Part 1 — Contacting Customers
How many times have you sent an email to a business via their website’s “contact us” form and either received no response or received an automated reply that gave no indication of when you should expect a response?
Unfortunately, this lack of email response messaging is all too common. And in today’s competitive market, when consumers expect prompt attention, it’s simply a poor business practice. Just as customers expect to reach a live agent as quickly as possible when they call a business, they likewise expect that their email will be answered, and soon.
Email monitoring and responding is yet another way answering services are able to enhance a business’s quality of customer service. Agents can monitor email accounts 24/7, such as those linked to “contact us” or “FAQ” pages, and either forward them or respond to them based on the business owner’s instructions.
Likewise, if a website allows clients to fill out more detailed requests for service, the answering service staff can respond or redirect those emails according to priority level.
Read more on How Do Answering Services Help With Email Monitoring?...
Most business owners and managers have lots and lots of ideas and intentions but very little actual time in which to make anything happen. What are the things you most want to see happen in your business this year? Take a few minutes to think on your own or brainstorm with a few people in your company to pin down several ideas you’d love to have time to work on.
Would you like to:
- Improve marketing?
- Offer a better customer experience?
- Streamline productivity?
- Present a seminar?
- Develop better cash-flow?
- Extend your business day?
- Shorten your business day?
- Improve employee morale?
Choose the top two items that have the potential to make the most impact. Talk about what it would take to start to make them happen. The action plan might be very different depending on which item you decide to tackle. For example, if you want to boost your marketing it could be sitting down with a friend who’s had great success in that realm. Or if you need to improve your cash-flow you may want to call a professional you already do business with to see if he or she could provide any additional advice in accounting or planning.
Read more on To Grow Your Business, Do One Thing — The First Thing...
Are you part of a community or group that ever needs to send mass notifications to residents or group members? Do you currently waste time gathering email lists and struggling to get the word out about an important event or urgent alert in a timely manner? If so, Express Messaging may be the solution you’re looking for.
As we discussed in “Who Can Benefit From Express Messaging, And How?”, Express Messaging is ideal for any community group that wants to reach people in a timely fashion, using as little manpower as possible. Alerts are sent instantly online, benefitting towns and boroughs or municipalities, educational institutions, businesses, and groups such as retirement communities, to name just a few.
Express Messaging is incredibly efficient, and effective. So, what kind of results might you expect?
Predetermined distribution groups can be established, including bulk imports, and contact lists are easy to manage. Group members can sign up through an online portal, and can opt to receive messages using multiple means—text, voice, or email.
Read more on What Results Can I Expect From Express Messaging?...
In our last blog post, we explained how our answering service served as a modern-day town crier by providing automatic mass Express Messaging to residents during winter storm Jonas. The local borough that utilized the Express Messaging service was delighted by residents’ response to keeping key streets clear of parked cars for snow removal.
You might be surprised to know just how many other ways Express Messaging can service towns and boroughs. Automated mass messaging can be used for:
- Notifications of community events, such as a holiday parade, etc.
- Emergency evacuation because of a chemical spill or gas leak.
- Road closures, such as if a bridge is out, or if construction is detouring traffic.
- Notifications of water flushing to remind residents they may experience brown water.
- Notices to targeted groups or neighborhoods for leaf collection reminders.
But it’s not just municipalities that can benefit from Express Messaging. The mass notification system can be useful for any group that may need to reach people in a timely fashion, using as little manpower as possible. The service is ideal for:
Read more on Who Can Benefit From Express Messaging, And How?...
At Towne, we are continually showing people how our answering services can do a whole lot more than answer phones. And not only can we do much more than answer phones for small or large businesses, we can also serve entire towns and boroughs with our Express Message system. You might be surprised how useful this is to town managers and residents alike.
For example, when Winter Storm Jonas began to drop more than two feet of snow, a local borough manager used our Express Message system to send an alert to each resident.
The alert informed residents that a snow emergency had been declared, and reminded them that parking is not allowed on streets that are on the snow emergency route.
Residents have a choice of receiving the automated alert as a voice, text, or email message, and evidently the messages were received based on the outcome. “It was by far the best response we’ve ever had for a snow emergency,” the Borough Council President said afterwards. The snow removal teams noticed that cars normally parked on the key streets were gone, and the Borough Council President noted that it was a lot easier to plow those streets without cars parked on the side.
