November 2018 | Redding Answering Service

Monthly Archives: November 2018

Answering Service Investment: Treat Your Answering Service as an Investment, Not an expense

How You View Your Answering Service Plays a Part in the Outcomes You Enjoy

How do you view your answering service? Do you view them as a valued partner or an adversary? Some people view their answering service as an investment and others view it as an expense.

Answering service investment or answering service expense? Which one do you see?

An Expense Is a Cost You Want to Control

When you view your answering service as an expense, it becomes a cost to control. Taken to an extreme, cost-cutting efforts end up rendering your answering service ineffective or eliminating them altogether. Though this may save a couple dollars a day on your income statement, it can cost many times that amount in terms of angry customers, disenfranchised buyers, and lost business.

Don’t be penny wise and dollar foolish when it comes to your answering service. But that’s what happens when you view them as an expense. This causes you to lose sight of the tremendous value they provide to your company’s operations and more importantly to your customers and prospects.

If money is all you look at, then eliminate your answering service and replace it with voicemail. An even more extreme solution is to not answer your phone at all. That cuts your phone-answering cost down to zero, but no one would really do that.

An Investment Provides a Return

However, when you view your answering service as an investment, you change your perspective from controlling costs to maximizing your return on investment (ROI). An answering service investment provides a smart ROI.

For example, one after-hours call answered by a telephone professional at your answering service can result in a new sale that you would have otherwise missed. That sale could conceivably provide enough profit to pay for your answering service for a whole month—even more, perhaps a year. Yet one sale is seldom only one sale. An initial sale usually results in additional sales. Consider the lifetime value of a customer. One call answered by your answering service produces the lifetime value of a customer. That’s a huge ROI from a wise answering service investment.

Or what about a frustrated customer who calls your answering service at 3 a.m. prepared to unleash their flurry at a mistake your company made. They expected to leave a voicemail message, but the gentle voice of your answering service rep caught them off guard. Their invective evaporated, and they were able to explain their frustration without yelling. Then your answering service rep resolved the problem, turning a lost customer into a kept customer. That’s another great ROI and a valuable answering service investment.

Application

Reject the idea of your answering service as a cost, an expense to control. Then it will emerge as an answering service investment, one that provides one of the most significant ROIs you’ll ever encounter. Look for ways to calculate the ROI of your answering service investment, and the amazing results will astound you.

With a decades-long record of offering telephone answering service to the northwest region and across the United States, Redding Answering Service is committed to providing advanced, first-rate telephone answering service to your company. Let us help you maximize your communication effectiveness—at a cost-effective price—to drive bottom-line results. Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer who covers the answering service industry.

When Have You Last Thanked Your Answering Service?

Answering Service Staff Are Real People Who Deserve Appreciation

This isn’t a post to fish for compliments, but it is an encouragement for you to not overlook all the great work your telephone answering service does for you. If you appreciate their work, take time to let them know. When appropriate, be sure to thank your answering service. A simple thank you goes a long way.

Here are some areas to consider.

Operators

A telephone answering service employee—sometimes called an operator or customer service representative—works tirelessly on your behalf. On each phone call, they strive to do their best, representing your company in the best possible way and serving your customers and callers with excellence.

Between the work they do for you and their other clients, they can take over one hundred calls in one shift. That’s a lot of work and a lot of interactions. They derive satisfaction from knowing that they do their job well and provide value to you and your callers on each call.

Customer Service

When you need to make changes to your account with your answering service or check on a call, you contact the customer service department. They configure your account to meet your expectations, track down the details of a call, and provide you with additional information when you need it.

These are time-consuming activities that form the backbone of the service you receive. Again, the staff in the customer service department takes pride in the work they do. On each one of your calls or emails, they strive to meet your request to the best of their ability. Their work provides the foundation for the frontline staff to deliver great customer experiences to your callers.

Billing

A third element of your answering service is the billing department. They generate invoices, receive payments, and contact clients who are past due. They don’t like making collection calls and wish there was no need to do so. If you contact them, it’s usually because you don’t understand an invoice or think there might be an error. Keep in mind that 99.9 percent of the time, the invoices are correct, with the billing department striving to hit 100 percent.

Management

In addition to operators, the customer service team, and the billing department, an answering service has various managerial positions. There are shift supervisors, training managers, scheduling coordinators, and an operations manager. In addition, there are upper management positions to coordinate this and make sure things work together as seamlessly as possible.

Summary

A successful answering service has many people working together to provide you with excellent service for you and your customers. Most of the time, everything goes as expected, and only occasionally is there a hick up that causes momentary disappointment. Don’t let one small oops overshadow hundreds of positive, outstanding interactions.

And that’s something to be thankful for.

 

With a decades-long record of offering telephone answering service to the northwest region and across the United States, Redding Answering Service is committed to providing advanced, first-rate telephone answering service to your company. Let us help you maximize your communication effectiveness—at a cost-effective price—to drive bottom-line results. Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer who covers the answering service industry.

