If you need call answering services, then you cannot depend on a machine to perform the work for you, especially if you have emergency calls that must be answered too. Any telephone calls managed and routed today need to be handled so they are professionally answered and responded to immediately. Even if the call is not of an emergency nature, it still needs to receive this kind of attention.
We live in a world that is never totally asleep. Companies today, both large and small, must be prepared to receive telephone business calls both day and night. This is especially true if a company offers specific information or important support services. Whether you own a company that works with informational products or manufactured goods, you need a telephone answering service that gives the impression that calls are handled in-house.
When you rely on a third party for call management services, you are making sure that your calls are not only answered, but that they are handled professionally. Services supply rapid responses to consumer enquiries, emergency callers and shipment requests. Businesses that can take advantage of live telephone answering include:
- Emergency info services
- Manufacturing support services
- Health services
- Property management services
- Lift services
- Onshore and offshore gas and oil support
- Legal services or solicitors
- Traffic control and road maintenance
Out-of-Hours Call Management
Out-of-hours call management is designed to meet certain business needs regarding products or services. When a contact phones your company, the answering service uses call centre technology to recognise your business number.
The receptionist or operator greets the customer using your business name and desired greeting. The operator then proceeds by either taking a message, forwarding the caller’s enquiry or call to the proper employee, or contacting the staff member who can assist the customer outside of regular business hours. The call handling that is managed by phone answering services is also designed to cover e-mail, pager and fax services, all of which efficiently help a business to communicate optimally.
Smooth Support Services
Providing successful professional support for telephone calls requires a number of skills. Call centre operators must not only possess technical knowledge, but also be well-versed in customer relations, thereby meeting client demands professionally and effectively. A smooth support experience is based on the way calls are managed and a caller’s first impression.
Some operators use a script that they follow for specific companies. The whole idea is to provide an environment over the phone that is welcoming and comfortable. Customers should feel encouraged to ask questions and leave their names and numbers. Within just the first moments of a conversation, the customer is able to sense how the call will proceed. The support operator should convey a caring and friendly phone demeanour.
The Moderators of Business Calls
Call centre operators at telephone answering companies are the moderators of calls. Therefore, it is essential that they recognise where they are in the call framework, from the moment they open a call to the ending of the call or resolution of a problem. They should be aware of how long it takes them to open and close a call, so they can figure out how much time may be needed for troubleshooting activities.
It Pays to Know How to Listen
Call centre operators must also be good listeners. It is up to them to resist certain distractions and focus on the customer’s needs. Even if they know what customers may be saying and may want to intervene, they should let them finish what they want to say. Active listening is an art – an art that involves knowing what customers are trying to say, and what they are not saying. Professional operators can find cues in a customer’s tone of voice. The tone that is being conveyed can tell an operator a lot about a customer, thereby making an answering service operator a form of support that gives a company an edge in the marketplace.
No Dead Air Time
Professional telephone operators are interested in the customers that are calling and the issues they are addressing. They maintain a conversation whilst investigating an issue, or try to direct the call to another party. They often explain what they are doing in order to resolve an issue or why they are doing it. If a customer does not understand a term, they are more than happy to explain it. They make sure the customer is always apprised of what they are doing during the call.
In many instances, customers will call to vent. They will become even more frustrated if they reach a phone answering device. A professional operator then can act as a mediator if an issue has caused some concern for one of your customers. Operators in the trade do not take any venting personally. They avoid absorbing the customer’s frustration.
Empathy is a strong suit of telephone operators. When this quality is employed, customers feel more assured that an issue will be resolved or their call will be returned. Telephone operators, when using empathy and professionalism, can help your organisation excel in terms of reputation and credibility.
The hallmark of a professional telephone answering service is that it employs operators who are both calm and poised. Any frustration on the job can be dealt with more easily when this approach is used. All these skills come into play when operators place themselves in the customer’s shoes.
The greeting that is extended is essential. This is the speed or the time it takes for the operator to answer a call. In most cases, a phone that rings more than three times is too long of a ring. If the caller has to wait this long, normally boredom sets in. Of course, if the call is answered too quickly, an operator may startle the customer. Usually, finding a middle ground is about right. Picking up the call after the first ring and just before the second is preferred.
A simple greeting is better than a longer drawn-out greeting too. For example, it is better to say, ‘The Carson Company, this is Jill, may I help you?’ You don’t want to say, ‘This is the Carson Company, this is Jill speaking. How may I help you?’ Saying ‘This is Jill speaking’ is superfluous. Obviously, leaving that part out is a better approach. The tone of voice and the rate of speech are also essential. Operators should not speak too slowly or too quickly. Again, finding a middle ground is a better approach.