Travel Industry: Creating a Stress-Free Trip

Travel Industry: Creating a Stress-Free

As more and more businesses look to call centers to handle their customer service needs, most people dread contacting businesses for assistance. The fear of not understanding the agent who answers, being repeatedly transferred or even worse, not having their issue solved or concern properly addressed.

In any industry, one stressful experience can tarnish the customer’s view of your business indefinitely. Selecting an answering service to manage your travel industry business’s needs based on cost could save you money in the meantime, but what about in the long run?

When a potential guest calls about booking an upcoming trip or a returning guest contacts your team to plan another trip, an excellent customer experience can seal the deal and get that guest talking about your brand to people they know.

Increase Retention by Giving Customers What They Want

Your guests want their questions to be answered with no guesswork on their end. For guests who have simple questions about their upcoming trip or a trip they are still planning, this can be extremely frustrating and even make them consider cancelling their trip altogether.

Something as simple as directing your calls to a premium answering service can do wonders for retention, keeping customers happy and moving their calls toward an end goal of satisfaction instead of increased frustration.

Better Understanding of Your Services

A professional answering service aims to solve customer problems, increase bookings, minimize refunds and build trust with your guests because in the end, the goal should be to make the experience positive so the customer is beyond excited about their upcoming trip.

In order to achieve these goals, an answering service will be extremely focused on learning everything about the inner workings of your business. This takes time, research, and so much more. In the travel industry, understanding the amenities offered at your resort means more personalized attention where the representative can offer suggestions to the caller about daily activities, spa packages and more.

This also provides an excellent opportunity for additional sales including airport transfers, tour bookings, spa services, golf outings, etc.

A stronger understanding of your travel industry business means that your customer will feel like they are speaking to you rather than talking to a third party. And this translates into better service for your customer no matter what they are calling about.

Contact Responsive Answering Service today to discuss how we can help push your travel industry business towards continued success through quality call experiences for your customers.

Responsive Answering Service: Winner of 3 Awards of Excellence from ATSI

Responsive Answering Service: Winner of 3 Awards of Excellence from ATSI

Association of TeleServices International (ATSI) recently bestowed their 2017 Award of Excellence for Outstanding Service to three offices of Responsive Answering Service. The award is presented annually by the ATSI which is the industry’s Trade Association for providers of telecommunications and call center services including telephone answering and message delivery services throughout North America and the United Kingdom.

A photo accompanying this press release is available here.

The awards were presented to Responsive Answering Service at ATSI’s 2017 Annual Convention in Chicago, IL. The awards were given to the locations in:

  • Responsive Answering Service of Fort Myers, FL (Intercept of Florida)
  • Responsive Answering Service of Marietta, GA (Northwest Answering Service)
  • Responsive Answering Service of Pittsburgh, PA (Pittsburgh Answering Service)

The ATSI contracts independent judges to evaluate message services during a period of six months. These judges are looking at response time, courteousness of the representative, accuracy of the call, knowledge of the account and an overall impression of the call.

“We are deeply honored and grateful for this recognition. Our centers and staff are committed in creating a service excellence culture. We all have been working hard in making sure that our customers’ needs are always at the forefront of all our communications. My team embarked in an important project to create processes and protocols that ensure clients’ communications are handled with care, attention and, confidentiality. I’d like to thank the teams at each of these offices for their excellent performance and dedication!” said George Otte, President and CEO of Otte Polo Group – the parent company of Responsive Answering Service.

Looking for a method by which they could improve the overall quality of the call center industry, the ATSI has been giving the Award for 21 years. They were looking to ensure successful call handling experiences. At Otte Polo, we are beyond thrilled to have had three Responsive Answering Service locations named this year and will continue to strive for excellence.

About Responsive Answering Service

Responsive Answering is a privately owned, nationwide, professional telephone answering and call centers service company. George Otte, President and CEO, has turned Responsive Answering into an international conglomerate of six independent call answering businesses that operate from six different centers in North, Central and South America.

To read the press release click here.

Why Your Business Needs After Hours Answering Services

benefits of after hours answering services

Building a strong relationship with our customers means that we are there when they need us at any hour. In today’s connected world, our customers expect 24/7 availability from the companies they do business with.

When customers feel that they need your assistance with something, they may reach out via phone, and if their call is forwarded to voicemail, 60% of them will hang up rather than leaving a message. This missed connection can force the customer to reach out to a competitor or even be a missed opportunity to engage the customer into purchasing more products or services.

Each customer that you work with can be swayed by a competitor, especially when they are more available than you are. Have you ever visited a business that happened to be closed when you were ready to make a purchase? The disappointment of finding that business closed often forces someone to visit a different business and that unavailability will often leave a lasting impression.

This is why a professional answering service can be beneficial to you, regardless of your business size or the industry you are in.

Keep Your Doors Open & Your Customers Happy

When your customer calls to chat about your services, regardless of the hour, a professional answering service will be there to guide them, answer their questions, address their concerns, etc. Whether you are a retail service or a medical office, calls come in at all hours. For medical offices, your patients may have appointment questions or possibly medical concerns. Professional answering services can help guide your patient to the right contact.

When you partner with Responsive Answering Service, giving your customers or patients top-notch service is as much a concern for us as it is for you. When someone answers their call in the middle of the night, they will feel cared for and walk away with a lasting positive impression of you and your business.

Never Miss a Call

Your customers may be calling with questions about your product or service at moments that your team is busy or closed. A professional answering service can help guide your customers to fit their needs and provide top quality customer service as if they were speaking directly to your team.

Responsive Answering Service will work with you as we train our staff to handle your calls and we will follow your directives in terms of how to handle messages, emergency calls, etc. The caller will not know the difference between your office staff and our answering service team members. Call us today to discuss the options and services we offer and how we can help your business stay open even after hours.

Service Spotlight: Emergency Call Dispatching

Emergency Call Dispatching Answering Services
In our modern and connected world, customers expect their questions to be answered quickly and thoroughly. Questions can arise at any time and the sooner they’re answered, the happier and more secure the customer will feel with your business and services. But as you know, being available 24/7 isn’t possible without staffing your office, every hour of each day.

When critical issues arise and your customers need to reach you, they don’t care what time it is. By partnering with a knowledgeable answering service, you ensure that your customer calls are answered as soon as they are received.

Reliable Dispatching – Route the Right Calls at the Right Time

Whether you’re a technology company, a medical office, or a plumber – problems may arise at any hour. But some customers may take advantage of your availability and call an emergency line just to ensure an answer. An answering service can filter these calls and only pass on the true emergencies. By doing so, you will keep your customers happy, your business running smoothly, and your life free of unnecessary interruptions.

Record Calls for Safe Keeping and Quality Assurance

No matter when the call comes in and what their issue is, you may want to reference the call to ensure it was handled properly and that information exchanged followed protocol. Referencing your customers’ calls at a later date can help with training and coaching your staff to understand what is an emergency call versus what is a frantic customer.

Missing out on emergency calls will cost you money. Customers, who have an issue that needs to be fixed, will seek out other companies with more flexible options. By partnering with an answering service, you ensure that your business will never miss a call without the need to be tethered to your phone at all hours.

Responsive Answering Service can assist you and your staff in managing emergency calls any time of the day or night. Contact us today and we can develop a plan for your business.

Taking Your Business to the Next Level in 2017

Virtual Receptionist Services
2017 has been marked by many experts the year of the customer journey. As consumers are given more options when it comes to making buying decisions, it is our job to make sure that their experience with us is memorable. Simple frustrations such as unanswered phone calls can lead to frustrations that will cause the customer to scratch us off their list regardless of our past dealings.

Virtual Receptionists Answer Calls That You Can’t

For small business owners, it often feels that you are running around handling every task on your own. From answering phones to helping customers, paying invoices and accepting orders, and marketing your business online and in the community is often done by one person. Something is always going to fall behind.

Incoming calls can come in at any time – after hours, when you’re out with family, when you’re on the other line answering customer questions, or when you’re away from the phone working with another customer. A virtual receptionist makes it easy to attend to these calls without leaving you feeling overwhelmed or your customer, ignored.

Manage Appointments & Schedule Follow Up Calls

Keeping your calendar organized is very important for any business owner whose customers visit them in person. Pen and paper is now an archaic way of tracking your appointments and scheduling follow ups. A live virtual receptionist takes the time to schedule, cancel, and confirm appointments for your business while using a state of the art technology that updates your internal calendars.

And just because someone else is answering your calls, doesn’t mean you’re now out of the loop with what is happening with your business. Responsive Answering Services’ Web Portal makes it easy for you to manage your on-call lists and schedules.

A virtual receptionist is an easy to manage service that can be the most successful and strategic tool you can integrate with in 2017. For more information about virtual receptionists and how they fit into your business plan, contact Responsive Answering Services for more information.

