Businesses should answer the phone every time it rings but often is unable to do so for a variety of reasons. This is incredibly challenging because your next call could spell the difference between meeting or missing your revenue targets for the year.
Small and medium-sized enterprises, in particular, must tread carefully because they often operate with limited in-house people, resources, and time. Each of these companies must cautiously traverse these numerous limits in order to strike the correct balance between new lead responsiveness and project management for existing clients.
Industry research will be used by savvy business owners and operators to align their internal best practices with those of the general industry. You’ll be in a better position to scale your expansion if you compare your company’s response to that of your peers.
Let’s take a brief look at an industry with a lot of different types of businesses: the legal industry. Clio, a legal technology business established in Canada, releases an annual study evaluating legal practice management trends to assist lawyers and law firms in better understanding the industry.
Clio revealed worrisome data in its 2019 research on the legal industry’s almost incredibly low percentage of response to new leads. Clio hired a third-party research firm to put itself in the shoes of someone looking for legal advice and representation. The poll was performed among 1,000 randomly selected legal firms in the United States that practiced in at least one of five areas:
(Custody of children);
Felony (domestic violence offense);
Bankruptcy (debt forgiveness);
Employment (discrimination on the basis of race); or
A company (incorporation).
Each company’s outreach was customized to match the type of law that firm practiced.
The companies that were picked for the survey had to meet the following criteria:
A live website, a social media page with activity in the three months leading up to the study, or an active directory page;
A publicly accessible email address and phone number; and information is indicating that they handle legal concerns similar to those addressed in the survey.
The following are some of the most shocking findings: 60% of law firms did not react to emails at all, and 27% did not answer or return phone calls. This data, ironically, contradicted Clio’s earlier commissioned polls, which revealed that 89 percent of legal professionals react to phone and email requests within 24 hours. The evidence, however, is in the pudding, and the “secret shopper” calls are reliable.
Every time one of these law firms did not react to phone calls and emails within a reasonable amount of time, it was a missed opportunity to collect leads. They might have left a voicemail message saying, “We don’t pick up our calls, so even though we’d love your business, you might as well call our competitor, ABC Law Firm, down the street.” (For our take on the statistics, see our infographic on the Smith.ai blog on the 2019 Clio study.)
This issue of reacting to leads in a timely manner is not unique to the legal profession. Businesses will struggle to forecast lead quality if they fail to capture leads on a continuous basis. This challenge has an impact on a company’s capacity to produce money and grow in a consistent and predictable manner.
Fortunately, businesses may employ low-cost resources such as outsourced phone answering services to ensure that they are continually capturing and converting leads.
Let’s look at how small and medium-sized organizations might profit from an outsourced virtual receptionist service to improve lead response and drive growth.
1.How to Get the Most Out of Your Virtual Receptionist
Begin by utilizing virtual receptionists as a backup support system.
It’s possible that your company will run well if you handle the majority of the calls. A lead that receives your voicemail rather than a live response, on the other hand, may feel disappointed or even undesired. If the caller is an existing client, they may wait for a return call despite the terrible experience, but if the caller is a new lead, they will not wait – they will be calling other businesses right away. Most of the time, the first business to answer the phone wins the business, according to a study.
According to HubSpot’s consumer research report, firms that do not respond promptly enough to new leads and existing clients face a bleak future.
Their findings were as follows:
Consumers expect a rapid response to sales inquiries in 82 percent of cases.
On a support request, 82 percent of customers anticipate a response right away, and 90 percent expect it right away.
Because of a bad encounter, 80 percent of customers say they’ve ceased doing business with a company.
If your company isn’t ready to use virtual receptionists to take all of your calls, at the very least, allow them to block callers from reaching your voicemail during business hours. Your virtual receptionists can be set to only answer your phone after two rings if you want them to (two rings is standard practice). If you’re available, you can answer the phone, but if you’re busy, in transit, or away from your desk, your caller will be connected to a courteous, professional live receptionist instead of leaving a message. Virtual receptionists can also assist your company by accepting calls after business hours, on weekends, and even while you’re on vacation. This allows your company to be available to your leads 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Smart business owners understand that making a modest tweak to a procedure like this can result in an increase in business and, as a result, money.
