Answering Services v. Virtual Receptionists: What You Need To Know
As a savvy business owner, you should always be concerned with your bottom line, and when it comes to choosing an answering service for your business, price is naturally a large motivating factor. However, if you’re only looking at financial savings, you might make a choice that has a large negative impact on your customers.
Answering services are one area where paying a little extra will translate into significant financial benefits in the future. Going the extra step with a virtual receptionist instead of a simple answering service will provide your clients with excellent customer service, increased availability, and additional services like scheduling, IT assistance, and software that integrates with your current system.
You Get What You Pay For
You really will get what you pay for when it comes to an answering service. Low-cost services result in low quality of care for your customers. There are options on the market that charge by the call, but most charge by the minute, with some companies setting prices as low as .70 cents per minute.
< $.70 Stay away! Low-quality service
$0.80-$1.50 Average Answering Service without benefits
$2.00-$2.50 Virtual Receptionist with IT assistance, software integration
The lower cost of might be tempting, but it begs the question; what kind of service are your customers going to receive for that price? Companies with these kinds of prices result in overworked and undertrained workers botching the details of your business with clients.
The Power Of Feedback
One negative customer service experience can devastate your reputation; according to ‘Customers Reward Outstanding Service by Spending More and Spreading the Word to Friends and Family’, a study done by American Express in 2014, 60% of customers said they always share the bad service experiences they receive and will share those bad experiences on average three times more than good experiences.
If an inept answering service is handling your business’ calls, you are actually losing money in the long run as your clients flee to your competition and tell everyone they know why.
Let’s Get Personal
Having a virtual receptionist on the other end helps your clients know you are dedicated to providing them with top notch service, with appointment scheduling 24/7, all calls answered live, and customized greetings tailored for your business will make a world of difference to clients.
The benefits of having an actual person on the other end of the phone can’t be overstated; Digital Disconnect In Customer Engagement, a survey from Accenture Strategy, shows that 83 percent of Americans would prefer to problem solve with a human rather than an automated system.
However, this doesn’t mean you need to abandon answering systems altogether in favor of an in-house receptionist! You can still get that personal touch with a virtual receptionist, at 1/10th of the cost of an in-house service. Your customers will get the benefits of a cheerful, dedicated service specialist who can respond to them in real time, while you save money and resources. Your customers are also going to be supported with scheduling assistance, IT help, and a system that seamlessly integrates with their existing software. A virtual receptionist keeps the convenience of an answering service, with the excellent service of an in-house receptionist.
Who’s On Call?
Another necessary factor to consider is availability. Lower quality answering services often have limited availability, making it impossible for effective communication in crucial moments for your clients. When you have a virtual receptionist, this issue doesn’t exist; a service that is available 24/7/365 ensures that your customers have access to exceptional service while you focus on your business.
Making The Best Impression
A virtual receptionist will address the high volume of calls with high-quality service, whereas a substandard answering service will scramble to address your client’s needs.
Overall, there are a lot of factors to consider when choosing an answering system, but ultimately, you need to decide if you will use the opportunity to win over customers with exemplary service, or will throw that opportunity away for a cheaper starting cost.