Are You Making This Simple Front Of House Oversight?
And how a different approach could save you time and money ...
POSTED BY JACQUI FROST ON 03/09/2015 @ 9:00AM
As a professional services firm, I'm certain you take your front of house impression very seriously. After all, this is where new business can be won or lost. It's for this reason you take great care over the selection of your receptionist ...
It's why you've chosen someone who's professional and diligent, with exceptional customer service skills. And that's why I'm curious.
Given the fact you appreciate the importance of making the right first impression, why are you still allowing inbound calls to slip through the net?
"It's a mistake to dismiss this issue!"
Ensuring the right person picks up every time your phone rings, is a business practice I strongly encourage. Lots of firms still slip up in this important area of customer service, which is why your Call Handling offers a great opportunity to outshine your competition.
Let me explain.
From a client's perspective, having the confidence that someone WILL pick up every time they phone, boosts their confidence in your service.
After all, legal, investment and financial matters can be sensitive subjects. When you need to speak with your accountant or your lawyer urgently, getting the answerphone or a colleague who can't help is frankly frustrating.
So you see. the fact that your receptionist is unable to answer every call is an oversight, which could cost your professional services firm sales and your reputation.
"You need to put this right!"
Don't underestimate the scale of this issue. Remember, it's a physical impossibility for your receptionist to be in two places at once! If they're taking scheduled breaks, welcoming visitors, or preparing a meeting room, they can't answer the phone.
And if they're already assisting a caller - they won't be able to answer the second client who rings at the same time (believe me; this scenario happens more frequently than you realise).
Introduce an effective safety net
If you're serious about making the right front of house impression, you do need to review your capacity to answer inbound calls. And while hiring a dedicated receptionist is a smart business decision, you do need a robust contingency to support this person during the times they can't pick up.
Here's what NOT to do:
Don't rely on your answerphone - it's impersonal and frustrating when your caller wants to speak with a real person.
Don't divert overflow calls elsewhere in the office - there's an increased chance the phone won't get answered (because no one wants to take responsibility). Plus, a ringing phone is an unwelcome distraction, which is going to have a negative impact on your business.
Don't hire a second receptionist - additional in-house resource is expensive. As well as wages, you need to factor in the less obvious costs such as desk space, National Insurance, holidays and equipment. What's more, double the amount of staff doesn't necessarily equal double efficiency.
What's the alternative?
The reality is you probably don't need a second (or even third) set of 'hands on deck' all of the time because your receptionist will be able to cover a good percentage of your incoming calls.
What you actually need is a flexible Call Handling resource, which you can switch on (and off) as required. And that's why outsourcing the answering of inbound calls (to the right people) is such a smart decision.
"Once you have this robust safety net in place, you can relax!"
You'll know the right someone will ALWAYS answer your phone. This may be a promise you decide to promote to clients - after all, it's the little things that make the difference.
With a Call Handling service in the background, professionally handling any overflow calls you can't take in-house, you can relax knowing important messages will not be missed and your front of house impression remains immaculate.
Make no mistake
A well-handled call sets a tone of positive expectation to your clients. In comparison, if you fall at the phone hurdle, what assumptions will potential clients make about how you'll handle their work?
To discover - in detail - why you can't rely on your receptionist, download our free report. And if you have any questions about how outsourced Call Handling could benefit your firm, please leave a comment below or give me a call on 01604 529170.
I'd be happy to advise you.
Until next time ...
THE OFFICE GENIE
I had a successful 20-year career as an office manager and personal assistant; however, my job was no longer focused on the customers and became all about the numbers. My customer-focused background began when I was 12 in my father's independent carpet showroom. I had a spell with Marks & Spencer before I moved into office-based jobs. I have worked as a training administrator, a PA and PA/office manager in a variety of industries from manufacturing to the IT education sector.
Meanwhile, my husband Ian, a successful Northampton based Master Decorator and owner of Rainbow Frost, was losing out on work due to missed phone calls. When he was busy, callers were getting his voicemail but weren't leaving messages. I knew how to fix that problem!
I quit my job and took on Ian as the first client of The Office Genie in November 2005. Word quickly spread with the second client coming on board just one week later. The majority of our clients since have come to us through word of mouth recommendations and networking referrals. Over the years, I have become well connected in Northampton and Milton Keynes.
Outside of work I enjoy swimming, roller skating, the theatre and my cats and dogs!