‘Your call is important to us, please hold’ may be the most common lie businesses tell their customers.
You leave the customer thinking ‘if it was THAT important to you, you would answer’. Before your customer service representative has even said a word, your customer is already annoyed and feeling unvalued. Thankfully there’s a better way.
What about: ‘Thank you for calling AnswerForce, you’re through to Alex, how may I help you?
- You’ve shown gratitude for their call
- You’ve made the call personal
- You’ve said you want to help them
Can you image how different calls to your business would be if your customers could see that you care? In a world of bots, AI, and ‘you’re number 357 in line’, great customer service is a true differentiator for businesses looking to succeed. But it’s also hard, especially as you scale.
This is where an answering service comes in. A good answering service will help you both improve your customer service and grow your business. They will help you bring consistency and business process to your calls so people get what they called about. Plus they are a more affordable alternative for scaling than hiring in-house customer service reps for many businesses.
Always answer and have a call outcome
For a lot of growing businesses one of the biggest challenges is that everyone is busy. Having dedicated customer service reps is expensive, so you and your team take the calls. But does that work? Are you going to be able to answer quickly if you’re working on payroll or on a roof doing a job? And even if you do manage to answer the call, are you going to get the right information to get the caller to the next step?
Here are 3 things every business can do to improve their customer service on calls:
1. Map out your user journey. If someone is calling on the back of advertising you have done, what information do you need to make this into a lead for your sales rep to follow up on? If they’re calling about their purchase what will result in a positive response?
2. Scenario plan. There will always be exceptions, but most of your calls will follow similar patterns. What are the common questions, and what are the answers? If you can map these out, you’ll both speed up your calls and improve your customer service experience by having the right information available for your customer.
3. Know the next steps. What does the customer need to do next? If it’s a sales call, does a demo or site visit need to be scheduled in? For current customers, do they need to be emailed an update? By knowing what the outcome of the calls should be, you can make it easier to complete that step. As well as improving your efficiency as a business, this will improve your customer service as the customer gets a clear action or ‘next step’ at the end of the call.
Do you need an answering service to do these steps? No, you don’t, but like many jobs, while you can do it yourself, professionals can do it better. Most business owners are short on time, so bringing in an answering service to improve your answering will bring with it a wealth of experience in helping businesses maximize return from their calls.
A cost-effective way to scale your business
Customers today expect businesses to work on their schedule. Being able to answer when they call is critical for growing your business, but it’s also hard. Hiring staff is expensive, and even then they will only be working certain hours.
Answering services are staffed to be able to answer calls 24/7 and you are paying for the time you use. For much less than a salary of a member of the team you get 24/7 support.
The answering service you choose will make a difference to your customer service. Look for a service that can offer you:
- The hours you need cover for (e.g. all the time, after hours, weekends)
- The ability to have a script that’s customized to your business
- A service that will work with you to improve your script over time
- A service that integrates with your CRM or other business software
- Flexibility to increase your call volume as your business grows.
Overall, choosing the right answering service will both free up your time to focus on the work that makes your business grow and give your customers the information they need to feel supported.