked that question.

Of course you can, we offer a free trial with no strings attached so just give it a go. Set up is so quick and easy all we need are a few details to begin.

Think Bigger, Appear Bigger!

When dealing in business to new clients, whether that be domestic or commercial customers, the one thing, above all else that they will require, is that they know they will be looked after. As we've spoken about in other articles, people will pay above average prices for a service if they see great customer care.

One of the issues self employed or small businesses face, is the majority of people would like to deal with a well established business, one that is thriving and 'must be doing well'. It's just natural they may avoid new start ups in a market place filled with long standing competitors as they are more of a risk.

So if you are a start up or a small business with part time workers, what better way to improve confidence in your brand/identity as a company than making yourself look like a larger business than you actually are?

If you're the owner/M.D/Proprietor of a business and your customers always come through to you and begin to wander what happens when you get busy or if you're ill or need to go on holiday they'll soon start to wonder what the level of service will be like when things start to happen. Will you not be able to go on a call out to them? Will you ignore their support requests? Will you not be able to give them delivery info on demand?

Lots of questions crop up in potential and existing customers minds when they deal with very small businesses.

One way of combating this, if you hadn't already guessed is to use a telephone handling service like ours. A fresh voice for your company appears as if you have a permanent receptionist and a permanent point of contact as a starting point to get orders completed, issues resolved and messages passed along. Hey, it's why bigger companies do actually employ one for themselves.

Yet you can do it, at a fraction of the cost all whilst not having to worry about paying holiday pay, sick pay, maternity leave that comes with employing someone.

Appearing larger gives your customer the confidence that you're doing well, your established and your easily contactable. 

Give us a try, head on over to our free trial form, Week Free Trial to give us a go at no cost and no obligation to stay on once the trial has ended.

Get the most from Call Answering

I'm going to give you 5 basic tips on how to best use a Call Answering Service. Some see it as a very rigid service, where as in fact, it's incredibly flexible and can work wonders for communication issues with your customers.

1.) Keep your Call Answering Service/Virtual PA up to date on everything.

Let them know when you're popping out for a meeting, or going to be handling deliveries all day. If you can't ring customers back until after a certain time, tell them and they'll update your customers accordingly.

If a member of staff leaves, if a new one joins your team, let them know to be expecting callers to ask for them.

2.) Give them as much information as you can.

Essentially train your call answering team so that they can handle quick enquiries and so that they can genuinely help in situations where you aren't contactable. Call answering is a customer support service, the more we can help your customers, the happier we are. Turn around times, basic fees, access to booking forms. It all helps.

3.) When on holiday and you don't want your customers to know.

Leave the call answering team with details of phone numbers for suppliers and delivery companies so that they can chase orders and deliveries, you'll be surprised at how much this can take away the strain whilst you're trying to sun yourself stress free abroad.

4.) Call your customers back.

Believe it or not this is the biggest sin we experience on a daily basis.

There is only so much a virtual PA can do for you in certain situations, just like if you had your own dedicated receptionist, when orders go wrong, financial matters arise and things that only the business owner can deal with, ringing your customers back and sorting issues will not only help with better customer service reviews for your business, it'll also keep your call answering cost down too.

5.) It needn't be your little secret

Customers demand good customer service, they demand communication and they usually want it fast.

Call answering used to be a dirty little secret, a little trick small business's use to fool their customers.

It needn't be this way any more.

Our own research has shown that even people who know they are speaking to a call centre are much happier than leaving a voice mail because they know we have a great connection with who we're servicing and have a direct link. Plus if we've been kept up to date as per bullets 1 and 2 above, we could even help them with their enquiry.

For some business's, the solution is to tell your customers you use a call answering service. Your most demanding customers have their expectations managed more efficiently and they then leave concise info and they know it's going to get to the relevant person fast, they know not to ask technical questions and are more than happy to wait for a return call.

Customers don't care who they speak to, as long as they receive a good quality service, good communication and get what they want.

There we go!

Gone are the days of business owners looking down on those of us with smaller business's. We are in the new age of entrepreneurial spirit with the millennial attitude that if you want something, you're going to have to work for it.

Call answering is often misunderstood (or maybe there are quite a few useless ones around) and this, as above, needn't be the case. If done correctly (like we provide) it can be an absolutely essential part of your business. To provide stellar customer service and support for your customers.

OK so this last bit was a shameless plug for me to ask you, to Give Us A Try or if you're already a customer, don't be afraid to let those know who could use our help.

Until next time, ciao!

Customer Service, more important than price.

Not so long ago, price was the deciding factor in nearly every single purchase, 'make sure you're cheaper than your competitors and the customers will come.'

The world is changing now and buying habits are changing with it. With the rise of e-commerce, sure you can order an item and have it delivered within 1 hour from Amazon but what happens when things go wrong? The wrong item is delivered or the product is faulty?

If you mess this part up, you're not likely to see them as a customer, ever again.