Read more on Can An Answering Service Be The Town Crier? You Bet!...
Take The Free Quiz
At Towne, new clients often tell us they had been thinking about hiring an answering service for a long time before they finally decided to reach out to us. They say they just weren’t sure if their business would really benefit from having an answering service, or that they were concerned they couldn’t really afford it.
Their reasons for needing an answering service always vary. Sometimes it’s because their business has been booming and their staff isn’t able to maintain the same level of customer service that led to their growth in the first place. Other times it’s because their phones just haven’t been ringing enough, and they know they’ve lost some customers because they just can’t respond to them quickly enough.
This is quite common, actually. A Consumer Reports National Research Center survey revealed that 75% of those polled said the most irritating customer service experience is when they “can’t get a live person on the phone” when they really needed to. A “long wait on hold” and “many phone-menu steps needed” both also ranked high at 66%.
Read more on Take This Quiz If You’re On The Fence About Hiring An Answering Service...
Some people may think that only large corporations hiring answering services, or business that need to rely on 24/7 customer support, such as doctors. But actually, any business owner who values their customers and relies on the phone to stay in touch with them benefits from professional answering services.
In fact, business large and small, across all industries, are finding that answering services provide an invaluable service in helping them work smarter rather than harder. And they’re not the only ones that benefit — their customers receive 24/7 prompt attention from friendly receptionists who act as extensions of the business and treat them as if they were their own customers.
Here are just a few of the industries that are improving their customer service — and therefore their customer loyalty — by using an answering service:
- Medical & Healthcare (doctors, home healthcare practitioners, veterinarians, etc.)
- Service Companies (HVAC contractors, plumbers, construction contractors)
- Property Management
Read more on Which Industries Use Live Answering Services?...
As our Daytime Supervisor Andrea Convey pointed out in the last blog post, we are changing the way people think about answering services. Long gone are the days of operators sitting by switchboards, manually patching calls and taking notes with pen and paper. And long gone are the days when those operators scrambled from call to call, answering with terse or robotic responses.
Whether you refer to answering services as just that, or call centers or virtual receptionists, the fact is that just as the names have grown to encompass more capabilities, so has the technology. Unfortunately, for those who haven’t yet worked with an answering service, myths and misperceptions are still around. But misperceptions keep you—not to mention your business practices—in the dark. Here are a few myths and misperceptions about answering services to behind you:
My Business Doesn’t Need One
As Andrea Convey pointed out, some people still think that answering services are only for businesses that must respond to 24/7 emergencies, such as doctors, home healthcare workers, property managers, or technicians in HVAC or air. Others think only big businesses or corporations use answering services. But nothing could be farther from the truth. Transportation companies, hair salons, craft breweries—you name it, any business can benefit from an answering service.
Read more on 3 Top Myths & Misperceptions About Answering Services...
Like the other professional receptionists at Towne Answering Service, Andrea Convey takes hundreds of calls each day in stride. She says, “Managing calls for our clients keeps me on my feet, and I enjoy the spontaneity that comes with the different clients we serve. One minute I may be talking to a patient calling their doctor’s office, and the next I may be helping someone book an appointment at a hair salon. It’s all important.”
The key, Convey believes, is understanding the preferences and priorities of each business, and treating all callers as if they are her own customers. “Our goal is to focus on one call at a time, delivering the best customer service each time, and to be diligent with any follow-up that’s needed,” she says. “It’s all about personalized attention.”
Read more on Let Us Introduce You To A Towne Receptionist...
True story! Several years ago a potential client called to ask about our services. He asked many of the same questions other new clients ask, such as how quickly we answer calls and how we manage various call volumes. But then he asked several questions about what our office looked like that just seemed like he was getting at something beyond how many receptionists we have and how advanced our technology is.
After answering all his questions and inviting him to tour our facilities, he finally let out a sigh of relief and told me why he wanted to know so much about what our office looked like. He had hired a virtual receptionist that turned out to be a woman who was running an answering service out of her home. When he asked her why she once again had failed to pick up an important call for his business, she told him she had been taking a pie out of her oven and couldn’t answer the phone.
Read more on Baking Pies And What Does That Have To Do With Virtual Receptionists?...