Working as an event planner means you must organize every possible detail to ensure that clients hold the event of their dreams. Whether it is an anniversary party, a wedding, or a corporate event, you handle a lot to ensure these events are successful.
One part of your business is communicating with different clients, vendors, and business professionals who can help make the event a success, from supplying the food for the event to providing the required stationery.
Keeping communication lines open can be overwhelming when you have multiple aspects of the business to handle. You can reduce the frustration that comes with the inability to do-it-all by hiring a call answering service. The Best Call Center operates nationwide and helps you with your customer service tasks, including receiving calls, taking messages from clients, and appointment management to help you run your business smoothly and affordably.
Importance of Customer Service for Event Planners
Working in the event management industry involves meeting the desires of your clients. You are helping them plan memorable events to mark important milestones in their life. You might also be working with corporate clients whose events must meet their goals, such as increasing engagement and meeting their marketing efforts without digging into their profits.
You must take care of your customer service to ensure that you plan the events to the customer's needs while ensuring that you are generating new clients to keep you in business. Bad customer service compromises your business and builds a negative reputation around your brand. While you could recover from negative customer service with hard work and time, the best approach is to have outstanding customer service right from the start.
Great customer service will mean your clients enjoy working with you. They feel respected and dignified by the care you show in the success of their business. Your customer service should give the impression that you are working for your clients' good, not because you have bills to pay. Here are some aspects that will enhance customer experience with your event planning business:
- You respond to calls promptly and help your clients solve their problems in one call
- You are upfront with your clients about what you can and cannot accomplish for them
- Follow-up with clients
- Promptly inform clients of changes that affect them to avoid inconveniences
The bottom line is that you have to create open and effective communication channels with your clients to ensure that you deliver according to or beyond their expectations and make an impression as a reliable and professional event planner.
Understanding Call Answering Services
Call statistics reveal that your customers still appreciate answered phone calls and a human touch. They do not want to leave a voicemail message but to speak directly and as fast as possible to a person who will help them solve the problem.
Few businesses can keep up with the demanding customer service tasks, especially small businesses, without a big budget. Such businesses have to either contact their customer service or hire an in-house receptionist to respond to calls during business hours.
Call answering service providers consist of virtual receptionists who help you maintain a great customer experience without feeling overwhelmed. They take charge of answering your calls and handling other customer care services as you delegate to them.
The best answering services dedicate their receptionists to one industry, giving your business an advantage since they can handle a bigger percentage of your calls successfully. Some of the benefits your business can derive from using an answering service include:
- You reduce the number of missed calls
- An answering service is cost-effective compared to hiring an in-house receptionist
- You enhance your business’ productivity since you and your employees can focus on income-generating activities to grow your business
Call answering services provide a wide range of services, including:
65% of customers prefer contacting a business via phone, and more than 75% prefer speaking to a customer service agent to help solve their problem. Therefore, call answering is an important element of your customer service. Your clients will not only want a response, but it should be fast and helpful.
Customers report a higher level of satisfaction if their problem is resolved within the first call. Most of these customers would rather hang up than leave a message if you direct them to voicemail. They might just choose to work with other businesses that value human-to-human communication and availability.
Call answering services allow you to respond to your existing and potential customers, vendors, and employees and resolve their problems. Answering services work towards achieving a higher first-call resolution rate for your business.
First-call resolution is a principle where a call agent solves a customer’s problem without the need for repeat calls. A high first-call resolution rate provides the following benefits:
- Higher customer retention
- Higher lead capture rates
- Positive brand recognition
- Reduction in wait-times
You can improve your First Call Resolution (FCR) statistics by:
- Understanding the common issues your customers have by analyzing the reasons for call forwarding and customer dissatisfaction on the first call. Ask for more information relevant to the problem so that you increase the chances of resolving it on the first call.
- Understand the factors that could contribute to low first call resolution statistics, including complicated scripts or outdated company policies.
- Analyzing customer contact behavior, which helps you anticipate their needs. For instance, you can create customer profiles such as customers who need baby showers, your clients’ age, and the reasons for the call. With such information, you can develop better ways of responding to their needs since you understand their needs and preferences.
- Use an answering service that incorporates progressive software with options such as automated tasks, comprehensive caller history, skill-based routing, agent dashboards, and metrics to help you track and improve performance.