Help Us Help You Get the Most Out of Your Answering Service

Keep Your Answering Service in the Loop to Maximize Results

Your answering service works hard to serve you with excellence and to delight your customers. Nothing pleases their staff more than to know they’ve done their very best for you. One thing, however, gets in the way of them achieving this goal. That’s working with outdated information about your company.

In an ideal situation, as soon as key information changes in your office, you notify your answering service. This includes information about your staff, your on-call, your business, your protocols and procedures, and your office contacts. Unfortunately, a common result is forgetting to notify your answering service of these changes. This isn’t a criticism, but it’s the common reality of overlooking them because they’re not physically on-site with you and they work quietly in the background.

Though it’s always a good time to review the information your answering service has about your business and operation, now is an even better time as we approach the holiday season. This is because you will likely rely on your answering service even more in the next couple of months, which makes it even more critical for them to have the most up-to-date information.

As you review the information that your answering service should have. Here are a few common areas to check.

Staff Changes

At one time you provided your answering service with a list of employees, or at least a list of key employees as it relates to the work they do for you. Is this still up-to-date? Probably not. This is the first thing to check, to make sure your answering service has the correct information about who works for your company and what their positions are. You don’t want them saying that Brad oversees customer service, when he moved to accounting a few months ago. Even worse you don’t want them saying that Sally is their sales rep, when she’s no longer with the company.

On-Call Personnel

Does your company have on-call personnel? If so, make sure your answering service has a current list of who they are, along with their preferred ways to reach them. Without this critical information, your answering service will use what they have—outdated information. This could include trying to reach someone who is no longer on call or sending a text to a smart phone that’s no longer used. Each of these, and other pieces of missing information, will cause delays in providing the service your customers expect.

Business Information

Has your company moved, changed phone numbers, or updated your company email address? Make sure your answering service knows about these items as well. Verify that they have the address for your office, as well as any other locations. Make sure they know your main phone number and are giving out the correct fax number and email address to anyone who requests it.

Procedures and Protocols

When you initiated service with your answering service, you provided specific procedures and protocols for them to follow. This might include how to determine what constitutes an emergency or how to handle your on-call situation. They will work hard to follow these instructions, but have your preferences changed? Make sure your answering service has your latest expectations, so they know what to aim for.

Office Contacts

Who is your answering service’s primary contact at your office? Has this changed in recent weeks or months? Do they have the right information to know how to reach this person? Having this information is essential if they have a question, especially if there’s an emergency where they need an immediate answer. Fortunately these situations arise infrequently, but if they do, it’s critical your answering service knows who to reach and how.

Summary

Companies sometimes overlook their answering service when changes occur in staffing, on-call personnel, procedures, and contact methods. So don’t feel bad if you’ve missed these items, but do take steps to verify and update this information with your answering service. Doing so will make sure your answering service has all the information they need to serve you to the very best of their abilities.

May you and your staff have a happy and joyous holiday season.

 

With a decades-long record of offering telephone answering service to the northwest region and across the United States, Redding Answering Service is committed to providing advanced, first-rate telephone answering service to your company. Let us help you maximize your communication effectiveness—at a cost-effective price—to drive bottom-line results. Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer who covers the answering service industry.

Answering Service Case Study: Optometrist Uses Answering Service to Improve Patient Care

Good optometry management affects the quality of life for many people, particularly the elderly. This is an even bigger concern in rural areas where residents have to travel many miles to visit their eye care professional. Usually this means the loss of a day’s work for the patient’s driver, which has to be coordinated with the doctor’s schedule. As a result, patients often put off making appointments for routine care and checkups.

However, Dr. Alison Chaussee of the Prairie Hills Vision Clinic provides a valuable service to her patients by bringing the clinic to them. Each week, Dr. Chaussee travels to one of two satellite clinics that she established in strategic rural communities. Her patients, young and old alike, are able to schedule convenient eye care appointments in or near their hometowns without sacrificing most of the day.

The doctor’s patients call a toll-free number to schedule their appointments for any one of the satellite clinics or the main office. These calls go to her answering service where customer care professionals answer her patients’ calls and prioritize appointments according to the doctor’s instructions. The patients are treated to friendly, professional service 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

Although optometrists don’t often have emergency calls they do occasionally occur, particularly in rural areas. Occasionally, Dr. Chaussee’s toll-free number gets calls after hours from concerned farmers and ranchers about an eye injury.

In accordance with the doctor’s instructions, her answering service’s staff can triage the call and connect callers directly to Dr. Chaussee who provides basic eye care instruction over the phone and refers them to the nearest hospital if needed. This 24/7 service helps distinguish Prairie Hills Vision Clinic from all others, giving rural patients better access to care.

When she is on the road, Dr. Chaussee knows her patients who call her main office will be treated with care. Plus she knows her business calls will be handled professionally and messages will be available when she is ready for them. According to Dr. Chaussee, outsourcing her clinic’s calls to an answering service has helped her grow her practice without adding unnecessary overhead costs. Most importantly, her patients enjoy a higher quality of care closer to home.

 

Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer from Southwest Michigan. Contact us to learn how a telephone answering service can answer your calls 24/7 to better serve your customers.