Your customers are reaching out to you more for answers as they’re trying to deal with the uncertainty of the coronavirus. As your new at home employee army works tirelessly from their kitchen counters and ironing boards to respond to customers, your answering service is playing a greater role in helping you triage customer requests and handle the higher than usual call volume.
An answering service is a powerful communication tool that allows companies to handle an insane amount of call volume without you having to hire more employees to do it. Answering services can answer basic questions your customers may have to protect your internal support resources, schedule call backs for later, or transfer important calls to your staff if required. So, what can you do to ensure your answering service is making a meaningful impact, especially during this crisis? We’ve put together 3 things you can do in 1 hour.
1. Arm Your Receptionists With Information
Take a minute to analyze your helpdesk tickets or connect with your team to see what types of questions they’re being asked, and assess if those answers can be offloaded to the answering service agents.
- Send a quick email to your staff to ask them the top questions they’re being asked by customers
- Log all of their questions on a shared document and have them add any new questions there
- Decide which of those questions are good candidates for the answering service to handle
- Send updates to your answering service from the list, or if you have online access to your answering service system, update your FAQs on your own
If you find you’re getting a lot of crisis related questions, like questions related to COVID-19, it may be a good idea to create a separate FAQ with your answering service specifically for those requests. That way, when life eventually gets back to normal, you’ll just have to make one FAQ change instead of editing through several.
2. Make Simple Messaging Script Updates
Reviewing and updating your messaging protocols and script will help make sure that information gets transmitted as quickly as possible from the callers to the answering service to your own staff.
- If you’re dealing with several requests about the same issue, like rescheduling appointments or cancelling reservations, consider adding a new path (or screen) to your script. That will ensure the operators can log the reason for the call quickly and collect the relevant information without having to guess – which can cause chaos later when you’re already dealing with too much on your plate.
- If you have employees working from home, make sure the messages the answering service is sending are reaching everyone they should. See what messages have been sent over the last week and poll your employees to see if anyone who should have received those messages didn’t – and vice versa.
- If your business model means you are responding to customer requests 24/7, your 24 hour answering service should have the ability to send messages one way during office hours, and another during after hours. Check to make sure which employees or groups of employees have been receiving messages both during and after hours and make adjustments accordingly.
3. Streamline Your Workflows
Simple is always better. Consider temporarily simplifying your answering service protocols to get customers on and off the phone as quickly as possible. If you’re getting a high volume of calls, this will free up answering service agents to handle more requests and lower your hold time.
- Decide what the most important requests are and have those calls transferred to your staff
- For all other calls, instruct the operators to take a message with the most basic information (name, phone number, reason for contact)
With a just a few tweaks, you can make sure your answering service is able to effectively handle a higher call volume during this most difficult time.