How you answer the phone in your office versus how your answering service answers may not always be the same. While it’s important that both you and your answering service are on the same page, what works in your office may not always work in a call center environment. For example, you may answer with a general “how may I help you?” whereas a service might need to be more specific, especially if they are doing more than just taking basic messages.
Having a screening question up front can not only help streamline calls, but it also allows the operator to get right to the point of taking down the caller’s information. Usually when you have a simple “how may I help you?” you open up the door for callers to go on about their issue or why they’re calling. This almost always drives up the cost of your answering service, and it may also annoy callers when they realize they aren’t actually talking to someone from the office. This is especially true for legal firms who may not want their callers discussing any private information with anyone other than the lawyers themselves, but can really be applied to any industry.
Check out these great industry specific alternatives to “How may I help you?” listed below:
- Hello and thank you for Tiny Tot’s Pediatrics, may I help you schedule an appointment?
- Thank you for calling the after hours answering service for Dr. Joe. Is this an emergency?
- Women’s Health Clinic. Are you a new or existing patient?
- Bright White Smiles. Are you calling for our orthodontic office or our dental office?
- Hello and thank you for calling Perfect Teeth Dental. Are you calling to schedule a cleaning?
- Thank you for calling the after hours emergency line for Berwyn Dental. Is this urgent or can this wait until business hours?
- Ridge Auto Dealership. Are you calling for sales or for service?
- Thank you for calling Jake’s Towing Company. Do you need a tow?
- Hello and thank you for calling Limo Express. Are you calling to book a ride?
- Busted Pipes Plumbing, what’s your emergency?
- Thank you for calling JM HVAC. Are you calling for HVAC or plumbing services?
- Hello, you’ve reached the answering service for Rogers’s Heating and Air. Are you calling today for residential or commercial service?
- Thank you for calling Skip’s Veterinary Hospital. Are you calling for our large or small animal practice?
- Thank you for calling the Animal House. Are you calling for our grooming services or for doggy day care?
- Hello and thank you for calling Creature Care. Are you calling to schedule an appointment?
- Buck’s Legal firm. Are you a new or existing client?
- Thank you for calling NY Legal. Are you calling for our criminal defense or injury law firm?
- Hello and thank you for calling Edward Smith law firm. Are you calling to set up a consultation?
Real Estate/Property Management Industry
- Hello and thank you for calling Best Homes Realty. Are you looking to buy or sell a property?
- Thanks for calling Lakeview Apartments. Do you have a maintenance issue?
- Thank you for calling Regal Properties. Which property are you calling in for?
- Hello and thank you for calling Amazing Vacations. Are you calling to book a trip?
- Thank you for calling Trips Around the World. Are you calling in regards to your reservation?
- National Park Tours. Is this an urgent request?
As you can see, there are many different ways an answering service can answer the phone instead of “how may I help you?” Since virtual receptionists are virtual, they aren’t going to know the ins and outs of your business like you would, and they also shouldn’t be the ones judging if a call is urgent or not. While a simple greeting may work for your receptionists in house, you also have to take into consideration what would work best for your virtual receptionists. After all, you want your callers to be taken care of as quickly and efficiently as possible no matter who is answering the phone. Happy customers = Happy business!