Holiday Phone Coverage Made Easy

Holiday Phone Coverage Made Easy
Although many businesses are closed for parts of the holiday season, they usually see an increase in customer calls throughout this time. Answering customers’ calls, returning customers’ messages and scheduling appointments, among many other phone-related tasks, can be particularly difficult for businesses during the holiday season. Often, understaffed offices can lead to phone line backups, which force customers to wait or have their calls unanswered. This, in turn, can lead to missed opportunities, as customers turn elsewhere out of frustration. Fortunately, working with a telephone answering service provides an easy and cost-effective solution that can turn these problems into opportunities for all types of businesses.

The Holiday Season and Phone Line Back-ups

Retailers are especially busy during the gift-buying season with handling their customers’ orders, returns and questions. All of this customer interaction can cause long hold times, unanswered calls, and, as a result, missed selling opportunities. Retailers can add additional staff to handle this increased demand, but hiring and training seasonal employees puts a lot of strain on a business’s time and budget.

Non-retail businesses also see an increase in customer calls during the holiday season. Due to weather and vacations, many customers tend to be at home more during the holiday season, giving them more free time to catch up on tasks such as scheduling appointments for the new year. Other customers who are traveling or hosting friends and family require more services from businesses around this time.

Many business owners do not want to sacrifice their employees’ vacations or fun office holiday parties; however, it can be hard to justify ignoring customers, which has both short-term and long-term consequences. Wouldn’t it be great if there were a way for you and your employees to enjoy your holiday season while resting assured that customer calls will be answered and your business will be strengthened?

How an Answering Service Can Assist With Holiday Phone Coverage

Rather than cancelling your staff’s paid vacation or the office holiday party, you can have your calls transferred to an answering service during busy times or after hours. An answering service provides trained customer support representatives to handle all customer calls or just overflow.

Phone service representatives can provide phone coverage 24/7, including holidays, or simply when you need them. Once you return from the holiday vacation and customer call volume returns to a normal level, it’s easy to simply change or reduce the answering service if needed.

A telephone answering service’s representatives are trained in customer communication and well versed in your product offerings, appointment policies and return policies. Trained customer support representatives have the right answers for customers calling with order questions, returns, and more, so your customers will not even realize their phone calls have been outsourced.

Even when your office is open during the holiday season, your employees are often on the phone with another customer while customers are calling. For businesses such as retailers, an answering service can supplement your normal staff according to your needs, so that you do not have to spend a fraction of the time and expense required to hire seasonal employees.

If you run a service-based business that requires appointments, an answering service can update and schedule your calendar for the new year in real-time.

No matter the nature of your business, you can work with an answering service to determine how calls are communicated to you. Situations deemed urgent or as emergencies can get to you immediately, while others can be completely handled by the answering service and recorded for you to access at your convenience.

Hire an Answering Service

Using a phone service like Responsive Answering Service is essential to avoid such holiday backups or unanswered calls. As you enjoy the holiday with family and fun, rest assured that Responsive Answering Service is working hard to make sure that time is well spent.

Service Spotlight: Event Registration

Service Spotlight: Event Registration
No matter the nature or size of your event, organizing and planning takes a lot of complex work, and the responsibility often rests upon the shoulders of an individual or small team. These duties include choosing sites and times, creating program content, deciding on catering options and many other logistics.

One simple and effective way to take some work off your plate is to outsource your event’s registration needs to an answering service with an inbound call center which can support your event and manage your needs. An event registration service can help you to save time and money as well as execute the perfect plan for a variety of virtual and in-person events such as meetings, conferences and even ongoing events like classes or a seminar series.

 

How does Event Registration work with a call center?

At the most basic level, an inbound call center with event registration services provides a convenient, centralized phone line for your event’s attendees to confirm their attendance at an upcoming event. Attendees call the registration service to reserve their spot and also have the chance to ask questions about the event such as hotel accommodations, attire, dining options, available parking lots, etc. Registration services can be custom-tailored for your event, enabling attendees to address whatever additional concerns or questions they may have in advance. As the event hosts, you can have our call center staff to share any other details you deem relevant with your event’s attendees when they call to register.

An event registration service, which specializes in both registration solutions and customer service, expertly gathers all of your attendees’ information for you and handles communication with attendees. Some planners may be initially concerned about outsourcing an important component of the event, but there’s no need to worry: through technology, communication and transparency, the whole process is seamlessly integrated with your organization and event.

Furthermore, event registration does not have to be a one-time service. Registration services are not only used for special event sign ups, but also for ongoing registration needs such as classes and seminars.

 

Additional Features

Responsive Answering Service offers event reminder services, make outbound calls if needed and will also provide you with reports tracking event registration. Because our operators are always available, attendees can call for help and receive prompt, courteous answers and assistance at any time. Dedicated customer service representatives are trained in phone communication as well as your organization’s specific protocols; when speaking to a representative, attendees will not know that they are speaking to an offsite representative, but will instead receive the impression that they are speaking to a member of your organization. As with Responsive Answering Service’s other call center services, representatives are available to assist your customers, guests or employees 24/7. This is particularly important if you have attendees from other parts of the world because they will always reach someone, no matter what time of day they call.

 

Benefits of Using an Event Registration Service

    • Create the best first impression: Since registration is one of the attendee’s first encounters with an event, a convenient and effective registration process provides an excellent way to start your event on a great note.

 

    • Save time: When you outsource your event registration, you have more time and resources to dedicate to the planning and details of your event.

 

    • Error-free registration: When you’re planning an event on your own, it’s often too easy to make simple errors in areas like registration details, due to the sheer volume of information you’re overseeing. Relying on experienced operators, an event registration service keeps accurate, real-time records of attendees and other details that are available to you 24/7.

 

    • Save on costs: Outsourcing your event registration saves you the costs of hiring and training additional employees. Since the registration process accurately captures attendance information, you can avoid unnecessary additional spending on rooms, food or marketing for the event.

 

    • Positive turnout: Both your organization and prospective attendees can avoid missed opportunities by using an event registration service’s easy to use and clearly advertised registration process. This centralized service also allows for updates and communication with attendees in the case of any changes to the event.

 

    • Service: If you go at it alone with event registration, you might find it a challenge to respond to attendees’ phone calls and emails, which may turn away prospective attendees or otherwise make for a poor event experience. The primary concern of an event registration service like Responsive Answering Service is to provide courteous, prompt and accurate communication with your attendees to ensure the success of your event.

 

If you would like help making your upcoming event a success, contact Responsive Answering Service for your event registration needs.

Service Spotlight: Virtual Assistant

Virtual Assistant
With the Internet and today’s remote communication technology, many business owners and other professionals, such as realtors, doctors, accountants and lawyers, no longer have the need or desire to work out of a physical space and employ a full-time office staff. Easily accessible innovations such as shared virtual calendars, cell phones and laptops enable business owners, employees and customers to communicate without meeting face-to-face.

This office model works effectively for businesses of many different types and sizes. In fact, a virtual assistant can provide enormous benefits for small businesses that may not have the resources to maintain a traditional office space and staff. However, these services are not just for small businesses, large companies take advantage of these services as well!

Virtual Assistants

While these conditions provide a new level of freedom for business owners and employees, running the day-to-day operations can take a lot of time away from business owners and professionals who are busy practicing their occupation and starting, maintaining, or developing their business. The demands of running a business often affect the owner’s or employee’s ability to provide quality customer service. The solution to this problem is the virtual assistant or virtual secretary.

A skilled virtual assistant or virtual secretary works remotely, but provides the services of a traditional office assistant. They can help your business by answering calls, responding to emails, scheduling appointments, updating schedules and assisting customers, clients and vendors in many other ways. Like a traditional assistant, they will evaluate the urgency of a message and relay appropriate information to you through your preferred channel, including text, email, phone or fax. In addition to being on hand and familiar with your business’s information, scripts, and policies, a virtual assistant specializes in customer service. An effective virtual office assistant or virtual secretary will use a unique, dedicated phone line, allowing them to answer on behalf of the specific business, and therefore provide the experience of a traditional, high-cost office environment.

A virtual receptionist can be available to communicate with customers when you need them, or work 24/7, all year long to help run your business and provide the experience of a physical office location. This flexibility allows employers to pay for exactly what they need and no more. Since good virtual office assistants are experienced and work on a contract basis, there is no need to provide the training, benefits or long-term commitments traditionally involved with hiring office staff.

Benefits of Transitioning to a Virtual Assistant

Most immediately, transitioning to a virtual assistant saves business owners the costs of full-time employees. For this lower cost, a virtual assistant will actually improve your business. Having an excellent virtual office assistant provides an enormous boost to customer service. When customers need to schedule an appointment or get in touch for updates or information, they want to speak to a knowledgeable person at exactly that moment. Having a virtual assistant means no call will go unanswered (unanswered calls can mean huge missed opportunities). Over time, the virtual receptionist provides the key support needed for businesses to thrive and expand.

