If you run a business in San Jose, CA, you probably have a lot on your plate. You have to ensure the company runs smoothly; employees are paid on time, inventory is correctly done, your customers are well served, and so on. You also have to remain up-to-date with new tools and technologies that can help manage your business. This will not only increase the efficacy of your business, but it'll assist in consistently providing excellent customer service.
One of the most valuable tools you can use to simplify your business operations is an answering service. An Answering service will make it easier to interact with customers while at the same time handling other important matters. At Best Call Center, we'll be at your service 24/7. We'll ensure your customers have an unforgettable experience while simultaneously helping you maximize your marketing and take advantage of every opportunity to grow. Call us today to partner with us.
What’s An Answering Service?
In simple terms, answering services are companies that perform outbound and inbound business communication for clients. They may answer calls, forward them, take messages, handle emails, schedule appointments, and conduct other types of communication. Answering services execute these communications remotely, away from the businesses they serve.
When you retain an answering agent, it's like employing a secretary, PA, or receptionist, but they're based at a different place that’s not your workplace. This service can assist if you do not receive many calls, and retaining a dedicated staff member to handle them may not make business sense. Contrarily, if your business receives so many incoming phone calls, this service can allow you to have free time to take care of other business aspects. Usually, answering services work for more than one business. Therefore, they charge less than you’d pay a full-time staff member. It could be a service offering help to busy businesses at peak hours or a devoted one that can still charge cheaper than employing staff.
Types of Answering Services In San Jose
New development in communication technology has challenged answering service companies to adapt to the ever-changing business demands and diversify the kinds of communication solutions they provide.
Nowadays, answering services are divided into different subcategories depending on the kind of services they provide. Although all categories are considered answering services, they each provide different kinds of help to companies. The most common kinds of answering services are:
- Virtual office services— a virtual office service fulfills many of the same functions as a typical answering service, although it provides companies with physical addresses and performs other standard office duties like providing meeting space
- Call centers— unlike an ordinary answering service, which mainly focuses on incoming communications, a call center is established to handle outbound calls or do cold calling too. Distinguishing a call center further from an ordinary answering service is the number of operators it employs, which is usually far higher than typical answering service.
- Internet answering services— do you understand what live chat support is? An internet answering service delivers web-based communication solutions for companies, usually by delivering live chat or email assistance options. Increasingly, internet answering services also provide social media services.
- Automated answering services— an automated answering service depends on autoresponders or robots to process calls. This service utilizes interactive response options such as numeric entry or voice responses to help customers. This usually involves taking the customer through a series of prompted responses— as in press 2 to talk to the manager or press 5 to check the status of your job application.
- Virtual receptionist services— the functions virtual receptionists perform for companies primarily include answering and transferring calls. Although, a virtual receptionist can also act as a liaison between a business and its customers, relaying info like business location and hours.
What to Consider When Choosing an Answering Service
The secret to making an answering service work for your business is partnering with the right provider. It is a critical decision you will have to make before retaining an answering service. When checking out a company to hire, go for the one that will give you a customized plan. This way, you can tailor your plan specifically to your needs. Considerations when choosing your service include:
The functionality of Your Business
First, you will have to determine what kind of answering service best suits your industry. Do you need call recording or appointment scheduling? Based on how your business operates, there are virtual receptionists, call centers, automated answering services, virtual office services, and internet answering services to choose from, as we mentioned above.
If you must retain an answering service for your company, you want to make sure your customers' information will be well-protected. A trustworthy answering service will be honest about how they'll secure your clients' information.
After-Hour Call Availability
Most businesses like healthcare professionals and veterinarians need to answer the phone even after office hours. Answering agents must be capable of managing priority service phone calls and emergencies.
Answering Agents Who Care
You will want to go for a service provider that makes quality customer service a priority. When an agent responds to customers' questions with excellent customer service, the customers will be delighted with your business and services.
Knowledge of Your Company
Ensure the answering service you choose has a well-trained staff. Will the staff take the time to familiarize themselves with the ins and outs of your company? Has it previously worked with your business? Choose a devoted service with answering agents ready to help you solve problems in situations specific to your business.
What's Your Budget?
You will find answering services that range from zero dollars to begin on a free trial to just about any charges. Most services don't have a flat rate for their services. Instead, they charge depending on line activity. The higher the volume of work you let the answering agents handle, the higher the price will be. Therefore, if your business is high volume, you could do the calculations. Other services have varying pricing levels that offer budgeting in use. Here, the charges will be more affordable. However, you have to have a foreseeable monthly volume of the calls you receive to understand the charges. Knowing your call budget, volume, and how you're going to use your answering service, will make it easier to determine the ideal pricing plan for your company. Prevalent billing structures for answering services are:
- Per call billing— here, you're billed by every incoming call. It does not count how long the calls are. But the answering service might charge an extra amount for the messages sent, and phone calls that must be dispatched might count as a distinct billable call.
- Per-minute billing — here, you're billed by the minute. Like a cell phone plan, per-minute billing usually provides minutes allotment to utilize every month before paying for any overcharges. A professional service will provide you with different plans based on the volume of your calls and might even automatically modify your plan should you surpass your usage limit.
Benefits of Partnering With An Answering Service
Answering services are in place to ease the often stressful and time-consuming aspect of managing a business— telephone service. In so doing, an answering service brings numerous benefits to your company while taking the customer engagement burden off your shoulder.
Emergencies do not wait to arise during business hours. Some professions need to have resources and outlets available when emergencies arise, ready to help customers or clients cost-effectively and promptly. When you partner with an answering service, you'll always have someone responding to client situations. Consider all those businesses where an around-the-clock response isn't only beneficial, it is vital. For example, doctors should be available any day and hour to respond to health concerns and suggest action. Dentists should also be readily available to respond to unexpected lost teeth, chips, or toothaches.
With an answering agent handling outbound and inbound calls, you are free to concentrate on the activities and goals that matter the most. Additionally, you'll empower your staff to dive deeper into their roles. The burden of fielding unexpected phone calls, facilitating connections, liasoning between persons, or hunting down relevant assistance will be off everyone's shoulders. Your answering agent will do all this and more for you.
Having an informative, courteous, and warm receptionist answer your phone calls instantly boosts your organization's professionalism. It also influences what customers think of your scale and size— which is specifically attractive for freelancers or entrepreneurs looking to provide the customer-service amenities of a large-scale, brick and mortar operation.
Improved CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
CRM strategies assist in prioritizing your interaction with clients. They frame why, where, when, and how to reach out to your customer demographics. Additionally, they track what marketing materials and platforms lead to the most engagement traction.
However, CRM also does involve the general touchpoints customers have with your business, including those over the phone. This is because anytime a person contacts your business, they will create an impression. A positive impression and experience fuel the precise type of relationship you are trying to achieve with clients, both new and current.
Hiring an answering service comes with a significant cost saving to your business’s bottom line. Based on your organization, the pay for an in-house receptionist ranges between $29,000 and $36,000 per year. This figure does not include vacation policies, employee benefits, performance & holiday bonuses, and other incentives.
An answering service costs cheaper than these values. What is more, it offers tiered customer service packages with different customizable supplements. You only pick what you need, saving your company a lot of money.
How You Can Trust Answering Agents to Handle Your Calls
It is understandable that even though they come with cost savings, performance boost, and positive customer experience advantage, it may still be hard to allocate your company operations to a person who isn’t in the office.
Fortunately, the answering service industry employs measures and techniques to ensure agents execute outbound and inbound services objectively and up to a businesses’ standards.
Answering services regularly audit calls to ensure consistency and quality of your answering agent's conduct. Audits occur randomly though ethically, with both the agents themselves and your customers aware that the call might be recorded for performance management and quality assurance purposes.
You may review the recorded calls, which will reassure you of the nature of your agent's interactions and give you insight into why your consumers mostly call. Is it to dispute billings, place new orders, or complain about a particular employee, service, or product? Both your agent's personal insights and recording conversations can identify top consumer needs such as these.
Furthermore, most answering services conduct internal performance management reviews based on an established set of objective performance scorecards. Agents are rated semi-annually or annually based on the scorecard's metrics. Combine this with call recordings, and it'll create an effective performance management duo, giving you peace of mind that your calls are in good hands.
Onboarding and Vetting
Answering services perform thorough training for their answering agents. After all, it is to their advantage to do that. Having highly skilled and efficient agents working for clients translates to a positive reputation for the brand and customer satisfaction ratings.
Choose a professional answering service that has clear employee engagement and training programs. Companies with a standardized onboarding plan are an added advantage for new internal employees and client onboarding.
Customized Answering Scripts
Most answering agents use customized answering scripts to achieve the precise messaging nuances and tone of your business. Writing a script is a collaborative process. You'll have to choose the phrases your agents will use as they go about their daily work, from how they'll greet callers to how they'll take orders and provide answers to customers.
You may also edit the scripts anytime you think it’s necessary. As your services and products keep evolving, so can the way you present them. Agents will use the wordings and messages you outline but still talk to callers in a personable, warm, and friendly tone.
Find Competitive Answering Services Near Me
At Best Call Center, we have provided high-quality answering services for many decades. We have partnered with doctors, electricians, plumbers, nurses, dentists, lawyers, and so many other professionals in San Jose, helping them handle phone calls and improve the level of customer service. Trusted by our clients, we're known for our cost-effective, innovative, and reliable solutions. Our client’s unique needs are our priority, meaning you'll receive services that are tailored to your business and specifications. Call us at 800-385-4656 to partner with us.