In our 24/7 world, there’s no such thing as traditional business hours anymore. The rise of the smartphone means that we’re plugged in at all hours of the day and night. This has both positive and negative implications for business, of course. It’s easier than ever to connect with customers on their own terms, which means businesses never truly have to close for the day. But the drawbacks are significant, too – in order to meet customer demand, you’ve got to have a real, live human being ready to answer calls at all hours.
Lead capture is especially important in our new 24/7 economy. When callers are sent to voicemail, they often hang up and dial a competitor instead. The process of closing a sale is equal parts art and science, but if you ignore basic customer service expectations, success will be fleeting. If you’re eager to learn how an after hours answering service can transform the way your organization captures leads on weekends and evenings, allow us to show you the light.
What is an After-Hours Answering Service?
An after hours answering service helps ensure that your calls are always handled by a real person, even outside your working hours. A network of live receptionists burn the midnight oil to promptly and professionally answer calls as they come in. Since receptionists work from customized call scripts, their response style matches your organization’s preferred policies, procedures, and language. In many cases, callers have no idea they’re speaking with a third-party 24 hour call center.
An after hours answering service can serve as backup for your existing in-house administrative team or, if you prefer, replace your internal workflow for handling off-hour calls. Opt to turn on coverage for nights or weekends, or choose to have a 24 hour call center take all of your inbound calls. Either way, your callers will be treated to quick, professional service every time they dial in. It’s a great way to keep your business running while you sleep – agents can qualify leads, book appointments, provide technical support, place orders, and answer customer service questions. And since you don’t need to train new employees or deal with turnover issues, your business saves valuable time and money.
Prioritizing Response Times
New business leads live and die by response times. In highly competitive markets, customers can’t be expected to wait around for you to respond to their calls or emails. The mere sound of a voicemail machine can be enough to convince a caller that your organization has fallen behind the times. We live in a 24 hour world, and if you’re not delivering on expectations of prospective clients, you may find your business left in the dust.
There are few professional sins worse than not following up on business opportunity leads in a timely manner. Though it might seem like common sense, our very best phone sales tips begin and end with increased availability. When showing up is half the battle, you owe it to your clients to closely monitor response times and actively promote follow-up conversations amongst your team. Of course, all of this is easier said than done – which is why so many organizations opt to partner with an after hours call service.
Qualifying Leads Saves Time, Money
Not all leads are created equal. There are few things as frustrating as capturing what seems to be a viable lead, only to follow up and discover the deal is a non-starter. Lead capture is important, but only if you have trained staff working to actually qualify the leads that come your way. It’s a classic catch 22. In order to capture valuable leads, you’ve got to answer every call that comes in. In doing so, you tie up staff who must sift through unqualified leads to find the diamonds in the rough.
In an ideal world, lead qualification would happen automatically. In reality, though, callers often need their hands held by professionals. A 24 hour call center can help answer questions, address concerns, and provide additional insight into your organization – all without tying up your in-house staff. Rather than having to qualify leads, your team can focus on their own to-do lists. All your team has to do is show up in the morning and work the qualified leads that your after hours call handling service captured. Increased customer service and a decrease in wasted time are two of the major benefits of working with an after hours call service.
Affordable Administrative Support on Your Terms
Maintaining a consistent customer service presence over the phone can be a challenge when your staffing budget is limited. Quality receptionists need training, supplies, benefits, and time off – not to mention a full-time salary. Even still, the most effective receptionist in the world will still need sick leave and days off each week. It can be difficult for a single professional to capture new business leads when they’re coming in 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
By partnering with a 24 hour call center, you can turn coverage on and off on your terms. Customer service agents can work night and day to qualify leads, answer questions, and ensure there’s always a friendly voice at the end of the line. Their services can work in conjunction with the efforts of your in-house staff or handle all inbound calls independently of your team. Lead qualification has never been so easy, flexible, or affordable.
How Answering Services Capture Leads: A Case Study
Let’s say you’re a plumber who provides after-hours support for your clients. Late one evening, a prospective client dials your business, eager for help after discovering his toilet has overflowed and flooded his bathroom. A friendly voice on the end of the line collects the client’s information, records details about the potential job, and reassures him that a plumber will be in touch shortly. An agent shares these details of the phone lead with the plumber on call, who gets back to the client within a few minutes time.
The result is a qualified lead, a fixed toilet, and a thoroughly satisfied customer. With a 24 hour call center for plumbers at your disposal, you’ll not only capture valuable sales opportunities, you’ll also build brand loyalty and trust within your business. A professional image and speedy service can go a long way to building a reputation for quality. In this example, you’re making money and also boosting your name in the eyes of the local community. It’s a true win-win.
Assisting with Lead Capture: Case Study #2
It’s not just the emergency service industry that can benefit from the support of a 24 hour call center. Realtors also benefit from lead qualification services. Imagine, in this case, you’re an in-demand realtor who is constantly away from their desk. From lunch meetings with buyers to weekends spent at open houses, these professionals do much of their business from their cell phones. But staying present during in-person meetings with clients is incredibly important – it’s not always possible to pick up every time the phone rings.
That’s where an after hours call center for realtors can come into play. As homebuyers and sellers are browsing local inventory, they’re unlikely to wait for traditional business hours to call a realtor. They’re also unlikely to wait around for a returned call when they’re prompted to leave a voicemail. When an interested homebuyer dials the realtor in our scenario, they’ll be directed to an agent who can qualify new business leads.
Agents quickly leap into action to understand the needs of the callers. Are they calling in to schedule a showing? Are they someone looking to sell? What is the budget of a buyer? How many bedrooms and bathrooms do they need? By the time the realtor finishes up their meeting or ends their day, they’ll be greeted with a list of viable new leads to follow up with on their own terms. Since these services are available 24 hours a day, real estate professionals never miss out on opportunities to connect with new clients.
Lead Qualification for Every Industry
Plumbing and real estate are just two of the industries with which we can assist, but the sky is truly the limit. No matter your area of expertise, MAP Communications can create the kind of customer rapport necessary to build trust and long-term loyalty. Learning how to collect business leads often comes down to trusting the right partner with lead qualification.
If you’re eager to capture more quality leads for your business, consider signing up for a free trial of our live answering service. It’s a great way to see the impact that our 24 hour call center can have on your organization. With no obligation to continue using our services after the trial ends, there’s a lot to be gained from a week-long preview. Of course, you don’t have to take our word for it – our testimonials section is a great indication of how passionate our clients are about our services!
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