If you are thinking about transitioning to a virtual assistant model, contact Responsive Answering Service. We can be your virtual receptionist, assistant or secretary. Our state-of-the-art technology and outstanding customer service allow us to deliver virtual services at a fraction of the cost of an employee.

Responsive Answering Service: Professional Answering Services

Professional answering services
Running a successful business takes time, effort and the assistance of a highly qualified staff. In today’s business world, constant contact with customers is an absolute must, yet it is easy to let day-to-day operations overwhelm your ability to communicate with customers.

One effective solution to meet your customers’ every communication need is to enlist the help of an answering service, which provides services including afterhours call answering, regular call answering, seasonal assistance and scheduling.

Why Use an Answering Service

Here are just a few reasons why your business should use an answering service:

1. Customer service help
With the help of an answering service, your customers will be in contact with a call center, as they speak to a Telephone Representative when you or someone in your office cannot answer the phone.

You can also trust that representatives will comply with any local and state regulations related to your business. As the business owner or manager, you will have even more convenient access to the answering service if necessary.

2. Multi-lingual representatives
It can be extremely frustrating for customers who do not speak English to try to communicate with a business or answering service that cannot meet their language needs. This poor customer service experience may send them elsewhere or result in a negative review of your business.

With the help of an answering service like Responsive Answering, which employs Multilingual Telephone Representatives, your important non-English speaking customer base will always have a Telephone Service Representative who can assist them with any issue. They will return to do business knowing that you value them as much as any other customer.

3. Industry Experience
There are diverse arrays of industries that flourish across the United States. Tourism, medical, construction, financial services, software development and health services represent just a few of the different industries. Therefore, it is important that your answering service know a thing or two about how your industry works.

Responsive Answering has been working with a wide range of industries and businesses for over 40 years. Our qualified, expertly trained customer service representatives know your industry and are capable of answering any questions and providing product and service information, regardless of the complexity, for virtually any type of business. We also know that every business is unique, so we meet your needs with customized greetings, scripts, and procedures tailored to your business in order to create the best customer service experience and help you stand out among the competition.

4. Gain a Competitive edge
Having a convenient answering service ensures you never miss a call or have a frustrated customer, putting you at an advantage over the competition.

Even if your business employs a receptionist, having the additional coverage of an answering service ensures that your customers’ calls are answered during busy times, lunches, company events, holidays, weekends, and nights.

With the time saved on taking customer calls, you can increase your business’ productivity by meeting the customers’ primary needs and growing and advertising the business.

5. Technology
In this state-of-the-art business environment, customers expect the latest, most convenient ways to get in touch with your business.

While on the topic of technology, it’s worth noting that Responsive Answering Service has the latest and most advanced security technology and backup systems, including uninterrupted power supplies and generators that support our infrastructure, protect your business, and continue providing services to customers until commercial power is restored.

If you would like to enhance your business in these ways and many more, Responsive Answering Service is the right answering provider for your company. Responsive Answering offers a wide range of flexible programs that can be customized to fit your needs — whether it is answering all your calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or simply handling your overflow during lunch hours. Our courteous, professional, and multilingual representatives will satisfy all your notification needs. For answering solutions, call us today at 1.855.969.0009.

Industry Spotlight: Medical

Medical answering services
Patients call medical offices for a variety of reasons: to schedule appointments, ask medical questions, discuss prescriptions, and sometimes to report medical emergencies. Accordingly, most medical offices contend with a constant stream of calls throughout the day. This high volume of calls can lead to unanswered or unreturned calls, resulting in frustrated patients. Routine scheduling and confirmation calls can also tie up phone lines and take up valuable employee time that could be dedicated to more pressing concerns.

In the era of the Affordable Care Act, medical offices are even more concerned about effective telephone customer service, as physician payments are based in part on patient satisfaction ratings. A customer who cannot get through or who must wait for a return call is much more likely to provide a negative satisfaction score.

In 2013, experts estimated that “Phone calls to physician practices increased between 25 and 50% since 2008.” This growth is in part due to the Affordable Healthcare Act, which has provided more people with the ability to make medical appointments. Additionally, the number of per capita prescriptions has been on the rise, which means even more patients tend to call medical offices with questions about medications.

Scheduling appointments is a particularly important and time-consuming process for medical offices. On top of patients wanting to make appointments, medical offices often receive calls from patients who want to cancel, confirm or reschedule their appointments. Time- and money- consuming cancellations can increase if the medical office is too busy to make time-consuming, yet effective reminder calls. These telephone issues can be greatly magnified if a medical office is understaffed.

HIPAA Compliancy

Along with the sheer volume of calls received by medical offices, the need for Health Information and Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliancy poses a challenge and potential risk for medical offices. Any medical provider that has access to patients’ protected health information is required to abide by HIPAA’s Privacy and Security rules. These rules require medical personnel to use “reasonable and appropriate safeguards” when discussing a patient’s medical information over the phone or by any other means of communication. Furthermore, HIPAA’s Privacy and Security rules define specific, legally binding guidelines about what kinds of patient information can be shared with certain individuals or entities. In most cases, health record information cannot be disclosed without the patient’s authorization.

HIPAA compliance requires a great deal of attention and can make assisting patients even more difficult for medical office personnel. Unfortunately, an overworked or poorly trained medical office staff may be more likely to commit inadvertent privacy breaches, which can lead to criminal or civil penalties such as fines amounting to hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. Additionally, any organization handling electronic communication about a patient’s medical information must be sure to take health data security measures, such as implementing malware and encryption on communication devices.

Answering Service is the Solution

One effective way to assist medical office staff is through an answering service, which will help alleviate busy phone signals and unanswered calls with the use of 24/7 chat capabilities, trained professionals and multi-lingual representatives. With an answering service in place, patients can communicate appointment information and other concerns even after the office is closed. An answering service can also provide appointment reminder calls that will reduce cancellations and ensure a consistent schedule.

With calls and scheduling covered, medical office staff will be able to assist patients in the office rather than having them wait as they take a call. Moreover, there is no need to worry about patient privacy or security: an effective medical answering service offers HIPAA- compliant security measures and trains telephone representatives in HIPAA-compliancy guidelines.

Is your office staff overwhelmed? Are your patients not getting the attention they need? Take a few minutes to contact Responsive Answering Service today to discuss the many ways our representatives can help your booming medical practice.

Inbound Call Center Services: Virtual Receptionists

Virtual Receptionists

“82% [of customers] say that getting their issue resolved quickly is the
number one factor to a great customer experience.”
– LivePerson

In the market, a competitive advantage is gained when a business stands out from the rest. One way of doing this is through the implementation of a superior call answering system that handles daily administrative duties as well as answers phones and troubleshoots problems for your customers. When work piles up, important follow-ups can be forgotten, stifling the productivity and growth of your business. Call center services present the opportunity to impress and increase your clients while you tackle the bigger picture.

Responsibilities of a Virtual Receptionist

Call centers offer virtual receptionists who can interact with and relate to each customer calling in. It has been said that, “Despite the rapid growth of online customer service tools, 79% of consumers would prefer to contact a customer service center over the telephone.” A virtual receptionist not only manages inbound and outbound phone calls, but they can also take on the role of administrative support to a business.

Below is a list of some responsibilities virtual receptionists at Responsive Answering Service can take on:

  • Phone answering
  • Call screening/forwarding
  • Appointment scheduling
  • Customized greetings
  • Flexible call routing
  • Email & fax services
  • Message taking

The first impression made by a business upon a customer creates the foundation for the client-brand relationship. Having a professional outsourced virtual receptionist strengthens this impression through consistency, quicker response times and enhanced customer care. When your customers feel cared about, trust is built.

Save Valuable Time and Money

Finding an outsourced 24/7 virtual receptionist at an affordable rate is not as hard as it sounds. Responsive Answering Service provides lucrative benefits such as time- and cost-saving services with trained representatives, using state of the art technology. Keep in mind, “It takes twelve positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience.” When you trust professionals to deal with your customer base, it only takes one experience to secure lasting loyalty.

Tips for Good Phone Manners

Telephone etiquette

Importance of Telephone Etiquette (Phone Manners)

While effective phone communication seems like a lost art in an age of widespread email and texting, it remains a vital part of interactions between customers and companies. Unlike these newer forms of communication, phone communication involves more than just words. The tone you use while on the phone can mean the difference between creating customers and losing customers, even if your words are carefully chosen.

Tone conveys your general attitude and lets the per¬son you are talking with know how you feel about them. Often, a phone call provides a customer with a lasting first impression, and we all know the importance of first impressions. If you’re talking to a repeat customer, your tone impacts their ongoing experience. For these reasons and more, it is critical to develop a tone that is polite, confident, and clear.

Tips for Good Phone Manners

Here are five tips for good phone manners:

  1. 1. Smile when you talk to customers. Did you know that only a small percentage of communication is verbal? A large portion of a message is actually conveyed through body language and the tone of your voice. On the phone, we do not have the facial expressions and gestures that often help us communicate in face-to-face interactions.

