The people who answer your phones are very important to your business. Nearly 60% of all Americans say they would go to another company for services if they receive bad customer service. Nearly 80% of consumers have decided not to buy a product from a company when they receive bad customer service. Worse, people are twice as likely to tell others about a bad customer service experience than a good one. It is therefore crucial that your customer have a good experience when they call your offices. Given that most people do not like to leave messages when they get an automated telephone answering service it might be a good idea to invest in a quality answering service that employs people to answer your phones.
Tips to Hiring the Right Professional Answering Service:
- Call and see how you like the service you get. Look into different companies and call a few. How quickly do they answer the phone? Are they professional? Friendly? Do they answer your questions and make you feel like your call is important to them? This does not mean you spent the afternoon asking for advice about that dream you had about a chihuahua dog driving a car but how do they deal with your professional questions? Remember this is how they are going to answer your phone.
- What are the hours they can give you? Do you need a 24 hour answering service or an after hours answering service. You may only need coverage during lunch hours or other peak times or you may want them to be available 24/7. When do you expect clients and customers to call? If you have a busy restaurant, maybe you need a service to answer calls and take reservations during your business hours when your servers are too busy. This can be a good way to keep your wait and service staff focused on the customers in the restaurant and not on the phone. Remember, you can still use an automated telephone answering service for times when you are closed and do not need to have someone pick up. Customers do understand that businesses are not open 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
- What are their pricing plans like? Make sure you ask about hidden fees, holiday rates and cancellation policies. Your needs may change as your business grows or your hours change. Make sure they have plans that allow flexibility. Also, you might find your needs change and an automated telephone answering service meets your needs.
- How do they handle private information? If you are a medical or legal office, there might be privacy concerns. Medical offices need to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) conditions and any breaches of that carry hefty fines. Additionally, people calling medical offices need to feel comfortable given details about very private subjects. If they feel the person they are talking to does not care about their call, things can go downhill very quickly. This will look very bad for your business. In this instance getting an automated telephone answering service is preferable to someone who can either not keep information private or is rude.
- What other services can they provide? Can they only take messages and forward calls or can they take appointments and reservations? Will they be able to give basic information about your business or practice such as directions and office hours? It is important to know what they can provide and what their limitations are. You have a lot of companies to choose from so if one does not offer the services you need, the chances are likely that you will be able to find one who can.
The people who answer your phones become the face of your organization and you will be judged on their performance just as you would on anyone who works directly for you. You need to keep that in mind when hiring a telephone answering service so you do not end up doing yourself more harm than good. You want your answering service to promote an image of a professional and competent company who values their clients and customers. Read more blogs like this.