Features to look for in a Telephone Answering Service
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The growth of a business often means a rise in the influx of calls, which can be a demanding task to manage. Particularly when you’re juggling a multitude of other responsibilities that are crucial to smooth running of your business. It’s in these scenarios that a telephone answering service, such as the one provided by Connect, becomes invaluable.
In the following article we list the main factors and key features to consider when selecting a telephone answering service provider.
Table of Contents:
Professional Virtual Receptionists
At the heart of any telephone answering service provider, is the quality of its operators, their ability to handle calls professionally, and to follow the client’s requirements correctly. First impressions count, and how a call is managed can set the tone for a customer’s entire experience with your business.
When considering Connect’s call answering service, for instance, you’ll find our professional call handlers are trained to provide a seamless customer experience. They answer calls using your company name or preferred greeting and can manage various tasks such as taking messages, transferring calls, and managing diary appointments.
Every call you receive is an opportunity – whether it’s a prospective customer making an initial enquiry, an existing customer seeking support, or a supplier handling a key order. That’s why the cornerstone of any reputable phone answering service is professional call handling.
Here’s what this entails with Connect’s answering service:
- Trained Operators: Connect’s call handlers are more than just operators; they’re the first point of contact for your callers, your Virtual Receptionist. Our team is extensively trained to handle inbound calls with the utmost professionalism, ensuring that your callers always have a positive impression of your business.
- Quality Assurance: To ensure consistently high standards, all calls handled by Connect are monitored for quality assurance. This helps us ensure that each caller receives the highest level of service, increase customer satisfaction, reduce customer complaints and enables us to continuously refine and improve our call handling processes.
- Personalised Scripts: A key aspect of good virtual receptionist, is personalisation. At Connect, we use customised scripts for each client we serve, making sure that each call is handled in a way that aligns perfectly with your company’s tone and ethos.
- Message Taking: When taking messages, our team ensures that all the necessary information is captured accurately. These details are then forwarded to the relevant person within your organisation promptly and securely.
- Managing Different Call Types: Whether it’s handling enquiries, appointment setting, or transferring calls, Connect’s operators are trained to manage various types of calls efficiently and professionally.
- Eliminating Sales Calls: One of the more common disruptions small businesses face are unnecessary sales, spam and other unsolicited calls, which can often eat into valuable work time.
At Connect, we alleviate this issue for you. Our trained operators are skilled at differentiating between genuine customer calls and uninvited sales calls. Through careful filtering, we ensure that you only receive the calls that matter, minimizing interruptions and helping your team focus on what’s most important.
Connect’s answering services ensure a seamless extension of your business, project a professional image and always look to provide excellent customer service to all callers.
Every business is unique, and so your telephone answering service should be able to accommodate your specific needs. For example, you might need an answering service to handle calls during your peak hours, or perhaps you’re seeking a full-time virtual receptionist.
With Connect’s call answering services, you can tailor the service to suit your business’s unique requirements, ensuring you get the most from your investment.
One size definitely doesn’t fit all and it’s best to go for a service that, within reason, can be tailored to your needs.
Here’s how Connect’s customised call answering service makes a difference:
- Personalised Call Scripts: Connect’s live phone answering service lets you define how each call is handled. Whether you want specific information to be gathered, or callers to be transferred to certain individuals, or messages to be relayed via specific mediums, the power is in your hands.
- Dynamic Status Updates: Our service allows for real-time status updates. This feature enables your designated answering team to know your availability instantly. So if you’re in a meeting, on holiday, or out of the office, they can handle your calls accordingly.
- Custom Scripts: Every client has its unique language and tone. Connect’s telephone answering service includes the use of custom scripts, ensuring your business maintains its identity during each call interaction. Your company’s ethos, tone, and key messages can be infused into every conversation.
- Flexible Packages: Our call answering services are adaptable to your company’s size and call volume. Whether you’re a start-up expecting a handful of calls daily, or a larger entity with hundreds of callers, our flexible packages can be tailored to your needs.
Overall, the power of customisation offered by Connect’s call answering service not only ensures a smoother interaction for your callers, but it also contributes to reinforcing your brand’s identity and meeting your specific needs.
It’s like having your in-house receptionist, but with greater flexibility and scalability.
Dedicated Business Phone Number
Telephone answering services aren’t just about handling incoming calls; it’s also about projecting a professional image to your clients and prospects. One significant feature that accomplishes this is the provision of a dedicated phone number.
Having a dedicated business phone number, running alongside your call answering service, not only enhances your professional image but also ensures that your business communications are efficiently managed.
