What separates industry-leading businesses from their competitors? Is it the cost and quality of their offerings, or is it the effectiveness of their marketing and advertising that allows them to pull ahead of the pack? Perhaps, it’s none of the above.
According to a research report from Walker, customer experience might soon become the only real differentiator in today’s increasingly crowded operating environment. With new products and services hitting the markets faster than ever before, businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to create the kind of brand loyalty that they once took for granted. As a result, any company that actually manages to make its customer interactions feel unique and personal has the ability to build highly profitable purchasing relationships that can withstand even the stiffest competition.
Defining a Quality Customer Experience
So what’s the key to outstanding customer service? In a customer experience survey conducted by Interactive Intelligence Group, the majority of respondents indicated that the most important quality in a business interaction was responsiveness. While efficiency, professionalism and complaint resolution all ranked highly, it was the speed of service that really defined customers’ impressions of a brand, and it seems like the business world is sitting up and taking notice.
In 2013, IBM’s CEO issued a company-wide memo criticising the lack of urgency displayed by the organisation’s employees when responding to customers and prospects. Based on these deficiencies she implemented a new policy which required IBM personnel to answer all client requests within a 24-hour period. IBM wasn’t the only major corporation focusing on responsiveness; global business consultancy .KLM instituted a similar policy encouraging employees to respond to all feedback within 48 hours, the result was an 11 point increase in the company’s customer loyalty index. According to the Harvard Business Review, companies that are able to talk to customers within an hour of initial contact are 7 times more likely to have meaningful discussions with key decision-makers compared to businesses that choose to respond just an hour later.
Based on these statistics, it seems clear that the ability to communicate with customers in a timely manner is integral to the long-term success of your business.
Responsiveness Isn’t Easy
Delivering high-quality customer experiences usually means hiring dedicated staff members that have the experience and expertise to deal with inquiries as they arise. After recruitment, these employees generally also need to be trained to ensure that they’re able to meet your client’s specific needs. If you’re expecting high call volumes, then you may even need to invest in additional digital infrastructure that can support the new service staff. Of course, small to medium sized businesses can find it extremely difficult to fulfil all of these objectives within their limited budgets. Which begs the question, how do you create a culture of responsiveness without dedicating all your spare resources to the task?
How Outsourced Telephone Answering Services Can Help
Telephone Answering services offer a reliable, affordable way to improve your client communications without the need for massive recruitment. These businesses bring together a team of experienced phone agents that can provide support in a range of key customer service areas. As remote communications capabilities have improved over recent years, telephone answering services have become a mainstay in a number of industries.
- Aesthetics practices use virtual receptionists to improve their accessibility and availability managing their diaries to make sure every enquiry is addressed and booked into a treatment.
- Trade workers such as builders, plumbers and other technicians rely on telephone answering services to provide real-time updates on scheduling changes and new jobs.
- Sales representatives use answering services to gather leads while they focus on existing clients and qualified prospects.
New business owners use virtual receptionists as an alternative to full-time secretaries. These remote workers serve as an initial point of communications for all new clients.
Larger companies train remote customer service staff to handle routine customer inquiries in order to reduce call volumes at their offices.
Is it Time to Work with a Telephone Answering Service?
Whether you’re augmenting your existing customer service capabilities or you’re simply looking to implement more human message forwarding system, remote telephone answering agents can match up to your needs.
- If you’re constantly missing important calls.
- Struggling to deal with rising call volumes.
- Receiving a high volume of messages during non-working/busy hours.
- Struggling to respond to missed calls in a timely manner.
- Losing productivity due to a high backlog of previous calls.
Then you could certainly benefit from working with a reputable telephone answering service.
The Benefits of Telephone Answering Services
Focus on Your Core Competencies
As a business owner you have to wear multiple hats. On any given day you might have to prepare financial reports, negotiate with suppliers, and handle staffing issues. Inevitably, all of these activities take you away from your main objective, growing your business. While answering phone calls can certainly help you achieve that goal, most of the time you will find yourself fielding routine calls that lead to nothing more than frustration. That’s vital time that could be spent nurturing leads and acquiring new business.
Instead of wasting away hours every week, you can simply hand them over to a highly qualified answering service that can take these time-consuming responsibilities off your shoulders. So you can put the bulk of your efforts into tasks that will actually bring value to your business.
