As businesses grow, they start running into the issues that come with added clients and higher customer expectations.
One of these issues is that their services can become harder to reach as phone lines and receptionists are overwhelmed by current and potential customers.
Sometimes this overburdening isn’t noticeable by having a phone ring off the hook, but there are clear signs that a business may need a live answering service to continue growing!
What is a Live Answering Service?
A live answering service - or a remote live answering service - is a company that a business hires to handle phone calls on a 24/7 basis. Live answering services are fairly broad, covering everything from screening calls to full appointment booking and customer service depending on the business owner's needs. They are frequently utilized by small business owners in conjunction with a live receptionist to ensure optimal service for every customer.
The Signs You Need A Remote Live Answering Service
1. Your customers can't always call you
One of the most frustrating situations for a new customer or a current one is calling a business and reaching their voice mail. Unfortunately, many customers have had poor experiences with 'call backs' in the past, and as such don't interact with, or are frustrated by, voice mail, and consider their unanswered call poor customer service. Remote live answering services solve this issue by ensuring that a business's phone line is answered by a real person 24/7. Whether it's during holidays or in the evening, professional answering services keep customers happy and speaking to real people instead of machines.
2. Your Employees Seem Distracted
A phone ringing all day every day with potential clients is a small business owner's dream, but it can have negative effects on employees that need to constantly break workflow to answer the phones. Additionally, a consistently ringing phone can be very stressful on receptionists and employees that have responsibilities other than answering the phone.
By using live answering services businesses can screen calls and prevent employee stress while still offering top-tier customer service. Depending on the needs of the business, some live answering services like Nexa will step in as complete virtual receptionists and handle much more than simply answering the calls. Whether the live answering service is just screening incoming calls, or scheduling appointments, handling the phones will help in-person employees have a more efficient and less stressful workday.
3. You're Worried A Receptionist Would Be Expensive
Whether it's a business's first or third receptionist, it can be difficult to balance the cost-benefit of a full-time employee. For small and large businesses, the added cost of a full-time employee is high, and knowing the exact point where there is enough work at the front desk to justify another addition is much more complicated than simple math. Leaving phone calls unanswered during peak periods due to a lack of receptionists is poor customer service, but having multiple receptionists with no work to do during off-hours is wasting money!
A 24/7 live answering service is the perfect way to ensure that a business isn't wasting money or falling short on customer service expectations. Many live answering services charge by the minute they are on the phone, meaning that businesses literally get what they pay for rather than paying for a certain amount of hours. This often results in a live answering service being the fraction of the cost of an additional full-time receptionist.
4. You Have Well Defined Peak Time and Slow Time
Some businesses have a constant amount of phone traffic all day, but the grand majority of businesses have sharp peaks and slow periods. Whether the peak hours are lunch, in the evening or during the morning, it is constantly difficult to offer great and efficient customer service during both peak and slow time. Most customers despise speaking with a machine or waiting on hold while receptionists help other customers. If there are specific times of day where call volume leads to degraded customer experience, live answering services are a tried and tested method of maintaining customer service standards while avoiding long wait times or unanswered calls, without investing in methods that will be expensive during slow periods.
5. You're Considering Automated Answering Services
If a business has the call volume to consider an automated answering service, then a live answering service is an obviously better alternative. Automated services are frustrating to customers and come across as extremely impersonal. In the worst cases, automated answering services can give the impression that a business doesn't care about the customers. A live phone answering service that lets customers speak with friendly, professional agents is an astronomically better experience for customers. Clients and customers want to work with people as opposed to machines.
If a business's needs are large enough that they are considering an automated service, substituting that for a live answering service will ensure great customer service and client happiness as the business grows.
Quality Remote Live Answering Services
When considering which live answering service to use, there are important considerations in terms of quality, price and services offered. One of the critical points is to pay attention to remote live answering service reviews to determine which services other businesses have had success with. Additionally, businesses need to consider both business and customers' needs when determining the service that works for them. In today's competitive business world it's impossible to put a price on great customer service and paying to have trained professionals handling a business' phone calls is well worth the price. This is doubly true if a business requires the answering service to handle important front office duties like scheduling appointments.