Connect, along with most other providers, will allocate a unique telephone number dedicated to you. Choose either a local (01,02 etc) or national (033) number, depending on your preferences, and that becomes the single point of contact for your customers, making it easier for them to reach you.
Why having a dedicated business phone number is crucial:
- Brand Consistency: A dedicated business phone number aligns with your brand identity. It’s consistent, reliable, and easy for your clients to remember. This consistency increases the recognisability of your brand and fosters a sense of trust and reliability among your clients.
- Local Presence: With Connect’s call answering service, you have the option to select a local, national, or even an international number. These are commonly known as virtual numbers as they exist in the cloud and are also highly programmable. This flexibility allows you to establish a local presence even if your team is located elsewhere, or project a national or international presence to attract a wider range of customers.
- Ease of Portability: Should you decide to relocate office, there’s no need to change your number. Your dedicated number stays the same regardless of your geographical location, ensuring continuity and customer accessibility.
- Increased Privacy: A dedicated business number keeps your personal number private. This separation ensures your business calls are kept separate from personal calls, allowing for better work-life balance and professionalism.
- Flexibility in Handling Calls: Your dedicated number can be directed to any line you choose – be it your office, home, or mobile. You also don’t need to advise us of from where or when you are diverting, as calls will always be answered in your company name.
Although sometimes, it can be advisable to make your virtual reception team aware of any unusual reasons for diverting so that we can handle any questions better.
In essence, a dedicated business phone number not only provides an additional level of professionalism but also offers flexibility and privacy, ensuring your business is always connected and accessible to your customers.
Access to Detailed Call Data and Analytics
Data is king. Having access to detailed call data and analytics can be instrumental in helping you make informed business decisions. Your business call patterns and volumes offer a wealth of insight. By recognising these trends, you can adjust your staffing strategy or pinpoint optimal timings for launching promotional campaigns.
With the thorough call data and analytics delivered by the dedicated team at Connect, you’re in a prime position to harness this valuable information, empowering you to fine-tune your business functions.
- Call Volume Data: This key metric tells you the number of callers we’ve handled during different periods. By identifying peak times and quieter periods, you can allocate resources more effectively, ensuring optimum service at all times.
- Call Duration: Understanding the average duration of calls can provide insights into your team’s efficiency and the complexity of issues that your customers are experiencing.
- Missed Calls: Tracking the number of missed calls is critical. A missed call could be a missed opportunity or a customer issue left unresolved. By monitoring this, you can optimise your call handling setup to minimise missed calls.
- Caller Information: Caller ID, geographic data, and other caller information can offer a better understanding of your customer base and allow for personalised customer service.
- First Call Resolution: This valuable metric shows how often customer issues are resolved on the first call. A high first call resolution rate is an indicator of effective service, and tracking this can help maintain high service standards.
The analytics offered by Connect’s call answering service go beyond simple call tracking as they can provide new insights into the flow of your calls. Data that can then be analysed and used to enhance your business, from bolstering customer service to boosting operational effectiveness.
Out-of-Hours Call Answering Service
While Connect’s live phone answering service may not be 24/7, we understand that not all businesses operate strictly within our standard 8am to 6pm window. That’s why our out-of-hours service ensures that your customers can leave a message any time, and these messages will be forwarded to you immediately on close of call via email.
At Connect, our automated out-of-hours call answering services can be tailored to fit around your business, ensuring that you never miss an important call even when your business is closed.
- Message Taking: Our system is programmed to efficiently take messages from your callers. Each message is then relayed to you through your preferred method, such as email or text, ensuring you never miss important information from a customer.
- Call Forwarding: For urgent matters, the service can forward calls to a designated number. This ensures that critical calls are addressed promptly, even outside of normal working hours.
- Automated Responses: Depending on your requirements, our system can provide automated responses to common queries. These could include details about your business hours, location, or answers to frequently asked questions.
- Scheduling: Through our easy to use online portal, you can easily schedule the automated service to kick in exactly when you need it to, be it after normal working hours, on weekends, or during holidays.
- Consistent Professionalism: While it may be an automated system, the out-of-hours service maintains the same level of professionalism your customers expect during your normal business hours. Designed to be user-friendly and efficient, our systems ensure a positive interaction for your customers.
This automated system is a pivotal component of Connect’s answering services, designed to provide consistent, professional handling of your calls outside of our live answering hours. It guarantees that your business remains responsive and reliable, regardless of the time of day.
The demands on your business can fluctuate – during peak seasons, promotional campaigns, or as your business expands. Telephone answering services needs to keep pace.
