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MAP Communications - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog

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Effective Tips for Improving Your Company’s Phone Greeting

The old adage is true: you never get a second chance at a first impression.

Even when someone is familiar enough with your organization to dial you up, that first conversation can have a lasting impact on how they perceive your business. It’s important to keep that first impression in mind when crafting the perfect company phone greetings. Professional phone greetings can start the conversation off on the right note while also prioritizing call efficiency.

If you’re not sure if your existing call greeting accomplishes all it should, you may want to revise your messaging. Learning how to greet customers on the phone is simple – once you’ve read a few tips:

Lead with Gratitude

Anyone who has ever had to navigate an automated voice directory will be familiar with this idea. Company phone greetings often begin with a simple “thank you for calling.” There’s good reason for that: by starting with a thank you, you instantly convey your appreciation for their patronage. While the line has become standard with time, it’s still a better opening message than something like “you’ve reached our business.”

It’s also a good idea to confirm with callers that they’ve indeed reached the company they intended to dial. “Thank you for calling” can quickly be expounded upon by adding the name of your business. The difference between “thank you for calling” and “thank you for calling MAP Communications,” for instance, has obvious benefits. A proper phone greeting should be about welcoming, thanking, and informing. This particular option offers all three.

Exchange Names

Putting a name to a voice can help humanize the person on the other end of the line. Some company phone greetings are pre-recorded, but when you partner with a service like MAP Communication, you’ll have real people answering each call in a personable, professional way. Since 86 percent of people say they prefer to speak with a human over a recording, the opportunity to have a live representative greeting each caller is simply too valuable to pass up.

Reps should always include their name as part of their call greeting, but it’s just as important to ask the name of the person calling. This small gesture can remind the caller that they’re speaking with a real person. Exchanging names can help build rapport, opening up the conversation for a true connection. Such a tiny detail might be easy to overlook or dismiss entirely, but asking for someone’s name is also a great way to transition to the core of the conversation. “Hi Sarah,” a receptionist might say after learning the name of the caller, “how can I help you today?”

Offer Instruction

Perhaps the most important step of any company phone greeting is the part when you offer callers information. Should you need them to take specific actions to complete their request, it’s best to bring it up at the beginning of the conversation. For instance, if you need their account number to access their membership details, ask them up front for those details. The last thing you want to do is waste the time of callers who don’t have their account numbers on hand.

Attention to detail comes in handy for this portion of the call greeting. Experienced agents may recognize the tell-tale signs that a person doesn’t know or have everything they’ll need to handle their question or concern. By communicating specific instructions and requirements to move forward, you’ll capture the caller’s attention early in the conversation. This saves everyone time in the long run.

Smile While Greeting

Phone calls are a customer experience unlike any other. You rely solely on your voice to set the tone. Even though callers can’t see your face when dialing in, they can hear the cheerfulness – or lack thereof – in your voice. While it may seem odd at first, smiling when answering the phone can convey an undeniable sense of friendliness. The last thing you want is to come off as cold or apathetic in your professional phone greeting, so as silly as it might sound, try smiling the next time you pick up your phone.

Minimize Distractions

You can do everything right in designing the perfect company phone greeting and still miss the mark if your callers can’t hear you. Poor sound quality and distracting background noise can be seriously detrimental to the customer experience. If you’re answering phones on a busy sales floor, are near noisy colleagues joking around in the background, or have children or pets creating chaos, callers may not feel like a priority. That’s why so many businesses are opting to outsource their calls to virtual receptionists at MAP Communications instead.

Designing the Ultimate Customer Experience

If you’re hoping to step up the way you communicate with callers, a partnership with MAP Communications could be the solution. We work diligently with clients to design company phone greetings that are effective as they are welcoming. Customized call scripts allow us to bring the same attention to detail to the entire conversation. Allow us to boost your professional reputation while enhancing the customer experience and providing the very best service possible. Get started with a free trial of our live answering service now!

Source: https://www.mapcommunications.com/blog/company-phone-greeting-tips/

Publish Date: September 17, 2020 5:00 AM


5 Must-Haves in Your Business Continuity Plan

“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” – Alexander Graham Bell

When things feel out of control, relying on a backup plan can bring serious relief and peace of mind. Creating a business continuity plan, or BCP, can help. It helps to think of your plans as a form of insurance – they can guide you out of uncertainty and back onto the path to success. During especially uncertain times, a business continuity plan checklist can feel even more useful.

What is a Business Continuity Plan?

Business continuity planning allows stakeholders to create systems of prevention and recovery from possible threats to the organization. Plans can protect assets, shield personnel, and ensure the survivability of the business during times of uncertainty. Typically conceived well in advance of any hardship, a business continuity plan helps to define risk and build a bridge back to stability. Risks can include natural disasters, cyberattacks, pandemics or anything that might threaten the health and viability of your organization.

An important part of any successful company, a business continuity plan can prevent severe drops in profitability. Since organizations can’t rely solely on insurance policies to cover the costs and loss of customer base that so often accompanies hard times, advanced planning is highly necessary. Here are a few must-haves to include in your organization’s business continuity plan:

Consideration of Potential Threats

Your organization’s response to a crisis may depend on the nature of the disaster itself. Should a tornado whip through town and destroy your IT infrastructure, for instance, your response will look quite different than if a power outage temporarily shuts down your phone lines. It can be hard to conceive of the inconceivable, but if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that business continuity plans for pandemics, natural disasters, and other crises are more valuable than ever. Plan for the worst and you’ll never be caught completely off guard.

It’s not enough to just acknowledge potential threats. A good business continuity plan will also include a detailed impact analysis of those threats. Predictions and forecasts can help you understand the long and short term effect a particular disaster might have on your organization. While it’s difficult to identify the unknowns in advance, merely exploring thought experiments can help provide insight into the possibilities.

Responsibility Designations

Should your worst case scenario arise, who will be responsible for carrying out your business continuity plan? Knowing who is doing what, when and why is a huge component of the plan. Establishing a clear chain of command can help, but without written documentation of assigned duties, power struggles and finger pointing may emerge between department heads. Since some types of disasters may result in the sidelining of key employees, it’s also important to create backup plans for your backup plans. Assign duties now and train your entire team on how to respond should the need arise.

Many organizations opt to create sub-teams to put their business continuity plans into effect. The command team level can include both a crisis management committee and a recovery management team. A group to manage the implementation of these plans is also highly necessary. For task-oriented teams, consider your goals. Some organizations use their resources to deploy public relations teams, but if that’s not a priority, a mechanical team, IT team, or transport team may be more relevant.

Emergency Contact Information and Data Backups

You know how to reach your team when you need them, but in case of an emergency, do you know which family members they’d prefer you to contact? Your human resources department may handle these details upon hiring new employees, but if there’s only one copy of these details, you could have a serious headache on your hands. One of the most important business continuity planning steps is to make backups of such information and share it across applicable departments.

While you’re gathering employee emergency information, it may help to store the details off-site with other important business data. In some cases, your physical hard drives might be unrecoverable after a disaster. Having a remote site for your data is crucial, which is why so many business continuity planning templates include this step in their recommendations.

Plans to Maintain Operations

This section should be amongst the most detailed portions of your plans. Create detailed plans for each department so each employee will know what is expected of them in an emergency. Should your daily operations remain viable during a pandemic or natural disaster, you’ll want to outline your policies and procedures for both employees and customers. Your plans may evolve or change as things stabilize, so factor phases and stages into your plans as well.

