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8 Times You Wish You Activated An Answering Service’s Free Trial

Posted in Advice and tagged

Meeting In A Busy Office

How often do you sign up for something for free and never use it, or use it once and forget about it? We were asking the same questions and wanted to identify what time is the best time for a business to take advantage of an answering service’s free trial. Truth be told, there’s a lot to consider when choosing the right answering service to partner with for your business, and a free trial is a really great tool to see if that service is right for your company.

Let’s say you’re in the market for a live answering service. You’ve done your homework, you’ve researched the best vendors out there, compared them on price and platform, and have a few providers you want to sample. Just remember that an answering service is more than just a tool to have your phones answered around the clock. It’s the voice of your business. It’s your reputation. So what do you do next? You try the service out before you buy!

Just like you would test drive cars before you made your final decision, you can do the same with answering services. Most answering services will offer some variety of free trial period. Maybe it’s a month, maybe it’s only a few weeks, maybe it’s for 7 days – but it’s going to allow you to test the service, get to know the virtual receptionists you’ll be dealing with, and decide if that answering service is right for your business. To help ease the process, we’ve put together a list of the 8 best times for your company to take advantage of an answering service’s free trial period.

1. During the Holidays

One of the best times to sample an answering service via a free trial period is during the holidays. Instead of bah humbugging around your office, you can divert calls to an answering service and spread holiday cheer. Why hire and train seasonal employees when you can save some money (and time) by having your calls answered for free!

While there are many holidays throughout the year that could potentially increase your call volume, we typically see the most volume between the months of October through December. Even if you’re not an eCommerce company, a lot of people skip town during these three months, which usually means less people available to answer your phones. If you happen to be a medical insurance provider, then November and December will bring in hundreds of open enrollment calls. Yikes! Whatever the case may be, using an answering service for their free trial period during these times is a great way to get your calls answered at no extra cost.

2. When You’re Going on Vacation

Vacations are another great time to test out an answering service. Most answering services will give you at least 7 days free, but the trial period could last all the way up to a month – depending on the provider. So, whether you’re going on a quick getaway or a 3 week backpacking trip across Europe, you can rest easy knowing that your phones are being covered.

Before you go, though, you’ll want to make sure your answering service is up to speed with your business protocols. The last thing you’ll want is to go away and have your answering service still thinking you’re available. So, we recommend taking a few days prior to your trip to get acquainted with the service and the people handling your phones so that you can feel confident that your customers will be taken care of. Some things you can do beforehand include:

  • Memorize your forwarding number: The answering service will provide you a unique telephone number to forward your lines to. Whether you are forwarding your lines to that new number or advertising it so your customers call it directly, it’s important that you keep this number handy. If you are forwarding, you run the risk of your line coming off of call forwarding while you are away (typically this can happen during storms or if you happen to lose power). Since you won’t be in your office to re-forward the lines, you’ll have to rely on your phone provider to get the line connected again. However, they won’t be able to do this if you aren’t able to tell them what number to send the calls to.
  • Test your line: After your account’s been programmed, you’ll want to test the line a few times just to make sure everything is set up how you envisioned. Testing the line will give you a feel for what your callers will hear and experience, so you’ll want to make sure it’s up to par with the customer support you’re used to providing.
  • Make changes if necessary: If you find discrepancies, you’ll want to get those issues addressed as quickly as possible. Get in touch with your answering service’s customer support department so that they can come up with a plan to iron out all the kinks. Typically issues can be traced back to the way your account was initially programmed. So, a little TLC with a programmer can usually do the trick and get your account up to speed.

3. When You’re Launching a New Product or Service

Launching the new hotness? You may experience a spike in call volume whenever you launch a new product, a new service, update your privacy policy or TOS, or even a launch new company website. So, if you are planning on putting something new on the market, an answering service can seriously help capture new leads and generate more business for your company.

4. When You’re Hosting a Seminar or Conference

Seminars, conferences, or any business event are going to generate some call volume – and pull you out of your office and off of your phones. Some different ways you can use a trial would include:

  • Setting up an RSVP line: Answering services are great at taking routine tasks off your plate. Handling RSVP calls can be boring and time consuming, so what better way to get the job done without having to do it yourself, and at no extra cost? You’ll of course want to prep your answering service with information before hand, so that they can help answer callers questions regarding the event, as well as RSVP for the appropriate event (if there may be more than one event that callers are inquiring about).
  • Handling event registration calls: Similar to RSVP calls, having your answering service handle event registration calls is a big help. They can assist with signing callers up online, taking payments, and may even be able to offer bilingual support as well.
  • Handling calls while you’re busy: If you just need the answering service to handle calls while you’re participating in the event, then they can help you with that too. Your virtual receptionists can simply take messages, or they can do more like schedule appointments and transfer calls.

5. During a Product Recall

Recalls happen in almost every industry. If one of your products has recently been recalled, your staff is not going to look forward to getting slammed with phone call after phone call. A great way to save money and help alleviate staff stress during a product recall is to utilize an answering service’s free trial.

From having 24/7 availability, to being able to handle high volumes of phone calls daily, answering services are huge assets to have in the face of a recall. They can answer questions, help customers through the return process and ultimately help save your brand at no extra cost.

6. If You’re Running a Charity Telethon

If you run a non-profit organization, finding extra help can be tough, especially if you don’t have the funds to pay for it. However, using an answering service for their free trial is really cost effective, especially if you’re about to air a new pledge drive.

While answering services may have limits to their free trial (usually they’ll last for a certain amount of time or up until you hit a certain volume), you can still take advantage of their offering. Before you send your calls over, take some time to get your service up to speed with your charity. To help streamline the process, check out our tips when using an answering service to handle  your charity telethon.

7. At the Start of Your Busy Season

If you run a seasonal business, then you know when your volume typically starts to pick up and die down. For example, a lawn-care company will usually start getting slammed in the spring, while an oil delivery business will usually start getting hit in August. So, if you’re gearing up for your busy season, you can get a lot of use out of an answering service’s free trial.

Whether you run an HVAC company and need to schedule appointments and have someone field urgent calls, or a landscaping company in which you need to provide quotes, answering services can help make your busy season feel a little less crazed and may help you keep on top of your ever growing to-do list, like cleaning all the dust off of your equipment.

8. If You Know You’re Going to be Short Staffed

Office short staffed? Whether a handful of your employees are going on vacation at the same time or all suffering from a stomach bug, send all your calls to your answering service for free to help alleviate some of the pressure.

Since answering services can often do more than just take messages, to really get the most out of your trial period you’ll want to see what your answering service can do for you. Some examples could include:

  • Schedule Appointments: If your employees typically schedule appointments with  your customers or patients, then see if your answering service can help fill the gap. The way in which they schedule might differ from your normal routine, or they may be able to integrate with your software for a seamless interaction.
  • Place Orders: Often times answering services can also go out to your website to help callers place orders, which is another great way to take advantage of the features your answering service offers. You’ll just want to make sure that your service is PCI compliant and ISO 27001 certified if they are taking credit card information from your customers.
  • Dispatch Urgent Calls: If you need some extra help after hours to dispatch urgent calls or messages, answering services can help you with that as well. Some services may even give you access to an interactive online portal which would allow you to customize your on-call procedures on the go.

 

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Specialty Answering Service is a leading call center company, helping fast-growing businesses close sales and deliver amazing live customer support 24 hours a day. SAS' friendly virtual receptionists and customized call handling create an outstanding virtual office experience. There are thousands of small businesses already using our services. Try SAS for free today.

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