So you’ve researched the benefits of hiring a virtual receptionist team to provide 24-hour phone coverage and you’re ready to start forwarding your calls. We want to help you get an inside look at how to train and communicate with your new off-site team. Follow these helpful tips to get the most out of outsourcing your business calls to communication experts.
What is Call Center Outsourcing?
Call center outsourcing is a phrase used to describe organizations and businesses that forward their calls to third-party vendors and contractors. Business answering services have been around as long as the invention of the telephone and can help you manage your business communications.
Outsourcing telephone customer service to a call center is a popular choice for most businesses because of the incredibly low costs of virtual receptionists. Since you’re sharing a team of virtual receptionists with other businesses, you’re able to have your phone calls handled for as low as $0.45 per call.
Outsourcing your calls is an easy 3 step process:
- Customize How You Want Your Phones to Be Answered
- Forward Your Incoming Phone Calls to a Designated Number
- Retrieve Phone Messages Via Email, Text, Fax or Voice.
Visit our latest article here to learn more about the benefits of hiring a business answering service to outsource your calls to.
Gather Your Company Information
Since virtual receptionists act as an extension of your office and in-house team, we need your basic company information to get started. When training your new digital call center team to answer your incoming calls, be sure to answer the following questions for them.
- What is the name of your business? Do you go by any other names?
- What are all of your contact numbers? Include all of your known business telephone numbers, facsimile number and emergency contact number.
- What is your business address? If you have more than one location, provide all locations for detailed call handling.
- What is your general inquiry email address? To provide more detailed information, you can also provide email addresses for specific departments like billing, customer service, etc.
- What are your normal hours of operation? Are you open during the weekends?
- Are you observing specific holidays throughout the year or have specific days you will be closed?
- If applicable, provide a detailed employee and/or department extension list.
This unique company information is then inputted into your account and allows your virtual receptionist team to field your most basic incoming calls.
Message Delivery Preferences
Modern digital call centers have a variety of delivery options you can choose from to receive your messages. Depending on your working style, this too is a section that needs to be customized in order to fit your specific needs.
Let’s review the most basic message delivery methods so you can select the best one for you.
If you work in an office setting and are in front of a computer for the majority of your day, having your messages delivered via email may work for you. When an incoming phone message comes in, the recipient of the message is sent an email in real-time.
- SMS Text
If you’re a service professional, salesperson or other mobile worker, having a detailed message sent through text might be handy. You will receive the name, telephone number and detailed message straight to your cell phone in real-time.
If you still send and receive fax transmissions on a daily basis, a digital call center will also be able to fax you your important messages. A lot of our physician, medical facility and hospital clients prefer being faxed their messages and call logs.
If you’re a professional that prefers to call into your virtual receptionist as you would a personal assistant, having messages delivered to you by a live person may suit you best. Before or after important meetings, make a quick call to your virtual receptionist to check your messages and see if there are any VIP calls that need your immediate attention.
Provide Answers to Your FAQs
If you’re looking for more than a basic messaging service, provide the answers to your callers’ most frequently asked questions. All of the information you provide is available to the virtual receptionist that answers your calls. Having this information gives your team the power to act and sound just like an in-house receptionist would.
Since FAQs vary depending on your industry, product, service, location and other unique factors, this section is going to need to be customized. But to get you in the right direction, here are some topics to consider when training your new call center team:
- Driving directions or local landmarks?
- Hours of operation?
- Do you service a specific location?
- How much is delivery?
- What is your website address?
- How much is an initial consultation?
- What is your refund policy?
- When was your business incorporated?
- What insurance policies do you accept?
- What is the contact info for your branch manager?
- Can I place a custom order?
- How do I submit a complaint?
- Does your product come in purple?
- Do you have an after-hours or emergency service fee?
- Are you open on Christmas Eve?
Be sure to brainstorm the FAQs with your internal sales, logistic and administrative team. Your in-house team will be the best resources for developing an efficient and accurate list of FAQs.
Remember, the purpose of providing this info is to save you time and money in the long run. When you outsource these easy to handle tasks to your virtual receptionist, you’ll gain the freedom and time to improve you and your in-house team’s productivity.
Customize Call Handling Procedures
When training your new customer service team to handle your incoming calls, you need to train them as you would an in-house receptionist. So if you’re company has very specific procedures or policies, let your new answering service know.
• What Qualifies as an Emergency?
A very common call handling instruction is to let us know what you consider an emergency. If you have an on-call team or offer 24-hour emergency services, provide qualifying questions so that we can determine what’s an emergency and what can wait until the following day. Your new after-hours team will always send you all messages in real-time, but you can also have them locate you to personally dispatch an urgent message.
• Customer Service Telephone Agents
Use your new telephone agents to handle your customer service department. If you’d like to take advantage of highly trained and skilled customer service telephone reps, let us know how you prefer us to field those calls. We can walk your callers through a customer complaint report or take down their praise and testimonial for your review.
Most of the time, an angry caller is just wanting to be heard and so providing an empathetic ear will improve their satisfaction levels with your brand. The sky is the limit so be creative and informative with your customer service policies and outsource those calls to a fully trained team.
• Scheduling and Managing Your Calendar
If you want to save your overhead budget, opt to have a virtual scheduler rather than a personal or executive on-site assistant. Call center outsourcing isn’t just for your telephone messages anymore; we can manage your calendar in real-time too. We have state of the art equipment and software that syncs up to your business calendar.
Train us to schedule your appointments by providing preliminary and qualifying questions that we can get answers to. Based on your caller’s responses, we will schedule their appointment in pre-designated time slots and notify you immediately of any changes to your schedule.
There are countless call handling instructions and customizations available. Send us a message now to start the conversation and learn about specific services available.
Open Communication Keeps Us Trained
The last of our training tips is to impress upon you how helpful open communication is. A fully trained staff is an informed staff. Since digital call centers are off-site, it’s so important that you keep us apprised of any changes or notable announcements. We want your callers to feel like we’re qualified and knowledgeable employees of your company.
Don’t be shy, let your virtual receptionists know if you’re going to be leaving early for the day. If you have vacation plans, give us special protocols to follow so we can help your callers feel taken care of in your absence. If you’re running a seasonal special or discount promotion, giving us the details helps us provide the best customer service possible.