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0 comments | Posted by: Terri on July 20, 2012 | Categories:
Our primary goal at AnswerConnect is to ensure all callers reach a living, breathing human being. We take on the role of virtual receptionist, keeping the channels of communication open and delivering every message to its intended recipient. But sometimes we take on another role: the bouncer.
Below are three situations in which we serve our clients best by not making connections:
“We want to tell you about an exciting new business opportunity!” Our virtual receptionists are excellent spam filters. Solicitors, automated surveys, political recordings: these types of calls are irritating enough when you’re seated at the dinner table, let alone during a busy day at the office. We listen carefully to first determine the legitimacy of each call and efficiently dispatch any would-be time-wasters.
“Wait, who is this again?” Wrong numbers happen, sometimes due to a misdial, sometimes due to a misunderstanding of your services. We take care to be courteous. First impressions are priority #1. We want you to stand out in every caller’s mind, regardless of whether the call was intentional. Who knows, they may come back as a customer.
“Hold all my calls!” Sometimes you just need to focus. Trust us to handle your calls while you deal with that looming deadline. You can outline exactly which type of calls meet your emergency criteria, allowing you peace of mind to deal with the big stuff. We’ll take care of the rest.
Answering services bring efficiency to an office for obvious reasons: our ability to transfer calls to anyone, send messages via email or text and our around-the-clock availability. but it’s our ability to manage the velvet ropes that maximizes the value of every call.
As Senior Account Manager of Client Services, Andrea Seelye has the role of managing clients, mentoring/training new Client Services team members and advising coworkers on difficult situations. Customers don’t typically call a client services department when everything is working perfectly. Most people call when something has gone awry. Her best tip: “Frustrated clients can be challenging. The best way I’ve found to handle those situations is listening to the client’s frustrations and working to resolve the situation not only for that particular client, but for all our clients. If one client is expressing frustration about a concern, there are five others that are frustrated but not telling us about it. The key is taking the client’s feedback and using it to make our service better all around.”
Below, Andrea answers the top five questions most often asked of our Client Services Team:
How can I update my account information?
The great thing about our model is that our clients have a dedicated Account Manager they can reach out to—directly or through another member of the Client Services Team. We accept updates by phone and email, whichever is more convenient.
How can I view and/or change my script?
Our Client Web Access—found at http://access.answeranswerconnect.com—has a great tool for viewing scripts under the “Agent View” tab. It gives our clients a view into our messaging system so they can see exactly what our associates see. At this point, we’re not set up to accept script changes online; but with our iOS and Android app you can update your status at anytime from your phone. We’re working on an update that will make it possible for clients to change their scripting directly from Client Web Access, but for now our team is always happy to accept updates by phone or email.
Why aren’t I receiving my messages?
I always recommend checking the spam/junk folder of the email address not receiving messages. Since our service sends out many emails each day, we occasionally get flagged as spam. If the messages aren’t showing up in the spam/junk folder, check Client Web Access to confirm we’ve taken messages recently. Please contact client services if you need help with further trouble-shooting. We’re always happy to help out!
Where can I view my invoice?
We’ve made all previous invoices available under the “View Bills” tab in Client Web Access. We can also send one-time email requests for our customers. Just let us know which invoice you need, and we can send it over as a PDF.
What other services are available?
AnswerConnect isn’t just an answering service anymore. We’re constantly working to add more features to make the service more of a business solution service. Aside from our Client Web Access, we now offer a mobile application—for both iPhone and Android—IVRs, lead generation, appointment setting and task management services.
Thanks, Andrea, for your insight! We’re glad our clients are in your capable hands.
0 comments | Posted by: Terri on June 20, 2012 | Categories:
We can spend all the money in the world on advertising. We can tell you until we’re blue in the face about our great customer service, professionalism and reliability. But there’s just no better marketing than word-of-mouth. Recently, a potential client reached out to one of our long-time customers, Jim Bolain of Sun Digital Inc. for a referral. Jim was kind enough to share the interaction:
We are considering using AnswerConnect for off-hours answering of our help-desk phone number in support of the global users of our aviation maintenance records management system. They have provided you as a reference. Can you very briefly answer the following questions?
