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
https://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:
https://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!

Call Confirmation Made Easy

Call confirmation is the key to taking telephone calls and messages. Any high-end virtual receptionist, call center or answering service is equipped with a spelling alphabet. Every representative has this list located at their desk and is familiar with it. Spelling alphabets may seem silly, but in fact they are a vital part of making call confirmation easy.

When a client or customer calls in, the agent representing your establishment needs to make sure that they are listening attentively, as well as providing information that is easily understood by the client. For example, a client calls into your medical answering service. They are hard of hearing and they are asking for the date, time and directions for their appointment. If at any time there is a miscommunication and the agent never uses call confirmation, or their spelling alphabet, the medical practice could have a serious mix up.

The perfect way of utilizing a spelling alphabet, (a list of words that are used to clarify letters) is by generating a list with unique words known and used by your faculty and regular callers. This is a list of common words to your region and audience. Creating a spelling alphabet for call confirmation can be fun and exciting. You will want to have words with distinguishing sounds to separate similar-sounding letters.

If you would like an example, you may be similar with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) alphabet. This is used by military, as well as police radio communication. So take for example, you have “A” for Alpha, “B” for Bravo, “C” as in Charlie and so on. We have provided a copy of the ICAO spelling alphabet so that you can use it as a reference.

call confirmation

By using this spelling alphabet, or by creating your own, you can have top-of-the-line call confirmation. Ask Talk to your answering services representative today to see if you’re using a suited spelling alphabet for your practice. This will elevate your communication and provide excellent customer service!

Why Use a Medical Answering Service?

Medical Answering Services offer doctors the critical solutions they need in order to assist customers even when the client isn’t in the office. Their profession is demanding and medics find that answering services are a smart solution. Every phone call is important, especially when it’s regarding your health, wouldn’t you agree?

71% of customers end a business relationship due to less than impressive phone communication. When a thriving medical practice has a busy line all day, it is hard to manage calls efficiently. In fact, managing calls can create a huge burden and requires time and attention. If you miss a call or cannot offer immediate assistance to a client, you could lose business.

A smart strategy is to allow a professional medical answering service to assist you and your medical answering servicecustomers. You won’t need to worry about the lack of personnel, assigning medical support staff to cover the calls or hiring new staff. A medical answering service can allow your medical staff to focus on onsite clients, save you money on in-house expenditures and help deliver superior medical phone services.

Think from your customer’s point of view. They want whoever is assisting them to provide them their undivided attention. Medical answering services are sensitive to customer needs and are trained to handle the nature of that call.

Many answering services offer medics 24/7 assistance. This is a huge advantage to both the doctor and the client. The technology that is used by a medical answering service ensures that physicians can be reached when needed. You will never have a lost or misrouted call again.

Our services offer the perfect mixture of quality telephone answering compassion and concern. See why other medical professionals request to have medical answering services join their team!

How to Put a Customer on Hold

How to Put a Customer on Hold

Ever wonder how to put a customer on hold? Sometimes it’s unavoidable. If you have to do it, do it right. Use this guide to ensure superior customer service when having to place a client on hold.

Get Permission

When you take a call and you find that you HAVE to place the caller on hold you must get the callers’ permission before taking further action.

Take for example you are the live operator that must direct the call to the correct department. You should initially answer the call with a smile and ask the customer if it is OK to put them on a brief hold while you transfer the call.

At any point in time, this procedure does stand true. We recommend that regardless of the situation, a live answer followed by a brief hold is more efficient when handling excess call volumes.

Provide Insight

When the customer is placed on hold this is a great time to place fillers. When done correctly, fillers can provide value to the caller. You can optimize the filler by providing helpful information that is free of charge to the customer. This way the customer remains engaged and as happy as they can be during the hold time.

To optimize the filler we recommend providing answers to common questions, pointers about your company’s experience and simply fun facts. Whatever can keep the customer engaged. Do not use repeated recordings apologizing for the hold time or anything that may disengage the customer.

Note: This is not a time to do sales pitches.