- Provide clear information at all times. Confusing information will lead to repeat calls for the same issue until the customer receives clear information or gives up and contacts another business. Clear information should also be relevant to the customer’s query. Questions like "Have I fully answered your question?" can help you improve first-call resolution rates.
- Optimizing your support structure based on the common and contributing issues and customer behavior, you determined in the first two steps. You can achieve this by providing your call-answering agents with the resources and support to help answer your clients’ questions without forwarding basic requests.
- Use an answering service that provides total contact ownership where one agent follows a call from start to finish. Transferring customers across agents reduces the first-call resolution rates for your business and, consequently, customer satisfaction levels.
- Increase automation and self-service to help your clients receive necessary information such as business hours, locations, and account information. Automation will allow the answering service to focus on more complicated inquiries.
Customers who enjoy a positive experience with your brand are likely to spend more on your services and spread a positive message about your brand. Call answering for event planners will include the following services:
- Call screening to determine the needs of the clients and the proper response to provide
- Call forwarding in case the resolution requires your attention
- Message taking
Call scripts are important in maximizing the benefits you derive from using an answering service.
Call forwarding allows you to forward your calls to an answering service and vice versa. For instance, you could forward calls that come to your business after hours or at a meeting. This way, your clients will still obtain the information they require.
Your answering service could also forward a call that is urgent even if it is after-hours. Most answering services provide one or more of these call-forwarding types:
- All calls forwarding - All calls to your business are directed to an answering service. You can use all calls forwarding after hours to ensure that an answering service receives these calls on your behalf.
- Conditional call forwarding - Allows you to answer the call first before you can forward it. For instance, you can set conditional call forwarding to reroute the call after it rings four times without a response. This means that, if your business uses conditional call forwarding, you could receive the call. It also eliminates the need to use a voicemail.
- Busy call forwarding - Where calls are rerouted to the forwarding number is your phone is busy. For instance, if you are on the phone and another customer calls, he or she will be redirected to an answering service instead of getting the busy signal.
Different answering services provide different call forwarding features and procedures. Ensure that you choose one with a simple procedure to avoid frustrating yourself and the customer. You should also evaluate the forwarding options the answering service offers and whether they will work for your business.
Call recording is an essential business tool that can increase your profitability by enhancing your customer service. Not all calls need to be recorded, but you can record calls that involve:
- Legal conversations such as contracts and agreements
- Crucial business meetings with employees and clients
- Brainstorming sessions
- Important sales calls
- Important customer service calls
Call answering services will provide legal call recording to ensure that your business adheres to local and federal laws on call recording. Alternatively, most of them will inform the caller before recording a call.
Call recording presents several benefits other than having a reference for the conversations you have had. Some of these benefits include:
- You learn the common questions your customers have (this can help you come up with better customer service scripts and increase the resolution of client problems within the first call).
- Call recording will provide great insights into your customer satisfaction, and you will have the complaints and compliments which allow you to improve on what you should.
- Recorded calls will give you access to the information your agent could have missed during the call.
Call recording is one of those small things that can significantly impact your productivity and profitability. Ensure you take advantage of the service if your answering service provider offers it.
After-Hour Support (Emergency Response)
Emergencies can arise from either the business end or the customer's end, and your business has to be available to offer a way forward or resolve the issue. For instance, a last-minute change of plans or problems with vendors requires your business to communicate promptly and help its clients and employees.
Fast response, even during a crisis, will communicate your reliability to vendors and clients that work with your business. An answering service can help you respond to calls that come outside business hours, weekends, holidays, or in response to an emergency. These services will help you remain calm and in control of your communication lines even if you are not in the office.
Handling Call Overflows
Being an event planner means you will sometimes have a surge in calls and business. Responding to every one of these calls can overwhelm you and distract you from more productive activities. Call surges could tempt you to redirect others to voicemail and lose business in the process.
But if you are working with a call answering service, you have a better chance of responding to all the calls. Answering services have several virtual receptionists working on your calls, which enable them to handle as many calls as possible.
As an event planner, your work consists of scheduling appointments with clients, vendors, and employees to ensure that the events you are organizing progress according to plan. Scheduling these appointments can be overwhelming, even with the tools that help make it easier. The demand for your time might not allow effective appointment management.
