How to Choose an Answering Service – 9 Things to Consider

Congratulations! You’ve made the all-important decision to take your business to the next level and hire a telephone answering service.  But since there is no shortage of answering services companies, how do you select the right one?

Phone extended

When choosing a call centre to handle your company’s calls, there are a number of factors you should consider. Here is a brief list to get you started in selecting an answering service that works for you.

  1. Staffing – Ensuring the call centre is adequately staffed to handle all the calls that come in is vitally important to keep the ring and hold times to a minimum. Ideally, a call should be answered in less than five rings, and a caller should be kept on hold for no more than one minute.
  2. Training – It is important that every call is answered and dealt with in a professional manner and this comes down to training. How well is the staff trained and how often is that training refreshed? Are quality control measures in place to ensure that training is adequate?
  3. Stability – How many years has the answering services company been in business? What is the management like? Answering these questions can give you a good indication as to whether the company will still be around five or ten years from now.
  4. References – Happy customers are often your best predictor of whether or not you will be happy with a call centre’s services. Before you sign on with a call answering service, ask for testimonials or references from other businesses who are receiving services similar to the ones that you are looking for.
  5. Reliability – What happens when there is a power outage or a server goes down? Does the company you are considering have adequate back-up and redundancy systems in place in order to make sure your callers keep getting the care and attention they deserve?
  6. Availability – One of the big advantages of hiring a call centre is their round the clock availability. Make sure that the answering service you choose has 24/7 service.
  7. Selection of Services – Even if you simply want your call centre to take messages for now, it is a good idea to select a company that offers a variety of services which you can grow into in the future. Services you might want to consider include call forwarding, appointment setting, and on hold marketing.
  8. Language – At Touch Communications, we employee many professional customer service representatives who can provide service in French to your customers.
  9. Pricing – While pricing shouldn’t necessarily be your first consideration, it is certainly something you need to look at. Does the call centre provide clear and easy to understand rate plans? What kind of contracts do they offer? Will they work with you to develop a custom package?

At Touch Communications, we strive to offer you everything you need in a call answering service company. Feel free to ask us any of the questions on this list or any additional ones you may have!

Increase your conversion rate with professional live call answering

Business owners love it when someone calls their business for the first time and instantly becomes a customer. Unfortunately, however, that doesn’t happen very often. Most callers will have several touch points with your company before they become customers. Do you wish there was a way to increase your conversion rate with your customers? In other words, do you wish there was something you could do to help more callers become customers faster?

There is.

woman making a deal on the phone

Professional live call answering is one of the best ways to turn callers into customers. This is true for a number of reasons, but here are three of the main reasons that it works.

1. Your callers get instant help and answers to their questions 24/7

Most businesses – especially small ones – do not stay open round the clock. But a potential customer can call at any time. When a friendly customer service representative answers the phone – even if it’s the middle of the night – the caller can get their questions answered, or at the very least, get assurance that someone will get back to them the next business day.

Instead of getting an impersonal voice mail, the caller gets a real, live person that can assist. This leaves a great impression and improves the chances of that caller doing business with you.

2. Not all businesses have staff with awesome phone skills (but we do)

A business may be great at providing its core services but that doesn’t necessarily mean the staff have great phone skills. Some callers however, will make their decision on whether to do business based on how they perceive the person on the other end of the phone.

When you’ve got call centre professionals taking your calls, you can rest assured that your callers are always getting friendly, professional service. And that first impression is vital to your conversion rate!

You will be able to take a higher volume of calls

Let’s face it. Sales is a numbers game – so the more calls you can take, the more conversions you will get. If your business is a one-person operation, you are probably used to taking all the calls yourself on your cell phone. But you can only speak with one person at a time.

If your business is a larger operation and you are not using a call centre, you are still limited because you only have so many phone lines.  This means you may be spending time answering questions from a caller who is at the start of their purchase journey, while someone who is ready to purchase, is trying to get through.

With a professional live call answering service, all the important calls get through and prioritized so that the ones most likely to lead to conversion are sent to the right people and departments in your company as quickly as possible.

It is wonderful when you have an abundance of people contacting your business, but ultimately your business will only thrive if a certain amount of those callers become customers. Take a step to increase your conversion rate today with a live call answering service.  For live call answering in Southern Ontario, contact Touch Communications today!