Since your business continuity plan for continued operations should be the most robust section of your plan, it is worth doing some trial runs to see what needs improvements. Come up with some disaster scenarios and test your plan against them. Note where the cracks are so you can circle back and patch them up. This will make sure you are ready when disaster truly strikes.

Your Partner During Uncertain Times

The road to recovery may not always be clear, but with a business continuity plan in place, your team will be one step closer to normalcy. The right resources make all the difference during especially uncertain times. MAP Communications offers business continuity call center services for all types of emergency circumstances to ensure your communications stay intact. While we may not be able to predict the future, we can help you set your organization up for stability in the event business as usual is not an option.

Source: https://www.mapcommunications.com/blog/business-continuity-plan-must-haves/

Publish Date: August 20, 2020 5:00 AM


Why Real Estate Agents Shouldn’t Answer Their Own Phone

Real estate agents are among the busiest professionals on the planet. From updating listings and compiling contracts to organizing open houses and beyond, there’s never a dull moment in the life of a realtor. Because they stay so busy, real estate agents are often tricky to get a hold of – especially by telephone. Agents don’t always have the time or privacy to pick up when their phone rings. Being constantly available can also send the wrong message to callers. After all, a real estate agent who answers every phone call may be perceived as unsuccessful. At the same time, though, missing a call can mean missing out on valuable opportunities. That’s why so many professionals opt to work with a real estate answering service.

Here are just a few of the most common reasons why real estate agents shouldn’t answer their own phones:

You’re Away from Your Desk

Busy real estate agents are rarely at their desks. When you’re out and about at showings and meetings with buyers and sellers, you can’t always pick up the phone when it rings. Even if you have a spare moment to chat, you may not have the tools required to handle new leads properly. It’s difficult to enter data about a new property coming onto the market when you’re behind the wheel driving to a lunch meeting.

Some professionals opt to work with a real estate client relationship manager to handle calls while they are in the field. Others turn to a real estate answering service. Both options leave realtors free to pursue new leads while they are out and about while projecting a professional image to callers. It’s the best of both worlds!

You’re Expected to be Busy

A successful real estate agent is a busy one. Clients expect their realtors to stay busy. Therein lies a paradox: picking up the phone every time might be great customer service, but it sends a clear message to callers that you’re not as busy as other realtors might be. By answering yourself, you may even come across as a rookie without many clients to assist. On the other hand, when an answering service for real estate agents picks up on your behalf, you give off the impression that you’re both busy and successful enough to employ a full-time administrative team.

Work/Life Balance is Crucial

After a long day of showings, closings, and client meetings, it’s nice to head home to dinner with the family or happy hour with friends. Unfortunately, though, traditional business hours don’t often apply to the real estate industry. When buyers are in a bidding war over their dream home, for instance, they want a realtor who is willing to discuss negotiation tactics on their terms. While shutting off your phone might solve the problem in the short term, it can have far-reaching consequences for your professional reputation.

Protect your sacred time off the clock with the help of a 24 hour answering service for real estate professionals. With a highly-trained call center team ready to chat with callers, you’ll gain a greater work/life balance without neglecting your clients. Such a service can help qualify leads, set appointments, and even forward on especially urgent calls to your personal cell phone as requested.

You’re with Other Clients

At any given moment, you might be handling an open house, coordinating a staging, or discussing a home’s prospects with a new seller. A constantly ringing telephone might indicate a successful business, but when you’re busy with other tasks, it’s just annoying. Since so much of the business you conduct is private in nature, it’s often not even feasible to answer your phone and have a conversation in front of others. It infringes on privacy and sends a potentially damaging message to those with whom you do business.

On the other hand, missing calls is never a good idea. One of the main benefits of a real estate answering service is having support during your busiest moments. With a virtual receptionist covering your phone line and working from a customized call script, your callers will feel like they are a priority even when they can’t reach you directly.

You Want to Exude Professionalism

It’s important to be present when you’re showing clients their potential dream home. While you certainly could allow buyers to tour the property themselves while you play phone tag with other clients, it reflects poorly on you as a professional. By staying in the moment and focusing on the clients at hand, however, you potentially lose out on new leads and opportunities via phone.

With a real estate answering service, you don’t have to pick and choose when to answer your phone. Instead, every time your phone rings, it will be answered promptly and professionally by an experienced receptionist. Whether you’re a one-man operation or one of many on staff, you’ll instantly project an image of success when a virtual receptionist handles your calls.

Navigating the real estate world can be both exhilarating and exhausting. Success often lies in finding the resources, tools, and allies to help lighten the load. With the help of a real estate answering service, you’ll eliminate the constant buzzing or ringing of your cell phone, giving you serious freedom to pursue new leads and stay in the moment with clients. What could be better? A free trial, that’s what. See us in action for 7 days for free! Contact us to learn more or get started.

Source: https://www.mapcommunications.com/blog/real-estate-agents-shouldnt-answer-own-phone/

Publish Date: August 6, 2020 5:00 AM


5 Times Dunder Mifflin Could Have Used an Answering Service

When you watch an episode of The Office, you’re not typically settling in for a lesson on customer service. In fact, The Office could often be used as a primer on how not to treat your clients. While Dunder Mifflin holds a place in many of our hearts, the company is hardly a model for excellence. This week, we’re reflecting on all the wacky antics of Michael Scott (played by Steve Carell) and his colleagues – and how they could have benefitted from an answering service. While you might not walk away from the show with many business tips, there’s certainly value in looking at the show through a new lens!

Pam and Jim Tie the Knot

Pam Beasly, played by Jenna Fischer, and John Krasinski’s character, Jim, find some time in between pranks on Dwight, (played by Rainn Wilson), to get married. All of the employees from the Scranton, PA branch join them at Niagara Falls to dance down the aisle and create one of the show’s most memorable episodes. But with nobody left in the office, who is answering the phone?

Michael was too wrapped up in his plans to become over-involved in the ceremony to consider all the missed phone calls that would get sent to voicemail over the course of the few days nobody was around. An ideal solution would have been to use a phone answering service to ensure all those calls were handled promptly and professionally. It wasn’t a total loss though. Michael did capitalize on one opportunity: Pam’s mother.

The Team Meets in the Conference Room…Again

Team meetings in the Dunder Mifflin conference room always devolve in wacky ways. From CPR training to holiday parties, the staff is constantly pulled away from their desks to get wrapped up in new antics. While it makes for great television, it begs the question: who is covering the phone while the team goofs off? Productivity clearly isn’t a priority for this staff.

If the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company had a partnership with a phone answering service, these lengthy meetings might not impact business much. We occasionally see Pam or Erin, played by Ellie Kemper, pulled away to answer the phone during a meeting. With an answering service on the job, the administrative staff could fully commit to all the “team-building” activities, finding out what’s on the menu in prison, or learning CPR. Given how much time the employees seem to spend in the conference room, there’s no telling how many important sales opportunities they missed out on!

Sabre Buys Out Dunder Mifflin

In season six, we see Dunder Mifflin bought out by a new company, Sabre. The new founder comes to Scranton to spend some time with the staff and establish new policies. Michael is eager to impress his new boss and asks his team to stay late. They burn the midnight oil, until Michael realizes how unfair it is to ask his employees to work so many long hours. While not always the most sensitive employer, Michael sends everyone home for much-needed rest and relaxation.

While we applaud Michael’s commitment to a healthy work/life balance, the episode begs the question: who is answering Dunder Mifflin’s phones after hours? Once the staff goes home for the day, the company could seriously benefit from an after hours answering service to take their place. Even if the majority of their business occurs during the daytime, Dunder Mifflin and Sabre could stand to improve their customer service offerings.

