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Everyone knows telephone answering services answers phone calls, takes messages, and relays those messages to their clients. But this is just the starting point. With much of today’s communications moving online, forward-thinking answering services have moved with them.
This doesn’t mean the telephone is dead. It’s not. Phone calls are still a big part of our everyday communications, but other forms of communications now compete with the phone call for attention. And state-of-the-art answering services address these newer types of personal interaction, too.
Consider the following:
Email Response: Sending messages via email has emerged as the preferred means for many people. Over two million email messages are sent every second. That’s a lot of information.
What can an answering service do to help you manage the onslaught of emails? A lot. They can do the same things with an email message that they do for your phone calls. They can screen them, provide information, forward them to the right person, and escalate urgent emails.
Let your answering service handle all your company’s generic email addresses, such as info@, service@, sales@, accounting@, and so forth. Don’t be one of those companies who forgets to check these critical email addresses. But instead of worrying about it, turn these messages over to your answering service for timely, professional responses.
Web Chat: Every company today has a website. And the best websites have a chat option. Chat service allows website visitors to send text messages to the company and receive a quick response. The goal is short, quick communication.
Yet many companies struggle to provide an adequately staffed chat service for their website during regular business hours, let alone after hours. Just turn the whole thing over to your answering service. Let them manage your web chat communications 24/7. And they’ll handle it with the same proficiency and professionalism that they do with your phone calls and emails.
Text Messaging: Most people use text messaging to communicate with family and friends. Increasingly they want to use this same technology to connect with businesses. However, most businesses lag in this technology. They don’t have a clue how to provide this new communication service to their customer base.
Don’t sweat it. Let your answering service handle this for you. They can receive your text messages and respond to them appropriately: answer questions, forward information to the right department, and escalate emergencies. Problem solved.
Social Media Monitoring: Just as every business has a website, they also have a presence on social media. In fact, they’re likely on more than one platform. Key social media destinations for businesses include Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, but there are hundreds more to consider. While it doesn’t make sense to be on every available platform, companies do need to be on the ones their customers use. But to be effective, these social media hangouts need to be monitored to interact with customers, address concerns, and be alert to quickly-evolving developments. The goal is to address potential problems early on, before they get out of control.
Phone Calls: Aside from email response, web chat, text messaging, and social media monitoring, don’t forget that answering services still process phone calls. In fact, most telephone answering services handle more phone calls than these other four categories combined.
If you think of your answering service as telephone communication experts, you’re half right. The best ones have also branched out into other forms of business communications. You already trust your answering service to represent you on the telephone, trust them to represent you online as well. The brand image for your company will improve, and business growth will follow.
Richard L. Hutcherson is the director of operations for Answering Service One, a new kind of answering service that wants to become your number one resource to handle your communication needs. Contact Richard at 865-505-0456. Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer from Southwest Michigan. Check out Answering Service One to see if they’re the right answering service solution for your business.