How an Answering Service Makes You More Productive

Read any business book or go to any business seminar and one of the first things they will usually tell you about productivity is that you need to delegate tasks that others can do. But what parts of your business do you delegate? One of the easiest things to move off your plate and onto someone else’s is your office phone system.

The Touch Communications Logo

By hiring a 24 hour answering service, you can become more productive. You can spend less time taking calls and  focusing on growing and building your business, all while trusting that your phone calls are properly handled.

Let’s take a look at a few of the ways that a business answering company can help improve productivity in your company.

Focus more on production and less on taking calls

Calls come into your business for a variety of reasons. Many calls are simply requests for information such as pricing, business hours, etc. While it’s important that these calls are answered in a professional manner, you don’t necessarily need a member of your own team to take them.

In fact, in many cases, these types of calls end up taking your staff away from a job that is more important. Hiring an answering service for tasks such as providing information, booking appointments, and even taking sales orders can free you and your team up considerably to be more productive.

Take calls 24/7

Most businesses do not need to be open 24/7, but with people’s busy schedules, they may want to call you after regular working hours. Since the call centres are usually open seven days a week, 24 hours a day, it means your potential customers get a better experience when they call your business.

This often translates into more business for you!

Less time transferring calls between team members

Another problem that growing businesses often face is that callers will often just call the first telephone number that they see on your company website – whether it is the proper department or not.

Not only do you or a member of your team have to take a call that shouldn’t go to you, but you must then transfer it – possibly having to take up valuable company time looking up the number for the correct department.

When you hire a call answering service, a trained CSR can transfer incoming calls to the correct person or department every time. This is more productive for your business and a nicer experience for the caller.

Cost efficient

Hiring a 24 hour answering service can also be much more cost-efficient than hiring an on-call employee.

The money that you save in payroll can then be reinvested into your company to buy equipment, supplies – or yes, to hire another staff member to help with the production or service side of your business.  This too will help to make you more productive.

If you are running a business and feel like there just isn’t enough time in the day to do all you would like to get done, then hiring a business answering company may be the solution. Contact TOUCH Communications today to learn more.

 

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Make the Holidays Less Stressful with a Call Answering Service

It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be one of the most stressful times of year for business owners. As the holiday season rapidly approaches, many businesses notice an influx of customers all the while they are dealing with vacation requests from employees and an increasingly hectic personal life. Even if you don’t require a call answering service year round, using one during the holiday season can help make things a lot less stressful.

Woman on Phone at Christmas

Here are five reasons why so many Touch Communications customers choose to use live call answering during the holiday season:

1. Manage an increased volume of orders.

If your business sells products that just might be on someone’s Christmas wish list, then there’s a good chance that come November and December, you’re going to see an increase in sales. Rather than hire additional seasonal staff that you have to train and then say goodbye to in January, it makes good economic sense to use a call answering service that employs professional customer service representatives.

2. Manage an increased volume of appointments.

Whether your business is an automotive shop, pet clinic, or a dentist, there is a good chance that you will start to see more customers booking appointments this time of year. To manage the influx of callers who are looking to get their snow tires put on their vehicles or have their nails trimmed on their pet,  many businesses choose to make use of a call answering service. This frees up their own staff to better serve customers who are physically present at their place of business.

3. Offer extended hours to your customers.

This is a busy time for your customers as well as for you. Making use of a live call answering service allows you to offer your customers the convenience of extended hours. At Touch Communications, our call centres operate 24/7 which means we can take customer orders and book appointments any time day or night – something your customers will appreciate this time of year.

4. Offer more vacation time to your staff.

The Christmas season is a time that many people like to take more time off to spend with their families but this can be hard to do when things are crazy at work. Hiring a call answering service can take some of the load off your own staff – which allows you to play office-santa and grant more vacation time.

5. Take more time for yourself.

While we’re on the topic of spending time with family, don’t forget that this is important for you too this time of year. When business picks up, it can be easy to feel tied to your cell phone. With live call answering from Touch Communications, you can let our CSRs take care of all the routine calls and only put through to you the ones that you designate.

Remember the holidays can be a busy time of year, but there are ways to make them less stressful. And live call answering from Touch Communications is one of those ways.