Answering service providers offer appointment management services, which include activities such as:
- Calendar management which enables customers, vendors, and clients book appointments over the phone or through your website
- 24-hour access to allow clients and customers to book an appointment outside operating hours
- Communication to all the concerned parties about canceled and rescheduled appointments
Appointment management services also come with integrated tools to ensure that you and your team can access your calendar from your devices. Such integration makes it easier to work on important issues since your employees know what they need to do every day.
Answering services also provide additional services such as:
- Message taking and notification through email or text
- Bilingual support to break language barriers that could prevent your business from serving certain clients
- Returning calls
- Call screening
- Call patching
How to Use Data from an Answering Service
Call answering services provide you with reports that can help you squeeze the most of your answering service and improve your customer service. You should review these reports to eliminate the parts that are not working and use more of what is working. Answering services organize customer data for you; therefore, you can evaluate each component of the service and the impact on your return on investment (ROI).
Call result reports organize your call based on the nature of the call—for instance, inquiry calls and urgent calls. The call result report can help you fine-tune your call answering script to ensure that it covers your customers' needs while providing you with the information you need to serve your customers better.
Your call result report will also tell you the duration of calls. For instance, if calls last too long, and the ROI remains low, you can adjust your script to a shorter time. Too short calls that do not affect your ROI could also point to the need to increase the details in your script. You can also compare the call results for different periods to determine the industry trends that you might not have been aware of.
The call by hour report will show you the peak hours when most of your clients interact with you. This report will include the people who call you during and after business hours. With such information, you can make adjustments. For instance, if your business receives more calls after hours, it could mean that people are not clear on your business hours.
Improving the Effectiveness of a Call Answering Service
While answering services help you improve your customer service and satisfaction, you have a significant role in ensuring that you set the standards to achieve the best results. You need to understand some of the most common mistakes people make when hiring or working with an answering service. Common errors include:
Setting procedures that are too complicated: customers care about the speed it takes to solve their problem. Therefore, it has to be easy and fast. For instance, you have to understand the common reasons why your customers call and provide these options. For instance, asking confidential information on the first call will likely result in a dissatisfied customer.
You can avoid this mistake by creating a better script using these tips:
- Start with a clear greeting that includes a direct question like "thank you for calling Happy Wedding Planners. Are you calling to book a consultation?”
- Include simple questions that your clients can answer over the phone, such as the first name, phone number, and reason for the call, email, the best time the customer would like an appointment, and how the person heard of your business.
- Create a system to receive messages, for instance, through email or text
- Respond to these messages as soon as you can, typically within a day, and take the necessary action
- Update your script often as your business needs evolve
Another way to simplify your call answering protocol is by creating several answering paths based on the most common reasons people call your business. You can have one path covering these reasons, such as scheduling appointments and requesting business information. You can use another path for calls that do not fit most of your caller’s needs.
Businesses also make the mistake of using too simple a script, and they end up having to do a lot of work. For instance, you should provide your answering service with your appointment calendar if you need them to schedule appointments. That way, you will avoid having to schedule these appointments yourself.
Your business could also be making the mistake of having too many or too few questions that customers frequently ask. Too many questions will give your operators a difficult time and waste the time they could be serving other clients.
Too many questions are frustrating for your customers who want their problems solved quickly, while too few questions leave them dissatisfied. You can strike a balance by including basic questions such as:
- Your business hours
- Your location
- Whether you are based online or have a storefront
- Your contact information
- Your services and the prices
- Your after-hours availability
Failing to inform customers that you are using an answering service: familiarity is one factor that keeps customers working with your business. Being transparent about the use of an answering service for your business will enhance your reliability. Let your customers know that they have reached an answering service connected to your business.
Find a Call Answering Services for Event Planners Near Me
Outsourcing your customer service is a crucial decision for your event planning business and could significantly improve your ROI. Using a call answering service could increase your customer satisfaction and help your business grow since you can focus on other productivity tasks.
Hiring a virtual receptionist is a commitment that your business should take seriously. Also, you want to be sure that the call answering service you choose will improve your customer service, not decrease sales from your business.
The Best Call Center is a call answering service composed of professional virtual assistants and live chat specialists with in-depth hospitality industry knowledge. We help event planners improve customer service by reducing the number of missed calls, improving first call resolution rates, and enhanced customer satisfaction.
We are available 24/7 nationwide to ensure that your customers are attended, even when you sleep. You want to choose the combination that works best for your business needs. Contact us today at 800-385-4656 for a consult.