As an event planner, you understand the importance of delivering the best possible service. Thus, you also likely expect to get the best service when you make professional connections. A modern answering service can do a lot to help you stay on top of communications (and so much more), but you’ll want to make sure that you find the best one for the job.
You’re probably thinking that an answering service will be impersonal. You’re a small business owner and you want to keep that vibe—no problem. Today’s answering services and virtual receptionists are trained to deliver a custom experience for every caller that reflects your professional image, reputation, and business vision. We’re not talking about automated systems or outsourced, overseas call centers that can’t deliver the level of service that your clients need. We’re talking about real, professional, reputable answering services that can act as an extension of your business to help you with communications and more.
Before you can dive into choosing the best answering service, of course, you’ve got to understand just what they mean by “best” and how you can narrow down your options. Here are five things you need to look for.
You are in the business of planning events. These events take place on weekends, nights, and anytime people need them to occur. Therefore, you should also have someone available to answer the phones whenever people have a question or concern. That means providing 24/7 availability by outsourcing to a third-party that will always be there to get the call.
Believe it or not, this is actually a lot easier to find than some people expect. Especially in today’s always-on world, people are used to being able to get what they want on their own time. There are several different answering services that already offer around-the-clock service because they know how important it can be.
You will want to check out the background and experience of the service that you are considering. They should be able to showcase plenty of experience in the realm of communications and customer service, which will prove to you that they can handle making and taking calls as you need. The agents should be professional, personable, and ready to deliver the level of service that your callers expect.
Ask about how agents are trained and what types of practices are used in answering calls. Find out if they customize greetings and work as an extension of your company, or if they try to operate separately. You will find that the former is much more successful for most people who use answering services. They don’t have to have in-depth event planning experience, but they should be able to communicate with callers and know enough to take notes, schedule appointments, and so forth.
Custom greetings are just one option that comes from the modern answering service. There are so many plans available today that there should be something for just about everyone. Even more than that, there are customization options that will ensure that you get the ideal solution for your answering service needs. Your business is going to grow and change. Right now, you might only have a handful of events on the calendar. In a year, you might be busy with events nonstop. In that time, you need to know that your answering service will grow with you and continue to deliver the high level of service and attention that your customers need.
Especially when it comes to event planning, local knowledge is a powerful asset to have. While you’ll have plenty of it, you should also look for a team that has their own knowledge of local venues, events, restaurants, special events services, etc. This is all the industry knowledge that you’ve gained over the years and it’s going to be something that your callers bring up when they make calls.
Even if an answering service isn’t local, they can get a feel for the local area from maps and other online searches. The best companies will go above and beyond to make sure they are ready to deliver this level of expertise.
Finally, you need to choose providers that offer transparency when it comes to their pricing and service plans. Too many companies started switching to “quote only” models to get more communication, but that often turns people in the opposite direction. Instead, the best companies are those that offer clear, honest pricing and upfront information about plans and how services work.
Even if a custom quote is required, companies should explain that in more detail and do their best to get as close to providing a price for services as possible, or a list of available or included services at the very least.
If your event planning business needs some help with phone calls and other administrative work, you have a lot of options. However, answering services tend to offer the most perks for your money, which is why most people end up working with them.
An answering service is usually much more affordable for most small businesses than hiring an in-house team. After all, hiring even a single person is expensive. A partnership with an answering service will cost a fraction of what you would spend on an employee. And, it gives you access to a lot more perks than if you did the call answering yourself, including assistance with other tasks and duties.
If you’re ready to build your event planning business up to the next level, investing in a 24/7 answering service is the way to go. When you partner with Smith.ai, you’ll get dedicated virtual receptionists who can field all the calls, handle lead intake, appointment scheduling, and so much more.
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