Call Answering Service Tips for New Business
1. Know Your Customer
Call answering service might be something to explore. To serve a customer, you have to know what he or she wants. Ideally, we could all hire a market research firm to find out everything we want to know about our customers. If this is an option, take it. However, not everyone or every business can afford to. There are still other options. Every time you engage with your customers, you should be learning something new about them. The more you know about your customer, the better prepared you will be to serve them.
2. Engage Your Customer
Whether its through email marketing, monthly luncheons, cocktail hours, or phone calls, your customers have to know you’re available for them. The more often you connect with your customers, the more they trust you. The more they trust you, the more they will view you as a trusted advisor. Then, you can leverage your knowledge and contacts to add value to the relationship, which in turn, makes them more loyal.
3. Measure Your Customer Service
How the heck do you measure something that is intangible? There is no cut and dry way to do it. However, there are plenty of resources that can help. One great book that is widely referred to, is The Ultimate Question. In addition, you know your business. Be creative. Think outside the box and come up with internal activities that impact customer service and measure those activities.
4. Just Say “No”
When your customer comes to you and asks if you can provide something for them, make sure you can, before you say yes. If its outside of your core competency, you will likely under-serve them and it will damage your relationship. They will trust and respect you much more if you’re up front with them and can refer them to a subject-matter expert.
5. Answer Your Phones
Last, but not least, answer your phones. The #2 gripe by American consumers, according to a January 2010 Consumer Reports article, is not getting a live person on the phone. Nobody likes being put in voice mail jail. If you do use an auto-attendant, make sure its user-friendly. The best solution, of course, is to have a live, friendly, knowledgeable person answer the phone. If you can’t afford to hire someone, you can check into hiring an answering service. An answering service can act as an extension of your business, for less than half the cost of a receptionist. And, an answering service works 24X7, won’t call in sick, play solitaire, or check Facebook.
Ryan Keener is a business development executive. His areas of expertise are sales, strategic planning, customer service, and culture building. Ryan currently serves as the Director of Business Development at Keener Communications, Inc. in Richmond, VA.
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