Dunder Mifflin Announces a Product Recall

Product recalls can be dangerous. In the world of The Office, though, a product recall is simply embarrassing. In season three, Dunder Mifflin deals with the fallout of an offensive watermark that accidentally made its way into several reams of paper. The customer backlash is serious, and the entire team comes together to answer angry customer phone calls.

The Office watermark episode is emblematic of a lot of Dunder Mifflin’s customer service issues. Rather than leave the support up to dedicated experts, the accountants tasked with the job fumble their response. A phone answering service might have helped mitigate some of the backlash and put the product recall to bed more quickly.

Toby

We were going to say that Toby in HR (played by Paul Lieberstein) could have benefited from our hotline tools. And indeed, tools like an ethics hotline or employee call out solution would have helped him immensely. However, it’s Toby, and he’s just the worst.

Instead, how about the time The Office ran to “cure” rabies? The business phones went unattended as employees all joined Michael Scott’s Dunder Mifflin Scranton Meredith Palmer Memorial Celebrity Rabies Awareness Pro-Am Fun Run Race For The Cure. It’s not like this was a quick 30 minute event either. The phones went unanswered for quite some time as it took most participants a good portion of the day to participate. Well, all except for one. Toby actually won the race. Toby!!!

These examples are hardly the only cases in which Dunder Mifflin might have benefitted from an answering service. While it’s important to remember the show’s comedic intentions, there’s no denying that Michael Scott and his team have serious room for improvement. If you see your own organization reflected in these examples, it might be time for you to harness the power of a phone answering service for your office! Contact us today and let us know how we can assist you. Tell us your favorite episode of The Office and we’ll give you a week of free service!

Source: https://www.mapcommunications.com/blog/times-dunder-mifflin-could-have-used-answering-services/

Publish Date: July 30, 2020 5:00 AM


Top Reasons To Have a Spanish-Speaking Receptionist for Your Business

The importance of meeting customers where they are cannot be understated. In fact, the idea is one of the cornerstones of quality customer service. The customer service world has transitioned to a 24/7, always online model for this precise reason. While hardly revolutionary, the concept is critical to businesses of all sizes and industries. The fewer barriers between you and your customers, the better.

While providing customer service around the clock and across channels is indeed important, many businesses overlook a crucial component of meeting customers where they are. By failing to effectively communicate with Spanish-speaking clients, businesses miss out on an entire demographic of prospective customers. Hiring a bilingual receptionist isn’t just a good idea – it’s essential. Here are just a few reasons to have a Spanish-speaking receptionist represent your business:

Extend Your Reach

More than 52 million Hispanic people live and work in the U.S. While some speak English, many rely on the Spanish language to communicate. Offering customer service in Spanish can extend your reach in surprising, rewarding ways. A bilingual receptionist allows you to communicate with both local and international callers. Simply having them available to your callers can mean increasing potential earnings and revenues.

You don’t necessarily even have to employ such a person in-house. A bilingual virtual receptionist can perform many of the same tasks a traditional receptionist would perform, but at a fraction of the cost and with a whole lot less effort put into hiring and training. Such services can be tailored for your precise goals, too, giving you maximum customization possibilities.

Avoid Communication Frustration

Customer service workers are experts in deescalating tense situations. When someone dials in frustrated, angry, or upset, receptionists must get to work identifying the issue and solving the problem. Unfortunately, language barriers are some of the more difficult issues to overcome. If your callers only speak Spanish and your receptionist only speaks English, both parties will walk away from the conversation unsatisfied. A bilingual receptionist changes that dynamic.

Of the many benefits of a Spanish-speaking virtual receptionist, this is perhaps one of the most valuable. Your customers must be able to clearly and effectively communicate with you about their issues, but that’s just the beginning. With language barriers broken down, you can also solicit important feedback necessary to the well-being of your organization.

Set Yourself Apart from Competitors

A bilingual Spanish receptionist can do wonders in setting your business apart from the competition. If your organization features Spanish-speaking receptionists and other businesses do not, you’ll be able to easily scoop up customers. While more and more businesses are choosing to employ bilingual receptionists, you can be among the first group of leading the change. That kind of unique selling proposition is hard to argue.

You’ve worked hard to elevate your customer service offerings across every metric. Without a Spanish-speaking receptionist on hand, though, none of your efforts will matter to the Spanish-speaking segment of your customer base. By offering bilingual services, you ensure every caller has the chance to do business with your organization.

Fewer Missed Appointments

A lot of important details can get lost in translation. When your customers and administrative team can’t clearly communicate with one another, mistakes are bound to occur. Information gets confused or lost, leading to missed appointments and missed opportunities.

When a bilingual receptionist is on standby, you can ensure clear, consistent communication with callers. By working to discover a Spanish-speaking caller’s intent, the receptionist can get everyone on the same page. Appointment dates and times become instantly clearer when both parties speak the same language.

Happier Customers, Better Reviews

Unhappy callers will be quick to leave negative reviews about your business online. Given how damaging such reviews can be to your business, it’s important to do everything in your power to prevent them. With a Spanish virtual receptionist covering your phones, you send a clear message that you care about callers of all backgrounds and ethnicities. Take care of your Spanish-speaking clients and you’re sure to see an uptick in the number of positive reviews about your business.

Easing communications in your customers’ native language is a great way to build lifelong, raving fans. One positive interaction can do wonders to earn loyalty and motivate them to evangelize about your offerings. This kind of opportunity cannot be undersold – it’s the type of customer service interaction that takes businesses to the next level.

Try Our Bilingual Receptionist Service Now

You might expect bilingual receptionist services to run a pretty penny. But the truth is that a call center with Spanish speaking agents typically offers affordable rates for businesses of all varieties and sizes. We even offer a free, week-long trial of our service for new customers. For seven days, you’ll be treated to all the benefits that come with having a bilingual receptionist answering your phone. If you’re not impressed after the trial ends, there is no obligation or requirement to keep using our service. With so much on the line, why not give MAP a try?

Source: https://www.mapcommunications.com/blog/spanish-speaking-receptionist-for-business/

Publish Date: July 23, 2020 5:00 AM


How Adding an After-Hours Call Service Can Increase Business Opportunities

Keeping a business profitable takes a lot of hard work. When customer service is a top priority, it’s often difficult to balance all of the other duties that come with your daily operations. You might not have enough staff or the right tools to meet demands, leaving a gap between the type of service you’d like to offer but haven’t yet achieved. If your customers rely on your services both night and day, this gap can be especially difficult to close. An after hours call service may be the secret weapon you’ve been looking for – here are just a few of the ways you can increase opportunities while serving up the same great customer experience for which you’ve become known:

Live Support, 24/7

Many businesses today lead with technology. They boast about their state-of-the-art tools, advanced algorithms, and online capabilities. While these things are indeed admirable, they neglect a crucial part of the customer experience: the comfort of a real, live person on the end of the line whenever they call. When a customer dials a company for support, they want to talk to an actual human being, not an automated voice.

There’s nothing more annoying than getting caught up in a web of automated messaging. While you might not have the staff available to handle every incoming call, after hours call center services can bolster your efforts in powerful ways. Whether you want coverage after traditional business hours or during periods of especially high call volume, a 24/7 call center service is the secret to meeting your customers where they are. And when customers feel like they can rely on you to give them attention they need, they’ll keep coming back to do business with you time and time again.

Boost Your Reputation

You’ve worked tirelessly to build your name and reputation around your community and industry. Whether through dedicated marketing efforts or through word of mouth, your reputation is built gradually. It can take years to carve out a name for your organization. Given how much work goes into crafting your public persona, you’ll want to protect it at all costs. With an after hours answering service on your side, you’ll continue communicating your brand and reputation long after your team has left the office for the day.

