How to Create a Personal Answering Service in 5 Steps
Even if using an answering service is important to the successes of any small business because of the financial benefit, 24/7 live customer service needed, and all the other awesome stuff; there is another important aspect that you should be focusing on.
Building your account to create a more personal interaction between you and your customers is what’s going to lead you to the most beneficial outsourcing experience. For a small business that has never hired an answering service, it is important that you get the right mix of knowledge to the business that can determine whether your experience will be successful or not. This is why it is absolutely essential that we develop a script that fits your business model and chooses the right way to operate that will represent your brand and business the best way possible.
Step 1: Understand your options
The way you handle your scripting should vary depending on whether you are using an answering service or a call center. A standard answering service is typically in a non-scripted environment, meaning the operators handle your calls with a general outline of questions to ask or information you need, but they do not follow a script per the letter whereas a call center service is set in a very scripted environment and the operators are fully required to follow that script from you.
When you get a clear idea of your options and you have decided on the type of service you are looking for that you think will work best for your company, the next step is creating a personal answering service to avoid script mishaps. When businesses sign up for an answering service, they try to create their script the same exact way they handle their calls in-house and while it is important that we ensure the synergy of both operations, it may not always work out that you set them up the exact same way. Here are some tips to avoid these mishaps:
- Provide 5-10 frequently asked questions for the answering service to study and understand
- Create guided questions in the beginning of the call to help drive the conversation to a way where the answering service will get the information they need
- For complicated calls, set up a warm transfer to you or your in-house support team
Step 2: Get to know who is answering your calls
Find an answering service that offers a free trial. A free trial is a great way to get to know who is answering your calls before you start to direct all your call traffic to them. It gives you and your team the time to make test calls where it is as if you are an actual caller so that you have an idea of how the operators answer your calls and pinpoint which areas to improve. Other than the mechanics of the call, you want to ensure that the operators answering your calls represent your brand perfectly. The more you work with your answering service, the more you can express your ideas and share your goals so that they can customize the service to your account to fit all your specific needs and requirements.
Step 3: Adjust the process to remove interactions that don’t work
It is a consistent learning process, once you get your initial process set up, there will still be some processes in place that will just not work naturally. Processes or specific questions that may have been important in the beginning might not be necessary to include in the process now if your callers are having a hard time understanding or the calls are getting lengthy.
The most important thing to consider when working with an answering service is how your customers are responding to their experience. When you keep asking questions that can feel monotonous and redundant may make your customers feel frustrated rather than feeling assisted. If your callers are becoming hesitant to reach out to you when they need you then you need to take that as a learning curve that something needs to change.
Step 4: Review your data
Your outsourcing experience requires you to monitor the quality of service you are getting and here are some ways for you to be able to do that effectively:
- Listen to your recording – When you are able to listen to how your calls are being handled is a great way to see how your operators are handling things and how your customers are responding. If operators are consistently struggling in a specific area, consider a workaround in delivering that message. If your customers are getting confused about who they are talking to, consider adjusting the call flow to where the operators say that they are from the answering service when they initially answer the calls.
- Monitor hold times – No one likes being on hold, but it is unavoidable. You can monitor your hold times by placing test calls yourself or requesting a report from your account manager. These reports should show you how many calls come in a specific time frame and how long each caller waited. You can either add a custom hold message that may help stop the callers from dropping their place in the queue.
- Run reports – Reports and collecting data will always help you determine different metrics that help improve your customer support or change your script in a very specific way that helps the operators be efficient in their calls.
Step 5: Be Personal
Eliminate an automated response, make your customers feel a personal connection to your company and the people that represent your business. Allow your customers to talk to a warm person rather than a robot helps show that your business is dedicated enough to have a team that is available to take care of them and cater to their needs.