One of the standout features of Connect’s call answering service is its scalability. As your company grows, the service can be adjusted to handle an increase in call volumes, and likewise, during slower periods, it can be scaled back. This flexibility ensures you’re only ever paying for what you need.
What does scalability mean in the context of a good answering service?
- Flexible Call Volume Handling: Connect’s answering service can efficiently manage varying call volumes. Whether it’s the holiday season rush, a promotional campaign bringing in a flood of calls, or a typical workday, Connect is equipped to handle your needs. When the number of callers go up, the service scales up, ensuring no call is left unanswered. And during quieter periods, it can be scaled back so that you’re not overpaying for unused services.
- Support Business Growth: Connect’s service doesn’t just adapt to your present needs, but also aligns with your future growth trajectory. As your business expands, the service can seamlessly scale up to handle an increase call volumes. You won’t need to invest time or resources in seeking another solution because Connect is ready to grow with you.
- Cost Efficiency: One of the most significant advantages of scalability is cost-effectiveness. You only pay for what you use, avoiding the expense of a one-size-fits-all solution that may be underutilised during slower periods. You can adjust your service level as needed, ensuring your telephone answering service is both efficient and economical.
In essence, Connect’s scalable solutions offer a custom-fit service that adjusts to your business’s dynamic needs, ensuring efficiency, supporting growth, and optimising costs. It’s this adaptability that makes Connect a smart choice for businesses of all sizes.
Excellent Customer Support
Even the best systems can come up against challenges and surprises, and when they do, you need to be sure that help is at hand. As a standout call answering service we offer excellent customer support.
At Connect, we pride ourselves on our responsive and helpful customer service team. Whether you need help setting up the service, have a question, or encounter a technical issue, our team is ready to help make sure your telephone answering service runs smoothly.
- Responsive Team: We understand the importance of prompt response times. If you do need to contact us then our team will work to quickly address any problems, questions or concerns to try and to minimise any disruption to your service.
- Expert Assistance: Our customer support team comprises experienced professionals who are well-versed in our system. They can provide guidance, resolve issues, and help you make the most of your phone answering services.
- Proactive Problem Solving: We don’t just wait for issues to arise, we constantly monitor our systems and processes for potential issues so that we can try to resolve any issues before they strike.
- Straightforward Guidance: Whether you’re setting up your service or adjusting your settings, our team aim to provide clear, easy-to-understand help. This ensures you feel confident in managing your telephone answering service.
By offering excellent customer support, Connect’s phone answering services help to ensure your business’s communication system runs smoothly and efficiently.
Value for Money
Investing in the right answering service for your business should bring a return on investment. Consider how much time you’ll save and the potential new business gained from not missing phone calls.
Connect’s call answering service provides an affordable, cost effective, flexible solution that brings real value to your business.
- Time Efficiency: One of the greatest benefits of a service like Connect’s is the time it saves you and your team. Rather than the sometimes constant distraction of a ringing phone, you can focus on what you do best: running your business. This increased productivity and efficiency can be a significant financial benefit, “time is money” as they say!
- Enhanced Customer Experience: Providing a professional, efficient customer service can translate into improved customer retention and increased sales. Happy customers are more likely to repeat business and refer others, contributing to your revenue.
- Lost Opportunity Costs: Consider the potential business lost when a call goes unanswered. Each of those calls could be a potential customer or client. By ensuring all calls are answered professionally and promptly with Connect’s service, you maximise your opportunities for new business.
- Scalable Pricing: Connect’s call answering services offer scalable solutions, allowing you to adjust your service level in line with your business demand. This means you only pay for what you need, ensuring cost-effective use of resources and no hidden fees.
- Decreased Overhead Costs: Having an in-house team to handle your calls can be costly, considering salaries, training, and office space. With Connect’s service, these overhead costs can be significantly reduced.
Investing in Connect’s telephone answering service isn’t merely an expense—it’s an investment towards greater efficiency, excellent customer service, and ultimately, increased profitability. This holistic view of value for money ensures that your decision brings real, tangible benefits to your business.
When it comes to choosing the right telephone answering service provider for your business, it’s about more than just answering calls; it’s about enhancing your customer service, improving efficiency, and allowing growth.
By considering features such as professional call handling, customisation, scalability, and technological innovation, you can be confident in your choice. With Connect’s telephone answering service, these features come as standard, providing a robust and reliable solution to your business’s call handling needs.
Remember, the right telephone answering service isn’t a cost; it’s an investment in your business’s future.