An after hours call service sends a clear message to callers: you care about your customers and want to serve them at their convenience. Strengthen your professional reputation by crafting a custom call script for call service representatives to follow. Chances are good, your callers will have no idea they’re speaking to someone outside of your organization. Position your business as one that serves customers both day and night – you’re sure to see your reputation soar.

Give Your Team a Break

Much has been made about the importance of a healthy work/life balance of late. As our society learns more about the importance of self-care, workers are increasingly on the hunt for flexible employers who respect their boundaries. While late nights in the office aren’t likely to disappear altogether, they’re happening less frequently these days. In turn, employees return to work feeling rejuvenated and refreshed.

With a 24-hour call center managing your after hours calls, this kind of work/life balance is achievable. You’ll never again have to feel guilty about turning off your phone after heading home for the evening. A business call answering service provides seamless support for callers no matter what time of day they prefer to dial. Using such a service during business hours can also help give your employees a boost. Without the phone constantly interrupting their duties, workers will stay focused for longer and produce more. Use an after hours phone answering service to support your existing administrative team or, if you can’t afford a full-time receptionist, to take the load off the shared duty of answering the office phones.

Get the Most Qualified Leads

New leads are essential for growing a company. When you’re hoping to increase business opportunities, leads become more important than ever. Qualifying these opportunities helps to wade through the clients who aren’t serious about moving forward or just have a couple basic questions. Lead qualification is one of the very best benefits of call center services. Imagine how much more you could accomplish with a team of representatives cutting through the static and delivering only the very best opportunities to your desk each day.

By taking a customized approach to lead qualifications, an after hours call answering service can quickly identify the most valuable projects and opportunities. Highly-trained employees work within the specific set of constraints you dictate about your preferences for lead qualification. It’s the most efficient way to sift through non-starters while nurturing qualified leads at the same time. Plus, an after hours answering service is likely to help you capture more great leads than ever before thanks to your expanded call coverage.

Try MAP’s After Hours Call Service Now

It’s easy to see how our after hours call service can benefit your business. If you’re curious about seeing it all in action, consider our free seven-day trial. For one week, you’ll be treated to all the perks of a partnership with MAP. We know you’ll love how easy our service is to set up, and since there’s no obligation to continue use beyond the first week, you have nothing to lose by giving MAP a try.

Source: https://www.mapcommunications.com/blog/how-after-hours-call-services-increase-business-opportunities/

Publish Date: July 16, 2020 5:00 AM


5 Must-Have Phone Tips for Medical Receptionists

You never get a second chance at a first impression.

While it might seem obvious, many medical practices don’t realize the power their receptionists have on their patients. From scheduling appointments to answering frequently asked questions, a medical receptionist often holds the fate of their employer in their hands. While the work might seem tedious at times, it’s important to hone those medical receptionist skills as quickly as possible. Fail to deliver on patient expectations and they might simply hang up and dial your competition. Here are five things a medical receptionist should know about handling patient phone calls:

Make Phone Etiquette a Priority

When it comes to our health, we expect our doctors and nurses to follow the highest standards possible. When a medical receptionist greets us politely and addresses each concern with patience, it’s easy to bank on the in-house medical team holding themselves to similar standards. Conversely, when a receptionist is rude or impatient, we’re less likely to want to come in for an appointment.

Answering the phone should be like greeting a patient who walks into the office. By addressing them kindly, answering questions with empathy, and following traditional phone etiquette, medical receptionists can ensure patients feel comfortable about their appointment. It’s an easy way to project an image of confidence, authority, and professionalism.

Protect Patient Privacy

Verifying patient information comes standard for receptionists in the healthcare industry. It’s one of the main tasks required for the job. Unfortunately, not every medical receptionist takes this duty seriously. Carelessness can lead to mistakes and, in some cases, HIPAA violations.

Take time to verify insurance information, birthdates, and patient contact information with an eye towards privacy. Ensure records are updated regularly, be careful what you share over the phone, and never send sensitive information via unsecured text message. Online healthcare communication portals are growing in popularity, but they’re the only recommended way to share private medical details virtually.

Minimize Wait Times

A large number of callers will be dialing in to speak directly with their doctor. Given the hectic schedules of most physicians, this isn’t always immediately possible. Many practices opt to put callers on hold until the doctor can come to the phone. Anyone looking for tips on how to be a better medical receptionist should keep this one in mind: a waiting caller is an unhappy caller. And the longer they wait, the more unhappy they become.

The next time a caller asks to speak with a doctor, tell them that they’re unavailable if they can’t take the call immediately. Then ask for the patient’s phone number, name, and reason for calling. This allows staff to pull their chart and arrange for a time for the appropriate person to call back. Not only does this minimize wait time for the caller, but it also frees up your phone line for other patients to call in. It also cuts down on the number of interruptions to the doctors and nurses on staff.

Channel Calls Strategically

A medical receptionist must be a jack of all trades, with a little bit of knowledge about a lot of different topics. From healthcare privacy laws to employee phone call preferences, it’s a lot to keep in mind. One way to manage all these disparate pieces of information is to route calls in a strategic way. When picking up the phone, a medical receptionist should be prepared to forward each caller to the most appropriate department. This helps callers get answers to their questions more quickly and minimizes the amount of caller-specific information the receptionist must hold in their head at once.

Consider all the various reasons a person might call into your office. From appointment scheduling to medication management, the options are incredibly varied. A medical receptionist is the first line of defense for a busy practice. By re-directing callers to the most appropriate department or person, questions and concerns are addressed as efficiently as possible.

Increase Your Availability

Most medical facilities follow traditional business hours. Patients frequently take time off of work to come in for appointments, but some struggle to even find the time to schedule them in the first place. Medical receptionist tips can only be helpful if there is a voice at the end of the line when a patient calls. Voicemail and busy signals will only turn away eager patients.

If you’re hoping to up your organization’s customer service game, consider increasing the hours that your medical receptionist is available. Patients should know that your team is available even when your office is closed for the night. By leaving a metaphorical light on for your callers, you’ll quickly become known for your reliability. Of course, staffing a 24/7 phone line can be pricey, especially if you’re paying a full-time medical receptionist to cover the phones. Thankfully, there are other options for busy medical offices.

Improve Telephone Management with MAP Communications

MAP Communications virtual medical receptionists can provide comprehensive, HIPAA-compliant service 24 hours a day. Affordable and professional, our team can seamlessly support the work of your current staff. Roll calls over to our team during busy times so no patients are kept waiting and flip those phones to us when your office closes for 24/7 coverage. Give us a call or send us a message today to find out more!

Source: https://www.mapcommunications.com/blog/medical-receptionist-phone-tips/

Publish Date: July 2, 2020 5:00 AM


5 Ways to Utilize Virtual Receptionists for a Remote Workforce

Remote work has become increasingly trendy throughout the years. Technology may have paved the way, but remote work has become even more essential in recent days. With the spread of COVID-19 jeopardizing the health and safety of workers across industries, more and more companies are joining the remote work bandwagon. Some are doing so out of necessity with plans to return to offices as soon as it’s safe to do so. Other businesses are finding that the work from home model is actually going to be better for their company in the long term.

Whether your organization is working remotely as a temporary measure or as a more permanent transition, a virtual receptionist is the perfect addition to remote teams. Regardless of if you’re new to the work from home lifestyle or have been successfully managing a remote job for years, virtual receptionist services can dramatically improve the experience.

