How to Use a Call Answering Service to Convert Those Calls You've Been Missing
Getting through everything often requires time without interruption. The same is true when you’re trying to spend time with family or friends outside of business hours. For incoming calls, you have two options—and neither of them have the most desirable outcome. On the one hand, you can simply stop your work or interrupt your meeting and answer the call. But this impacts your productivity, and quite likely the quality, of your work as well as disrupts meetings with customers, prospects, and employees.
On the other hand, you can let the call go to voice mail and deal with it at a later time. But in today’s digital age where seconds and immediacy count, this can be detrimental. In some cases, you may miss an important sales lead—the caller hangs up and doesn’t lead a message or it takes days or weeks for you to connect with them once you retrieve the message. On other occasions, it might be a customer seeking your assistance with a problem or additional business; voice mail results in a frustrated customer or lost business opportunity.
The conundrum of answering incoming calls—or not answering them—seems like a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” scenario. In response, solopreneurs and small businesses are turning to live call answering services. By pushing your incoming calls through an answering service, your work—and time away from work—can remain uninterrupted, unless it is a call that requires immediate attention.
Evaluating Your Live Answering Service Options
When it comes to a live answering service, everything from bad options to good options exist. With the rise of the freelance worker, there are a lot of one-off options that you can procure through an assortment of freelance marketplaces. Yet, they have multiple clients and also have personal lives to manage at the same time.
Instead, live receptionist services such as Davinci Live Receptionists that are staffed by dedicated teams that manage multiple clients are a better option. Not only can these on-demand live answering service teams handle concurrent calls, but they have documented processes for sourcing callers to the right channel—voice mail when not urgent, directly to your phone when the issue cannot wait, to the right member of your team (if you’re a small business), and so forth.
So, what should you seek in a live answering service? Following are some of the capabilities that differentiate the okay and good from the best:
1. On-demand team.
As noted above, freelancers don’t have the scale and often the professionalism that your business demands. Think twice before you go down this path.
2. Dedicated team of professionals.
Some live answering services may route your call to any number of available live receptionists. They may not know your business and understand the unique requirements of your customers. Any number of repercussions can occur—from customers becoming frustrated and hanging up to being sourced to the wrong channel (voice mail when it was a call you needed to answer) person.
3. Auto-receptionist option.
For after-hours calls, or even those during business hours, you may want the option of routing calls through an auto-receptionist service. Here, rather than starting with a live receptionist, callers self-serve—determining if they simply want a voice mail, need basic information, or require immediate assistance.
4. Call scripting.
A one-size-fits-all script isn’t broad or flexible enough to cover the different types of calls a business owner receives. Make sure your live answering service provider has the processes in place to develop multiple scripts—one for clients with a question or problem, another for prospects seeking more information, another for businesses trying to sell you something, and so forth. In some instances, callers can be routed to voice mail, while others may need to go forthright to you to answer. This means the live answering service provide must develop call script rules for proper routing.
5. Calendaring and appointment scheduling.
Managing your calendar and appointments can be a time-consuming undertaking. Here, a live answering service can take on these tasks so that you can focus on your business. But not every live answering service has this capability.
6. Voice mail management.
You do not always have time to log into voice mail to retrieve your messages, and sometimes some messages cannot wait for you to do so. Instead, you need the option to get your voice mail in text or email, enabling you to identify the calls that are urgent and important versus those that can wait.
7. Multiple channels.
The digital age has transformed business communications. While phone remains a critical communications channel, it is certainly not the only one—nor the preferred one in some cases. This is where you should seek out a live answering service provider that can receive and send communications beyond just phone—email, text, live web chat, and even social media. There are huge opportunities for a solopreneur or small business to differentiate themselves by providing omnichannel engagement experiences.