As far as appointment scheduling is concerned, call centers and in-house staff can't perform as well as an answering service. While they may be able to answer calls more frequently and consistently than employees with other duties, call centers and in-house receptionists tend to deliver sub-par quality in appointment scheduling.
Scheduling appointments and conducting follow-ups isn't rocket science, yet still call centers and in-house staff often fail to perform in a manner that prioritizes your teams' time and your callers' satisfaction. Call centers and in-house staff are often unable to integrate with your team's calendar or CRM, are unequipped to answer common questions callers have, and come with excessive background noise as well as basic call handling, leaving callers understandably annoyed.
Answering services like Smith.ai offer thoughtful accommodations, like scheduled call-backs to adhere to your team's schedule. We even offer options such as our bilingual answering service so your callers can speak in the language they prefer. By paying attention to the details, Smith.ai's answering service can relieve your busy team of call handling pressures, provide your callers with outstanding customer service, and help your business thrive. Hiring a call center or an in-house staff rather than outsourcing appointment scheduling to an answering service may risk your reputation, your productivity, and your customer satisfaction.
If you're a small business owner, this rings especially true for you. Over 80% of consumers prefer to talk to a real person over the phone yet call center agents and in-house staff can sound rehearsed, impersonal, and unsettling. This can destroy any initial impression a caller may have and erode any trust they may have in your business, which is critical to establish in the initial conversation with a caller.
It's well known that call centers customarily:
- Engage in poor phone etiquette
- Leave callers on hold for extended periods of time
- Fail to check your teams' availability before scheduling appointments
- Have trouble integrating with your team's calendar
- Are unable to conduct follow-ups or send out reminders
- Fail to set adequate expectations for callers
With over 82% of customers wanting their issues resolved quickly , call centers fall short of providing satisfactory service to callers. Incoming calls answered by call center agents take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes , whereas calls answered by an answering service usually only take anywhere from 1 to 2 minutes. And with only 44% of callers reporting call centers to be helpful compared to nearly 76% of callers reporting non-call centers, like answering service, to be helpful, it's clear to see that hiring a call center will result in longer call times and unsatisfactory customer service.
In-house staff also regularly:
- Come unequipped to address customer service concerns
- Have limited phone coverage availability
- Fail to consider your team's availability
- Cost companies more than they bring in
- Staff phone lines instead of manning tasks where they can provide more value
- Have little to no ability to foster leads to successfully schedule consultations
Even with a full-time in-house receptionist, over 62% of calls go to voicemail or are left unanswered . Despite being their sole purpose, in-house staff still fail to answer phone calls, which can cost your business potential customers, as up to 50% of sales go to businesses that answer first . With many in-house staff having limited customer service knowledge, current clients are lost as well since over 71% of clients will end a business relationship due to poor phone etiquette. Hiring an in-house staff to answer calls and schedule appointments is arguably counterintuitive to your business's success.
All of these common issues with call centers and in-house staff can lead to clients hanging up the phone and potential prospects taking their business elsewhere, resulting in your company losing leads, customer loyalty, money, and time. By hiring an answering service, such as Smith.ai, instead, your staff can avoid losing out on clients by having a knowledgeable and friendly virtual receptionist available around the clock to answer clients' questions, conduct follow-ups, and schedule appointments.
If that isn't enough, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that on average, answering services cost only about 20% of what an in-house staff or call center costs despite offering more features and better quality services.
As a matter of fact, Smith.ai's virtual receptionists can:
- Make sure your team is available prior to scheduling appointments
- Integrate with your team's calendar and CRM
- Foster leads with personal and friendly customer service
- Successfully book consultations with leads on the first call
- Conduct follow-ups and send out reminders to clients
- Prepare leads with information that allows for a smooth sales process
Outsourcing appointment scheduling to an answering service like Smith.ai instead of a call center or in-house staff can save your business from overextended budgets, embarrassing client interactions, missed lead-capturing opportunities, and frustrating workplace complications. Rather than risk your revenue and client relationships on inexperienced or ineffective call center agents or in-house staff, rely on Smith.ai's reliable service to nurture callers, schedule appointments, and take the pressure off of your busy staff.
Don't just take our word for it. Check out some of our clients' reviews to see why so many businesses trust Smith.ai to handle their appointment scheduling.