Interested in collaborating with a live virtual receptionist but aren’t quite sold on the arrangement? Here are five ways to leverage virtual receptionist services for your remote workforce:

Fortify the Customer Experience

You’ve likely always been committed to customer service. With an after hours virtual receptionist at your disposal, you can extend your passion for the customer experience beyond traditional business hours. Your customers might be accustomed to waiting for your business to open or leaving a voicemail after hours. A virtual receptionist can be available to answer any incoming phone calls 24/7/365. They’ll answer questions, provide information, assist callers, take messages, and even forward the call if it fits your criteria of an emergency. Overall, virtual receptionists are a quick, simple way to increase the level of professionalism of your caller experience.

Another way virtual receptionists boost the customer experience? Call tracking statistics and useful data to help you make informed business decisions. After all, it’s hard to adequately monitor call performance from your employee’s personal cell phone!

Increase the Productivity of Your Team

Working from home can be just as productive as working from the office (and sometimes even moreso!). This is especially true if you have a virtual receptionist on hand. While many employers feel initially nervous about transitioning to remote work, the growing pains will resolve themselves quickly. One of the main benefits of a virtual receptionist is having them around to ease such transitions. With a professional receptionist at your disposal, many administrative tasks can be shifted to their virtual desk. This leaves more time for your team to accomplish the most pressing items on their to-do lists.

A virtual receptionist can field incoming calls for each of your employees, answering questions, taking messages and redirecting conversations as needed. They can also screen callers that your team doesn’t need to speak with immediately. This gatekeeper function minimizes distractions and interruptions for your team. With all of these tasks handled, your team will wonder how they ever worked without a live virtual receptionist in the first place.

Save Time with Call Forwarding

When a caller has a concern, connecting with the right person in the right department is key. There’s nothing that will aggravate an already frustrated caller more than being passed around from department to department for a solution. The struggle becomes even more difficult when your colleagues are working remotely. Thankfully, a virtual office with a live receptionist can eliminate this common challenge.

A virtual receptionist can serve as your first line of defense against inbound calls. Working from a customized call script, they’ll collect key information from the caller and identify the correct person or department for the solution. With just a few clicks, the call can be transferred to the appropriate employee for a quick resolution. There’s no need to give your customers the runaround with a virtual receptionist at the ready.

Help Clients and Customers Schedule Appointments

It can be a big enough challenge coordinating the schedules of your team to find time for Zoom meetings and conference calls. Now add in the appointments that your customers want to schedule with you and it gets complicated very quickly. Another huge benefit of using a virtual receptionist when it comes to managing a remote team is appointment scheduling.

A virtual office receptionist can handle all appointment scheduling duties when callers dial in with a request to meet. They can serve as a scheduling concierge, organizing appointment times that fits with each team member’s time zone and work schedule. In turn, you’ll save countless hours checking in with individual employees about their availability to meet virtually, all while keeping customers happy.

Grow Your Business

A virtual receptionist can ensure your team doesn’t miss a beat as they transition to work from home. In fact, you may even see your efforts to expand your offerings and grow your business rewarded once you bring a virtual receptionist on board. By having a receptionist on hand to take calls 24/7, you’ll never again miss an inbound call. This means more opportunities to do business with new customers, and an increased sense of availability and accessibility for all callers.

Enhanced accountability is another great way virtual receptionists can help grow your business. Everything your virtual receptionist does for you is logged to your secure account. You can use any web-enabled device to login and see your messages, escalate issues, assign responsibility, see call history, and much more. With these tools at your disposal, nothing slips through the cracks. This keeps everyone on the same page, no matter how far apart they might be located.

The way we work is changing rapidly. As more and more businesses transition into remote work, a virtual receptionist becomes even more mission-critical. Many of our clients question how they ever worked without the help of such professionals! Curious about how your organization might benefit from a live virtual receptionist? Contact us today for more information.

Source: https://www.mapcommunications.com/blog/ways-virtual-receptionist-benefits-remote-workforce/

Publish Date: June 25, 2020 5:00 AM


Why Right Now is the Perfect Time to Use a Virtual Receptionist

Great customer service, professionalism, and productivity never goes out of style. During times of uncertainty, though, these things become even more important than usual. With the spread of COVID-19 upending virtually every facet of modern life, your customers and staff will be eager to maintain any kind of normalcy possible. Unfortunately, though, social distancing measures can make it challenging for businesses to offer the same high quality service they’re used to providing.

Thankfully, business owners have a number of resources on their side. Online meeting software has helped bridge the communication gap between employees. Retailers are turning to online orders and delivery for customers eager for their products. Even restaurants have developed new strategies to help overcome the barriers COVID-19 has put into place. Businesses have had to get creative in the hopes of riding out this wave of uncertainty. 

No matter your plans for the long haul, it is imperative that you remain available to your customers and productive with your day. Here are several big reasons why right now is the ideal time to use a virtual receptionist:

Professionalism Amidst Chaos

With so much uncertainty and patchwork business practices abound, now is the time to portray a steady, professional voice for your customers. This is one of the areas where remote receptionists thrive. No matter what may be happening behind the scenes for your company, a virtual secretary handling phone calls reassures people that your organization can still be relied upon.

Trust is so important these days. When people call your business and are greeted by a calm, helpful, professional receptionist they know they can rely on you. Alternatively, you could go on answering phone calls without a virtual receptionist and let customers think whatever they want when their call is answered by an unprepared, frantic individual who just got pulled away from their work while dogs are barking and children are screaming in the background.

24-Hour Availability

Traditional nine-to-five business hours were already disappearing before COVID-19 began to spread, but now, they’re practically non-existent. We’re increasingly reliant upon services and companies based all around the world, so tying availability to certain hours is quickly becoming passé. A team of virtual receptionists can work around the clock to ensure your callers are never left frustrated by an automated menu or voicemail. 

This kind of 24-hour support can be incredibly comforting during times of uncertainty. Customers will inevitably dial your company for insight into service availability, product offerings, and payment questions. A virtual receptionist can be there with the answers they demand, night or day. In a world where so much up in the air, that reliability counts for a lot. Be sure that people will remember which businesses prioritized their customers during this time.

Appointment Scheduling and Calendar Management

With so many business forced to close or alter the way they interact with customers, people are unsure of what to expect from your company. Are you open? Have your hours changed? Can I still book an appointment? Will it be a virtual encounter or will we be meeting? The fastest way for people to get answers to these questions is to dial the business directly.

If you’re still offering appointments for any type of service, a virtual receptionist can help schedule them and manage your calendar so that all you have to do is focus on taking care of your clients when it’s their turn. Working from customized call scripts designed with your policies and procedures in mind and integrating with your calendar, these remote secretaries provide the most up-to-date info to callers and get them scheduled to utilize the important services you provide.

Coverage for the Short-Staffed

Maybe you already have a stellar customer service department in place or a phenomenal receptionist on your team. Given just how contagious COVID-19 appears to be, chances are good you may have some employees call in sick. A virtual receptionist can ensure your team doesn’t miss a beat, even when you’re short-staffed. No matter your industry or company size, virtual receptionists fill in the gaps seamlessly.

In many cases, your callers will have no idea they’re speaking with a third-party receptionist. Because virtual receptionists are trained to emulate your brand’s voice and policies, callers simply assume they’re chatting with your employee – and in a sense, they are. Virtual receptionists step up to become part of your team when you could use a boost. This is especially helpful when you’re experiencing unpredictable call volume, like so many businesses currently are.

Save Cash – and Time

Working from home can be a challenge, especially if you’re thrown into the arrangement unexpectedly. It can be hard to match your previous rates of productivity when everyone is still adjusting to working remotely. A virtual receptionist can help keep your employees on task by eliminating many of the interruptions that so frequently break their concentration.

