6 Things You Need to Know About Telephone Answering Services
6 things you need to know about telephone answering services
Telephone answering services are an unusual phenomenon in the business world. Despite being around for decades not everyone has heard of them, and of those people who have, not everyone fully understands what a telephone answering service in 2017 is all about. Long gone are the days when an answering service would be a semi-retired receptionist with 4 telephones in their front room. Today, telephone answering services are large organisations at the forefront of the telecoms industry, utilising state of the art technology to provide seamlessly integrate services to businesses around the world. With that said, here are 6 things you need to know about telephone answering services in 2017.
1. You’re in control
One of the issues many people have to overcome when it comes to using a telephone answering service is the idea that they are handing over the reins of power to another company, who might not have their best interests at heart. While it’s always wise for business owners to be wary when it comes to handing over aspects of their business, when it comes to telephone answering there’s no need to worry.
When you choose to use a telephone answering service, you’re in control at all times. A good telephone answering provider will build their service around you to ensure it meets the requirements of your business, and will work with you closely when it comes to outlining how the calls will be handled. You choose how the calls are answered, and whether the PA answering the call takes a message or transfers the call. You get all your messages in real time, and you choose when the calls are diverted. Not happy with how the service is going? Simply turn off the divert and all the calls will come back into your office. It’s that simple, and you’re always in control.
2. It can be done right here in the UK
When people think of an outsourced call centre they think of thousands of people in some far away country, jammed into cubicles, providing a poor quality of service. And, to an extent it’s fair that a lot of people hold that assumption. We’ve all been on the end of a customer service line to a big company, struggling with a language barrier and generally feeling underwhelmed at the level of service we receive. However, when it comes to telephone answering this isn’t the only option. There are a number of fantastic telephone answering services right here in the UK.
The UK telephone answering industry is booming with significant investment by a number of different providers into their services. Any business can afford to outsource their calls to a UK provider, where their calls will be answered by highly trained PA’s with a strong customer service background. If your opinion of outsourced call centres is that it’s just low quality service at the cheapest available price then think again. Take a look at the UK telephone answering industry and you might be pleasantly surprised.
3. It’s not just for small businesses
When it comes to telephone answering, people think of two things. They either think of the massive multinational companies outsourcing their calls to India, or they think of one man band builders who pay a few quid to have their calls answered so they look a bit more professional. While outsourced telephone answering is beneficial in both these markets, small and medium sized businesses shouldn’t overlook the service.
Regardless of the size, most businesses could see significant improvements in ROI and their standard of service when they use a telephone answering provider. The best telephone answering services offer 24/7 cover, so immediately this provides an advantage over a standard in house 9 to 5 receptionist. Beyond that an answering service could provide substantial savings. Because an answering service does nothing but answer the phone, their entire business is focussed around maximising the efficiency and quality of this process. As such it’s likely they can do it better and at less cost than doing it in house.
Businesses from doctors to law firms to creative agencies are already benefiting from using telephone answering services, and so could you.
4. The staff aren’t what you expect
Imagine a typical call centre worker and what do you see? A student in a hoodie trying to make some extra cash? Maybe someone out of college not sure what they want to do next? Unfortunately, a lot of people hold negative perceptions of call centre workers, and often those perceptions couldn’t be further from the truth.
A good telephone answering service is in the business of providing excellent person to person interaction. They are the public face of your company. As such it makes sense that they’d want to employ staff who have a wealth of experience in customer service backgrounds, and someone with a lot of experience isn’t typically a student working part time or someone fresh out of college.
Take alldayPA for example. The average age of our PA’s is 37. We have staff working here from all walks of life, connected by the fact they all have the experience needed to do the job. We have retirees who wanted to keep working and have a whole lifetime of professional services experience, to people with NHS backgrounds and adult safeguarding training. We handle calls for a wide range of clients, and we have a wide range of skill sets to reflect that.
5. It’s more than just message taking
So by this point you might be coming round to the idea of telephone answering, but you’re worried it’s just not right for your business. The phone calls your business takes are long calls, with complicated processes and a wide range of outcomes, and the basic name number and message service you get from a telephone answering provider just won’t cut it.
Well there’s good news and bad news. A lot of telephone answering service providers do conform to the name number and message template. However, there are other providers (such as alldayPA) who provide a wide range of services and can handle any kind of call.
Thanks to a custom scripting process, alldayPA allow businesses to completely outsource all of their phone answering. We handle lines for restaurants where we integrate with their diary system to take table bookings. We handle lines for ecommerce companies where we take payments for goods and services. We even take calls for firms like facilities management and IT companies that involve contacting engineers to arrange emergency call outs. When it comes to answering the phone, there is no job too big or small, and we can certainly offer more than just message taking.
6. It saves money
A lot of people can see the benefit of telephone answering, like the high level of service and the 24 hour cover, but simply think that to have that standard of service in their business will be too expensive. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In almost every industry, outsourcing calls is more cost effective than handling those calls in house.
For example, the average receptionist salary in London is £22,493 a year. But that person will only work 40 hours a week, and there are 168 hours in a week. To cover the phone lines 24/7 you’d need roughly 4 receptionists at a cost of £89,972 a year. But it doesn’t stop there. With an outsourcing service you have multiple PA’s working for you ensuring you never miss a call, even if you have multiple calls coming into the business. To match this in house you’d need 2 or 3 receptionists working the phones at all times. Suddenly you need multiple staff around the clock at a cost £269,916 a year. Even without starting to factor in holidays and sickness you can see where this is leading. With a telephone answering service, you could get this level of service for as little as £50 a month or just £600 a year.
When it comes to providing a high standard of service around the clock, which is something all businesses should aspire too, there is nothing you can do in house that will compare to the quality and cost effectiveness of a telephone answering service.
Want to know more?
Hopefully this article has helped to change some of your opinions about telephone answering services, or maybe it has just brought telephone answering to your attention for the first time. If you want to get more information like this, why not sign up to our mailing list. If you’re ready to take the next step and consider a telephone answering service for your business, get in touch with us today on 0345 056 8888.