Your business phone system is so much more than just a way to make and receive phone calls. As one of a potential customer’s first touch-points with your company, it’s worth your time to learn about and customize its various features. The Virtual Receptionist, for example, can be used to enhance your company’s brand identity, build trust, and improve a customer’s overall experience and loyalty to your business. Here are our best tips for using the Virtual Receptionist to anticipate your clients’ needs and make the most of that unrepeatable first impression.
Create messaging that is unique to your company
NEWT’s Virtual Receptionist contains pre-recorded greetings for you to choose from. However, since the Virtual Receptionist could be your potential client’s first interaction with your company, we recommend customizing the greeting to reflect your company’s branding and values as much as possible.
- Give your caller a glimpse of what every interaction with your company will be like, whether that’s fun, professional, entertaining, or comforting.
- Record your own greeting, or use the text-to-speech option and have the system verbalize your greeting.
- The best greetings confirm that the caller has reached the right company or correct extension, gives them options to leave a message, dial an extension, or have an FAQ answered, and are short (10 – 30 seconds long).
Show the customer you value their time
Your caller knows exactly why they’ve called; whether it’s to get your hours of operation, speak with a specific person or department, or find out more about your products and services. There’s a delicate balance between offering your caller enough options to get the answers they need and frustrating them with too many options.
- Try to anticipate your callers’ needs: what are most of your callers looking for? The answer will help you customize how calls move through your system, and what options your Virtual Receptionist should provide.
- Offer the caller a quick route through your phone system right at the start. For example: “You’ve reached ABC Company. If you know the extension of the individual you’re trying to reach, you can dial it at any time, or reach our company directory by dialling 9. To leave a message in the general mailbox, press 3.” This type of message allows your caller to take action right from the start without sitting through a long preamble.
- Bundle information together as much as possible for frequently asked questions (for example: “For our address and hours of operation, press 1” rather than “For our address, Press 1. For hours of operation, press 2.”).
- Test your Virtual Receptionist call pathways for any dead-ends that force your caller to hang up and call back (or call your competitor instead!) and check that there aren’t any loops the caller can get stuck in; you don’t want a customer continually pressing buttons without ever reaching a final extension or a general mailbox.
Long-term client relationships and referrals for new business stem from trust, and the Virtual Receptionist is a good place to start building that trust.
- Update your welcome message frequently to reflect the season or current events (such as a “Happy New Year from everyone at ABC Company!” in January). Up-to-date messaging assures customers that your business is running and shows that you care about the details. This makes customers more confident that you’ll care about the details of their business.
- Try to anticipate the prevailing mood of your callers and build trust by catering to that mood right from the start. For example, if your business is a dental surgery, most callers are likely a bit nervous. How can your greeting make them feel comfortable and reduce their concern?
Have an After-Hours strategy
NEWT’s After-Hours option allows you to customize how calls will flow through your business during non-business hours. Be sure to create a customized greeting letting customers know that the office is closed, when the office will re-open, and what to do if their call is an emergency (if applicable to your business). Give them the ability to reach any on-call employees, or to leave a message and know when to expect a callback.
Use hold music strategically
Here’s another opportunity to stand out from the crowd and show your company’s personality. If you choose to play hold music, pick a playlist that reflects who your company is and influences how you want your customers to feel. Is your business a spa or retreat centre? Choose relaxing music that gives your caller a taste of what they’ll experience as a customer. If you’re a party planner, choose upbeat music that puts your customer in the party mood.
However, before you go blasting your favourite playlist down your phone’s airwaves, you’ll need a licence from the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) to play copyrighted music. Alternatively, you can use a professional on-hold music service that provides licensed music. The only way to play hold music without paying for it is to play the radio, classical music, copyright-free music, or record your own.
Or don’t play music at all…
A caller on hold is a captive audience; consider not filling up that space with random music or a radio station that could be advertising competing products. Instead:
- Create customized messaging for each department (ie. someone on hold for the Billing department could hear about alternate ways to pay; for Support, offer alternate ways to get support through email or SMS, etc.)
- Play timely messages about upcoming sales,
- Promote your services,
- Provide helpful tips on how to make the most of your products,
- Tell a joke of the day, or
- Provide information relevant to your industry.
To paraphrase Maya Angelou: at the end of the day, your customers won’t necessarily remember exactly what you said or did, but they will remember how you made them feel. Those feelings will determine whether they want to interact with your company again and whether they’ll recommend your business to others. Your phone’s Virtual Receptionist is the perfect opportunity to nurture the feelings you want your customer to associate with your business which will enhance their overall experience, so get to know all of your Receptionist’s options and use them wisely.
Build a Better Customer Experience with NEWT
If you want to learn more about NEWT’s feature-rich Business Phone System and how it will enhance your customers’ experience, contact us to get your customized Business Phone solution.