So we've put together some handy tips to keep you ahead of the rest.



1.) Listen to your complaints

Not every single complaint from a customer means they are correct, however you need to be prepared to listen and look out for any reoccurring issues. When a picture starts to become clear that you are receiving the same complaints, it's time to look into how you can sort the problem and resolve it for good, for the future.

2.) Your customers are people, speak to them like it

Have you ever been treated like a number? Like another invoice? Another notch on the sales board? Not nice is it? Speak to your customers like you would a friend or family member, they know you're human, you don't need to pretend as if you're talking in court or to royalty. This applies to not only your telephone conversations but your emails too, reword your emails and automated responses for a more 'human' feel.

3.) Help customers help themselves

Some people don't want to call until they've made a decision to buy, so help them make the decision before they have to pick up the phone. Provide clear, positive and concise information on your website. Also create a dedicated FAQ/Help section and include all of the commonly asked questions.

4.) Reach out for customer feedback

Invite your customers to let you know how they feel, currently 4% of your customers would much rather go straight on-line to write a bad review, without even letting you know there is a problem. Instead of it allowing to reach this point, ask your customers for their own personal and honest opinion about your products and service. If they feel like they're being listened to and that they won't be ignored, you'll have a happy customer that won't just jump on-line to complain but will be back again to buy with confidence. 91% of customers never leave any feedback what so ever, there's only 4% worth of information you're currently (on average) getting back.

5.) Provide a clear route of communication

Let someone get in touch with you in anyway they want. Open up contact forms, direct email, telephone numbers, on-line web chat, don't give them an opportunity to not contact you. It's true that half of your potential customers, will want to use the phone as the first point of contact, so make sure you're available, friendly and polite.

6.) Make customer service your top priority

By 2020, customer service will be the main deciding factor of a purchase, not price. Address all of your customers with same enthusiasm, positivity and helpfulness from their first point of contact. Always ask if they need more help or if you have satisfied their demands. 91% of customers won't let you know if they've had a good OR bad experience, so build in feedback acquisition to every part of your process to make them feel valued.

 


Shameless plug, we are a customer service business, we are proud to represent you to your customers and by using our customer centric service, we will always make sure your customers feel welcome.

 

Do we need to know everything?

Many people think using a Call Answering service isn't for them.

One of our clients is a Physiotherapy centre.

They have a receptionist, they have an internal booking system.

They are a small team running a very professional and successful business. Their receptionist wasn't in all the time, often having a few mornings off a week, for some time they struggled on, they didn't want to employ anybody else and tried the best they could with what they had. 

All of their initial doubts about using the service were generic ones that we see and hear every day, how can it be cost effective if we already employ a receptionist?, how can you come across as part of our business if you don't have access to our diary?, You don't have necessary experience to be dealing with peoples intimate problems and what to do in an emergency situation?

The truth is, with a bit of understanding on our part, we satisfied all these concerns and they have been good customers of ours for many years.

Their receptionist can be off and they don't need to worry about missing calls.
We have access to their on-line diary where we can cancel bookings and if it's offline, we're trained to know how to handle customers to get them a call back.
We sign an NDA, (Non Disclosure Agreement) so that we never reveal anybodies personal stories, conversations and details.
Plus working with them for a short time and by using their advice, we are able to calm callers and speak fluently about the services they offer.

In your business now, there are things happening all the time, customers that are awaiting goods, suppliers that need to be paid, staff of sick or on holiday, you've just had a new phone system, a new I.T network has just stopped working... any of those things mentioned immediately place doubt in our potential customers.

The truth is, we don't need to know everything. We need to know enough, we need to know how you deal with customer complaints, how you deal with new orders or those chasing up deliveries and we can facilitate all of this.

As an example, we've been working with a plastic supplier for many years also, do we know what a high flow co-polymer is? No we don't, but we do know that when a truck goes to pick up some plastic from a warehouse, it needs a delivery note number and we need to be quick to react with our client, to make sure a truck with £50,000 worth of product, isn't turned away at a delivery depot.

We do everything we can, we learn as much as we can and we really do work with our clients day in and day out to provide the best service we could ever offer.

Clients include: Accountants, Digital Brand Agencies, Landscaping Contractors, Builders Merchants, Conservatory Supplier, Car Dealers, Hair Dressers, Animal Clinics, Foster Carers, Fire Alarm Contractors, Book Publishers, Health and Safety Companies, Quality Control Auditors, Solicitors, Shop Fitters, Office Furniture Suppliers, Retail Designers, Holiday Letting Agencies, Recruitment Specialists, I.T Fabricators, Motor Home Hire, Advanced booking Taxi Service, Playground Equipment Retailers, Medical Suppliers, Corporate Event Planners, Personal and Commercial Education Centres, Business Consultants, Bedding Companies, Specialist CMS providers, Engineering Companies, Business Development Consultants, TV Aerial and Sky Dish Installers...and many more.

 

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