The continued success of any product or service company requires meeting (and exceeding) the expectations of current and prospective clients. As you reflect on how hard you’ve worked to establish your brand, take a moment also to consider the number of hours you spend each week answering phones, responding to contact forms, or redirecting calls. If your incoming calls are keeping you or your team from doing what they do best, you’ve likely considered investing in a telephone answering service.
Although you’re on the right track, you’ll soon discover that most traditional providers charge premium prices for services that don’t support the evolving needs of a remote or hybrid workforce. Instead of paying top dollar to a company offering increasingly outdated features, maybe it’s time to consider signing on with a virtual phone answering service provider. Before you decide, understand what a virtual phone answering service is and how this cost-effective solution could help your business. Read on for three things you’ll want to consider as you narrow your options and compare plans.
What Is a Virtual Phone Answering Service?
In today’s competitive market, businesses of all sizes are looking for ways to reduce overhead costs and maximize efficiency while staying at least a step or two ahead of the competition. While many customers appreciate the “call now” features embedded in social media posts, access to pre-recorded promotional messages, and chatbots programmed to answer FAQs, current polls suggest 61% of callers feel interactive voice response makes for a poor customer experience. Nearly 30% will abandon a call. People prefer speaking to a live representative.
Virtual phone answering systems allow your customers to talk with a real person, a representative who understands how you do business. You get all the advantages of hiring a team of on-site receptionists without the high cost of adding a dedicated in-house phone system or paying additional wages. Your investment ensures every call is answered promptly, your callers are directed to the best-qualified team member to resolve their issues, and your valued customers will never feel as if they’re fending for themselves. All you need to get this cost-effective arrangement up and running is a PC, an internet connection, and a reputable virtual phone answering service provider.
Related: How a Live Receptionist Service Pays for Itself – Phone.com
What Benefits Can a Virtual Phone Answering Service Provide?
Despite your best efforts, you (or your team) may not be available to pick up every incoming call. You might be scrambling to meet a deadline, attending an important meeting, or on the line with a vendor. Not only will each caller get the human connection they expect from your brand, but the relationship you cultivate with a virtual phone answering service provider also ensures your callers feel they get a solution or move towards a resolution with every conversation. Not only will you have the peace of mind that comes with knowing your callers receive the level of service they deserve, but you’re also sure to appreciate any number of the following services your virtual receptionists could provide:
- The ability to respond to multiple calls simultaneously
- Attended transfers that help prepare your team for complex calls
- Take messages and forward information when you or a specific team member are unavailable
- Provide remote workers with dial-in numbers, links, and codes to essential meetings
- Add new leads to your business customer relationship management (CRM) system
- Book appointments, handle cancellations, and schedule (or reschedule) meetings on your behalf
- Weed out spam, robocalls, or unwanted solicitation
- Make outbound calls to follow up with clients, place orders with suppliers, or cancel a subscription
- Engaging with customers initiating contact through live chat or social media
Related: How a Live Receptionist Can Help a Distributed Workforce – Phone.com
Three Factors to Consider When Selecting a Provider
Once you’ve felt the sting of losing most of your day to tasks that a virtual receptionist could have managed, you’ve also likely imagined how much more profitable your business could be if you (or your staff) had more time to devote to other business needs. Now that you know some of the many ways investing in a virtual phone answering service could help you excel in numerous aspects of customer service, you also need to know that several important factors tend to vary by company. Before committing, look for information about the following details to ensure you’re choosing the service provider that makes the most sense for your business.
#1 – The Ability to Link Your Business Phone Number to Any Digital Device
As more businesses take various aspects of digital communication to the cloud, many end up paying premium prices to ensure their bases are covered. Instead of paying separate charges for legacy phone lines, mobile plans, and subscription fees for video, fax, business SMS, and more, consider consolidating all your communication needs with a provider that offers bundle pricing and a user-friendly platform.
Confirm that you can also link your business phone number (or numbers) to any digital device. This feature ensures anyone representing your business appears to be calling from a central location. Not only will eliminating the use of personal phones instantly boost your reputation as an established professional, but the feature also helps reduce the risk of your calls being ignored by recipients who avoid contact from numbers they don’t recognize.
#2 – The Options of Mixing and Matching Services for Each User Account
Once you’ve found a provider that allows you to choose the features you need at a price you can afford, it’s time to start comparing the details. Although consolidating your communication needs to a single platform can significantly impact your monthly expenses, take the time to ensure you’re choosing a company that allows you to mix and match their services.
Without that level of flexibility, you could end up paying for services some team members don’t need. You should also avoid getting locked into a long-term contract without having time to ensure you’re getting the value you expect from your investment. Look for a provider that offers month-to-month service, volume discounts, and the ability to scale your services as your business needs evolve.
#3 – The Training and Expertise of the Company’s Virtual Receptionists
When you invest in the benefits of a virtual phone answering service, their call center personnel represents your brand. Since that representative could be the first person a caller interacts with, it’s essential that the entire call center staff is impeccably trained, highly skilled, and has the expertise required to de-escalate potentially tense situations from time to time. A virtual receptionist with less-than-stellar people skills could cause more service issues than they solve.
The best virtual representatives take your business needs seriously. They’re also trained to adjust their style to communicate with people of various temperaments in a way that doesn’t fuel the fires of their discontent. As you browse the services offered by multiple virtual phone answering service providers and compare their prices, take a few minutes to determine if their call centers are located in a managed facility with thorough training.
Could Your Small to Mid-Sized Business Benefit from a Virtual Phone Answering Service?
As business communication evolves, many small to mid-sized business owners, freelancers, and solopreneurs feel the strain of taking (or missing) calls that you could delegate to a virtual receptionist. Whether you’re looking for a cost-efficient service that merges with your legacy phone system or a communication solution that lets your workforce connect with your business phone number from any device, visit Phone.com to view our plans, pricing, products, and features. You’ll only pay for the services you need.
At Phone.com, customer service is at the heart of our mission. Our live agents are available 24/7 to provide support via phone, chat, or email. We also offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.