That time savings adds up fast. What’s more, virtual receptionists are incredibly affordable to hire. They work at a fraction of the hourly rate of a full-time, in-house receptionist, and their services can be turned on and off as needed. This flexibility makes working with a virtual receptionist a true no brainer.

Partner with MAP Communications Now

No matter how COVID-19 continues to impact the world, MAP Communications will continue to offer affordable, flexible virtual receptionists and live answering services for our clients. In moments of crisis, there are opportunities to reinvent and restructure, to inspire and delight. Doing so is easier with a virtual receptionist at the ready. 

If you’d like to know more about how MAP virtual receptionist services are an ideal solution during this unprecedented time, give us a call today. Or fill out this brief form to receive additional information. Either way, we look forward to hearing from you!

Source: https://www.mapcommunications.com/blog/why-right-now-perfect-time-use-virtual-receptionist/

Publish Date: April 9, 2020 5:00 AM


How Answering Services Help Real Estate Agents Close More Deals

Busy real estate agents know that time is money. Successful professionals are constantly searching for ways to balance showings, closing sales, paperwork and networking. If there were a way to squeeze more than 24 hours into a day, real estate agents would be the first to know! While we can’t promise more hours in a day, we can help shed light on how answering services help real estate agents work as efficiently as possible with the time they have. By outsourcing phone calls to a team of highly-trained virtual receptionists, realtors will gain untold hours to focus on other aspects of their work.

Of course, gaining more free time isn’t the only perk of a partnership with an answering service. We know better than anyone the importance of quality customer service. Real estate success comes to those who work hard, but more importantly, to those who establish meaningful connections with their clients. Real estate answering services are merely an extension of this philosophy. Without quality conversations that create solutions and ease anxieties, real estate sales are anything but guaranteed.

Close More Deals

Many people are curious to learn how answering services help real estate agents close more deals. 24/7 live answering is the first contributor. Without an answering service available to answer calls, real estate professionals are constantly abuzz with incoming calls. It’s hard to be mentally and physically present at showings when another client is dialing you to close on a deal. Front office administrators can help offset the impact of ringing phones during business hours, but realtors know their work is rarely limited to the traditional 9-5. By partnering with a 24/7 live answering service, real estate agents can keep the progress moving steadily along at all hours of the day or night.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. To generate sales, you’ve got to prioritize customer service first and foremost. Real estate success is tied to personal connection in ways you might not expect. A friendly conversation at an open house can lead to an interest meeting at the office. Before you know it, you’re conducting your first showing with a first-time homebuyer and preparing an initial offer. None of this would be possible without stellar customer service at every step in the process. It’s not exactly an industry secret, but it’s how answering services help real estate agents close more deals.

Build Your Reputation

Customer service is great for nurturing deals, but it’s not the only way answering services help real estate agents. By extending consistent, friendly support over the phone, virtual receptionists help build your brand. They present a professional, impressive face and voice of your business at a fraction of what it would cost to hire a full-time employee. Highly-experienced and highly-trained, these receptionists work from customized call scripts to deliver a carefully curated customer service experience.

The results can be powerful. Many real estate agents report a greater number of positive reviews on industry ranking websites after partnering with a real estate answering service. When your name is associated with stellar service and a passion for linking buyers and sellers with resources, you’re certain to find rapid success.

Maximize Productivity Even When You’re On the Go

Realtors are constantly on the move. Showings one side of town in the morning give way to lunch meetings with clients downtown and closing appointments at a law office on the outskirts of city limits. If there’s one thing real estate agents do more than talk on the phone, it’s driving around town. In the midst of those travels, incoming phone calls are bound to go unnoticed. One of the very best benefits of partnering with a real estate answering service is ensuring your calls never roll to voicemail, even when you’re stuck in traffic.

By outsourcing your calls and appointment scheduling to a third party, you enable a talented virtual receptionist to manage your calendar while you’re busy getting from place to place. Focus on the road and whatever your next meeting is rather than trying to juggle phone calls and worrying about what the rest of the day holds.

Meet Customers Where They Are

Buying a home can be scary. It’s one of the largest purchases most Americans will ever make. Given how much anxiety is involved in the process of buying a home, client hand-holding is a key component of any realtor’s job. Extending empathy in the face of stressful negotiations isn’t easy when you’re juggling other clients and deals, though. This is how answering services help real estate agents close more deals: by boosting availability and empathy for concerned clients.

The real estate world is a competitive one, and without an arsenal of weapons on hand, even the most successful realtor will struggle. Allow a real estate answering service to be your secret weapon. By making more efficient use of your time, maintaining your appointment book with travel time in mind, and extending empathy and patience to callers, virtual receptionists can be instrumental to your success.

Source: https://www.mapcommunications.com/blog/how-answering-services-help-real-estate-agents-close-more-deals/

Publish Date: March 5, 2020 5:00 AM


How Your Dental Practice Can Benefit from an Answering Service

The front desk of most dental practices is a busy place. Phones ring off the hook with incoming calls from existing patients, new inquiries, and all other types of questions. Ignoring these calls isn’t an option – fail to pick up and you could miss out on valuable new business or the opportunity to provide stellar customer service that earns you valuable glowing online review. Busy dental practices may find their administrative team overworked and struggling to answer every time the phone rings. And don’t forget about all those calls that you might be missing after hours!

Whether your dental practice is new and bustling or established and thriving, you likely could benefit from some extra administrative support either during busy times throughout the day or after your office is closed. Maybe even both. A dental practice answering service is the affordable, convenient solution for many of the most common administrative growing pains. Here are just a few ways your office could benefit from a partnership with an answering service for dentist offices:

Shift Focus Back to the Patients in Office

Should you serve the person patiently waiting for help at the front desk, or should you answer the phone? Dental practice administrative employees are too often faced with this dilemma. In a perfect world, patients would never wait for service on the phone or in person. During busy periods, though, this can feel impossible. The good news? With the help of a dental practice answering service, you can completely shift your attention to the patients you’re serving in office. By catering to these patients, you’ll ensure the best possible customer experience and satisfaction.

Deliver Stellar Service Via Phone

Callers hate being put on hold. Too often, they’re left feeling like their question or concern is not as important as whatever is happening in the office. Overwhelmed office managers may feel flustered when they’re balancing patient questions both over the phone and in person. By calling in a dental practice answering service for support, you’ll ensure a stress-free experience for your patients and your administrative team alike. Carefully trained virtual receptionists deliver polite, professional service every time your phone rings. By upping your already high standards for customer service, backup receptionists provide a standardized, customized phone experience independent of how busy your office might be!

Schedule More Appointments, Grow Your Practice

A busy signal or voicemail message can cause new patients to dial up your competitor instead of waiting for a call back. When a single missed call means the potential loss of a patient, dental practices can’t afford to let the machine get the phone. With a dental practice answering service at the ready, your callers will be treated to prompt, professional appointment scheduling. Eliminate the games of phone tag and give your patients the kind of customer experience you’d always hoped to provide. In turn, you are likely to see an uptick in the number of appointments scheduled and ultimately, a steady rate of business growth.

24/7 Support for Patient Concerns

Many dentists find themselves awakened by middle of the night phone calls from patients with oral health emergencies. Too often, those emergencies aren’t really all that pressing – knowing the difference, however, can be tricky. Busy dentists eager to regain a healthy work/life balance can benefit from a dental practice answering service to combat such calls. Highly-trained virtual receptionists exercise scrutiny when covering the phone lines after hours, forwarding only the most important calls to dental experts. This service helps separates the paranoid patient who has spent too much time Googling their symptoms from the patients who truly require emergency assistance.