    Although the customer cannot see you, your tone of voice determines their idea of your facial expression. Conversely, your facial expression also determines your tone of voice. Therefore, one way to improve your tone is to smile while you talk to customers. Smiling affects the sound of your voice, giving it a warm and pleasant tone. Of course, it may be difficult to speak clearly with a thousand-watt smile on your face, so try smiling gently (some refer to this as “smiling with your eyes”). With a gentle smile, you can relax your throat and speak clearly while maintaining a welcoming and friendly tone.

  2. Let the customer finish their sentences. You might think that you are showing attentiveness by offering a prompt response before the customer finishes asking a question. However, this approach has an opposite effect. Cutting off a customer’s speech can make you seem rude, uncaring, and inattentive. Letting callers finish their sentences shows that you are listening. In turn, taking this approach will help you to become a better listener.

    When actively listening to a customer, you’re not predicting what they’re going to say or trying to think about your answers (which may turn out to be irrelevant). Instead, you will get the whole story, which will allow you to provide the most effective customer assistance. If you have an irate customer on the phone, listening attentively will most likely help them to calm down.

  3. Be confident. Show that you know what you are talking about when helping a customer on the phone; be prepared and use a confident tone. Although you should avoid simply reading rehearsed answers, you can begin to notice patterns in responses you provide to frequently asked questions. Make note of some useful words and phrases. If you are a new employee, it might help to have a “cheat sheet” with basic information for quick reference. When you are equipped with this knowledge, your confidence will be reflected in your tone.

    Be honest with the customer; if you don’t know something, don’t get flustered or make something up, and don’t be afraid to pause briefly and consider what you need to say next. Repeat the information back to the customer, rephrasing in your own words, to show them that you listened and understand. Ask questions when necessary. Be prepared to connect the customer to the appropriate channel or track down needed information.

  4. Sit up in your chair. Breathing patterns greatly affect your vocal delivery. As the air from our lungs is exhaled, it passes over the vocal chords, which vibrate to make a sound. This sound affects the way we speak.

    When you slouch in your chair, your body is crunched, your shoulders and chin are drooped down, and the passageway from your lungs to vocal chords becomes restricted, making you sound muffled, or worse, bored and uninterested. Sitting up as you speak fills your lungs with air and raises the pitch of your voice to an appropriate level. Additionally, sitting up in your chair while talking to a customer will reinforce your sense of confidence and enable you to be more engaged in the phone call.

  5. Adjust your vocal quality. Make your message as clear as possible. As you might know by now, this does not just involve your choice of words. Speaking clearly includes elements of vocal quality such as volume, pitch, rate, and inflection.

    Try not to speak too loudly or too softly. Speaking too loudly comes off as aggressive, brash or overbearing, while speaking too quietly can make you seem shy or simply difficult to understand. Pitch is also an important factor, as a too-high pitch can sound childish and lacking in authority, and a too-low pitch can sound harsh, particularly over the phone. As for speech rate, speak slowly and clearly, making sure to enunciate words. If you speak too quickly, you can seem rushed or impatient.

    Lastly, be sure to avoid a robotic, monotone voice. Emphasize key words and vary your inflection naturally, as you would in normal conversation. Overall, you want to balance a professional tone with your own enthusiastic voice.

    Displaying a courteous tone over the phone goes a long way in providing effective customer service. Of course, this list of phone manners for effective tone is not exhaustive, but practicing these tips will surely boost your telephone etiquette.

At Responsive Answering Service, all of our representatives are well-trained and prepared to give your customers the best possible service keeping these great tips for good phone manners in mind. Call us today and we can discuss a custom program that works for you and your business.

Whistleblower Hotline: Your Trusted Hotline Service

whistleblower hotline

What is a Whistleblower Hotline?

A whistleblower hotline is an anonymous, confidential line of communication that companies can set up to allow their employees, vendors and customers to safely report fraudulent, dangerous, unethical or illegal activity occurring in the workplace. While normally associated with a dedicated phone number, whistleblower hotlines can include other forms of communication, including an anonymous email address or customized internet page. According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, whistleblower hotlines provide the most effective and cost-effective tool in the fight against fraud and other potential problems within a business.

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act

Whistleblower hotlines have become more widely used since the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, passed by Congress in response to several corporate financial scandals that were exposed by whistleblowers. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act contains a number of provisions aimed at creating transparency and protecting investors. The Act’s whistleblower protection provisions require publicly traded companies to establish an anonymous and confidential procedure for employees to voice concerns. While public companies are required by law to have a whistleblower hotline, private companies and other sectors of the economy, including schools and non-profits, have also successfully adopted whistleblower hotlines. Some companies have even used hotlines to address human resource concerns and other issues beyond financial malfeasance.

The Sarbanes-Oxley act requires whistleblower hotlines to be “confidential” and “anonymous” for good reason. Anonymity encourages employees, customers or vendors to report disingenuous activity without fear of reprisal or retaliation. A study released around the time of the Act’s passing “determined that 1 in 5 American workers possesses personal knowledge of workplace fraud and 39% of all workers would be more inclined to report fraud if they had an avenue to remain anonymous.” Although companies may set up their own whistleblower hotlines, these “internal” hotlines can make the reporting system seem non-anonymous, thus deterring employees, customers, and vendors from reporting complaints. Instead, experts agree that the best practice is to use an external, third-party hotline to protect anonymity and to ensure that the hotline is an effective means to address company concerns.

Making a Report

When a whistleblower contacts a reputable third-party whistleblower hotline, the caller speaks with a highly trained representative who has passed a stringent certification program. The representative is well versed in interview techniques that are used to obtain accurate, objective complaints. After conversing with the whistleblower, the hotline service uses confidential means to communicate the whistleblower’s complaints to the business’s management or executive committee. The representative will then follow up on the complaint and report the results back to the business. This process ensures that the employee remains anonymous; that the information is verified, relevant and specific; and that the business receives an objective report of employee concerns.

How Whistleblower Hotlines Benefit Businesses

While public companies are required by law to have a whistleblower hotline, setting up a hotline is beneficial for any company. Whistleblower hotlines can help prevent potential problems from becoming bigger problems. A 2011 survey of forensic and valuation accountants cited “internal tips . . . as the most common detection method for frauds that occurred at their organizations.” In 2014, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners noted that fraud is “detected fifty percent more quickly when a hotline is in place.” Addressing these issues early on helps businesses to avoid further loss, the costs associated with investigation or, potentially, litigation and even damage to the company’s reputation. After all, it is better to have this information come to the business directly rather than being reported outside of the company before management has a chance to address the problem. In addition to preventing financial losses, hotlines are also useful tools for detecting and combatting against human resources issues such as harassment or discrimination.

Furthermore, whistleblower hotlines work to create an ethical and compliant work environment by setting the tone and sending a clear message about unethical conduct. Having a hotline in place also builds employee morale. With a well-publicized hotline available, employees gain trust in their company and are willing to speak up without fear of reprisal if they see something that can be damaging to the company’s profits, work environment or reputation.

With the help of a third-party answering service, setting up a whistleblower hotline involves little cost, and the hotline can be ready to take calls immediately. If you are interested in establishing a whistleblower hotline, contact Responsive Answering Service. Responsive Answering employs highly trained, multilingual representatives and offers many different reporting channels, including phone, fax, customized internet pages, and anonymous email service.

The Right Answering Service for Your Small Business

Answering service for small business

The Need for Customer Communication

While there are many opportunities for small business growth across the United States, it takes a great deal of effort to keep a small business running efficiently. Small businesses lack the infrastructure and resources of larger businesses and often face numerous obstacles when it comes to managing communication with potential and existing customers. In today’s business world, constant contact with customers is an absolute must. According to small business experts, one of the top ways to grow and maintain a customer base is through communication, whether by phone, email or any other medium.

Unanswered calls and unreturned emails can lead customers directly to competitors. The need for contact with customers is not limited to simply answering customer’s calls or replying to emails, which can already be difficult for small businesses with few, if any, employees. Rather, small businesses need to be proactive with their customer communication. Advisors recommend contacting customers within 7-10 days of a sale and note “a small business will lose 10 percent of its influence with a customer for every month that customer doesn’t hear from the business.”

Aside from the practical need to alert customers, active communication with customers – whether reaching out or promptly replying to inquiries – shows customers that small businesses appreciate their business. Effective customer communication also provides a small business with insight about customers’ tastes and experiences.

In addition to simply being there to take customer calls, employees and business owners alike, need to be trained in the art of effective listening and communication, a skill that requires costly and time-consuming training. For small businesses that have a limited number of employees, this can be a difficult task, as the day-to-day work of running a business is often the number one priority.

