Imagine running a business that takes you around the globe. Sounds fun, right? Now imagine needing to take and make phone calls with spotty cell service, international roaming charges, and differing timezones from your customers.
Kind of takes the fun out of enjoying the beach, doesn't it?
That was the experience that Patty and Kathy from Patty's Tours of Reno, Nevada were facing as they traveled with large group tours to places like the Bahamas, Ireland and Africa. In the middle of the night or the middle of a congratulatory toast, they would receive a phone call from a customer wanting to book their next tour. Torn between providing an amazing experience for their customers on tour with them, and giving excellent service to customers from their next upcoming tour--something had to change.
Patty's Tours had heard about Tel-Com Answering Service from another growing business trying to juggle working for clients with answering the phone.
Patty laughs, "I have such a control issue that I have a really hard time not answering the phone."
Kathy chimes in, "She's nosy! She likes to hear from our guests and know exactly how their experience was!"
Many business owners can relate to this fear of handing over the voice of the business. Business owners want consistency and control in the connection between sales and customers.
Giving up this control has been one of the best business decisions for Patty's Tours. Now, calls don't get missed when they're out on the road.
How do you have your Answering Service set up?
Patty's Tours sets the phone to forward when they're on the road, or if they need some R & R for the evening.
The answering service sends a text message to both Patty and Kathy, which allows both business partners to stay up to date on any emergencies. This is helpful when a customer is running late to meet them at the bus! They can each assist in passing on messages to the driver and the rest of the group.
At the end of the day, Patty and Kathy sit down and review the calls that came in during the day, and divvy up return calls.
All messages also come through to their email, which is extremely helpful when traveling out of town with inconsistent cell service. Email acts as a back-up and a place to retrieve customer information.
What do you love most about using an Answering Service?
"The bill is so cheap! This is such an affordable way to expand a business' presence and ability to serve more customers," Patty comments.
Kathy adds, "I have worked for answering services before, and what I love about Tel-Com, specifically, is that I can talk to an operator and give them changes to the script. So--if we're going to be out of town for a long cruise, I can ask the operator to pass that information onto our customers. This helps with our customers' expectations."
Patty, with that wise glow in her eyes, offers in thanks, "There's a beautiful piece to making a business virtual. We're on a beach in beautiful 90 degree weather and have the ability to jump on the phone for an hour. Tel-Com helps make this lifestyle a reality."
Interested in testing out an Answering Service? Give us a call and mention our Featured Client: Patty's Tours!
As a business, Corazon Real Estate is always looking for the most cost-effective way to solve a business problem; for example, how to be ready and available, and sound good, no matter when a phone call is made. "We can’t always be open and still expect to earn a profit (yes, it’s a dirty word, but personal fulfillment doesn’t put the kids through college). As a property management company, we have to be ready to take care of people 24/7/365, because emergencies don’t care what time it is or what I’m doing when you call," remarks Tony Chinnici, Broker/President of Corazon Real Estate.
Most after-hours calls to a property management company have to do with a problem:
Having a professional, consistent answer for that phone call is imperative, helping to set the tone for the conversation with the caller, and it is HARD to find this in the answering service market today.
Tel-Com: What was the breaking point that made you choose Tel-Com?
Chinnici: We worked with another company for years before we worked with Tel-Com. Working with that company began as a good experience, but then over time we started to get more and more negative feedback – like not actually answering the phone! They were less expensive at first, but then their rates jumped and the quality of their work actually diminished. Shopping for a new service began, and I found in my search that Tel-Com has considerable experience, and systems in place, for working with property management companies with a per-company, customized format. The price may not be bargain-basement, but I don’t want bargain-basement service for our tenants and clients. I want a professional presence, and that’s what I have with Tel-Com.
How is your answering service set up?
Corazon Real Estate manually forwards their phones to Tel-Com at 5pm each day, and then manually unforwards their phones at 9:30am each day. Tel-Com operators aim to answer calls by the third ring. As successful real estate agents and property managers Corazon has a high call volume, and the phones really do ring 24/7/365!
"I have never had a complaint about the answering service we use, and in our business, sometimes it almost seems as though people are searching for things to complain about. I appreciate that I can focus on solving problems in our business without having to worry about how our calls are handled while the office is closed." Tony, Corazon Real Estate
Three years ago Mark, owner of Carpet Cops, returned a customer's call only to find that in just ten minutes the competition had already been contracted to handle the $20,000 water damage restoration project. Mark knew it was time for a change. The profit incentive of using an answering service was now painfully obvious.