Save Staffing Dollars Without Sacrificing Quality Customer Service

A good receptionist is hard to find. The very best professionals often expect high salaries and comprehensive benefits. While adding a new member to your administrative team might sound like the most logical strategy to combat busy signals and long wait times, it’s rarely as simple as it sounds. The hiring process can take time, and outfitting a new employee with a desk, computer, supplies, and benefits is expensive. Partnering with a dental practice answering service is faster and far more affordable – you can have a virtual receptionist answering your phones by the end of the next business day!

Since call center employees work from a customized call script, you never have to worry about sacrificing quality customer service for affordability. Trained to follow your practice’s precise policies and procedures, virtual receptionists provide a seamless experience for callers. In fact, most patients won’t realize they’re speaking to a third-party employee instead of your office staff!

Try Our Dental Practice Answering Service Now

MAP Communications is offering a free week-long trial of our live answering service for busy dental practices. If you’ve ever been curious about how to leverage call center technology and staffing for your office, now is the time to try our services. With no commitment required, it’s never been easier to see how MAP can bolster your customer service offerings and provide relief for your front office staff. Begin your trial period now – click here to get started.

Source: https://www.mapcommunications.com/blog/how-your-dental-practice-can-benefit-from-an-answering-service/

Publish Date: February 20, 2020 5:00 AM


The Best (and Worst!) Holiday Customer Service Moments on Film

The holidays are here once again. Amidst the flurry of parties, shopping, and decorating you’ll do this season, chances are good you’ll also find time to watch a few of your favorite holiday films. Whether you’re a fan of the classics like It’s a Wonderful Life or prefer Will Ferrell’s more modern take on the holidays in Elf, you may notice a common thread: many holiday films include scenes depicting customer service interactions.

Customer service moments in Christmas movies are often played for laughs, but we can learn important lessons from such scenes. As you reflect on your accomplishments this year and plan your goals for the next, keep these moments in mind:

The Horrors of Holiday Car Rental in Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Perhaps one of the most iconic comedic moments to ever be captured in a holiday film, the scene in which Steve Martin tries to rent a car in Planes, Trains and Automobiles definitely warrants a spot on our list. In the movie, Martin plays a man eager to make it home in time for Thanksgiving. Bad luck delays his efforts again and again, and by the time he reaches the rental car service desk, the man is out of patience. As the employee chats happily on the phone about her own holiday plans, Martin’s character grows more and more upset.

This anger is expressed in language that’s not quite polite enough to share in this post, but the scene makes an important point. We never know what emotional baggage our customers carry with them when they approach us. While there’s no excuse for folks to lose their temper at customer service workers, we can all work to find empathy and understanding for those who call us up after a hard day. The takeaway? Work with customers, not against them!

Mr. Bean Wraps a Gift in Love, Actually

The holiday rush can be tough to bear on both sides of the retail counter. While employees feel the crunch of long lines and never-ending shifts, shoppers feel a similar pressure to get everything done in time. This is perfectly depicted in the jewelry counter scene in Love, Actually. Actor Rowan Atkinson – most famous for his portrayal as the hapless Mr. Bean – plays a department store gift wrapper with a little too much flourish. In the scene, he takes his time crafting the perfect holiday gift display for his customer, played by Alan Rickman.

The problem? Rickman’s character is buying a gift for his mistress, and not the wife with whom he’s shopping. Though he attempts to hurry the gift-wrapping process along a bit quicker, Atkinson focuses more on the finished product than on the demand of the customer.

Customer service moments in Christmas movies are often layered with context and meaning, but there’s an easy takeaway from this scene: listen to your customer. While you might find a complimentary gift-wrapping service a treat, not everyone will appreciate or require such an offer. To keep folks coming back time and time again, be perceptive about their time and don’t waste it when they’re in a rush!

Santa Traumatizes a Shopper in A Christmas Story

There are few holiday movies as beloved as A Christmas Story. It’s one of the most universal and relatable films of the genre. One moment that particularly stands out in the minds of viewers is Ralphie’s interaction with Santa Claus. Rather than the jolly, friendly figure he’s supposed to be, this version of Santa is rude, impatient and more than a little frightening. After waiting in an endless line, Ralphie works up the courage to ask Santa for his deepest desire: A Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-Shot Range Model air rifle.

Santa’s response is a refrain echoed throughout the film: “You’ll shoot your eye out!”

Santa laughs at Ralphie’s request and kicks him down the slide for good measure. While no one could mistake this customer service moment as anything but horrifying, it’s worth remembering this season. Even when you find a shopper’s request ridiculous, it’s important to keep a professional demeanor and extend kindness instead of skepticism.

Buddy Goes the Extra Mile in Elf

Will Ferrell’s Elf has become a new classic in the holiday comedy genre, and for good reason. His character, Buddy the Elf, has become synonymous with childlike optimism and wonder. The other important takeaway from this film? Buddy is fantastic at designing the ultimate customer experience.

As detailed more thoroughly in another blog entry, we love the way Buddy channels his Christmas spirit into preparing his department store for shoppers. Not content with lackluster decorations around the store, Buddy stays up all night to create a winter wonderland worthy of Santa himself. Of all the customer service moments in Christmas movies, this one is perhaps the most inspiring. The lesson to remember?! It pays to go the extra mile for your customers!

Charity, Kindness and Connection in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

While you might remember the Home Alone for its slapstick comedy and Sticky Bandit-torturing scenes, we’re especially fond of the moment Kevin (played by Macaulay Culkin) meets Duncan, the owner of Duncan’s Toy Chest. As Kevin pays for a toy he’s selected, Duncan shares his plan to donate toys to a local children’s hospital. Kevin offers money to contribute to the cause, and Duncan offers him a selection of ornaments as a thank you.

While this moment may not be as iconic as other customer service moments in holiday movies, it’s certainly one of the most heartwarming. The scene depicts a real, human moment between a young customer and the owner of the toy store. It deserves a spot on our list for illustrating the possibilities awaiting generous, patient proprietors and their shoppers. It’s often difficult to see the forest for the trees during the busy holiday weeks, but it’s important to remember the potential for real human connection amidst the chaos. Channel Duncan this season and join your customers in making the world a little brighter in any way you can.

Your Partner is Holiday Customer Service

MAP Communications can help you extend the kind of warmth and kindness displayed in the very best customer service scenes in holiday movies. With the enthusiasm of Buddy the Elf and the generosity of Duncan, our team is ready to dive headfirst into the festive frenzy. If you require a little extra help this season, consider signing up for a free trial of our live answering service. We know it’ll give you the administrative boost your team requires to get through the busiest time of year.

Source: https://www.mapcommunications.com/blog/the-best-and-worst-holiday-customer-service-moments-on-film/

Publish Date: December 19, 2019 5:00 AM


What to Look for in a Medical Answering Service

The primary goal of any hospital, clinic or private practice is to treat and care for patients in need. While this might seem like a straightforward mission, the patient experience can be complicated by wait times, expensive medications, and battles with the insurance companies. In order to streamline the customer service aspect of healthcare, many offices are turning to medical answering services for support. They’re an excellent resource for busy healthcare facilities hoping to keep in touch with their patients while still maintaining their focus on the daily operations.

If you’re considering partnering with a healthcare call center provider, you’re on the right track, because there are great advantages to using a medical answering service. However, not all of them are created equal. With the well-being of patients and sensitive data on the line, you can’t trust just anyone with your calls! Here’s what you should look for in medical answering services.