Brief

Make sure that the hold is as brief as possible. You have to be considerate; the customer doesn’t want to be listening to the same information and music during the wait. If they have to wait longer than necessary you will just have an annoyed customer.

Consider contacting your local professional answering service today to track and manage calls. They will be able to provide you and your customers a fresh method of communication that has never been more efficient!

Using a Quality Answering Service

Using a Quality Answering Service

Your clients are important, and though it may be another expense, a quality answering service is worth your while. If you have an answering service provider that is taking emergency calls or after hours calls it is important to make sure you are getting your money’s worth and more importantly, your customer’s. Here are some pointers to take into consideration when selecting or using a quality answering service.

The Vision of Quality Service

Quality answering services are ones that not only act as your trusted provider, but as your partner. They will want to see your communication needs being met. You will know that they are true quality when they are proactive in major changes and help to provide feedback to optimize any additional alterations that need to be made.

It’s not all about communication. You have to think about the overall characteristics of the answering service provider as well.

Training

You know you have found quality services when your answering service holds frequent trainings. The more in-depth training an agent has, the better equipped they are to handle situations and questions.

If you haven’t selected a provider yet, consider how much value a professionally trained associate can bring to the table. You won’t want just any old answering service; select a provider that has experience in your industry. Think of it this way: their employees are your own human capital. Find the best fit for your company.

Customers Satisfied

If your answering service (or prospective) has a track record, check it out! You will want to verify and make sure that their clients are happy with the services and the callers are happy as well. If the answering service can provide details and statistics (client sales for example) you will want to look into that as well.

It is important to have all the facts and go above and beyond for your clients. If you are ready to discover what quality answering services means for your business, call us today! It will be worth your while.

Call Patching Services

Call Patching Services

Call patching is the perfect solution for businesses to continuously as call loads grow on larger scales. Some businesses may even find that a variety of customers need immediate attention that their normal telephone answering services simply cannot provide. With call patching you can optimize customer devotion while implementing a hardy solution.

What is Call Patching?

Normally when your answering service, equipped with skilled operators, receives a call from one of your customers they are able answer common questions and assist that customer the best that they can. Of course, there are times when customers call with an immediate need and need YOUR professional assistance.

Call patching allows you to designate specific problems, situations, and customers that should be redirected to your personal line. Here’s how it works: your patching guidelines will notify the virtual receptionist to place the caller on hold. They dial the number you’ve provided for forwarding the calls. The answering service agent will explain, to the contact provided who the caller is and how the contact can help them before connecting the two calls. If you or the contact cannot be reached the caller will be reconnected to operator and will be asked to provide a message.

Intrigued? Here are the Benefits

  • Privacy: As a business owner you may feel hesitant to give customers your personal line or home phone number. With call patching you can have calls directed to your home phone, or cell phone while protecting your anonymity. Callers will never know your number.

  • Flexibility: You have the power to decide which situations you would like to handle in immediate manners. This way your customers get the service they deserve and meet regardless of the dilemma.

  • Personal Touch: Let’s say your customer cannot be patched and is reconnected to the operator to leave a message; your customer is still receiving personalized services. They will feel relieved to know that someone is taking care of the situation instead of dealing with an automated system.

When customers need to reach you with an emergency, call patching can improve your response time and help you manage calls in a way that suits your needs. By providing availability to your customers at any time of the day or night you can win over their hearts in less than 3 rings.

The Impacts of Being Bilingual

The Impacts of Being Bilingual

Language is a leading factor in communication. In the year 2011, the U.S. Census Bureau conducted a survey illustrating that of the 291.5 million people aged 5 and over, 60.6 million people spoke a language other than English at home. It is crucial to be equipped with bilingual employees in order to builda more prepared and effective customer service team.

In total there are over 100 languages are spoken in the US. The 2012 U.S. Census report states that Spanish is the most common language among non-native English speakers. According to the University of Georgia’s Selig Center for Economic Growth, within a span of ten years the Hispanic spending power in the U.S. had climbed 118%,to $452 billion dollars, and continues to climb.

Nielsen reports that the Latino buying power in the US will increase from approximately 1 trillion dollars in 2010 to 1.5 trillion by this year, 2015.

Imagine how much your business can benefit when you can offer these increasingly essential bilingual services. Bilingual employees offer immeasurable benefits to your business. Consider the following:

  • Excellent communication skills

    Bilingual employees have been found to conduct exquisite communication and listening skills. Researchers from Northwestern University have found that people that speak several languages can process information more quickly and efficiently than those that only know one language.

    These cognitive benefits facilitate bilingual employees in distinguishing relevant and irrelevant information. As well as act in a more alert manner, offering a quicker ability to deal with ambiguities and resolve conflicts.

  • Better at Multi-tasking

    Recent studies suggest that bilingual employees have advanced mental skills since they are constantly excising their brains and developing brain power.

    Dr. Bialystok at York University in Toronto states that jugglingthe comprehension of two languages boosts one of the most important parts of the brain known as the executive control system. This concept has as well been supported by the National Institutes of Health which funded a study which found that people that speak more than one language have an easier time switching between two tasks. Furthermore, switching between tasks indicates anability to multi-task.

  • Reach International Arena

    Bilingual employees can be a valuable member(s) of your staff because they can reach a larger variety of clientele. Employees that speak two languages can usually differentiate regional interests and customers. They provide an open door to not only localizing services but geo-targeting to a larger pool of possible customers.

It has been said that bilingual employees offer a certain cultural experience that offers a higher tolerance and open-mindedness.

Over the next ten years, 70 percent of employers are predicted to search for Spanish-speaking and bilingual employees. Can you see why?

Interested in taking the necessary strides to becoming a bilingual company? For bilingual assistance in customer service contact us today!

Emergency Answering Service Must Haves

Emergency Answering Service Must Haves

It is undeniable that businesses may run into the forces of nature. Your firm may be located in a hurricane zone, an active fault, or in a tornado valley, but what are you going to do when actual disaster hits? An answering service designed to handle emergency calls may offer the solution you are looking for while you are picking up the aftermath.

Every call that is missed, is a job lost. Here are the must haves that your answering service should be equipped with in case you encounter an emergency:

  • 24/7 Answering

    You will want a firm to represent you during the down times that meets customer demands. When natural disasters hit and emergencies affectboth companies and their clients, customers could be calling at all hours of the day and week. They will try to contact you when it is most convenient for them. Everyone affected by emergencies will be trying to work through the situation they may have been dealt, which means their time is valuable.

  • Bilingual Support

    During emergencies we rely on those that are closest to us, to work through our to-do recovery lists. It may be the client, the client’s family member, or a friend of the client.Bilingual staff help your company to be prepared to assistance anyone that may be calling in regards to your services.

  • Appointment Scheduling

    Chances are when an emergency hits you won’t be able to hold appointments that same day. In fact, your client may cancel, but how are you going to control the flow of calls, appointments and planning for recovery all at the same time? Answering Services that are able to provide appointment scheduling are the perfect solution to your concerns. They can allow you to focus on what you need to focus on, while still keeping the company’sattention directed on those that matter the most; the customers.

  • Back-up to Your Back-up

    If you have been providedwith the assistance of an answering service, it important to make sure that your backup has a backup. See if your answering service has backup generators, data backups, battery backups and the vital, as well as reliable, dial tone provider and internet provider.

To ensure company growth and customer satisfaction during a catastrophe, contact your local answering service to see if they can assist and protect your customers while controlling company flow in an emergency.

Professional Phone Skills

Professional Phone Skills

A customer contacts your firm; their first impression of your corporation is typically made by the receptionist or representative. It is their job to uphold a professional appearance throughout the entirety of their job tasks. Answering the phone is just one of the many tasks in which they are assigned to, but it is the most important.

Some representatives are born with the natural talent to engage clients where it matters most. While others have to work a bit more to effortlessly come off as friendly and helpful. Here is a guideline of professional phone skills to help those strive at providing quality assistance.

  1. Timely Manner
    Whether it is a receptionist or virtual office assistant taking calls, it is important to always be on time and answer the call within the first two-to-three rings. A customer that calls and allows the phone to continuously ring is probably not going to leave a voicemail. This means that new business is potentially lost and your reliability has sunk. The more reliable the business, the better chance customers will use your services.
  2. Be Polite
    Every customer that calls is a VIP customer. You want to greet and assist the 1000th caller the same as you did with the very first client you ever spoke to; professionally and pleasantly.

    The top five phrases, from 2014, that customers hope to hear from your company include:

    • Let me take care of that for you.
    • I’m not sure, but I’ll find out for you.
    • I’m sorry.
    • Thank you for contacting us. How can I help you?
    • I see you’ve been a customer for many years. Thank you for your loyalty.

    These are simple phases, but the reality of it is, your client is a human being and they should be treated as though their business matters to you.

  3. Listen Carefully and Stay Organized
    This skill is key to success. Clients do not call to get the run-around. Make sure to take detailed notes and practice active listening. Make sure to focus on what the caller is saying and determine what the best action is, whether it is to transfer the customer to another department or quickly assist right-then-and-there.
  4. Communicate Effectively
    Do not speak to quickly nor to slowly. Do not mumble; rather speak with confidence and clarity. Do not use slang words or company jargon. Adjust your tone and pitch to ensure that you are willing to help and serve this customer. As well, a skill that you can easily implement is to speak with enthusiasm and at a comfortable pace.
  5. Verify
    If you need clarification or are taking down important information, always take a moment to repeat what was indicated and verify if it was incorrect. This includes the phone number, address, credit card information, current issue and so on, depending on situation.
  6. Rules of Hold
    Before placing a customer on hold make sure to ask the customer for permission. If the client agrees to the hold, the customer is not meant to bewaiting for long, extended periods of time. In fact, if you are planning to have the client on hold for even more than 2 minutes, you should ask the customer if it is more convenient to call the customer back once you know more information. One minute can feel like forever, and a client’s time is precious; this is an important skill to always implement.
  7. Thank you
    A skill used in professional etiquette is to always thank the customer.
  8. Best Face forward
    Customers want to feel that they are welcomed. Put a smile on, even while on a phone. It is guaranteed that that small amount of positive energy will be transmitted through the phone line.

It is important to go above and beyond for a client regardless if it is on the phone or in person. Follow this guideline of professional telephone skills to boost the customer experience. For further assistance in providing an outstanding first impression to your clients, contact us today for your free quote!

After Hour Calls

After Hour Answering Services

The concept of the telephone has been around for hundreds of years. It has beenembodied in our culture and lives. We pick up the phone to call our Grandmothers, our friends and our service providers. It does not matter what time of the day it is, we just do it. This is why it is so important to have relevant information and personalized sales interactions 24 hours a day, 7days a week.

Customers want instant solutions and results. Think about it, you do not call the doctor’s office to potentially receive a call a few days later in regards to your inquire. In fact, many customers come to the conclusion it is not worth the wait and do not leave a voicemail. Regardless of the hour of the call, a customer expects a speedy and personal response.

Managing Expectations

For many companies it is incredibly difficult to keep the business open 24/7. Which is not issue, it just means it is time to find an alternative to please clients. Some options include automated workflow, social media channels, alerts and apps that can help you keep an eye on customer activity. Though, the most productive form of managing expectations is through outsourcing an answering service.

Businesses that choose to outsource an answering service manage expectations by developing a service level agreement. A contract, between the service provider and representing telecommunication company, that defines the level of service expected from the service provider. It establish a mutual understanding in capacities such as services, areas prioritized, responsibilities, guarantees, and warranties provided by the service provider.

Furthermore, the representing answering service should take several measures in order to go above and beyond the expectations of the service provider. After all, the clients of the supplier are clients of the answering service.

The service provider took an innovative stand and hired an answering service to meet customer expectations and offer communication services 24/7. Now it is vital for the telecommunication services to make their own impressions on the customer.

These representatives must be clear. Without hesitations, or confusion the employee must learn to speak with passion, understanding and clarity in tone and message. When delivering their message they need to keep it simple. Too much information or too little information could lose a customer right off the bat.