Every unanswered called represents a potential sales opportunity gone begging. https://www.windsor-telecom.co.uk/resource/blog/18-powerful-statistics/that 85% of customers who don’t receive an answer on the first call are unlikely to ever call your business again, while 70% of callers also neglect to leave voice messages that would allow you to follow-up on leads. For smaller businesses, every call that fails to convert represents another client that goes to a competitor instead.
With a full-time telephone answering service on your side you now have the ability to field calls throughout the business day and beyond. Professional agents can take over all inbound communications and filter out high priority callers that are interested in purchasing your products and services. With a steady stream of qualified leads coming your way, you have a far greater chance of meeting sales and profit targets. Customer service might be an administrative function but the impact on your ROI is very real.
Streamlining costs Is a driving concern for any small business. With so much competition around, you have to find profits in the smallest of margins, and extra employees can cut into those margins significantly. In the UK, the average full-time receptionist draws an average yearly salary of £21,888 plus benefits and paid time off. If you run a seasonal business with variable call volumes then you might find these permanent staff members to be completely unoccupied for a large portion of the year.
By comparison our more comprehensive telephone answering package will cost you around £345.00 a month, for experienced, UK-based receptionists that are available whenever you need them. That’s thousands of pounds in extra savings that can be re-invested into servicing more pressing areas of the business.
More Personal Customer Service
We’ve already explained how much importance customers place on authentic brand interactions. If you trust your customer service to an automated voice recording then you’re failing to deliver on this promise. In fact, an IVR menu can have the exact opposite effect. When a customer calls in with an urgent complaint the last thing they want is to spend valuable minutes navigating through a complex series of push-button options. A survey funded by customer service group Interactions, found that out of 1,321 respondents only 3% actually enjoyed using automated phone menus, and only 10% came away from their interaction with a positive impression of the business.
Meanwhile, a staggering 90% of respondents indicated that they prefer to speak to live agents regardless of the circumstances. Telephone answering services ensure that whenever customers decide to call in, they’re met with knowledgeable, professional representatives that can either resolve their issues or forward them to someone who can. Our remote agents are also more than willing to cater to your specific requirements; whether you would like to offer certain scripted responses to customers or you want to direct them towards specific products and services, we can accommodate.
Experience and Expertise
At Telephone Answering, our UK-based phone agents have years of experience providing front line and support in a number of industries. By deciding to work with us, you can add their knowledge and proven expertise to your own business, at a fraction of the cost. When your customers call in, they can always be assured or professional, polite service that more than matches up to their expectations. Ultimately, our job is to ensure that your business is represented in the best possible manner at all times.
Effective Appointment Scheduling
Most customers dread the time-consuming appointment setting process. First, you have to ensure that you have pushed the right buttons to get the correct department, then you have to put up with interminable hold times as you try to connect with a representative that can help you, finally you have to find an open time slot that fits your schedule.
A dedicated answering service can deliver on the kind of efficiency customers demand. Our agents can field calls as they come in, and organise timings to ensure quicker, more accessible appointment booking for your clients. This gives you a clear advantage over the competition.
It’s not just customer experience either. Ineffective appointment booking can have a significant impact on your expenses as well. A single missed appointment can cost up to £90 per customer. At that rate, if just 13% of customers fail to show up due to disorganised appointment booking then you could be looking at additional monthly losses of £24,000. A telephone answering service can take over scheduling and cancellations for your clients, so that you can ensure your productivity across the entire workday.
The last thing you want is to book two important client meetings at the same time. But when you’re dealing with burden of managing and organising your work calendar on your own, these mistakes can easily happen. Now only does this hurt your business’s reputation, it also means that you miss out on sales opportunities as you’re forced to cancel or re-schedule important client meetings. Our professional agents can take charge of your work calendar and ensure that all clients are booked for appropriate time slots according to their importance. We can also arrange these appointments around other planned activities such as overseas visits or vacations. In this way, you can always be assured that you have the time and focus to deal with high-calibre clients.
Outsourced Telephone Answering Services
At Telephone-Answering.Biz our virtual receptionists will help you create an authentic, high-quality front-line customer experience. With our agents on the line you will be sure to never miss a critical call or high-value lead, ever again. All of our representatives are based in the UK, and they are more than familiar with what the requirements of the local market. Our services are quick to implement and easily integrated with your existing customer support departments. To find out more about how we can help your business, contact us today.