The Solution: An Answering Service

The simple and effective solution to customer communication for small businesses is to enlist the assistance of an answering service, which will help alleviate busy phone signals and unanswered calls with the use of 24/7 capabilities, trained professionals and multi-lingual representatives. Exporting calls to an answering service is a cost-effective way to gain the resources of a larger business while maintaining the personal feel and accessibility that customers value in small businesses.

No matter what combination of services or technology you need, an answering service will engage customers, according to your business’s preferences, log pertinent information and report directly to you. Using these resources at your small business will help customers to feel appreciated and allow you and your employees to focus on more important work, ensuring the growth and continued success of your small business.

Take a moment to call us at 1-855-969-0009 and let’s see what suggestions we can make to alleviate your workload and at the same time, help you succeed by ensuring your customers are getting the attention they need.

Should My Business Use an Answering Service?

Reasons your business should use an answering service
At its core, an answering service is a business that receives and answers telephone calls for its clients. Answering services can assist any type of business that relies on phone communication with its customers – which is to say, nearly all businesses.

Businesses utilize answering services for a variety of needs, including taking all calls in place of a receptionist, fielding calls from customers during after hours, or handling call overflow during peak business hours or seasons. In addition to answering telephones, an effective modern answering service offers other telecommunication services including e-mail, fax delivery, voice messaging systems, and cellular text messaging.

The telephone service representatives employed by an answering service are trained in the art of phone communication and fluent in each client’s specific protocols, such as preferred greeting, customized scripts, and pertinent information about the business. Depending on the needs of the business and customers, representatives can answer questions, schedule appointments, update customer information, and report all calls to the client.

Reasons Your Business Should Use an Answering Service

Here are just a few of the reasons that you should use an answering service to optimize your business:

  1. 1. Gain new customers and keep existing customers. Having an answering service for your business guarantees that you will never miss a call. A caller encountering a busy line or unanswered call is a lost opportunity, as most callers will usually move on to a competitor in these cases. It has been proven that a dissatisfied customer will tell an average of 11 people about a negative phone experience, which means that a missed call will ultimately translate into a much bigger loss.
    Even if your business employs a receptionist, having the additional coverage of an answering service ensures that your customers’ calls are answered during busy times, lunches, company events, holidays, weekends, and nights.
  2. 2. Save money. An answering service is a cost-effective solution for all types of businesses of any size. With the assistance of an answering service, you will increase the quality of your company’s customer service without spending the money required to hire new staff or install additional phone lines. The cost of using a phone answering service is just a tiny fraction of what you would need to spend on employee training and related costs such as employee taxes.
  3. 3. Save time. An answering service will free up your schedule, allowing you and your employees to perform the important work you need to accomplish. Using an answering service will increase your business’ productivity by allowing you and your staff to focus on meeting the customers’ primary needs and growing the business instead of being tied up in answering and returning calls.
  4. 4. Provide coverage for emergency response needs. Some businesses, such as medical services, need to respond to emergencies at all hours of the day. For these businesses, an answering service is the solution for 24/7 emergency response. Businesses can work with an answering service to establish what qualifies as an emergency and ensure representatives adhere to the specific guidelines set forth for emergency dispatch procedures.
  5. 5. Establish instant credibility and project a professional image. When redirected to an answering service, customers will communicate with trained professionals skilled in telephone customer service. Additionally, each representative’s training is tailored to your company’s preferences. With the help of an effective answering service, your customer may not even realize they have been redirected, but will instead assume that they are talking to a member of your staff. A promptly and professionally answered call will provide the impression that you run an established and successful business.

If you would like to enhance your business in these ways and many more, Responsive Answering Service is the right answering provider for your company. Responsive Answering offers a wide range of flexible programs that can be customized to fit your needs — whether it is answering all of your calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or simply handling your overflow during lunch hours. Responsive Answering’s courteous, professional, and multilingual representatives will satisfy all your notification needs. For telephone answering solutions, call us today: 1.855.969.0009.

Are You a Small Business? This is Why You Should Use an Answering Service

Why small businesses should use an answering service
Is your business growing? Are the calls flooding in with no time to answer? Is the decision between hiring help and outsourcing to an answering service or call center keeping you up at night? Managing a small business is a rewarding journey from one decision to the next. Still, it can become tiring when your focus is constantly being disrupted by the phone ringing. A whopping 72 to 80% of callers won’t leave a message or call back if their initial call is not answered. That means, even if you’re mid-meeting, missing a call could mean missing an opportunity. Don’t let your next sale go to voicemail – turn to Responsive Answering Service to solve your problems!

Rapid, Reliable, Professional
Team up with Responsive, and benefit from a professional answering service that’s on the fast track to becoming the largest leading provider of answering services in the country, and the world. With unmatched, customized telephone answering services, and backed by the industry’s latest technological platforms and hardware, Responsive staff manages thousands of calls in real-time.

What Responsive provides for your business:
• Trained professionals that specialize in a wide variety of business categories
• 24/7 availability (including weekends and holidays)
• Versatility and customized accounts
• Average pick-up is on the second ring
• Average talk time is around one minute
• Hold time averages at 20 seconds
• Bilingual support

Think about the time you’ll save when you let experts manage your phones!

What Businesses That I Know Use Responsive?
Notable Brands that are currently working together with Responsive include, Giant Eagle, UPMC, WellStar, and Highmark Blue Shield, just to name a few. Testimonials of success from these businesses give proof that Responsive takes good care of its clients. Make the right decision for your small business. Win back your time and put your trust in the provider with over 40 years of answering service experience – Responsive Answering Services.

Sources:
https://www.biggerpockets.com/blogs/5262/38630-statistics-on-phone-answering-services-that-you-need-to-know
http://www.responsiveanswering.com/

Interested in Using an Answering Service? Read Our Tips on What to Look For!

In order for a company to select the best answering service, they must know what type of service provider compliments their company’s operations. Regardless of time or location, when you need assistance, you want a superior experience with a company you can always reach.

Tips for choosing an answering service

5 Tips for Choosing an Answering Service

Here are some tips to help you make an educated answering service selection:

  • 1. Features – all answering service providers vary in features offered, due to resource limitations; try to find a provider that suites your specific, customized needs.
  • 2. Referrals – an unbiased opinion is always a welcome tool in the decision-making process. Referrals from current and former clients can be eye-opening and helpful.
  • 3. Superior Staff – strong, dependable staff selection is important for an answering service. Superior staff interactions and response times can make all the difference between an exceptional experience and a poor one.
  • 4. Buy Smart – spending a little more on an answering service may be recommended, depending on your needs. Responsive Answering offers affordable services.
  • 5. Interest in Daily Operations – inquiring about daily operations and locating the source accountable for service/system administration.

Responsive Answering is a national, privately-owned, professional telephone answering and call center service company. Clients everywhere benefit from the following services, offered by Responsive Answering Service.

  • • 24/7 Answering & Message Delivery: Over 60% of consumers will not leave a voice message when calling a business, so having around-the-clock agents increases sales, retention and customer satisfaction.
  • • Appointment Scheduling: Appointment scheduling answering services allow an operator to schedule your appointments for you, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • • Call Screening: Provide us with a list of allowed numbers, and call screening service operators will only transfer calls from those numbers to you. All other callers will be asked to leave a message.
  • • Dispatching: Service dispatchers can help you take orders and process them all year round, as well as fulfill sequential processes such as fraud checking and lead capturing.
  • • Registration Services: Registration Answering Service agents can handle your outbound registration campaigns, driving increased attendance to your trade show or conference.
  • • Virtual Receptionist: Live receptionists can take care of your calls, while also providing office and administrative support.

If you’re searching for answers about answering services, look no further. Responsive Answering Service gives companies the advantage in the market that they need to achieve fast growth. Let Responsive Answering handle your business lines.

Sources:
http://www.responsiveanswering.com/
http://www.vendorseek.com/call-center/call-center-services/seven-tips-to-choose-an-answering-service

Business Telephone Etiquette

Business Telephone Etiquette

Businesses receive hundreds of calls each year. Business telephone etiquette is essential, as phone conversations are limited in comparison to face-to-face meetings.

Believe it or not, business telephone etiquette begins before a phone call takes place and ends after you hang up your phone. Follow these simple guidelines to ensure positive business interactions via the phone.

Preparing to Answer the Telephone

How you prepare for a phone call will dictate the rest of the conversation. Anticipate and think about when and how you will answer the call.

Consider your caller.

What industry are you representing? Who are your typical callers? Do they tend to be emergency medical patients, or are they in need of the assistance of a plumber next weekend? Be aware of the caller’s reason for calling and how they might need help so that you can address their concerns in a quick manner.

If you are making the call, think about the clear objective that you wish to convey.

When to let it ring.

Answering a telephone call on the first ring might be a surprise to the caller. Letting the phone ring longer than 3 rings might make the caller concerned that you are preoccupied. Ideally, answer the call after two rings.

When you answer, give them your all. You should finish eating, drinking, talking to others before you pick-up.

