Your own phone answering service is almost always the first point of contact with new potential customers.
I’m sure that you heard the old saying, “First Impressions Are Every thing. ” If a potential client’s first point of contact is with your phone answering service, you will want to make sure that you hire a company with a top notch popularity. Because, if the answering service they provide is less than stellar, you may end up losing potential business.
Nothing can make a caller run to your rival faster than getting bad customer service, even if your competitor’s prices are higher. Nothing will frustrate a potential customer more than getting the phone runaround before they even have the chance to talk to anyone.
If a potential customer becomes frustrated before they can ask about pricing, their business could be lost to you. As it is impossible to be in the office 24 hours a day 7 days a week, using a phone answering service becomes a contact focal point of your company, and proper handling of all incoming calls is paramount. Mishandling the call can be worse than lacking a call. It is not only the fact that you could lose a client, but you are usually putting your reputation on the line.
With regard to your business, you want all calls to be handled courteously, efficiently and accurately. Phone enquiries must be routed to the proper person or department. The best in customer service would be if you were personally available to answer all calls yourself. Reality is though, that as your business grows, you simply won’t have the time to do this.
Short of hiring staff to handle phone calls, the answer might well be to hire an off-location service to take care of this important part of your business.
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If you are looking to hire a phone answering company you will have several options to pick from. Most service providers offer a live call-answer service virtual (computerized) receptionist. This service will also let you forward the call to another number to be answered directly. Some service providers have become savvy sufficient to use technology that provides their clients with the option to have their calls clarified live and/or be directed for their computers. If your inbound calls are usually directed to your computer, you will be able to check on your email and phone messages at the same time. Your local phone company cell phone answering service is often used by small business.
Another option is an online answering machine. With the continued growth associated with technology, telephones and computers are actually linked closer than ever. Several companies have got created downloadable software that will report all incoming calls. The software will allow you to listen to your messages as they are now being recorded. The one negative aspect with having your computers answer calls is that you would have to leave your computer on twenty four hours.
Interactive voice response (IVR) works extremely well for large companies along with multiple departments receiving multiple inbound calls at the same time. This computerized mobile phone answering service will have a digital voice ask and direct inbound caller to the correct department. The pc asks for a verbal response and is supposed to understand exactly what the unknown caller is saying. These systems can be annoying to callers when their demand is not understood immediately. You may have got the experience, as I have, when phoning my electric company, that the personal computer didn’t understand me and provided me the wrong options. I personally can’t stand talking to a computer and want to talk to a live person. Most people want direct feedback over the phone line.
The ideal phone answering system is to use a knowledgeable live phone operator. This eliminates the uncomfortable feelings that some callers get when they reach a computerized answering service. A live operator will be able to ask potential customers queries in their own language, and are capable of forward them to the correct department or extension. High-end services can also work as receptionists, making appointments and doing more than just directing calls. Talking to the live operator will help keep you from getting lost in the voice mail black hole.