Things your Answering Service need to know about your company…

If you’re thinking about using a Telephone Answering Service to answer your calls, it is important to remember that they are only going to be as good as the information they are given.

Your answering service will get you to fill out a standard form when you are signing up for the service, but remember this will only be the basic outline of your business, so feel free to send them additional information that will help them to answer your calls more effectively.

If you have a good answering service, they will encourage you to update them regularly with your movements and employee details, but you can also ask them to do more.

1)       If you have a list of your regular callers or very important clients, then share this with your account manager. You’d be surprised about how quickly your answering service will remember the names and match them up to the voice. The rapport between your important clients and your virtual receptionist will speak volumes for your company.

2)       Update your product list and prices as and when they change. If you sell a product, it is important that the operator has the most up-to-date information about it, as your callers will expect anyone who answers the phone at your office to know. It’s easy to forget to inform your answering service if you’ve done all the updates online, but remember they don’t visit your website when they answer your call.

3)       If you offer a new service or have any special offers running, let your answering service know! It’s not a good sign when the caller is telling the operator about a good deal they’ve seen, and the operator is asking them for details!

4)       How much you charge for P&P is a regular question we’re asked and also how long delivery will take. These are questions we should be able to answer quickly, but if we have not been told, we have to take a message and pass it back to you! This costs you money and time!

5)       Directions to your office/ warehouse/ shop. This is a very common question, asked probably hundreds of times per week and there is nothing worse than being asked this and not being able to answer! The caller will not understand if you tell them you’re not sure! Also delivery van drivers often call rather than use a map!

6)       Employees’ position in the company and all contact details. Sometimes the caller won’t remember the name of the person they were speaking to, but they sure expect us to! If they say “oh.. you know the guy in marketing” and we say.. “erm no not really”, it does not bode well. But don’t worry, we’re very good at spotting a genuine call from a sales call.

7)      A brief description of what the company does, not just one word like “consultancy” or “computing”. We should be able to confidently tell the caller about the company if they ask. A list of your Unique Selling Points would be handy!

8)      If you are super organised, why not send an email first thing Monday morning to your answering service and let them know your general diary for the forthcoming week. This way they can let callers know why you’re not available, or confirm that you will be attending a seminar or meeting etc. This also helps us with the instruction of your call; for example if you let us know that on Tuesday morning you’re in your office, but after 2 you’ll be in a meeting, we can patch calls to you up until 2 and then take messages thereafter.

The most important thing is to keep your instructions and details up-to-date.  Your answering service is your first point of contact with your customer, so a well-informed virtual assistant is someone that is going to give the best possible telephone experience to your clients!

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