Closing your business while you’re on vacation? Don’t want to come back to a tidal wave of voicemails? We’ve created a 6 step guide on how to quickly activate an answering service while you’re walking out the door.
1. Set up Your Greeting
Answering services can greet your callers in any number of different ways. However, for instant activation, a simple “Thank you for calling, how may I help you?” is perfect. Having simple greetings like this are great when your service is just taking basic messages.
To cut down on messages you receive (and keep your monthly invoice as low as possible), you should also setup an automated greeting. The greeting would play prior to an agent getting on the phone, and can be as customized as you’d like. If you’re going on vacation and the office will be closed, you can include that in your message. That way callers will know right away that the office is closed, so they can either decide to hang up and call back when you are open, or they can leave a message with a live receptionist.
2. Decide What Information You Need From Callers
For the fastest setup, you’ll want to gather the most basic information. A great example of basic call handling includes the following 4 questions:
- Name (first and last): Can I have your first and last name?
- Phone Number: Thanks! And what is the best number to reach you?
- Email: Can I also get your email address?
- Regarding (what the call is about): And what message would you like me to pass along?
3. Let Your Answering Service Know Where to Send Messages
After you’ve got your script together, you’ll need to let your answering service know where to send messages. We suggest providing an email address to keep things simple, and elect to receive a notification for every call. If there are other employees that should be receiving messages, you’ll want to provide your answering service with their contact information as well.
4. Add FAQs
With calls come questions, so adding the basic frequently asked questions is important. FAQs will help operators answer questions appropriately instead of taking messages when they don’t have to. Since we’re focusing on a speedy setup here, you’ll just want the following FAQs:
- Where you’re located
- What are your business hours
- What is your phone number, fax number, and email address
- What does your company do
If you’re just going on vacation, you may also want to add some information about when callers can expect a call back. Will they have to wait until you return, or will someone else be able to reach back out in your place?
5. Make Test Calls
Prior to forwarding your line, make a test call just to make sure everything is perfect. The last thing you want is to spend extra time refining your account when you could be doing other things (like practicing your snorkeling technique).
6. Get Going!
Once you’ve provided all of the necessary information to your answering service and you’ve tested the line, it’s time to get moving. Go ahead and set up call forwarding on your phone (or post the new number for your customers to call directly) and leave the rest to the agents handling your calls.
Pro tip: If you know that you’ll be using an answering service to field your calls and you will NOT be advertising the number they give you, make sure to contact your phone provider in advance just to make sure you have the forwarding feature set up on your phone. If you’ve set up everything else and you get stuck because you can’t forward, well that’s a boat no one wants to be in.