Whether you are a one-person shop or run a bustling business with dozens of employees, partnering with a telephone answering service (TAS) is a brilliant way to boost your brand reputation, engage your customers, capture leads, quickly process orders and secure appointments. When evaluating your options for a TAS, consider whether they implement these four industry best practices:
Develop Company Telephone Answering Policies
Your answering service should operate as a seamless extension of your company. Ideally customers never realize they are speaking to someone who is not in the office. The key to achieving this goal is developing consistent policies that every person follows whether they are sitting at the front desk, upstairs in a management office or across town in a contact center. Your telephone answering service partner can help you create a telephone answering policy that always makes a great first impression. It is also vital that your service provider offers an easy way for you to submit real-time updates about company information such as phone numbers, staff positions and process instructions, to ensure that outdated information is not given out to customers.
Streamline Answering Services
Although the main purpose of hiring a virtual receptionist is to provide calling customers with live assistance around the clock, your TAS partner should also work with you to develop a personalized automated greeting and menu system as an add-on option to their answering services. This ensures that each call is answered promptly on the first ring every time. It also ensures that each caller is greeted with a consistent brand message. An automated greeting also reduces calls coming into agents by as much as 40 percent. Particularly if they are routinely answering common questions about office hours and directions. A smart IVR system can quickly provide these details as well as accommodate multiple languages and direct callers to the right problem solvers in our office or yours.
Tailor Client Contracts
In order to deliver top-notch services, your TAS partner must offer tailored services that cater to your company’s specific requirements, systems and customers. A reputable service provider has multiple tiers of service available. These range from predetermined minutes-based structures that are paid on a monthly basis to pay for what you use plans. Each plan is also customized for the type of services that you need and the industry that you serve. You should expect to have a dedicated account manager supported by a consistent team that understands your brand messages and business services. The best TAS partners are also proactive in owning their mistakes. They investigate problems and continually seek new opportunities that strengthen your business. A comprehensive onboarding process is a clear sign that your telephone answering service provider is invested in understanding your business needs and is dedicated to keeping the communication channels open.
Personalize the Customer Experience
Few things that delight customers more than feeling like the person they are speaking to knows who they are. Modern software technology now allows TAS providers to greet a repeat caller by name. It also allows them to verify their services without the customer ever having to provide details. This reduces common frustrations with restating the same information over and over again and also makes the customer feel valued. Software should be configured so the live agent can quickly access detailed account information about past problems, appointments or services. By personalizing the customer experience, you have the opportunity to boost brand loyalty. You also reduce the average handle time of each call, which translates into instant savings for your company.