Unless you are a company with too much work, (wouldn’t that be nice), disappointment is on the horizon if you hire an answering service for the wrong reasons. Your expectations, and what will really happen is likely to cause you frustration at best and anger is real possibility!
Replacing An On-staff Employee
Answering services will claim to provide telephone answering service employees that are skilled at working remotely from your office. Reality tells us that those people won’t have the motivation or passion to “take care of your customer” the way your own employee would. It’s no secret that sometimes it’s a challenge to train and coach your own people, let alone trying to train and teach outside vendors about the nuances of your business.
A telephone receptionist within your office knows important details about your industry and the usual expectations of the client calling in. They also know people’s schedules and their current status of availability. Answering service staff often do a great job, but too many times their attitude, inattentiveness, or pure disregard for the caller’s issue can cost you money, lost jobs, a bad reputation, just to name a few.
Needing A Virtual Assistant
Entrepreneurs and small businesses often choose to use a virtual assistant. A virtual assistant is NOT the same as an answering service phone receptionist. A virtual assistant can work on many different types of projects, such as writing estimates, collections, dispatching, website updates, and more. The phone receptionist at an answering service isn’t going to do that for you! Of course, you pay your telephone answering service considerably less than you would pay a virtual assistant.
Phone Interactions Management
With a phone receptionist at a desk in your office, you can often overhear and address issues – before they become a big issue. They can salvage a client, prevent a negative situation, take charge quickly and solve all kinds of problems – often before they happen. Some people might call this micromanagement, but it’s really just being in-tune to what’s going on.
In-office Receptionists Can Be Industry Savvy
Answering services aren’t suited for providing high detail work for low traffic situations. Remember that answering service staff come and go often. You can’t effectively teach them all the potential issues and situations that arise. A skilled and properly coached in-house employee answering the phones can be very valuable to your business, many times salvaging potential disasters.
An in-house receptionist in many companies has her pulse on the entire company. That skilled receptionist can accommodate detailed telephone communication scenarios, even when those types of calls only happen once a month.
If you expect an answering service to replace an in-house employee, serve as a virtual assistant, want to micromanage every phone call, or need a subject matter expert when few calls come in, then the results will seriously disappoint you. Your expectations are misaligned with the service provisions of telephone answering services. Simply having one important customer get disgusted and hang up, can cost a restoration or roofing contractor thousands of lost dollars! Having one of these catastrophe phone interactions just once a month could potentially cost your company $50,000 a year. Bite the bullet… take the calls during the day with in-house staff, and re-direct after hours calls to an employee phone (or your own).