Three Reasons Your Small Business Might Need a Call Answering Service

Owning and operating a small business is full of both challenges and rewards. If you are successful, you will eventually reach a point where you will need to grow – and you can grow your business either by hiring more employees, or by contracting out services. One of the services you may wish to contract out are answering services. But how do you know if you really need them?

small business growth

There are lots of reasons and why a small business owner would choose to hire an answering service, but here are three of the most popular ones.

You’ve got more work than your team can handle but not enough to hire additional staff

If your team is overloaded, it not only makes for a stressful work environment but it can mean things start to fall through the cracks. Quality and customer service can eventually become compromised – or you simply have to turn customers away.

You could hire a full-time receptionist, but if the extra calls coming in don’t amount to high enough revenues for the company, then it’s difficult to justify the extra salary.

Hiring an answering service is often the ideal solution. The costs are significantly lower than that of hiring another employee, and it takes pressure off your existing team.

You want to offer emergency or off-hours service

Depending on the industry you are operating in, it may be necessary or desirable to offer emergency or off-hours service to stay competitive. For example, many contractors such as plumbers and electricians offer emergency 24/7 services. To stay competitive in these types of industries, this is becoming increasingly common.

Even if you don’t want to offer emergency services, you may wish to offer your callers the convenience of 24/7 availability to make appointments, place orders, etc.

While it would be impractical – and exhausting – to have your own phone turned on all the time, it is a simple matter for a professional answering service to ensure that the call is answered whenever anyone wants to contact your business.

You need to make more time for yourself

Especially in the early stages, small business owners need to hustle. To become successful, you likely had to network, work long hours, and live on a limited budget. Perhaps now though, you’ve reached a point where the money is flowing in fairly well, but you’re still working long hours and always seem to be pressed for time.

If that’s the case, then hiring an answering service may be the solution. By hiring an answering service, you can let the bulk of your calls go to the call centre. If you are expecting certain important calls you can have them transferred to you or another person in your company.

Having an answering service allows you to take more time for yourself and not have to worry that you might be missing an important call.

Growing a small business can be a challenge – but for many this challenge is made easier when they hire a call answering service. If you think that this solution might be right for you, we invite you to contact Touch Communications today to find out more!  Or view Touch Communications on our Facebook page!

Does your law firm need an answering service?

It used to be that when people called a professional service such as a law firm, it was simply expected that they would need to call during business hours if they wanted to speak with a real person. But as the legal industry has become increasingly competitive, more and more firms are looking to gain an edge. One possible edge is to make sure your callers get to speak with a real live person every single time that they call your office.

Lawyer in court

There are many advantages for law firms that use call answering services such as those offered by Touch Communications.

Personalize your service

More often than not, the individuals calling a law firm are doing so in the midst of a stressful circumstance. They could be going through a divorce, facing criminal charges, or in the midst of a lawsuit. Even positive circumstances such as drawing up a business agreement, collecting an inheritance, or buying or selling property can have people on edge.

It can help boost your clients’ perception of your firm if they are met by the voice of a friendly and helpful customer service representative rather than an impersonal voicemail message.

Make your small firm seem bigger

Perhaps your law firm has only been around for a few years, and while you have big dreams, you are still working with a small staff.  Many successful law firms have started off as a sole proprietorship or as a partnership with little to no office workers.

Having an answering service not only means that your callers’ phone calls will always be answered professionally, but it also helps project the image of a larger firm.

Fantastic Customer Service

Call answering services can perform several duties for law firms and one of them is managing your appointment calendar. If you are busy with a client, you wouldn’t want to be rude by answering the phone every time it rang, but you also wouldn’t want to miss out on a potential new client.

With call answering services, our Touch Call Service Representative can direct the call to another extension if you are busy, or handle the call in another manner such as taking down their contact information.

Screen and forward calls

Another advantage to using a call answering service is that the really important calls can be forwarded to a designated person within the firm, your cell phone or anywhere else you choose.

For example, a Touch CSR will be able to answer some basic questions that the caller may have (with your script of course), or they can take messages for non-urgent calls. On the other hand, you may be working on an important case and request that calls regarding a specific issue or from specific callers are transferred to you right away.

Hiring call answering services for your law firm can be advantageous on so many levels. If you would like to learn more about how it can help your legal business, then contact Touch Communications today!

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Bilingual Answering Services for your Business

woman on phone

If your business serves French speaking customers, then it is just good business to ensure that you can provide them with a positive experience from the very first time that they pick up the phone to contact your business. So, you want to make sure that whatever call centre you work with offers a bilingual answering service.

