Ready to take your business to the next level in customer care? Working with an answering service is a great way to enhance operations while providing 24/7 support for your valued customers. And with communications solutions for every industry, company size and service level, it’s never been easier to get started. As technology continues to advance, answering service platforms and capabilities follow suit. This makes keeping tabs on your virtual receptionist service a breeze, from call quality to message accuracy to questions about your bill. Just a few simple tips, and you’ll be on your way to making the most of your call center experience.
Tip 1: Learn how to use your online portal and mobile app.
Even if you’re using a bare-bones service, there will likely be an online portal or a mobile app where you can access your messages. After you sign up, set aside a few minutes to visit the knowledge base and read through a tutorial or two on everything that you can get out of the software. Or, ask a customer support representative to walk you through it.
Some services allow you to forward messages directly from your portal, document follow up notes and add tags, create login credentials for your employees and assign specific calls for them to address and track, integrate your existing appointment calendar, and more. It’s one-stop shopping for business communication, and it’s well worth your time to make the technology work for you.
Tip 2: Listen to call recordings.
If you’re working with a service that offers call recording and you’ve taken advantage of that feature, then it is in your and your customers’ best interests to listen to as many calls as humanly possible. We’ve all been on the other end of an unfortunate customer service interaction. As a business owner, you can appreciate how valuable it is to know just what people think of your organization, whether positive or negative. Don’t wait around for someone to complain about a bad call.
Be proactive. Take the time to listen and assess the operators’ performance as well as the way your call script flows, questions that prospective customers often ask, opportunities for up-selling and cross-selling, and anything else that strikes you. Then, contact your service to provide feedback, tweak your script, and re-calibrate your FAQs.
Tip 3: Update your on-call schedule.
Ten out of ten CEO’s agree that businesses function much more efficiently when people are actually at work. That goes for both regular office hours and reliable, after-hours assistance. There are a slew of industries where after-hours or emergency service calls are where you earn a sizable portion of your income. And, if you use a 24-hour dispatching service, they’ll need accurate on-call schedules and contact details if you expect to give a customer a tow at 9pm or fix a busted pipe at 3am.
While your service may provide an online on-call scheduler and notify you when it’s expired, in most cases, you’ll have to send your technicians’ calendar via email, or call the programming team to manage changes. Naturally, if you forget to do this and the service calls the wrong tech, you’re going to miss an opportunity to win over a new customer with your stellar skills and round-the-clock availability. That being said, don’t forget to do this. Send in updated availability each month, and be sure to include the right mobile numbers and email addresses for your entire team.
Tip 4: Check your usage regularly.
For those business owners who have disposable income, feel free to skip this tip. For everyone else, read on. Paying more than you have to for your answering service is not built into anyone’s budget. If you want to keep costs down, get into the habit of reviewing your usage at the end of every week and prior to the beginning of the next billing cycle. This data is typically accessible through your portal and may also be available as auto-generated weekly reports that can be sent directly to your email.
If you’re going over your plan allowance, increasing to the next tier can help you avoid costly overage charges. If you’re having a slower season and don’t need as robust of an option, you can reduce your plan to something more cost-effective. In either case, get in touch with the billing department and ask them to retroactively adjust your rates while you’re still within a billing month. Save a few bucks, and spring for lunch. Your staff will thank you.
Answering services are chock full of user-friendly features, designed with you in mind. When you’re ready to step out of endless overhead costs, step into a streamlined virtual front desk, and take your customer support business model farther, faster.