Ring, ring, who is there? A human or a recorded message? As a small business owner, don’t underestimate the value of a human voice at the other end. According to a survey by Clutch, almost three-fourths of people (72%) always or frequently end up speaking to a live human after encountering a phone menu and most people find listening to irrelevant options the most frustrating part of interacting with phone menus.
Every caller is a potential customer, and every phone interaction is an opportunity to create a personal connection. Yet, with all the technology available today, and more demands than ever on your time, it’s tempting to let an automated voice response system answer your calls, particularly after hours.
Let’s discuss why the human touch and personalized call handling still matters.
- Qualifying Leads: Live agents can engage in meaningful conversations with potential leads, asking relevant questions to qualify them effectively. By understanding the lead’s needs, budget, and timeline, agents can determine whether they are a good fit for your business’s products or services.
- Data Collection: During lead intake, human agents can collect valuable data about the lead’s preferences, pain points, and feedback. This data can be used to refine marketing strategies, product offerings, and overall customer engagement.
- Building Rapport: Personalized call handling allows agents to establish rapport with leads. This rapport-building goes a long way in building trust and increasing the likelihood that the lead will choose to do business with the company. An automated answering system or chatbot simply cannot compare.
- Bilingual and Bicultural: Bilingual agents are well-versed in the cultural nuances of both English and Spanish. This cultural awareness allows them to navigate conversations respectfully and avoid misunderstandings, all while expanding the reach of your business to a new market.
- Handling Unique Scenarios: Not all leads are the same, and some may present unique challenges or opportunities. Human agents are better equipped to adapt to these situations and make informed decisions on how to proceed.
- Cost Savings: a professional answering service is more affordable than a full-time in-house receptionist, and offers greater flexibility and coverage. While a receptionist may be busy with other tasks, or helping your customers in-person, a live answering agent can seamlessly handle calls during lunch, before and after regular business hours, and even during holidays, at a fraction of the cost.
How Does A Professional Answering Service Work?
A professional answering service works for you by serving as an extension of your customer support team, providing 24/7 availability and personalized call handling. When your customers or clients call your business, the call is automatically routed to the answering service’s trained agents. These agents are equipped with information about your business, FAQs, and specific instructions on how to handle various types of calls. They greet your callers in a friendly and professional manner, actively listen to their inquiries or concerns, and offer solutions or information based on your guidelines. Depending on the situation, they can take messages, schedule appointments, provide information, or even escalate urgent matters to on-call personnel within your organization. Imagine you run a plumbing business, and a customer experiences a water leak emergency late at night. They call your business, and instead of going to voicemail, the call is immediately redirected to your answering service.
Or, let’s say you run a busy pediatrics medical office, and parents frequently call to schedule appointments. Your answering service is equipped with your appointment book and scheduling protocols. When a patient calls, the agent checks the docotr’s availability, schedules the appointment, and sends a confirmation to the patient via a secure messaging method, in compliance with HIPAA regulations.
While it may be tempting to choose an automated attendant or chatbot to handle your customer interactions, keep in mind the unique value that human-powered customer service brings. Customers appreciate the personal touch that comes with speaking to a real person who can understand their needs, suggest a solution, and listen with compassion and respect.