Be Positive.

Smile before you pick-up the phone, be friendly, and show them that you are there to support their needs. Include your business name, and use phrases such as, “How may I help you today?”.

Telephone Etiquette while talking on the phone

During the call, each party should have the appropriate time and opportunities to talk. You want to make sure that each person is heard and their questions and concerns are being addressed.

Be clear.

To be heard, you should speak calmly and clearly with the right amount of volume. Learn to adjust these aspects depending on who is on the other line.
Your language is as important as its clarity. Don’t use any slang or swear words.

Keep focus.

Learn to listen and hold yourself back from interrupting. When needed, remember to ask permission to place a call on hold. Check the frequency of the call on hold. If you get off track for any reason, remember to tackle the objective of the call and end on a positive note.

Finishing the Telephone call

Before the call comes to an end you need to make sure that your caller’s, and your objectives have been met.

Know how to further escalate the call.

• Get a phone number. If the caller or you come up with more information, or if the call drops, you can properly finish the conversation. You could even schedule a follow-up conversation.

• Wrap things up. If you have to transfer the call, do so at this moment. You can ask final questions and close on a positive note. Before finishing the conversation remember to ask the caller “Is there anything else I can do to help?”.

How you start, continue and finish a conversation is important for impactful relationship building. These guidelines of basic business telephone etiquette will go a long way.

Your Corporate Voice: Handling High-Emotion Service Calls

Your Corporate Voice: Handling High-Emotion Service Calls

Harvard Business Review recently released an article regarding customer emotions and their effects on customer service. How you handle situations relating to major life events, such as birth, illness, death, and safety (also known as high-emotion services), will shape the organization’s outcome. You need to stay calm and collected while using your corporate voice.

So how exactly do you maneuver through a high-emotion service call for an optimal outcome?
Follow these 4 easy steps.

1. Identify Triggers

Consider the industry that you are representing. To minimize emotions, focus on playing your role as the middle man. You have the ability to voice needs, concerns, and hopes for the customer. So while you are taking calls you can use every experience to map a better way of identifying and responding to the frequent emotional triggers that come up.

2. Respond Early to Heavy Emotions

You need to recognize and quickly respond to emotional customers for better or for worse. Communicate with care. This means communicating with every part of your body, words, and tone of voice. Be direct with the customer in a way that is nicely preparing them for what’s to come. Keep your ears open for emotional spikes. This will help you to predict their next thoughts.

3. Enhance the Customers’ Control

You obviously can’t open a clinic’s doors when a customer calls to talk to the doctor on-call. But, you can reassure them that you are trying to put them in direct contact as soon as possible, if need be. The main idea here is to allow customers to think they have the ball in their court. If they are talking in circles, repeat to them in a way that is easily understood, what you hear them saying. This empowers them, even relaxes them.

4. Ask for help

You are equipped to handle the organization’s general needs, but sometimes customers’ situations make it 10 times harder to find real-time solutions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. But when doing so, take note of customer information, agent strategy, service influence and even cultural differences. Ask yourself: how not why. By extracting this information, you can determine the best plan of action for next time.

Cost Effective Answering Service Solutions

Whether your business entity is big or small, answering services can encourage positive customer relationship management. The trick, though, is to find a cost effective answering service solution that perfectly meets your business needs. After all, every penny counts.style=”display: block; text-align: center;”cost effective answering service solution

Which answering service is right for you?

Use this guide to determine which answering service option is best for your business operations.

Private Branch Exchange (PBX): Also known as automated telephone answering services. These services are normally recommended and available to big corporate offices. This option implements automated software that prompts the caller to key in numbers on the phone, which then directs them to a specific representative that should be able to address their inquiry.

A PBX is a common choice for corporations, as it can reduce business expenses and rapidly help customers resolve complaints. On the other hand, a PBX is not ideal for prospective clients and can discourage clients that want a personal connection.

Virtual Receptionist: Highly recognized and utilized, virtual receptionists usually work from remote locations and take business calls using professionally trained protocols. They are very similar to in-house receptionists. They can take messages, provide details regarding the business, schedules, appointments and so forth.

Traditional Answering Service: This type of service answers calls, takes messages and acts as an intermediate interaction for customers. These services are ideal for large businesses that need assistance with logging customer communications, complaints and queries. In addition, these services can connect customers with in-house representatives on rare occasions.

Live Answering Services: Professionals in the medical and legal fields (in addition to others) commonly use these services. Live answering services offer professionals and their clients a live option to respond to inquiries instantaneously.

Custom Telephone Answering Services: Telephone answering services which are tailored specifically to your business needs. Businesses choose to customize every aspect of their outsourced relations. This can allow internal/external staff and resources to be conducted in a customized manner, which is efficient and effective per the business’ needs.

There are a variety of answering service solutions that you can choose from. Whichever is the cost effective choice for your business, you will receive great benefits. They provide 24/7 availability, eliminate the need for voicemails, offer bilingual options, and have integrated call logging and management. They also offer immediate customer service and support and other customized solutions.

To get started today, contact your local answering service to find out how they can help your business expand its operations.

Your Competitive Advantage in 2016

Your business is seeking a new competitive advantage for 2016. Like a majority of businesses, you’ve highlighted customer service as an area of improvement. The reality is, excellent customer service helps generate new customer leads, improve customer retention rates, and create a truly unforgettable experience for the customer.

CompetitiveAs you start the New Year, consider these customer service tips to keep your customers happy and give your business the competitive edge.

Keep it Simple

Customers need solutions. Keep things simple and easy for them. Impress customers with convenient interactions.

The last thing that a customer wants is another headache. Make sure that your customer service is properly informed of protocol and can provide a straightforward solution to their issues. If your customer service has a detailed knowledgebase of frequently asked questions, they shouldn’t have to place a customer on hold, transfer the call to another agent, or encounter further conflict with the client.

Make Connections

One of the best ways to impress customers is to connect to them. How? By listening to them.

Many times, customer service representatives hear customers, but they do not listen to them. Hearing is simply the act of perceiving a sound. While actively listening is the act of concentrating and dedicating attention to understanding the words and emotions. By actively listening to customers, strong connections can be made instantaneously.

A few ways to practice actively listening is by asking for clarification and taking the time to reassure the customer that you understand what they are saying, and are taking care of them.

Consistency

The only way you are going to be able to measure your efforts is by being consistent.

When you develop a plan of action you have to identify what it is you are planning to achieve and then actually doing it. Remain professional, courteous, fulfill promises, find solutions, and consistently deliver expectations.

When you achieve this level of consistent customer service, you will see results. Customers will know that they aren’t just accounts, but loyal and valued customers and your competition will feel the heat.

If you plan to have cutting-edge customer service as your competitive advantage in 2016, contact Responsive Answering Service today! See how we can offer superior, professional services that will nudge you past your competitors, extend your hours of availability and reduce your operation costs.

Answering Services Make New Year’s Resolutions

Like other businesses, answering services providers need to make New Year’s resolutions. That’s where you come in. With the involvement of their clients, answering services usually take this time to strategically reflect upon areas of accomplishment. It’s also a great time to begin to address areas of growth where desired results were not achieved the previous year. They see this as another opportunity to optimize the value of perspective operations and build stronger relations.answering services new year resolution

Even though the New Year has already begun, your answering service and business can still take a moment to discuss and apply these 3 top goals to start 2016 the right way.

1. Your Success is Our Success

Right-off-the-bat, it should be known that the success of an answering service is the success of the client, and vice versa. Make it your goal to work as a boundless partnership. Together, you can see where it is fit to invest, research, and know what is best for your operations.

Maybe this is the time to talk about how you can lower monthly business expenses, how you can develop new competitive advantages or even project more responsibility on the answering service for the upcoming year.
The best part about working as a team, is that improvement is guaranteed. If you don’t communicate, and work together, you will never reach your expectations. In fact, you’ll never go beyond your expectations. (If you don’t communicate and work together you can never grow beyond your expectations. In fact, you may never even reach your current goals and expectations.)

2. Balance

Make sure there’s a balance. This means there should be room left for the expert to be the expert. Make it your goal to find harmony in your business partnership. Set individual goals that will encourage success for both parties.

For example, if you and your answering service agree it’s time to implement a new script, allow the answering service to use their expertise to develop a customized greeting for your approval. After all, you’re paying them to go above and beyond your customer’s expectations. Let them do the dirty work; while allowing yourself, the small business owner, to focus solely on the habits of a great business owner.

3. Communicate

No matter how great or rocky things are going, make it your goal to communicate expectations, goals, and needs. Set-up monthly meetings or reports and continually voice your thoughts.

Start 2016 with a fresh slate. If something from 2015 wasn’t communicated, communicate it from here on out. There’s no reason to let a hiccup in the previous year effect this year’s business relations if you can resolve the issue.

