With Customer Experience becoming increasingly critical to surviving in a competitive marketplace when a customer tries to contact your business you want to make sure you provide the best first impression.
The service providers below offer a range of services that in short, make sure your customers receive a professional experience when contacting your business. Many of the services provided are similar and go by a range of different names including phone answering, call answering, answering service message taking, virtual reception, virtual receptionist, virtual headquarters and more.
Regardless of the name, the provider can answer the phone using your business name e.g. "Welcome to CX Central this is Emily, how can I help you today?" and then depending on your requirements they can offer a range of services including:
- Take a message and forward it to your nominated contact typically via email
- Transfer the call to a nominated contact
- Capture the details required and enter it into a database
- Answer questions of varying complexity
How much does it cost?
Providers use a range of different commercial models and determining the right one for you can depend on the expected number of calls, what you need the provider to do on each call, the location of the person answering the phone, whether you need 24/7 or standard business hours and so on.
Location can play a big role in the pricing with offshore service providers in the Philippines, South Africa and even New Zealand offering lower rates than an on-shore (within Australia) solution. Ultimately which location is right for your business is something only you can decide - if you'd like to read more about the onshore versus offshore debate read our free article on Do Customers really care about the call centre location?
Talk to the providers listed below and be sure to provide them with as much information as possible to enable them to provide you with accurate quotations.
These days it's not just the phone you need to worry about with customers now looking to engage over a range of different channels including Social Media (e.g. Facebook, Messenger, Twitter etc), Emails and Live Chat.
The good news is just like answering phone calls and taking messages, many of the providers will also offer social media services to ensure customers receive a response no matter which channel they choose to engage with your business.
Are their minimum volumes?
Yes, but there are providers who specialise in different models. Large outsourcers aren't typically interested in taking on low call volumes however there are hundreds of suppliers who specialise in taking the odd random call through to having dedicated agents answering calls exclusively for your business.
To be profitable, typically the call centre agents are expected to answer calls for a variety of businesses with the technology used by the virtual reception providers advising the call centre agent how to answer the phone and what to do.
The challenge for the providers is always trying to balance the expected number of calls to keep the call centre agents busy - if a call centre agent is sitting at their desk not taking calls they aren't making money, but if too many calls come in it can lead to longer wait times which equals unhappy customers.
What should I need to know?
If you are thinking of engaging a service provider to answer your calls or take messages for your business, make sure you are clear on the following:
- Expected number of calls, social media or emails volumes
- How that traffic normally comes in (e.g. if you have a TV add you might get a big surge after the ad, there might be peak periods during the day or perhaps your calls are just spread out throughout the day/night)
- What you what the provider to do when they answer the call
- Any scripts or instructions you expect them to follow
- Any technology you would need them to integrate with
- The hours of support you want to be covered
Search the suppliers below: