Answering Service Blog

3 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Telephone Answering Service

Posted by Ken Peffer on Wed, Aug 26, 2015

The concept of an answering service works well for many companies who need additional phone coverage during busy times, mealtimes, emergencies, nights, weekends, or any time they need help fielding calls. Signing up with an answering service is a great way to keep costs low without sacrificing your customer service. These professionals can take messages, provide information, escalate urgent calls, and more. To decide if a live operator answering your calls during the hours you specify will be beneficial to your company, start by asking yourself a few questions:  

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Topics: 24/7 answering service, reliable answering services

The Death of Voicemail: Why More People are Hanging Up Before the Beep

Posted by Ken Peffer on Fri, Aug 7, 2015

We've all heard that automated voice mail lady, telling us what to do after the beep, but fewer people than ever are actually leaving messages. Voicemails among the general population shot down by 8 percent from just October 2013 to April 2014, and they’re still decreasing. If you’re expecting potential customers who call after hours to leave a message, you could be severely disappointed. People are reporting their anti-voicemail sentiments for several reasons, all of which matter to you if your phone calls are going unanswered:

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Topics: after hours answering service

Who’s Answering Your Business Phone When...?

Posted by Ken Peffer on Thu, Jul 23, 2015

Being a small business owner isn’t a 9 to 5 job; it’s a lifestyle. You can work as hard as you can and put in as many hours as is possible, but it seems like there’s always more to be done. You can’t always be the one greeting customers at the door or personally delivering a service. You also can’t always be there to answer your business’s phone. Whether it is late at night, over the holiday, or simply an inconvenient time for you, there will be instances that you can not pick up the ringing phone. So, what happens? Who is answering your phone when...

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Topics: after hours answering service, small business

5 Ways to Provide Professional Customer Service Over the Phone

Posted by Ken Peffer on Wed, Jul 15, 2015

Providing quality customer service, even over the phone, is paramount in keeping your customer’s happy and your business profitable. How do you want your brand to be perceived by those who call? Friendly? Smart? Trustworthy? When we speak, our listeners get an impression of how we feel from our tone of voice. It is not enough to just say the right words; we also need to be cautious about the tone we use so that we convey our message effectively and professionally. If your customer service reps let their underlying frustration with a rude customer interfere with the conversation, it is sure to make the situation worse and you may even lose a customer. Follow these helpful tips to keep the professionalism in your company’s phone conversations:

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Topics: customer service

4 Things to Consider Before Hiring a Telephone Answering Service

Posted by Ken Peffer on Thu, Jul 2, 2015
Searching for a telephone answering service to work with isn't an easy task, especially if you don't know Expressions-6what to look for. Your customers and prospects are the heart of your business, and finding an answering service you can trust can be time consuming. After all, you don't want to lose business by hiring the wrong answering service, and it's important that you find one that's trustworthy, professional, and experienced. On top of that, you may still be asking yourself what a telephone answering service can do for you, and how using one will make your life easier. Finding the right answering service for your business is a matter of knowing what to look for and asking the right questions.

If this is your first time looking into an answering service or if you just need a bit of a refresher, here are four things to consider before hiring a telephone answering service for your business:

How it will affect your bottom line

If you're thinking about hiring an answering service, there's a good chance you sense revenue opportunities are being missed because you and your staff simply can't get to every call. People are much less likely to leave voice-mail these days, and by providing a live person to answer each and every call, you greatly increase your chances of gaining new business, or more business from existing clients. Before making the decision to hire an answering service, it's important that you sit down and determine the specific reasons you feel you need a service; it may be to capture more opportunities, provide a better client experience, free up staff to focus on other priorities, or a combination of reasons. Have an understanding of those reasons and what they are worth to you so you have a better sense of how your answering service investment will benefit your organization. Most businesses find that a telephone answering service is cost effective and beneficial to their business, but it's important that you take the time to lay this out for yourself.

What is the fee structure?

Most answering services either charge per minute or per call. It's important to find out which fee structure an answering service uses before making a final decision. Per-call plans can appear attractive, but make sure you understand their definition of 'a call'. Some providers put time limits on their call definition, or consider each text, e-mail or fax they send to you a call as well. So what you assume to be one call could actually count as 3 or 4 calls based on their parameters. Most of the time, per-minute plans are easier to budget for and can help save you money. However, only you know what fee structure is best for you. An experienced telephone answering service will go over all of this with you and explain how their fee structure works.

What is included in the pricing plan?

Inexpensive plans aren't necessarily a good thing because they may not include all of the features that you need or want. Some answering services include holidays, basic reporting, and after hours calls while others will charge for those services. Always find out what is included in the pricing plan, what costs extra, and how much those extra services will cost. Getting this information ahead of time will help you avoid any surprise fees in the future.

Quality and experience

After you've narrowed down your list of potential answering service providers, reach out to the companies and ask for testimonials, the number of years they've been in business, awards and recognition, and references specific to your industry. There are many different questions that you could ask an answering service when you're trying to make your final decision, but these questions will likely be the most beneficial. A majority of your questions should revolve around your specific business needs and how each provider can help solve those needs. This will help you to get a better feel of which answering service company is the best fit for your business.

Searching for an answering service can be a stressful task, but it doesn't have to be. Regardless of whether you're searching for a telephone answering service for the first time or you're looking to switch providers, the points above will help you make a more informed decision for your company.
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Topics: 24/7 answering service, 24 hour telephone answering services, national answering services

Reducing Patient No-Shows With a Telephone Answering Service

Posted by Ken Peffer on Tue, Jun 23, 2015

Have you ever thought about what it costs your medical practice when you miss calls after hours? It could be much more than you think, especially when it’s a patient trying to cancel their appointment. According to physicianspractice.com, a no-show appointment costs your practice both financially and with regards to your patients’ confidence. When you start to consider all the things your physician's office may be losing by missing after hours calls, a 24/7 answering service becomes an extremely cost-effective solution.

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Topics: after hours answering service

Regain Your Work/Life Balance with an After Hours Answering Service

Posted by Ken Peffer on Mon, Jun 15, 2015

Whether you are a plumber needed for a broken pipe or a doctor’s office with incoming emergencies, many small businesses have clients and customers that need to contact them after hours. While it may be tempting for you to try and handle these after hour calls yourself, this task can quickly become daunting and overwhelming. Hire a professional after hours answering service and regain that work/life balance you are looking for! Think it isn’t worth it? Think again!

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Topics: after hours answering service

Tips for Dealing with Angry Customers on Customer Service Calls

Posted by Ken Peffer on Fri, May 29, 2015

Working in customer service can be incredibly rewarding when a customer calls in with an easy question or wants to compliment the work your company is doing. But it can also be frustrating when a customer calls to yell at you about an issue that you have no control over. As a customer service or call center representative, you're going to come across your fair share of angry callers. How you choose to handle these interactions will either lead to a successful resolution or losing the customer forever.

Handling customers who are unhappy with your product or service is part of customer service, but that doesn't mean it has to be overwhelming. Before you come up with a plan on how to handle those situations, it's important to understand the situation from both sides. Remember, you are the initial point of contact for your company, and angry customers are expressing their concerns about your company, not about you as an individual. You also need to remember that the customer is always right, and your number one goal should be customer satisfaction.

If you frequently handle customer service calls and are wondering how to deal with angry customers, here are four tips to follow:

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Topics: 24/7 answering service, 24 hour telephone answering services, customer service

How a National Telephone Answering Service Can Help Grow Your Business

Posted by Ken Peffer on Tue, May 5, 2015

If you're a business owner, you know that you will not be successful without loyal, happy customers. Without people buying or using your products or services, you won't be able to surpass the competition or keep your doors open for very long.

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Topics: answering services for small businesses, 24 hour telephone answering services, national answering services

When is it Time to Hire an Answering Service?

Posted by Ken Peffer on Tue, Apr 28, 2015

More business is always a good thing, but it often creates a unique set of challenges: a team that's always busy, a mountain of tasks to complete, and frequently, a phone that won't stop ringing. When the phones won't stop ringing, you may be tempted to hire more in-house receptionists, but after awhile, the costs start to add up.

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Topics: answering services for small businesses, 24/7 answering service, 24 hour telephone answering services, national answering services