If you’re ready to meet this year’s resolutions speak to your local answering service today. Here at Responsive we make it our goal to build upon your existing business operations in a cost effective, and goal orientated manner. In other words, we use every day as an opportunity to optimize the value of your perspective operations and build stronger relations. Give us a call (day or night) to find out how we can help you and your business succeed this year

Live Answering Services Cultivate Business

On average a small business can nearly double in size within 5 years, with a 15% rate of growth annually. But, with enough stamina and a well-organized system of operations, a small business can actually double in size in just 1 year.

It’s a given that starting a new business is difficult, but maintaining a successful one, is even harder. To be successful, a small business knows that these 9 quality characteristics of a live answering service are of great benefit to their growth.

9 Quality Characteristics

characteristics of live answering service

A business that wants to grow looks for these outlining characteristics in an answering service. Although, a smart business that wants to grow, knows that each and every characteristic of a live answering service will not only shape their image but their future.

If your small business is ready to blossom, contact your local answering service for a free consultation today. And before you know it, business will be booming.

5 Tips for Excellent Customer Service

customer service

Customer service is the forefront of all business operations. And quality customer service can go a long way.

Read the following five tips that many answering service agents use for positive caller experiences.

  1. Answer calls with enthusiasm. Avoid becoming robotic. Smile and greet the caller with, “Good morning/afternoon/evening,” and thank them for calling. Use the business name that you are representing and ask questions such as “How may I assist you this morning?”.

  2. Don’t be afraid to be personal. Use the caller’s name more than once throughout the conversation. This type of personalization makes the caller feels important.

  3. Set the tone. Ask questions to understand why the caller is contacting the business. When you are pulling up data you can ask simple questions such as “How are you?” which can also help build a relationship.

  4. Service with care and compassion. If you need to place a customer on hold, ask them for permission. Assure them you will be back on the line shortly. Make sure that if it is going to be a significant period of time, either ask the caller if it is ok to give them a call back during a time that is convenient for them or offer to check in every so often. Avoid negative phrases such as “no.” Be polite and use age-old manners to make a strong impression.

  5. End the call on a positive note. Say goodbye in a friendly manner such as “Have a wonderful day, Bob!” or “Great to hear from you Bob, don’t hesitate to contact us again.”

By following these steps your brand’s image and customer service will play a huge competitive advantage. If you would like to find out more contact Responsive Answering Service today!

How Bilingual Answering Services Can Work for You

billingual answering servicesSavvy businesses are employing bilingual answering services to accommodate their callersand increase the number of potential customers. Within the next few years the Hispanic population will make up nearly 20% of the population in the United States. Those answering service agents that can speak fluently in both Spanish and English have the capability to handle any call that comes their way.

You can’t deny that bilingual services are a crucial part of a successful business, but what about your needs? The versatility of an answering service iskey. A bilingual answering service should be able to meet your demandsby providing one or more of the following:

• English speaking caller – agent takes message – delivers message in English
• Spanish speaking caller – agent takes message – delivers message in Spanish
• English speaking caller – agent takes message – translates and delivers in Spanish
• Spanish speaking caller – agent takes message – translates and delivers in English

As you may notice, there are many ways to record and deliver messages. You may even ponder(consider) the idea of having a Spanish answering Service that strictly handles your Spanish calls. To do this, all you need to do is create an automated greeting that fields your calls and asks callers to press 1 for English or 2 for Spanish. The bilingual answering service can gather details, translate the message and forward it to you immediately.

Every call is important. Understanding the needs of the caller, providing customer solutions and feedback is essential for superior customer service. Don’t let this limit your business. Find a bilingual answering service that offers alternatives and provides your business with that extra support needed no matter what comes its way. So, what are you waiting for? Get bilingual phone coverage today to provide superior service.

The Expertise of a Virtual Receptionist

Whether you employ a live or virtual receptionist, they are usually the first voice that an external party hears when they get in touch with your company. The key to making a good first impression is to answer phone enquiries in a professional, respectful and helpful manner. Receptionists that master these techniques will positively impact the entire business.

External parties often base their judgments on a single interaction with the receptionist. If they’re treated with disrespect, or the receptionist is unfriendly in anyway, the caller will automatically be prejudiced against the company as a whole. This means there’s a possibility that the external party will take their business elsewhere.

virtual receptionistDon’t be fooled. It is important for every receptionist to be positive and friendly. They are the image of the company and every time they pick up the phone they should embody the persona of the establishment.

Your virtual receptionist has basic knowledge of your industry, but with this guide they’ll be able to answer phone calls with the utmost efficiency and win the caller’s respect and business.

Common Problems

Before we begin, let’s address some common problems. Virtual receptionists are faced with calls day-in and day-out. Sometimes the job can become dull and the receptionist can become bored, and it shows in their work.

Our number one rule of thumb is to allow the receptionist to be themselves and let their personality shine- as long as it does not affect service standards. Their employer should encourage a fun and relaxed pace(place) of work as well as smiling when communicating.

Tips for Enhanced Communication While on the Phone

Receptionists should be prepared to answer the phone in a polite and friendly manner. They should aim to speak clearly and smoothly. The receptionist will want to state the business’s name, as well as their own to reassure the caller that they have called the right place.

If you are the receptionist you need to listen carefully. As soon as you have enough information you must provide results. Take the time to verify the request and reassure the caller that it is being taken care of. Then you must explain to the caller what the agenda is and inform the caller of an estimated timeline of results. Or, follow through by providing answers to the caller’s questions immediately thereafter.

If at some point you have to put a caller on hold, it’s OK. Just remember the two minute rule of thumb; never leave a caller unattended for more than two minutes at a time. If you expect that it is going to take longer than two minutes, be considerate and ask the caller if it would be more convenient to contact him/her back at a different time.

Throughout the conversation you should take notes. This will prevent the caller from having to repeat the same information several times to different people.

The Impact of Hiring a Virtual Receptionist vs. Live Receptionist

Virtual receptionists are experts at what they do. Remember that many of them have had extensive training and know all of the tricks of the trade concerning handling calls.

Learn how a virtual receptionist could positively impact your business by contacting your local answering service. You’ll see the benefitsin the blink of an eye!

10 Tips for Answering Services in South Florida

It’s the little things in life that bring joy to people’s hearts. Answering services in South Florida have found that a little bit of quality customer service can go a long way. Read the following tips for answering services that many agents and receptionists use for positive caller experiences.
tips for answering services

  1. Answer calls with your personal spunk (enthusiasm). Avoid becoming robotic. Smile and greet the caller with, “Good morning/afternoon/evening,” and thank them for calling. Use the business name that you are representing and ask questions such as “How may I assist you this morning?”

  2. Use the caller’s name more than once throughout the conversation. This type of personalization makes the caller feel important, which is a vital feeling to convey over the phone.

  3. Ask the caller a question to set the tone. From there, ask questions to understand why the caller is contacting the business. When you are pulling up data you can ask simple questions such as “How are you?” which can also help build a relationship.

  4. Use enthusiastic phrases such as “my pleasure” or “absolutely” instead of “okay” or “all right.” Remember when your parents taught you dining table etiquette? Re-apply those lessons in these situations. “May I,” instead of “can I,” can make you appear more professional and polite.
    With that said, saying “please” and “thank you” never go out of style. These two words can save a challenging call.

  5. If you need to place a customer on hold, ask them for permission. Assure them you will be back on the line shortly. Make sure that if it is going to be a significant period of time, either ask the caller if it is ok to give them a call back during a time that is convenient for them or offer to check in every so often. Again, try using their name when doing this.

  6. Avoid negative phrases such as “no.” Answering services in South Florida know that keeping the conversation light and focused on positive phrases can significantly help customer satisfaction. For instance, “Mr. Bob stepped out of the office for a moment, but I’d be happy to take a message or transfer you to his line.”

  7. When you do take messages for an associate, never tell the caller that that person will be back right away, unless you are certain he/she will be back at a certain time. Telling the caller that whoever they are trying to reach will be back right away will make the customer think they should receive a return call very soon.

  8. End the call on a positive note. Say goodbye in a friendly manner such as “Have a wonderful day, Sarah!” or “Great to hear from you Sarah, don’t hesitate to contact us again.”

By following these steps answering services in South Florida will improve their (your) brand’s image and convey a client-focus strategy. Customers will dissociate any bad stigma they have with answering services and go into future calls with your company more positively. If you would like to find out more contact Responsive Answering Service today!

How to Navigate Communications with Rude Callers

Have you ever been faced with the difficulties of an irritated or rude caller? One of the challenges of working with customers on the phone is learning how to navigate the conversation. Of course, handling every call with care is important, but sometimes we need a little help. Here are three tips to handle difficult phone calls and encourage positive outcomes.

  1. Actively listen(suggestion: May want to capitalize the first letter of every word on these points.)
    handle rude callers

    Most people just want to be heard or understood. Actively listen to the caller and figure out what’s bothering them. Show the customer you care about what they are saying and feeling. You can even try to relate and put yourself in their shoes so you can better understand their frustrations. Never use phrases such as “I don’t know,” or “we can’t help,” because the customer will get more frustrated.