More specific measures such as, changing it up daily, and reviewing should as well be taken by the outsourced answering service. Representatives with the answering service need to provide the specific information expected by the service provider. Though, they should not be talking to a client as though they are reading from a script. So in order to measure the success of the representative, within their own creativity as well as meeting standards, their calls need to be reviewed daily.

To conclude, it is vital to be honest and thorough with your representatives and customers. Provide them that in which they can expect. With the help of an answering service and utilizing these specific measures, it is guaranteed that a company will meet customer expectations 24/7. Call us today for a free quote!

Trends in the Industry: Rising Customer Expectations

Trends in the Industry: Rising Customer Expectations

Think about the product or service that you are offering. What matters to your customers when they call? They don’t demand the impossible; they just expect the exceedingly reasonable. Customer expectations are rising and with an outstanding service performance, they can come into equilibrium and be satisfied.

Nearly 59% of all customers will test a new company or brand because they were not satisfied with the services provided from the last one they were using. 86% of customers are actually willing to pay for a more vigorous customer service. This means that they want to be treated with respect, be listened and not ignored, and don’t want to be transferred from one department to another.

Customers will use a company that not only provides a good product or service, but that also goes above and beyond to provide them the best customer service. That should not be so hard to accomplish, but in fact, a lot can go wrong during an exchange of information and/or sales processes.

Follow these steps to be able to fulfill your customers’ expectations:

  1. Understand their needs:

    Identify the customer expectations and understand that these are constantly changing, developing and evolving.  They may include speedy, efficient and accurate services; prompt responses to inquiries; trained and friendly staff able to attend their requests immediately.

    Nowadays, based on Dan Pink’s ABCs of selling, sales are not all about the cash, but also about the commitment with the client which includes attunement, buoyancy and clarity.

  2. Reconsider after the fact:

    After your sale has taken place, go back to the customer and ask about their product or service satisfaction. Review the situation to see if the representative was able to provide everything that was promised and was actually doable.

  3. Apologize if necessary:

    Errors may happen from time to time; when this is the case, be honest and apologize to the client. Follow up with them and hopefully save any sale that may have been lost; remember you need to solve their problem and they must be the priority of your business.

When customer expectations are met and their satisfaction is reached, there are various benefits: they become loyal clients, your company receives more referrals, you get additional business via word of mouth, and sales increase.

For further assistance, call us today for a free quote to see how we can improve your customer service from the moment we receive their calls.

Secure Messaging

Secure Messaging

Secure messaging is a server created to protect sensitive data and to provide an agreement with industry regulations such as HIPAA. Responsive Answering Service offers HIPAA Compliant Medical Answering; with confidential and secure new patient screening, 24/7 emergency relays, and medical appointment scheduling solutions, it sets a new standard for Health Care Communications.
Responsive Answering Service is fully HIPAA compliant, and protects your patients’ privacy with the latest and most innovative technology to keep your information secure. We are constantly upgrading our system to include the newest advances in software security Information. In addition, all representatives are professionally trained on privacy protection and HIPAA compliance.
We are a certified partner with “miSecureMessages”, which is a powerful secure text messaging and paging application built for Android™, Apple® and BlackBerry® mobile devices. miSecureMessages replaces paging and SMS technology and enables HIPAA-compliant; offering a two-way instant communication using the miSecureMessages App to easily reply.
The use of these secure messages offers many different benefits such as: instantaneous message delivery; completely secure messages; confirmation and reports of delivered, read, and replies messages; fast and convenience use on any smartphone; elimination of errors; eliminates pager expense, and adds security to keep your information safe.

The steps to enroll to a secure messaging platform are very easy, just log into your account with your username and password, type your message, select the recipient and send it over a secure SSL-connection or via other equally protecting methods. One secure message can be sent to different recipients with different types of secure delivery. Secure Messages are encrypted bi-directionally, and stored on an internet server, which allows achieving the data centrally and providing added security.
Secure messaging is used in many business areas, such as, financial institutions, insurance companies, public services, health organizations and others.