The use of live answering services continues to grow, even during the pandemic. Have you ever considered using virtual receptionists to support your business? Discover some commonly asked questions and answers on this subject.

What is live answering?

A live call answering service is a virtual service that allows your clients to talk to an actual person any time they call your business. 

Live answering services can help small businesses grow rapidly. The live answering service gives your business a highly professional approach, improving your business brand and customer experience while making sure you never miss a lead.

So, how do live answering services work?

Live answering services are provided by companies with Anywhere-working offices in home environments. They are outsourced by businesses to offer various services such as telephone answering, appointment scheduling, lead qualifying and capturing.

 

Why should you consider live answering services?

Free up internal resources

Handling customer calls can take up precious time that could be put to better use managing essential operational duties. By using live answering services, the service will take the responsibility of dealing with customer calls. This frees up management and employees to focus on the tasks they are trained and hired to handle.

Improve customer experience

When using a live answering service, the virtual receptionists ensure that the calls are handled immediately in a professional and caring manner every time a customer calls. Virtual receptionists have undergone training to deliver top-notch customer service and will follow a pre-approved script for every call to ensure efficiency and consistency.  

Provide customer support after business hours

Live answering services can assist businesses with 24/7 support, 365 days a year. This means that when you close your business for the day, weekend, or holidays, your incoming customer calls are managed for you. When using live answering services after business hours, you can relax knowing that your customer calls are being managed by customer service experts and you can catch up on messages whenever it’s convenient for you.

Handle appointment schedules

Booking appointments can be a complicated and tiresome process for any organization, especially if many employees use multiple systems to take appointments. By handing over the task to live answering services, the appointment setting task is handled in one system. It will update the respective customers on their specific calendars and deliver reminders to make it easy to take care of no-shows and last-minute cancellations.

Make things more professional

Having a service that will always answer your customer calls gives your business a prestigious outlook. When customers call and have their calls answered, they will realize that they deal with a formal organization with a good plan for success.

Benefit from an effective cost management system

Employing a customer service team requires a lot of financial input. The funds can be calculated in terms of salaries, benefits and many other costs to be incurred when taking care of reception staff. 

 

Who is suited for using live answering services?

Live answering service can be used by any business that wants to be professional by providing 24/7 response to customers. Live answering services can benefit any company no matter their size. From small businesses and contractors to large organizations, like the government or franchises. Here are a few sectors in the service industry that have been shown to have considerable growth when using live answering services:

Don’t miss calls while you’re doing the work you’ve been paid to do! Even home contractors can benefit from live answering.

 

What are the benefits of using a live answering service?

Boosts the productivity of staff

The use of cell phones is practical to keep you in contact with your clients and assist you in delivering good services. However, when there are too many phone calls, they interrupt workers’ workflow. This can waste time handling calls and leaving less time for actually doing their job. 

By using a live answering service, you eliminate the need to have employees handling calls while performing other duties. It helps you keep your employees active by focusing and the tasks at hand.

Help control labor costs

The cost of labor is the most significant expense for many small businesses. When starting a business, you expect the labor costs to be high, and you will try to do everything necessary to reduce labor costs. This is true especially for new businesses that do not have a budget to handle a sizeable staff. 

When using live answering services for small businesses, you have the freedom to do away with the extra costs of hiring receptionists or customer care admins. This approach is an effective way to improve customer service by channeling the additional funds into other parts of the business and also saves you the stress of hiring the wrong person for the job.

Require less training of new staff

When hiring new employees for a job, you need to consider things like their working times, whether full-time or part-time, wages, level of expertise, and benefits to be catered for. This process is often a headache for many businesses. When you finally manage to hire one, you will have to put in more hours training and monitoring them to ensure they deliver to perfection.

When you choose to use live answering services for small businesses, you will have less to worry about regarding employee training and time to time monitoring to ensure that they are doing a good job.

