Around-the-clock customer support is no longer an advantage. In today’s world of instant-access communications and commerce, it’s an expectation at the least. And in the case of industries like medical that must respond to urgent matters day or night, it’s a necessity. For this reason, many businesses across all industries rely on live call answering to keep up with 24/7 customer communications.
However, most customers don’t realize they’re talking with an answering service because the receptionists are trained to be an extension of the business that customer is calling. Customers assume they’re talking to an employee in the office during the day or an on-call staff member after hours.
Their interactions with a good answering service will give them reassurance that they’re in good hands, and that the business they’re contacting is responsive to their needs. In turn, this helps the business operate more efficiently.
A bad answering service, however, can quickly damage a business’s reputation and impact customer loyalty. Here are 3 signs your answering service is making your customers think twice about doing business with you:
1> Mishandling calls
Unfortunately, there are too many horror stories about irate customers who were neglected because an answering service operator either failed to forward their call or didn’t direct the customer to the right course of action.
Time and accuracy are crucial when it comes to most customer services, and if an answering service operator isn’t reliable in how you need your calls to be directed it could spell trouble. Failing to forward a call quickly, or calling a wrong doctor in the middle of the night regarding a patient in urgent distress is not just irritating, it’s a liability.
2> Sloppy information
Careful attention to detail is critical to conducting business in any industry, and taking down incorrect caller information is unacceptable. A reputable answering service will know the importance of logging and recording all calls and responses accurately so that you know four things—who called, when, exactly how the call was handled, and what action needs to be taken next.
Answering service receptionists are responsible for ensuring that the information they convey is meticulous. Mistakes in a customer’s name or phone number or incomplete information about their request or concern jeopardize a business’s reputation and could potentially have a harmful impact, such as in the case of a medical issue or urgent service request.
3> Slow or rude responses
Customers want to know that their business is valued. When they call a business as a current or prospective customer, they need to know they’ll be taken care of and not shuffled to the side to be dealt with later. But if an answering service is understaffed or the operators are poorly trained, callers are too often put on hold for long periods.
This matters. Research has shown that if callers are directed to voicemail or put on hold for more than 30 seconds, more than a third of them will hang up and not call back. Placing customers on hold for long periods is essentially an invitation for them to hang up and consider looking for a more responsive provider.
Remember, customers think they’re talking with a staff member when they call a business, not an operator at a remote location. If they sense that your staff is too busy to answer phone calls in a timely manner, they will assume that your other business services will also involve delays. Likewise, receptionists who are rude or impatient can lead callers to wonder if this is the type of treatment they’ll receive from everyone else they encounter in the business.
How each call is handled reflects on your reputation and should be an opportunity to instill comfort and trust in your customer—not make them think twice about whether or not they want to do business with you.
Voice Link of Columbus, Inc., offers customized customer service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, delivered by friendly, service-oriented call center professionals. Our team of professional receptionists goes beyond call answering to assist you with customer communications and business solutions. Our excellent reputation, expert staff, and state-of-the-art technology will exceed your expectations.