Unless you’re planning to work 12-hour days, it’s inevitable you’re going to have some customers calling your business after you’ve finished for the day.
Depending on your business type, you might have a significant number of customers calling out of hours if you’re open 9-5 and they work during these hours.
Having an out-of-hours answering service can be a big benefit that helps you win more business and extend your customer service hours without making more work for yourself.
But you also need to think hard about how much service you need, so you don’t wind up investing in out-of-hours answering services you don’t really need.
Here’s our advice when it comes to an out-of-hours answering service.
How does an out-of-hours answering service work?
We know you don’t need to be told how an out-of-hours call answering service works – it’s simple. If a customer calls out of hours, then the answering service deals with it.
But here’s how our out-of-hours answering service works to give you a better idea of what it’s like to work with us.
With Face For Business’ out-of-hours call answering, you can extend your telephone answering from:
- 8am-8pm Monday to Friday
- 9am-5:30pm Saturday
- 10am-4pm Sunday
During these hours, your team of remote receptionists will handle your inbound calls and can deal with them however you prefer.
When it’s out of hours, we can be on hand to take a message, which will be delivered immediately to your customer portal (along with the call recording) so you can view the message and decide if you want to return it.
Depending on the type of enquiry, we can handle it directly. For example, giving customers information about your products and services, providing details about your business, or even taking payments over the phone.
If you have “VIP” customers or certain enquiry types you always want to deal with immediately, we can transfer out-of-hours calls to whatever number you want so you or someone in your team can handle it.
Even outside of our operating hours, we can help you create an effective answering message so customers can leave a message for you to deal with.
The role of an out-of-hours answering service in customer service
Ensuring customer satisfaction at all times
Imagine a situation where a customer has a problem with their service and needs something resolved quickly. But because they’re calling at 7pm and you closed at 5pm, they can’t get through and have to live with the problem until the morning.
Or you have a customer who wants to make a payment for a service but can’t because they’re calling outside your regular hours.
Having an out-of-hours call answering service makes sure these customers can get through to your company and do what they need to, without you or your team working extended hours.
It also means customers who work 9-5 don’t have to spend their lunch break making calls, or that people with unusual hours can do business with you more easily.
Managing customer queries efficiently
An out-of-hours answering service can handle customer queries that come up outside of regular business hours, like booking enquiries, appointment scheduling, or product availability, as efficiently as if your business were still open.
By having a dedicated team available to answer questions or resolve problems quickly, you can ensure no potential sales opportunities are missed, maximising revenue and customer satisfaction.
Advantages of out-of-hours answering service
Cost-effectiveness of using an answering service
Outsourcing an out-of-hours answering service not only removes the costs of recruiting, training, and employing full-time staff, but allows you to benefit from the expertise of a specialised answering service provider equipped with the infrastructure, technology, and trained receptionists to handle customer enquiries efficiently and effectively.
Improving business reputation
Having an out-of-hours answering service demonstrates your focus on customer service by extending customer support beyond regular business hours so customers aren’t restricted to regular hours when they need help or have a question about your service.
This can help make your customer service much more convenient and make your business more accessible to customers who can be confident you’re available to help or deal with their concerns, even if it’s outside ‘normal’ business hours.
Choosing the right out-of-hours answering service
Key things to look for in an answering service
Choosing the right out-of-hours call answering service is just as important as having the service.
First, look at the reliability of the service using testimonials from existing customers to see if the provider gives you the service they say they do. There’s not much point investing in out-of-hours call answering if you’re going to miss more calls because you get a reduced service.
Cost is also a big thing to consider. Are you going to be charged an additional fee for out-of-hours call answering? And how do these prices change depending on the hours?
You should also think about what kind of service will you be getting. For example, is it simply an out-of-hours message-taking service, or will you be able to have some calls forwarded to you or your team? Or have some calls dealt with directly by your call-handling provider?
Also, will you get your messages instantly so you can return them if you need to? Or will you have to wait until your opening times before you can see your messages?
Lastly, you should consider what level of out-of-hours service you need. You may see some telephone answering services offering 24/7 call support, which sounds impressive.
But realistically, do you need a phone operator at 3am?
For example, we have many property management companies that we provide call support to, who often deal with tenant enquiries out-of-hours. And even these companies rarely, if ever, get these types of urgent calls.
You also have to think realistically about what action you’d be able to take if you got a call at 3am and whether you’d still have to wait until the morning before you could do anything.
It may be that you do get dozens of calls this early in the morning and have the resources to deal with them, but for the most part, investing in 24/7 call answering could leave you paying for more than you need.
Tips for selecting a reliable out-of-hours answering service
When choosing a reliable out-of-hours answering service, it’s useful to look at the testimonials and customer case studies of your potential partner.
They may claim to offer out-of-hours call answering, but can they support that with their past performance?
If they have poor testimonials or lack testimonials, maybe they can’t.
You should also find out more about the provider. What kind of training do their receptionists get? What kind of technology do they use? And will this fit with what you already use in your business?
You should also ask what will happen to your out-of-hours messaging and how easy it will be to access the message once it’s been taken.
A reliable answering service will prioritise clear and effective communication, attention to detail, and a commitment to meeting the unique requirements of each business.
Get proven, reliable out-of-hours call answering services with Face For Business
At Face For Business, we deliver out-of-hours call answering for dozens of companies and have developed a reputation for providing excellent customer service support.
We help you extend your opening hours beyond your ‘regular’ hours while maintaining high levels of call support and customer service to ensure you leave the right impression and have the information you need to effectively return calls.
Whether you just want a message to return the call in the morning or want important or urgent calls directed to you or your team, our professional receptionists will put processes in place that make sure your calls are handled as you want them.
Want to find out more?
Why not try a free 7-day trial of our out-of-hours call answering service and see it in action for yourself?
If you’re not convinced by the end, you can finish the trial and move on.
Try our out-of-hours call answering for free
06th November, 2023
Posted by Face For Business