  2. Maintain control and keep your cool

    Control yourself and your actions during the conversation. You are a representative of the company and the customer is seeking help from you. So, if at any point in time things go south, don’t hesitate to tell the customer,“I want to help you, and in fact it would be my pleasure.How can we work together to find a solution?” You need to remain professional and remember that this is not personal.

  3. It’s not personal

    The caller isn’t angry with you. They are upset with the company, product, or service and most likely aren’t concerned with your personal feelings. Do your best to resolve the situation without putting yourself in the middle of it. If you cannot help the caller you can always look for another representative who can. You could also ask to contact the customer momentarily. This will allow you and the customer to get some time to cool off and regroup.

After a phone call with a rude customer, remember to always recollect yourself. Take a moment to breathe and get back your positive energy. There are other callers waiting for your assistance.

Here at Responsive we offer professional solutions. We are experienced and understand that all callers need compassion and understanding, even rude and upset callers. Call us today to learn more.

Every Call Is Important

Regardless of who calls your business, every call is important. You won’t always get the opportunity to call them back if you missed their callcall or sent them straight to voicemail. We understand that business meetings and other parts of life are as important as that phone call, but at the end of the day,that one call could cost your business important opportunities.

In this day and age, the internet and social media dominate, influencing all types of decisions. Customers have found that these connections on the internet allow them to retrieve important product information and contact details. At the click of a mouse a customer has the ability to review practically any information they choose.

Why is every call important?

The fact is, the phone is still the customer’s preferred point of contact. Customer service over the phone is essential to good business. Customers and clients look forward to someone on the other line greeting them in a friendly and professional manner.

You might think that a friendly voicemail can be equivalent to a live representative when you are unavailable or the call is placed outside of business hours. This just isn’t true. 8 out of 10 customers would rather hang-up then leave a message and in the long term, this could ultimately cost you big time.

There are competitors out there willing to snatch-up that customer that could’ve been or was yours. It doesn’t matter what size your company is, how many people you employ or what industry you are in. Every business should have a customer contact solution in place. This means that every customer should be able to reach your business, and an individual waiting to assist them in a professional and kind setting.

Maybe you’ve gotten by, but the industry is changing and growing. Find your customer contact solutions today! Responsive Answering Service is dedicated to providing the assistance you need. We offer quality and unique solutions to meet your business needs.

Don’t miss another call. Here at Responsive we will help your business boom and make sure every caller knows their call is an important one.

Organized Call Logs Done Right

Answering services, call centers, front desks and anyone else that keeps records of call data should keep organized call logs. When someone calls in, it is important to keep a detailed record of the caller’s information. Answering services specifically use call logs to establish reliability in the company’s billing practices. Follow these proven strategies to create the best, organized call logs to build an efficient business foundation.

Call Log Data

There is a tremendous amount of data that should be collected to complete a caller’s file. Answering services collect data which includes:

• Date
• Time
• Caller ID
• Duration
• Operator servicing call
• Number of rings before answering
• Call abandon time
• Hold time
• Caller details and much more

Answering services usually provide more data than a normal person would. In fact one of the reasons that businesses employ answering services is because they know that the answering service will collect and provide the data that businesses need.

Customers of telephone answering services look to receive and analyze statistical and performance details as calls are handled. A good answering service will report the following: date, time, ring count, call duration and hold time. In addition, they should provide summaries that show: total calls answered, abandoned, put on hold, the average call duration, as well as hold time.

To organize this information there should be a list of calls with their details, and then a summary of each as well. This will provide your company with the best organized call log. Then again, every business is different and you may need some extra information. Just ask your local answering service to help create an ideal call log that you’ll get the most out of and helps you stay organized.

Answering Services to the Rescue: Call Overflow

call overflowCall overflow is like driving on the interstate during rush hour. When businesses get calls during peak periods in a day or season, it is nice to have a backup route that can control traffic and avoid messy issues or collisions. Your customers are important, and if overflow is causing you to miss a call, you could be losing or missing out on potential business.

Controlled Call Overflow

Your associates and staff can only manage so many calls and messages before things spiral into crisis mode and become unorganized. First and foremost, you have to understand that in-house staff have duties and tasks that already occupy their time. You are employing them to do their job, which may mean they are not professionally trained to take calls. Your customers expect high quality customer services, even for routine calls. Live agents at a call center can make sure that your staff meet the demands already setup for them, and provide top-notch service to your customers.

A team of live answering service agents can help customers 24/7. They can have the ability to manage appointment scheduling, message deliveries, registrations and so many things. On top of that, the answering service can collect, manage data and relay it back to you in an organized and thoughtful call log. You will have all the information you need at your convenience.

How to Use Call Overflow

Whenever your business notices a spike in call volume, we can be there to help manage the surge. If you are planning a new product launch or event, we can be prepared for that. You will never have a customer wait or be on hold due to staff illness, holidays or vacations. You will be able to conduct business around the clock with an ease of mind. With our customized scripts and superb customer services your customers will never know that they aren’t speaking to in-house staff.

Call Responsive Answering Services to find out how our flexible plans can be customized to meet your specific needs. Don’t let call overflow throw your business off.

How a CRM Can Elevate Your Business

How a CRM Can Elevate Your Business

CRM, otherwise known as Customer Relationship Management, is a system used to elevate businesses to the next level. You may have heard the term before or maybe you haven’t. Regardless, you should get familiar with the term ASAP because CRMs are all the hype.

At the heart of the system, CRMs are meant to track and measure interactions between the company, customers and potential customers. You can use a CRM irrespectively and respectively to your industry; you can use it to measure appointments, communications, ratings, proposal tracking and much more. When you properly implement and execute a CRM system you can increase sales, boost customer satisfaction and create a system that runs more efficiently.

CRM’s that are integrated with your call center or answering service provider allows for streamlined 24/7 assistance and solutions for customers and prospective customers. A CRM keeps everyone in the loop and informs anyone working with the system the information they need.

Build a Plan

Consider the many ways that your business interacts and can interact with a client. Everything you think of should be able to be implemented into the CRM system, meaning the system should be flexible yet able to track interactions with clients.

Think of the contact process. What information will you need in order to have a successful, sufficient sale and service? Do you want to follow-up with them later and about what? Consider everything that could take place and that could help your customer service team gain a competitive edge.

You will want to also consider the user database. Think about: Who can access data? Who can modify data? And so on.  In the end you will need to consider all of this to plan a route of action for each member of your team. Take for example your management. They will always need to have access to see what’s going on and have a central playing ground regardless of if someone moves on from the company or adds to it.

You can take this step-by-step. You can implement one part or thought at a time to your CRM and develop a full CRM transition by going through the process in phases. This way you can allow for adjustments in regard to feedback and what works better for your staff.

Consider

Consider CRM tools that are already out there.  There are a few popular CRMs that are well known including SalesForce, ACT, SugarCRM and so on. You can either use these CRMs or develop a whole new CRM process. Either way, find a way to execute the service and even if you have a CRM you can make it better!

Contact your local answering service to see if they have any recommendations. They may be able to provide insights on the industry and how to execute everything to see all the benefits and improve customer service.

Improve Answering Service Scripts

Improve Answering Service Scripts

Sometimes people look down upon answering service scripts. The reality is customer service needs to maintain a consistent approach and meet the high expectations of customers. Answering service scripts can help representatives meet those goals.

If you have mastered your script in a way so that any of your representatives can follow the guidelines while not sounding like a robot, you are in great shape. Your agent is providing the necessary information that he or she needs to convey to the incoming caller and taking down standard caller information in a way that is natural and friendly.

Here are three elements for you to implement when creating your answering service script:

  1. Engagement

    You will want to make your script engaging for answering service agents.  The agent will use and become familiar with something that is easy for them to use. So, you can create a script that uses the following elements: photos, highlights, links and product information.

    If your agent is engaged, then the representative can make sure that the customer has everything that they need as well.

  2. Empathy

    Agents working in answering services need to not only be able to help their client, but to connect and empathize with your client as well.

    By providing a script you can help guide your agent. You can help your agent put their feet in someone else’s shoes. With scripts you caneven provide a procedure that helps the agent analyze the situation and reflect back on what the customer is going through.  Once an agent is able to demonstrate that they care and understand what the client is going through, the customer feels supported and valued.

  3. Personal

    Encourage your agents to make their script personalized in some form. This will add personality and will help the conversation to be natural and flowing. Personalization can be added based on department or team, or even on individual preferences. Set boundaries and monitor calls to make sure that in the end you are hitting all your goals.

By implementing these three easy tips to improve your answering service scripts you will find that you have better customer service results. For further assistance and if you would like an expert answering service to help you generate the best script for yourservices call Responsive Answering Service today!