Even if you do not have any French speaking customers now, the fact is that someday a French speaking caller may want to contact you and do business with you. Having a trained bilingual customer service representative on the other end of the line can help to give you a huge advantage over your competition – who without bilingual service – will simply not be able to deliver the same kind of customer care that you can.  You’ll find yourself expanding your customer base while delivering better service.

But my employees aren’t fluent in French!

One of the arguments that many people raise against needed bilingual answering services is the fact that they don’t have bilingual employees – so while a caller may get service in French over the phone, eventually they are going to have to deal with someone who doesn’t speak the language.

The fact is, however, that even if not one of your employees speaks a word of French, it still makes sense to be able to have French speaking customer service representatives. This is because most French speaking Canadians speak some English but they will likely feel more comfortable explaining their need in French. Your service people don’t necessarily have to speak French if the customer’s issue has been clearly communicated prior to their arrival.

And if you do have French speaking employees?

All the better! Our bilingual customer service reps can forward French speaking callers directly to their lines so there is no interruption in service in French once they are transferred to your company lines.

Use your bilingual answering service as a marketing tool!

Imagine living in a community where your primary language is not the one commonly spoken. You may speak the language but it just isn’t quite as comfortable to you as your mother tongue. Then one day, you see a business not only advertising a service that you need, but they advertise that they can speak to you in your language! How much likelier are you to contact that business over the others?

Using a bilingual answering service is a smart move – but advertising that you have French speaking customer service representatives is pure genius. For some would be customers, the fact that someone can speak their language may be the main reason that they call your business and not the competition.

Let Touch Communications help you say bonjour!

At Touch Communications, we employ many professional customer service representatives who can provide service in French to your customers. We can provide a wide array of services to those customers including answering basic questions, setting up or changing appointments, and call forwarding to name a few.

Contact us today to learn how we can help you!

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Call Answering Services aren’t Just for Big Businesses

Woman on Phone

When your customers call your company, it’s always better if they can talk to a real person rather than voice mail. But if you run a small business, it might be outside of your budget to hire someone just to sit at a desk and wait for customers to call. This is where outsourcing might make sense for your company. While many people have the impression that call answering services are just for big business, the fact is that hiring a live answering service can be extremely beneficial for your small business – and here’s why.

Your customers get the best service

Your customers come back to you because they have received service they were satisfied with previously, so there’s no reason you shouldn’t extend that phenomenal service to all interactions. Your customers don’t want to have to deal with a voice mail and will probably hang up if they aren’t able to speak to someone to resolve their concern.

What’s more, is that potential customers are impressionable, so by having a live person answer the phone the first impression they have will be one they remember for a long time. Having a live answering service will provide excellent customer service and will ensure your customers, and potential customers, remain loyal to your business for years to come.

Generate business at any time

When you run a small business you can’t be working 24/7 but if you don’t have sufficient staff to cover off the hours you can’t be there then you may be at risk of losing business. By hiring an answering service, you can have someone answering the phone for your business at any time and this could even lead to generate more business than you could have on your own.

Since new customers will likely hang up and try another business if they can’t get through to you, an answering service will help to ensure you capture any potential customers.

Save on office space

If you don’t have customers actually coming into your place of business, then it doesn’t really make sense to pay someone to sit behind a desk. If you hire an employee whose sole job is to sit and wait for the phone to ring you might be paying out unnecessary money.

By hiring an answering service, the phone will still always be answered but likely for a lesser cost than paying a full-time employee. You will also save on office space because you don’t have to find room for another employee. This is especially important if you run a business that doesn’t have a traditional office, or you are constantly moving between different job sites.

Having a conversation with a live person when calling a business is vital, and it will leave a lasting impression on your customers. Potential customers are more likely to hang up and try another business if they can’t reach you on the first try. By hiring an answering service you can ensure there’s always someone to provide answers to your customers and. generate potential business. So if you’ve been holding on to the impression that call answering services are just for big business, think again! The benefits to your small business are many.

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What is a Virtual Receptionist?

Woman on Phone

Do you own a small business or a start-up that does not have the capital to pay a receptionist’s wages? Are you a business owner who wants to offer extended hours – without having to work them yourself? Or, are you just looking for a way to be able to better focus on the growth of your business by eliminating some of the routine, administrative tasks that are currently consuming your time? If so, Touch Communication’s virtual receptionist services may be the solution you’ve been waiting for!

