What is a live answering service?
A live phone answering service is when a real person answers your missed call, rather than it diverting to an answering machine. This ensures that companies or individuals never miss a call or business opportunity again. A live answering service, depending on your provider, is available 24/7, meaning that your clients always have a point of contact with your business during periods of full capacity or business closure. In this way, a live answering service helps businesses of any size manage their calls more efficiently.
Setting up a live answering is simple. You are provided with a local number to divert your phones to. Depending on the provider, clients can manually turn this on and off, or automate the time of day they want their phone system to divert to the live answering service.
The integration of a live answering service means that calls can be answered using a tailored script customised to your business. The call-centre agents record the details from the call and relay the message to you immediately. These messages can be delivered via any array of channels including SMS, e-mail, telephone call or your client portal. At TMC we value flexibility – meaning that we can create a customised solution suited to your requirements.
Live answering providers, such as TMC, will send you call reports at agreed intervals, so you have an organised way to monitor who’s been in touch. Businesses can also take advantage of their Client Portal. Here you can access your call history and Business Intelligence (BI) reports to analyse the types, origin and time of your calls. We can even record your calls and make them available to you for your own quality assurance needs.
The service is tailored to your individual business requirements. For example, the agents answer your calls using a customised script tailored to your business. The customer service agents can also relay information to your clients. For instance, some clients have created an FAQ list with frequently asked questions that the call-centre agents can provide to the caller. Alternatively, the call-centre agents can relay basic information from the call to you, escalate urgent messages or transfer the call to the appropriate department. Live answering service providers consult with you to develop a custom script that the customer service operators can follow. That way, the call-centre agents answer, greet and communicate with your clients just like you do!
How can a live answering service help small businesses?
Cost Control with Scalability
One of the main drivers of live answering for small businesses is cost control with scalability. A live answering service helps to reduce the inherent costs associated with infrastructure, maintenance, hiring and training. Cutting and controlling these costs allows allocation of funds to other parts of the business essential to success. Small businesses no longer need to hire, train or pay for a full-time receptionist. Instead, small businesses can engage a live-answering provider for a fraction of the cost. This has allowed many businesses to leverage their cost savings and invest in other areas to facilitate expansion and growth.
In addition, a live answering service provides greater flexibility to small businesses. A live answering service is often available 24/7, meaning that your clients always have a point of contact with your business during periods of full capacity or business closure. This means that your customer support process can extend far beyond the traditional 9-5pm business trading hours. With the right workflow and triage rules applied, this is a powerful addition to any customer service business.
Improved Company Focus
Furthermore, a live answering service can improve an organisation’s company focus. Employees can be more efficient when they are not consumed by day-to-day processing and administration activities. A live answering service or outsourcing partner can alleviate the burden of administrative tasks. The call-centre agents can take a message and relay them to your staff, allowing businesses to focus on their core objectives and tasks at hand.
Access to Quality Resources
With a live answering service, businesses can gain access to quality resources that are not available internally. The allocation of resources and the deployment of trained specialists require significant investment which can often exceed the anticipated cost. Our experience has shown that many small businesses often turn to outsourcing as a value-add solution which allows them to ‘act big’, contain costs, scale as needed, and compete with their larger competitors. We find the appropriate staff for you and train them according to your specifications. Therefore, allowing your business to gain access to quality resources that may not be available internally.
Improved Customer Satisfaction
In addition, live answering services are renowned for enhancing customer satisfaction and bolstering one’s customer service reputation. From a customer perspective, it can be frustrating when the company or individual you are trying to call never answers. With a live answering service, it guarantees that your clients always have a point of contact to speak to. The agents can relay important information to the callers or take a message for you, ensuring that you have the necessary information needed to call back your clients. This can be a strong asset to any business.
Instead of employing a full-time receptionist that might not be always used, it is cheaper to engage a live answering service. By removing departments from your business and capitalising on a usage-based pricing system, your fixed costs can be converted into variable costs. In doing so, a live answering service can help reduce the inherent costs associated with hiring and training. Cutting and controlling these costs allows for the allocation of these funds to other areas of the business essential to success.
Ultimately, a live answering service can increase business process efficiency when partnered with the right outsourcing provider. The culmination of these factors can result in higher productivity and overall opportunity for growth.