2.Share your company’s frequently asked questions
Callers will regularly contact your company simply because they need rapid solutions to frequently asked inquiries, particularly during COVID-19. Businesses may already have answers to these questions on their website or social media, but not everyone will take the time to do their own investigation, resulting in a phone call. Allow your virtual receptionist service to handle these often asked questions, so you don’t have to. Simply give a series of questions and answers to aid receptionists in responding to these incoming inquiries, and they will be able to respond swiftly to callers seeking basic information. This saves time for small firms, allowing them to focus on existing customer initiatives.
Businesses can also supply a list of questions for receptionists to ask interested leads in order to determine if they’re a possible client so that an individual who just called for some information could become a new client! If the lead meets your criteria, virtual receptionists will conduct new client intake, taking lead information and scheduling the call or meeting using your preferred calendar integration software with seamless integration into your CRM. All you have to do now is keep an eye on your calendar and convert that lead!
3.Allow Others to See Your Calendar
One of the most significant benefits of using a virtual receptionist service for small and medium-sized enterprises is the time saved from taking calls that could potentially stall and disrupt productive workflows. While some interactions can be concluded quickly, you’ll frequently need to set time for a phone call or an in-person meeting to either secure a deal with a new customer or to further discuss an ongoing project.
Virtual receptionists can arrange appointments on your behalf and help you better manage your schedule by giving them access to your scheduling system through integrations. You don’t want to risk losing your focus or being disturbed by picking up the phone yourself. Virtual receptionists will collect all pertinent information from the lead and arrange appointments according to your instructions. Receptionists can also use your sequence of qualifying questions to pre-qualify leads live during calls.
Businesses will be able to view the meeting on their calendars as well as in the summary notes provided by virtual receptionists after each call, which you will receive promptly through email and SMS.
You don’t have a calendaring program for your company yet? It’s not a problem! ‘Calendly’ is terrific since it’s free, simple to use, and integrates with Google, Outlook, iCalendar, and Office365, ensuring that you never miss a sales appointment with qualified leads.
4.Integrate Virtual Receptionists with Your CRM and Intake Forms
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software makes managing contacts, accounts, business deals, vendors, and any other information that helps your organization run exceedingly simple.
Many major CRMs, such Capsule CRM, Clio, and Salesforce, to mention a few, can interact with virtual receptionist services. Businesses can send lead information straight into these systems by linking any of these applications to their virtual receptionist service, including name, contact information, call summaries, and notes. This allows firms to boost efficiency by eliminating the need to disclose lead information twice.
CRMs frequently have the ability to build forms that can be integrated on your website or shared directly with leads and clients via a link. If your company has already created a new client intake form, you may share it with virtual receptionists to complete while on the phone with a possible new client. That way, before your first meeting, you’ll have all of their essential information, allowing you to get right in and focus on converting the pre-qualified lead.
5. Emails Emails can be forwarded automatically.
Do you have a web form on your website that visitors can use to seek your services or learn more about your company? When completed “contact us” forms are forwarded, virtual receptionist services can use them to deliver a variety of services to businesses.
Follow up with a callback: When a lead submits a form with a question, your virtual receptionists will call them on your behalf and respond based on the FAQ you’ve supplied.
Receive service requests: Some firms use these forms as the first line of defense for dealing with client issues or service requests. If your company uses a ticketing system to manage service and support requests, virtual receptionists can create tickets on behalf of clients, which will then be placed in a queue for your support employees and technicians to finish.
Referrals can be used to monetize “poor leads”: If you run a small business, you probably have a network of trustworthy partners with whom you share potential clients when their needs are better met by their services or yours. When a referred individual becomes a paying client, a “finder’s fee” is frequently paid. If your virtual receptionist service calls back a new lead who filled out your web form and determines that they aren’t a good fit for your business based on your pre-qualification criteria (for example, they need a criminal lawyer and you practice family law), receptionists can use your referral list to put them in touch with a company that can help them, effectively monetizing even your “bad leads.”
It is critical for businesses of all sizes to respond to all leads and clients as soon as possible, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises with tighter margins of error and where every call could be a revenue opportunity. However, small firms may not always be able to afford full-time receptionists. Maybe it’s a money issue, or maybe it’s a bandwidth issue, or maybe it’s both. As a result, they must investigate cost-effective alternatives in order to maintain their current rate of expansion.
Hiring the correct outsourced virtual receptionist service to provide 24/7 response is the simplest and almost certain silver bullet they’ll need to stop missing calls and start capturing all of the business that’s available to them if they’d just respond. It’s simply that simple. Also read All you need to know about Maurices Credit Cards.