Everyone knows that answering services can answer your phone and take messages. But what most people don’t know is that today’s advanced answering services can do so much more.
Outsource answering services can handle virtually all forms of business communication - here are some examples of what answering services can do for you:
Telephone answering services began several decades ago. They answered phone calls and took messages for businesses and busy professionals when they were away from the office. In addition to taking messages, answering services can do other related things to include giving out information to callers, transferring customers according to pre-established protocols, and reaching on-call personnel for urgent after-hours situations. These are all part of the standard services they provide.
Answering calls and taking messages are still the bulk of what outsource answering services do. However, their expanded offerings include advanced telephone services such as staffing customer service lines, doing customer surveys and research, providing direct response services, delivering help desk support, supplying information hotlines, handling phone order taking, and offering product fulfillment.
Most business people and professionals readily admit that they received too many email messages. These communiqués can easily overwhelm them and demand huge chunks of time. Even more troubling are general business or department email addresses. These include generic emails that begin with info@, sales@, service@, and so forth.
Usually, someone is tasked with periodically checking these email accounts. What happens if they get busy and these email inboxes go a whole day without being checked? What occurs when this person goes on vacation or is sick? What if they simply forget?
Don’t dismiss these email messages. While some will be spam, others will be legitimate messages from customers and prospects. A delayed response or a failure to respond could result in angry customers or lost business.
Let your answering service take over the management of these critical email addresses. They can give out information, forward legitimate inquiries to the proper person or department, and screen out spam.
Related to email management is the contact form on your website. Who responds to these inquiries? Is it a priority? How quickly do they react?
People fill out a contact form when they want to buy something or are gathering information for a future purchase. Each day, hour, or even minute of delay diminishes their interest and lessens the chance they will buy something from you.
Don’t delegate your website form to an already-too-busy employee who may not make it a priority. Instead, let your answering service handle these inquiries the same way they manage your email.
Another feature offered on most websites is live chat. Do you provide this on your website? If not, should you? And is your live chat only available during regular business hours? It’s unwise to assume that if your chat service isn’t staffed, people will be content to wait until it is, or will find another way to contact you. They won’t. They’ll reach out to your competitor instead.
You can solve this problem by outsourcing your live chat service to your answering service. They’ll cover your live chat 24/7. They can answer questions and give out information to address the needs of customers and prospects at their moment of interest.
Although answering services specialize in providing live, personal service to your customers and prospects, automated solutions are also available. One such option is interactive voice response (IVR). With IVR service you can provide answers to FAQs over the phone and record messages. Also, callers can self-direct their call to the right person or department. This is an ideal solution for cost-conscious businesses that must be available to their customers.
Today’s modern answering services are so much more than the old-school answering service that would take a short message. Yes, they still do that, but that’s just the beginning of all they can do to help enhance and facilitate your business communication.
With offices across the United States and decades of experience, outsource answering service from Endicott Communications can help you enhance your communications with your customers and callers. Click here to learn more.