The Answer to Your Administrative Challenges!

Virtual receptionists are the best solution for busy companies looking for ways to increase productivity and customer service. Not only does hiring a virtual receptionist eliminate the need for you to recruit, hire and train a receptionist yourself, but it will also play a major part in your business’ growth. There will no longer be a need to reserve office space for a full-time receptionist or worry about coverage during breaks and vacations. Virtual receptionists are trained to get to know your business, so they can represent it just like you would expect from a full-time staff member. Let us show you how Touch Communications’ virtual receptionists can make running your business much easier!

Providing Solutions for Your Business’ Needs

Touch Communications can provide the administrative solution your business requires. Since we do not have long-term contracts, you can easily hire a virtual receptionist for whatever time specification is required. Our account activation is easy, and all accounts are set-up and customized within approximately 24 hours. Since we offer around the clock service, it does not matter where your business is located. We promise that it won’t take long to see how hiring Touch Communications’ virtual receptionist service can benefit your business!

The Difference that Touch Communications Provides

Touch Communications is unlike its competitors in that we think outside the box. Instead of directly answering each call generically, our virtual receptionists will provide a voice for your company. They will consistently provide your clients with quality customer service, without them ever knowing that the person providing it is not located in your company’s office! The virtual receptionist that you use through Touch Communications will quickly become an extension of your business. Let Touch Communications provide your customers with a similar quality of customer service that they have come to appreciate from you!

Extended Customer Service Hours!

Gone are the days when business happened only between the hours of nine-to-five. Instead, today’s busy lives often result in customers requiring service outside of traditional business hours. Customers calling companies after hours and getting an answering machine for an answer can often result in potential lost business. One way of avoiding losing business to your competition is by hiring Touch Communications to provide a virtual receptionist service for your company. Not only can we offer your business extended customer service hours, but we can even provide you with 24/7 live answering service! Don’t let those unanswered calls go to your competition – call Touch Communications today or contact us on our Facebook page!

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How can a call answering service seamlessly represent my business?

Even when business owners fully understand the benefits of using a call answering service, they may be hesitant because they are unsure how the transition process is going to work. What will my regular customers think when they call in and don’t get someone other than me? Will the transition be a smooth one? These are valid questions. So it’s important to know that your call answering service will represent your business seamlessly.

Three people in a Call Answering office.

To understand how this can be the case, it helps to know what happens BEFORE your company calls are transferred to TOUCH Communications.

Step 1: Getting your call forwarding number

When you sign up with TOUCH Communications, your business number stays the same, but you receive a call forwarding number. When callers dial your business, their calls can then be forwarded to the professional customer service reps at TOUCH Communications. For the caller, this is a seamless transition since they are always dialing your number.

Step 2: Customizing your account down to the last detail

Working with TOUCH Communications is like having a whole team of knowledgeable call answering service professionals working for your company around the clock. We start by gathering pertinent details about your business, such as the names and contact information for staff members, the type of information you will require from callers and what you wish us to do with the messages that we take.

Step 3: Representing your company and brand according to your instructions

Every business is different, so it’s understandable that you wouldn’t want a cookie cutter approach when someone is representing it. We work with you to develop how you would like our operators to greet the phone as well as questions that they should ask the caller.

We also develop processes which guide our operators on what to do with any given call. Depending on how you’d like us to represent your business, we can take messages, answer basic questions, set up or cancel appointments, forward calls to a designated person in your company and more.

Usually, we will divide calls up into different categories (e.g., Urgent, informational, appointments, etc.). Once we have these standards and processes in place, we will have you review it to determine if any changes are needed. Once you are happy and have been given the ‘all clear’ from you, we are ready to go live.

Step 4: We become an extension of your business

All the preparation leading up to this final step helps to ensure that we can seamlessly represent your business. In working with TOUCH, you can ensure that your callers will always reach a live receptionist who is able to give them the personalized service they simply couldn’t get from an automated system or voicemail.

Callers always feel that they are dealing with your business because they are!

If you have been considering using a professional call answering service such as TOUCH Communications but held back for fear that the transition might be a bumpy one, you can put those fears to rest. Our team understands that you need a seamless transition and that is exactly what we provide.

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