If you’re busy building a successful interior design business, you probably don’t have a lot of time to field calls and answer questions, even though you wish you could always be available. After all, your clients are your business, and if a potential client can’t get someone on the phone, they will likely take their business elsewhere.
So, you can’t be everywhere at once, and you haven’t the money or means to start hiring in-house staff, but you need more help—what should you do?
An answering service could be just what your interior design firm needs. You can outsource to a third-party service that will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so your existing and potential clients can get in touch when they have questions or concerns. Plus, they can handle a host of other tasks in the admin and communications area, freeing up your time and resources.
The digitally connected world we live in has created several options for answering services and virtual receptionists for today’s businesses. While this is great because it means you’ll have plenty of selection to choose from, it also means you’ll have to narrow down the options and figure out what’s best for your firm.
To help you, we’ve collected a list of five critical criteria that should be on your list when hiring an answering service for your interior design business.
How often do your clients have questions or needs outside of regular business hours? Have you even considered that? Thanks to the Internet, people expect things to happen instantly, and they don’t like to wait. Even if they can’t reach you directly, being able to call and have a live person answer the phone could provide much more peace of mind than you anticipate.
Plus, you can always pick and choose when they are available to field calls, how many agents are on the line for your design firm, and so forth. That way, you never miss an opportunity, and potential clients don’t find someone else who is available when you’re not.
You need to choose an answering service that is professionally trained and experienced in delivering these solutions. They don’t have to be a 50-year-old company, but they should have some experience under their belt. Consider how their agents are trained, too, and what other people have to say about the answering service.
Speaking of what others say, check out testimonials and reviews from firsthand users as well as third-party review sites. All this information can help you see just how professional and reputable the answering service is before you select them to work with your interior design firm. When reading reviews, also see what their response rate to bad reviews or complaints is because that will help you see if they’ll be there when you really need them.
What features are you looking for in an answering service? There are so many different options out there today that it shouldn’t be hard to find what you need. However, that also means you might feel a bit overwhelmed by all the services and solutions you are presented with. Take a minute to review the available features list and consider which would most benefit your design firm.
For example, if you want a company that can take client payments, make sure they have payment collection services. If you want a custom plan for after-hours support that scales up and down with business needs, make sure that’s available. Once you talk to the answering service about what they can do, you might be surprised as to just how much you can get for your money.
How much can you customize the aforementioned features that an answering service offers? You may or may not need everything that they have to offer. Plus, if this is going to be an extension of your business, it needs to look that way. And, of course, you shouldn’t pay for things that you don’t need. Fortunately, most answering services will at least allow you to customize certain aspects of your plans.
If you look further, you may realize that you can get plans with total customization. This is always the best option, of course, because it allows you to create your dream answering service without having to finance it in-house or worry about staffing a team of receptionists.
You’re an interior design firm, not a multinational chain that can afford to have generic answering services to pick up customer service calls when they come in. As such, you should take the time to find an answering service that can deliver a personalized experience for each caller. It’s not enough that a live person is answering the phone. You also need to make sure that they’re answering the phone the right way and delivering the solutions that your callers need.
You should be able to record custom voicemail greetings, get custom live greetings, and even pick and choose how calls are handled based on their content. For example, design inquiries might be forwarded directly to you. At the same time, the agents can schedule intake appointments, and then you can be informed when you check the schedule or get the notification.
At Smith.ai, we take pride in the work that we do. That includes providing a 24/7 answering service that can assist with everything from lead intake and appointment scheduling to live website chat, and so much more. We’ll make sure that you never miss a single opportunity while you’re focused on your clients and current projects.
Plus, it comes with a custom-tailored strategy to manage every last detail, giving you peace of mind that even if you’re unavailable, your callers are getting what they need. To learn more, schedule a consultation or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.