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2 comments | Posted by: Terri on May 2, 2012 | Categories:
Chances are, you’ve just asked yourself that. Or better yet, it’s the phrase you’ve typed into the search engine that led you here. Perhaps you’re researching better ways to handle your business calls because voice mail alone isn’t cutting it.
IVR stands for “Interactive Voice Response.” If you’ve ever called your bank, you’ve dealt with one. It’s the automated phone system navigated by pressing buttons or issuing vocal prompts. They’re a popular option for companies of all sizes.
Businesses preferring the human touch of a receptionist may choose instead to go with an answering service. Both systems are dependable ways to handle calls 24/7. Which system is best for your business depends on your needs:
Interactive Voice Response
IVRs have their advantages. They’re cost-efficient and can be as simple or complex as you make them. They feature time-based call routing and visual voice mail. Our recently spotlighted client, Backside Five, uses our own IVR software, Synclio, as a way to provide a 24/7 customer service line for their up-and-coming apparel company while keeping down the overhead costs of a new business.
John Ashton, talk radio host of Those Weekend Golf Guys, rarely sees his desk. He uses Synclio as a business line while on the road visiting clients. Consider going with an IVR if you’re looking for a toll-free business number to route calls and take messages accessible from your web browser or smart phone.
An answering service is the live version of an IVR, with more bells and whistles. Virtual receptionists don’t just take messages and transfer calls, they schedule appointments, place orders, anything an in-office employee could do. Dr. John Tuggle of Wellness and Better Health Chiropractic uses AnswerConnect as his clinic’s appointment desk/messaging center. An answering service is perfect for giving your business the feel of a much larger office or simply providing your customers with the luxury of talking to a live person day or night.
It doesn’t have to be either/or. Many of our clients supplement their IVR with an answering service, giving them the ability to prioritize their calls. The IVR can route high-priority calls—sales or tech support, for example—directly to internal staff and route low-priority or after-hours/overflow calls to the answering service.
Each option has its strengths. You may need to experiment. Choosing a company with the flexibility to grow or scale down with you is the best way to always guarantee a perfect fit with your business and budget.
0 comments | Posted by: Terri on April 4, 2012 | Categories:
“Radio is an incurable disease,” says John Ashton, host of the radio talk show Those Weekend Golf Guys. “Once it gets in your blood, you’re unable to think about doing anything else for a living.”
John had been a radio personality for 25 years spanning the continent from Bangor, Maine to Dallas, Texas. When his employer decided he was getting too expensive, he found himself at a crossroad. “I had no intention of pursuing anything else but radio,” he recalls. “My other passion is golf. So I married the two. Initially, it was to make golf a tax deduction until a ‘real’ radio job came along, but the show took on a life of its own.”
Those Weekend Golf Guys is now poised for nationwide syndication. It airs Sunday mornings at 10 E.S.T. on 790 WKRD out of Louisville, Kentucky. Out-of-towners can listen to the show via their website, on satellite radio or through the IHeartRadio app. John decided to use the show’s high visibility–as the only golf talk show on air– to promote charity golf tournaments and outings. He also offers his expertise in outside-of-the-box techniques to increase charitable contributions.
He just had one problem, “We–and when I say ‘we,’ I mean ‘me’–are a small company. My office is a box at the local UPS store. I work in my car. I’m always on the road, visiting a golf course, visiting a client, etc. My cell phone is both business and personal. I really didn’t relish the thoughts of giving 24/7 access to my clients by giving them my personal phone number.”
That’s where AnswerConnect stepped in.
John didn’t need a full answering service with webchat, multiple lines or order placement capabilities. He just needed a gatekeeper to handle his incoming calls. So we introduced him to our IVR service, Synclio. With Synclio as his virtual receptionist, John doesn’t need to worry about being available 24/7, because we are. Callers can choose to leave a message or be forwarded to his extension. “We use Synclio for, primarily, credibility. I have a number answered by a hi-tech system that gives the impression of the company being bigger than it really is. And the best part, I have a record of calls and callers that doesn’t fall prey to the whims of the local cell towers.”
With the many options Synclio offers, John Ashton can rest easy. We will scale with his business needs, and help him avoid the sand-traps and bogeys of missed opportunities and unhappy clients.