Improve your return on investments

The main target for most small businesses is maximizing the return on investments. When a company spends so much money on marketing and promoting its products and services, most funds go wasted. When you are not available when sales calls are made after promotions have reached people, the ROI of the business will be dramatic.

When you partner with a live answering service for small businesses, you are sure that you will not miss any opportunities to sell when your employees are not around. The answering services can easily lead your customers to your business when you open.

Boosts your profitability even as you sleep

Every business wishes that it could be able to operate for 24 hours throughout the year. Unfortunately, not many businesses can manage this.

Using the live answering services, you get a cost-efficient way to increase your business hours and increase productivity when your staff is off duty. You will have someone to answer your calls on time.

Increase consistency and reliability of the business

It is essential for a company that its customers know they can count on you. This is especially true when they have questions regarding your products or services. The biggest concern is ensuring that your employees can follow your quality delivery procedures anytime they deal with customer calls.

The live answering service will guarantee that your employees will follow protocols when customers reach out to you and deliver high-quality customer service. If you change your procedures, the live answering service for small businesses is flexible enough to adjust its operations to fit your requirements while assuring reliability and consistency.

Improve on value-added activities 

Customers will not come to your business only for services, but they will also seek value-added services. The value-added services will determine what differentiates you from the competition, and this cannot happen when your staff is busy handling calls. 

When you choose a live answering service for small businesses, you can get filtered calls that prioritize essential needs and give employees enough time to deliver the extra services that are important to customers.

Handle unexpected events

When running a business, you never know what is going to happen the next minute. But unexpected incidents can occur. With inadequate preparation, the event could run you down.

With the help of a live answering service, you can efficiently deal with emergencies such as increased calls from customers. The system can help you serve your customers fast and effectively. 

Manage your scheduled appointments

Handling appointments is a challenge to most small businesses. This is even worse when you do not have the appropriate staff and technology to do the task. With such drawbacks, you will have missed appointments, which is bad for business because it creates a wrong impression. 

Handing over to a live answering service to set and manage appointments can help you overcome this challenge by simplifying the task. This will ensure all appointments are well taken care of.

 

What to look for in a live answering partner

Response rate

Before choosing a live answering partner for your business, you need to consider how quickly they respond to calls and inquiries. The response rates will tell how efficiently the live answering service will handle customer calls. If you see that the service has you waiting for many days to respond, then that is not the right one for you.

Service flexibility

Using a live answering service for a small business, you are getting yourself a virtual receptionist required to handle many tasks. You, therefore, need to ensure that your live answering service can address different customer and business needs, whether it is calls, emails, or even scheduling appointments.

Expertise

Most businesses have special needs, and that is why they need a well-trained live customer service partner. You have to ensure that the live answering service agents are serving you are well conversant with the industry you are working in and how well they can deal with customers who raise various issues.

Business security 

Security at any level is significant, and in one way, it will give your callers confidence when giving personal details to a live answering service. The live answering partner must have essential tools to handle sensitive data, thus protecting the customer’s data.

Price

When it comes to business, expenditure is always essential to consider. But this will not easily apply when selecting the best live answering service for smaller businesses. Going for the cheapest option will always get you what you pay for. It is therefore crucial that you get a balance between price and quality. Get a well-priced partner who will be reliable.

Location of the company

In as much as live answering services are virtual and do not pay attention to where a company is based, there is one thing that matters: the accent. It is easy to think that callers would quickly not pay attention to accents. But this could be right or wrong because there are times that customers may find an agent’s accent hard to comprehend because of different pronunciations and word meanings, thus leading to confusion.

 

Exploring live answering for your business

Live answering services are highly beneficial to business owners who have to deal with a large volume of customer calls and have fewer in-house resources to use. Therefore, it is vital for a growing business to invest in a live answering service that can cater to their needs.

By using live answering services, every call will be answered quickly, screened, and either transferred to the correct person or a detailed message will be taken. It dramatically improves your customer experience because customers are assured that their calls will always be answered and well as increasing your productivity by freeing up time spent answering calls.