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We’re all familiar with the saying, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Though we know this, we often forget it and fail to put it into practice in the daily activities of our businesses. And while we may realize this applies to in-person meetings, it’s even more important for the myriad of contacts we make over the telephone. Each phone call represents the opportunity to make a good first impression.
Don’t squander these opportunities. Make the most of them, and let your answering service help you. Here are some of the ways an answering service can help you make a good first impression.
Answer With a Smile: Did you know that if you smile when you answer the telephone, your greeting to the caller will be friendlier? Well, answering services know this. They train their staff to answer with a smile. Some agents even have mirrors at their station to remind them to smile on every call. Answering the phone with a smile is being intentional about making a good first impression—and it’s most effective.
Respond Quickly: In this world of emails, text, and social media messaging, a response to our communication can be delayed several minutes, hours, and even days. Too often the communication gets lost. The telephone gives immediacy. Most people are patient enough to wait for a few rings to get a quick answer to their question. A telephone call answered by a real person makes a great first impression.
Provide 24/7 Coverage: Most of your staff works during the business day. And even if some come in an hour early or others stay a couple hours late, most of the day remains uncovered. What happens to calls that come in when your staff isn’t there? What kind of impression does that leave on your callers? With an answering service working on your behalf, there’s never a moment when your phone is left unattended. That means your answering service is making positive first impressions with your callers around-the-clock, 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week, including weekends and holidays. And that coverage is hard to beat.
Give Needed Information: Sometimes customers call with a quick question. Even if this information is available on your website, they may not have the means to access it at that moment, or they may prefer to talk to a person. This could include standard information such as business hours, your location, or directions. In addition to these typical questions, most businesses have unique information that is commonly asked. Let your answering service know the answers to these frequently asked questions, and they will make a positive first impression every time the caller asks.
Solve Problems: Did you know answering services also provide customer service over the phone? They can even offer first-level helpdesk assistance. Though some of your customers may prefer investing time to search for answers online, many want a fast response and your answering service is the best way to provide it. They make a good first impression each time they solve a customer’s problem.
Take Messages and More: Of course, telephone answering services can take messages, too. They do a lot of that. But they can take more than messages. They can take phone orders, set appointments, and screen calls.
In fact, if it’s communication that happens over the telephone, it’s likely your answering service can handle it, making a good first impression every time.
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.