A wholehearted “thank you” to Jim for the high praise and for letting us share! Feedback like this is what keeps us always striving to provide the best service possible to our clients.
0 comments | Posted by: Terri on March 22, 2012 | Categories:
We love listening. It’s what we do. AnswerConnect’s modus operandi is to listen to a caller, determine their needs, and make sure those needs are met. It’s like being the world’s best significant other.
That being said, there’s a fine line between listening and losing control of a call.
Every now and then, we’ll get a particularly talkative caller. Sometimes the information is pertinent, other times…not so much. Active listening is a skill we’re rather proud of, but long conversations are not in the best interest of our clients. When we get a rambler, it’s important the caller feels heard without taking up an excessive amount of the client’s time.
We asked some of our stellar managers for tips on taking control of a runaway call. Here are the top three:
Tip #1 Politely interrupt: We’ve all been raised knowing it’s rude to interrupt. But in this case, you’re benefiting the client and preventing the caller from repeating themselves further down the road. Wait for a pause, or even just an indrawn breath. Be polite and apologetic. Lead Business Associate, Katie Adams suggests: “I apologize for interrupting….” or “I’m enjoying hearing your story, but I do have a few more questions for you.”
Tip #2 Get the conversation back on track: Callers will sometimes respond to a question with a steady stream of information that may not apply. In situations like this, Lead Steve Riehle suggests acknowledging the caller’s reply and steering the conversation back on track. “By giving someone a strong acknowledgement, it lets them know that they have been heard. Repeating the question keeps them on task so you can get through the call and get the information you need.”
Tip #3 Close the call: Once you have all the necessary information, it’s time to get it to the client. If the caller seems reluctant to end the call, gently let them know it’s in their best interest. Lead Dan Morton suggests something along the lines of, “Ok Sir/Ma’am I do have everything I need from you at this time, as much as I would like to keep speaking with you, I want to get you in touch with the appropriate person as soon as possible.”
Maintaining control of a call is an important customer service technique. It benefits the operator, the caller and the client. We’d like to thank our Lead Business Support Associates for always ensuring each call reflects our high quality standards!
0 comments | Posted by: Terri on January 26, 2012 | Categories:
Ever have one of those household problems you’re positive you can fix yourself but quickly realize you’re in over your head? (A particularly damp and traumatic episode of unclogging my garbage disposal comes to mind.)
That’s where our Spokane-based client Handyman Matters comes in.
Handyman Matters employ a host of licensed craftsmen experienced in pretty much any household task you can think of, from installing a new fence to childproofing a home. Their website boasts over 1,162 projects.
AnswerConnect has served as a messaging center for Handyman Matters for a little over a year. Owner Dave Schmitt was kind of enough to allow me to ask him a few questions about his experience with our service:
With this type of home-repair work, I imagine you’re out in the field quite a bit. How does AnswerConnect help you handle that?
AnswerConnect is awesome! Our goal is to make it as seamless as possible for customers when they call. I take pride in saying we have a live person answer our phone 24/7. If I am out of the office it allows me to be able to make a return call to a customer quickly.
What did you do with your calls before you had AnswerConnect?
We used another company before AnswerConnect. We found customers were often put on hold for long periods of time and there was not a strong commitment to providing our customers a good experience when they called our office.
I see you sponsor local events. What sort of events have you sponsored?
Most recently we did a project for Meals On Wheels and donated our services to help them get a new location opened to serve free and low-priced meals.
I love that you post home-improvement tips on your company blog. Are you worried about giving away trade secrets?
No, helping to educate the consumer helps everyone do a better job.
Anything else you’d like to add?
AnswerConnect has been a huge business partner for us!
Exactly what we love to hear. We pride ourselves in being not just an answering service, but a business partner. Thank you, Dave, for your kind words!