In the carpet cleaning business it is important to answer the phone right away, but in the water damage business it is mandatory! Carpet Cops handles water damage restoration claims; when these customers call they're in the middle of an emergency and need an immediate solution.
"Using an answering service has added significant sales to my business. In this industry people go through the phone book and just keep calling until they reach someone," comments Mark who was once confident in his ability to return calls right away.
Every business is slightly unique in their reasons for using an answering service. Because carpet cleaning takes Mark and his staff on the road and to residential areas with poor reception, they don't always hear the phone ring or can't have a proper conversation with the customer over the static.
How is your Answering Service set up?
Carpet Cops uses multiple phone numbers to advertise to all the different regions they service; all of these calls are directed to one line. The phone rings four times before the line is directed to Tel-Com, giving Mark the chance to field customer calls personally.
The phone rings four times before the line is directed to Tel-Com, giving Mark the chance to personally field calls from known customers and area codes he recognizes.
If a caller sounds distressed or mentions water damage Tel-Com immediately puts out an APB for Mark: they text him and call his home number until he is reached. This allows the Carpet Cops staff to connect and schedule with customers in crisis.
The addition of Tel-Com has helped Mark manage his time more efficiently. He can easily sort through non-critical messages (sales calls and blind phone solicitations) and return those calls as his schedule allows, while giving him more time to call his actual VIP customers (and his family!) who are calling for service. The other benefit Mark has realized is that most "robo-dial sales calls" never leave a message with Tel-Com!
"I want to thank Tel-Com for helping me grow my business. I receive the critical calls that are so necessary to be responsive to my clients. I want to thank Corrie and the whole group for answering the phone and relaying an exact message which is so important for making my business grow." Mark, Carpet Cops
Tel-Com appreciates the opportunity to work with time-critical businesses like Carpet Cops. We are honored to be your support team! Please contact us for more information about taking advantage of Tel-Com's services.
Waking Girl Web Design, a Reno company, came to us twice. The first time, this one-woman show turned us down, wanting a service that would dive a little deeper into the every day operations of her business. She hired an assistant at $2000 a month, and handed off the business phone and some of the responsibilities of the business. The new found freedom from the phone felt great, but after a few months, was not a justified expense. The phone was not answered reliably, as the assistant was just one human--who got sick, had family issues, and couldn't possibly answer 3 clients all calling at the same time. The business owner took the phone back and reviewed Answering Service options again. The low rates of Tel-Com made for an easy decision, especially after footing the bill for 20 times more than her qualified package.
Waking Girl Web Design experienced an immediate and dramatic boost in sales and uninterrupted work time. Don't believe us? Take a look at our client's review:
Thank you, Tel-Com for faithfully answering my business phone for the last 3 months. With 200 incoming calls we gained 20 new clients, 17 new websites, handled more than 120 projects and gained over 2100 hours of uninterrupted design, sleep and family time. If it's possible to love an Answering Service, then... I do. --Waking Girl Web Design
We asked Waking Girl Web Design to tell us a little bit more about how our Answering Service has helped her.
Q. What has surprised you the most about using an Answering Service?
A. I knew that phone calls made me anxious, but I didn't realize why. I don't like being caught off guard. I'm a people-pleaser and I like to have answers and information for people on-demand. Now that I can call people on my terms and my time, I'm able to call back with confidence. Usually there's enough information left in the message for me to find the answer or just solve the problem before returning the message. I'm also able to respond to people by email, which saves me a lot of time.
Q. How has it affected your personal life?
A. I didn't realize how often my family and friends were calling during the work day. Since I work from home, it's easy to blur the lines of business/pleasure time. Now I get really polite text messages from my family asking if I'm available to chat. And the super cool thing about taking a break and chatting with my mom mid-day--our conversation is never interrupted by the beep beep beep of an incoming call! That's a relief! I can truly take breaks now and focus on the person I'm talking to.
Q. How have your clients responded to the change?
A. I'll admit, a few VIP clients were confused and offended at first. They really wanted to feel like they could get a hold of me whenever they wanted. I showed them the benefits--by fixing the problem within minutes of their phone call, and then calling them back and directing them to their website to see the changes. That resolved their view on the Answering Service real fast! New clients absolutely love it, and know from the get-go that my time is valuable and that most of our work will be completed through email.
Waking Girl also commented on her move to a new timezone. Because we are a 24/7 answering service, our clients are free to switch timezones without end-users even noticing!
All Tel-Com clients are invited to share their success stories.
Answering Service Successes
Tel-Com gets great pleasure out of boosting the bottom line for its clients. We applaud our clients and their successes. We thank them for allowing us to be part of their team!
Take a look: