Benefits of Having an Answering Service to Schedule Customer Appointments
Running a business means having to focus on numerous areas. If your business is one that depends on the scheduling of customer appointments, you have several options available to you when it comes to how to handle this critical function. You can rely on your in-house staff to answer calls and schedule appointments.
You can also set up an automated answering service that directs calls to the right areas. Finally, you can invest in appointment setting answering services to take calls and schedule appointments.
When In-House Staff Members Answer the Phones
Every business experiences times of slow activity as well as times where things can get hectic. Having an in-house staff to answer your calls can certainly help during times when call volume is high. When they aren’t answering phones, your staff members can turn their attention to other pressing tasks.
While this does allow you to make full use of your staff, it also distracts it from its various tasks. The more distracted a person is, the less focus he or she will have on the task at hand. On busy days, this kind of disjointed attention can result in errors that need to be corrected later.
As well, your staff members are only in the office for so many hours per day. This means that your customers can only reach your business during business hours unless you have some other system in place.
Automated Answering Systems
The majority of businesses offer automated answering systems for customers who need to get in touch. Calls are answered immediately, and customers use their dial pads to select from a range of options. Automated answering can certainly be beneficial to your business, as it saves much time and ensures that calls are always directed to the proper department.
For callers, however, using this kind of service can be an exercise in frustration, especially when callers have a long list of options to choose from. Not only that, but issues with the system can cause hang-ups to occur, which force customers to go through the whole process again or hang up and call another business.
Should they be able to get in touch with a real person, there is no guarantee that customers will be able to get the answers they’re looking for. This can mean being redirected to a knowledgeable individual in another department, possibly more than once. If customers are calling due to some kind of emergency, trying to repeatedly reach your business will only add more stress to their situation.
Professional Live Operators
Live appointment scheduling services feature professional live operators who answer each and every customer call right away. Formally trained for live answering service, these receptionists or agents are tasked with projecting the voice and personality of your business and brand. A caller who gets in touch will speak immediately with a real person.
During the conversations, the agent builds rapport with customers by empathizing with their situations and then offering a range of solutions. In addition to building rapport, the individual attention customers receive will make them know they matter to your business. This feeling of importance and familiarity will help your business stand out from the rest, thereby increasing customer loyalty.
Finally, if your business serves the Spanish-speaking community, a live answering service can include operators who are fluent in Spanish.
How to Know if Live Operators Will Work for Your Business
A live answering service can be ideal for any business with customers who need to make appointments. Legal firms, medical offices, plumbers, contractors, and disaster recovery operations are just a few of the many businesses that can benefit from offering their customers live answering services with appointment scheduling options.
However, despite the many benefits that live answering services provide, offering this service to your customers will be an investment. Therefore, it’s important to make sure that this service will do what you need it to before you decide to implement it. To do this, ask yourself a few questions.
Can Customers Schedule Appointments After Hours?
Not offering a way for customers to reach you around the clock is a definite indicator that a live appointment setting answering service could be the solution you’ve been looking for. Even the single possibility of a customer being unable to reach you can be enough to do your business serious damage because customers are far more likely to share their negative experience with a business than they are to share a positive one.
Have You Recorded a Lot of Hang-Ups?
If you have been getting several messages, but the majority of messages consist of hang-ups, this is another indicator that you need a live answering service. Customers will hang up when they become frustrated with the wait time or an automated service.
With other types of answering solutions, you need to keep an eye on the length of time it takes to pick up a customer call. This is not needed with a live answering service because every agent working for your business is trained to answer calls within the first few rings. This greatly lessens the chance that a caller will hang up.
What can answering the phone right away do for your business? It gives your customers the impression that you have made it a priority to take their call. It also tells them that you have plenty of available staff, even after your business closes for the day. This elevates your reputation as an established company.
Can Spanish-Speaking Customers Easily Schedule Appointments with Your Business?
As stated previously, providing the opportunity for Spanish-speaking customers to not only reach you but have their needs clearly communicated is absolutely vital. If your current way to answer customer calls doesn’t welcome your Spanish-speaking community, much important information can be lost.
In order to effectively communicate with this portion of your customer base, you need live appointment scheduling operators who are fluent in the language. Having this allows information to be communicated with complete clarity and understanding.
If your customers need to reach you for a medical or home appliance emergency, it’s crucial that their situations are effectively received and translated. The same is true of Spanish-speaking clients who need to get in touch with a legal firm; the many details of their cases will need to be thoroughly understood.
Because they’ve already undergone training, professional live operators who are bilingual can serve customers in both communities immediately.
Do You Need Something That Can Integrate Easily?
The introduction of new technology like automated systems into your current procedure can have many detrimental effects, especially where more than one kind of software is already in use. When you use live answering services, however, there is no need to worry about an inability to integrate, as there is no complicated software to worry about. All you have to do is forward your phone when you’d like your answering service to handle calls and schedule appointments. You can also have your live answering service provide you with a toll free or local number that you can publish and they can answer directly.
Characteristics of Professional Operator Companies
Just like your business needs to stand out from the rest, so, too, does the professional live answering company you choose.
Any company you’re considering for answering the phone and scheduling appointments should be able to blend seamlessly with your business. This means being able to communicate with your customers in your company’s voice. They should be so good at this that customers who call your business cannot tell that they are a contracted service.
Specific training should also be a part of any company you choose to partner with for live answering services. If you are a medical center, for example, you will need operators trained in collecting and providing information in a way that is in compliance with HIPAA requirements.
Similarly, if you run a plumbing, HVAC, or construction business, your operators will need to possess the industry knowledge necessary to record information accurately and, perhaps, conduct basic troubleshooting if necessary or collect the proper information for an accurate quote.
Finally, having professional operators who are compassionate and who can empathize with your customers can mean a lot when there is an emergency; after your business has resolved their problems, they will remember the caring service they received, making them more likely to call you if needed in future and to recommend you to their friends as well as online.
Don’t Leave Your Customer Service to Chance
Now that you know all of the benefits of adding professional live operators to your business, there’s no better time than now to call AnswerMTI. A nationwide leader, AnswerMTI offers affordable options for companies in many industries. Discover more by calling 1-800-673-2000 today.