HIPAA Compliance: A Non-Negotiable

Your in-house administrative team knows the importance of following the regulations of HIPAA – the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act. Passed in 1996, this legislation outlines patient privacy rights and procedures for protecting sensitive healthcare data. As you search for a medical answering service for your organization, make sure you prioritize HIPAA compliance.

Consider your organization’s existing policies and procedures for HIPAA compliance. You likely use a secure messaging system to communicate with patients via email and store data in a cloud database with extra layers of protection. Your medical answering service should do the same. Fail to meet HIPAA standards and your practice could be in serious legal trouble, so make this a priority when selecting your newest administrative partner.

Flexibility for Ebbs and Flows

Every industry sees its own ebbs and flows. Some are easy to predict: electronics companies sell a lot more televisions than average ahead of Super Bowl Sunday, for instance. Healthcare knows no particular busy or slow season, though, which is why it’s often difficult to predict exactly how much support you’ll need during a given month. You never know when the next bug is going to make its rounds in your community. By partnering with a medical answering service that offers flexible hours and availability, you can up your support during busy periods and scale back during slow months.

You’d also do well to select a company that offers 24-hour availability. Even if you’ve traditionally limited your calls to business hours, increasing your availability is never a bad idea. Shift workers, busy parents, and anyone with too much going on during the day will appreciate the chance to connect with your office after hours or over the weekend. This increased availability will even allow you to grow your medical business.

Collaboration and Customization Are Key

Selecting a medical answering service isn’t like choosing a box of cereal off the shelf – at least it shouldn’t be. Given the sensitive nature of the calls you’re hoping to get help with, you’ll want a partner who understands the nuances of healthcare customer service. A one-size-fits-all approach just won’t work for such important calls. As you hunt for the perfect medical answering service, investigate how collaborative the company is willing to be.

Your preferred partner needs to work with you to create a customized plan that is designed to meet your requirements. All healthcare organizations are different, so your medical call center provider shouldn’t treat your account like the unique situation that it is. The answering service you decide to work with should offer customizable call scripts that allow you control over the messaging. Such a tool will allow you to set the tone of each phone call and ensure the conversation matches your organization’s philosophies on customer service.

Bilingual Support for Callers

The American populace looks and sounds a lot different than it did 20 years ago. To reflect these changing demographics, it’s important to offer bilingual support for callers. It’s important to speak with prospective and existing patients in their preferred language when they call. Select a medical answering service that offers bilingual support – it’s a must for practices hoping to stay relevant and extend their care to all populations.

Try Our Medical Answering Service for Free

MAP Communications has become a leader in the medical answering service over the last three decades. Based right here in the United States, our call centers are staffed with experienced, highly-trained employees who are passionate about customer service. We offer all of the aforementioned must-haves for medical answering services – and so much more.

Explore your options for a thoughtful, collaborative medical answering service experience now. We’re offering a free, week-long trial of our live answering service so you can see just how much value MAP can bring to your organization. Start your free trial now.

Source: https://www.mapcommunications.com/blog/what-to-look-for-in-a-medical-answering-service/

Publish Date: November 21, 2019 5:00 AM


How an Answering Service Can Boost Your Law Firm’s Reputation

When someone looks for legal advice, there are a few specific things that will typically be at the top of their priority list. Beyond a law firm having the specific expertise the client is looking for, the firm’s reputation is often the most important consideration. A strong reputation is something that can take many years to build, and is typically bolstered by lots of clients referring business and having positive things to say. Of course, while building a credible status over time is certainly worthwhile, taking active steps beyond just being a great lawyer to build your law firm’s reputation is important as well.

Build your law firm’s reputation with a legal answering service

If you’ve never used an answering service before, you might be wondering how it can contribute to your firm’s reputation. While the logistical benefits of an answering service are more straightforward, the benefits to reputation might not be as readily apparent. Here are just three examples of how a legal answering service can boost the reputation of your law firm and bring you more good business.

Better first impression for potential clients

If you’re a smaller law firm, chances are you don’t have the extra bandwidth for answering phone calls. Most paralegals (and interns) will typically be consumed with tasks including research, submitting documentation, and any of the other million tasks that must get done in a law firm. Beyond that, certain times of the week (or year, depending on the specific type of law your firm practices) will be even busier, making it even more difficult to handle calls in a prompt and timely manner. Of course on the weekends and after-hours, when potential clients are off from work, there is no one there to answer calls at all, which can leave clients hanging when they need you most.

Now think about how this differs from a large law firm in Los Angeles or Manhattan. They probably have a team of receptionists ready to field calls from potential clients. The ability to quickly speak to a live person, and better yet, one who can answer questions, leaves a much better first impression than a voicemail box does.

With a legal answering service, you can replicate the experience new clients would get at a large law firm, without taking on excessive costs or overburdening your paralegal team.

Better customer service for existing clients

Beyond the benefits for potential clients, a legal answering service can directly benefit your existing clients as well. Even if they’ve worked with you for years, it is still very beneficial to give the impression that you have a team working all the time just for them. With a legal answering service, you can ensure that their calls are always answered, and that any urgent matters are directed to the appropriate individual. A legal answering service also help ensure that calls from clients are properly addressed. In a busy law firm, it’s easy for a client call to get misplaced or forgotten due to something serious coming up. An answering service ensures that calls are properly recorded and addressed in a timely manner.

Delegate tasks, free up paralegals

Finally, a legal answering service frees up you, your busy paralegals, interns, and even front office staff (if you’re fortunate enough to have them) to handle other matters in the office. By allowing incoming calls to be handled by an outside source, your team is free to work on other pressing matters.

MAP Communications specializes in legal answering services, and can even be directed to handle private and sensitive client information — if your firm so chooses. To learn more about the legal answering services offered by our experienced team, simply call 888-252-6555 or sign up for a free 7-day trial.

Here are some related articles you might be interested in:

How an After-Hours Answering Service Can Help Your Law Firm

Don’t Miss a Call While You’re In Court! Phone Answering For Attorneys

Powerful Advertising Tips for Attorneys

Source: https://www.mapcommunications.com/blog/answering-service-can-boost-law-firms-reputation/

Publish Date: July 20, 2017 5:00 AM


The Phone Stages of Grief

A small business owner’s path to realizing they need an answering service is one walked by many. That journey is described by the Phone Stages of Grief.

Running a small business can be stressful. If you aren’t busy worrying about whether you are making money, you are hustling to make sure your meeting deadlines, catching up on emails, paying your bills, balancing your books… the list goes on and on. Just making sure you are keeping focused and staying on track is an effort all its own. Unexpected calls are notorious for their ability to steal away focus and productivity, turning what would have been a solid day’s work into a day you look back on and wonder where your time went.

Small business owners go round and round trying to find a balance between constantly being available to customer calls and staying on top of all the other responsibilities. After testing a variety of possible solutions, owners who finally make the decision to use an industry leading call center service often never look back. However, we have noticed that the struggle owners go through before finding this relief seems to looks the same from one business to another. In fact, the process owners from different businesses go through is so similar, we decided to construct a guide to what they go through based on their experiences to help other businesses understand that they aren’t alone and that there is a solution.

The Phone Stages Of Grief

1.) Denial: It can be hard to acknowledge you need help. In the beginning, you may find yourself feeling like you can do it all on your own. In fact, you probably have even said things like:

“My team and I can handle all the calls ourselves.”

“Customers don’t really need to get in touch with us outside of business hours.”

“I am sure customers don’t mind hearing the phone ring and ring and ring, leaving a message on my voicemail, or being put on hold if we aren’t available to help them.”

There’s nothing wrong with spending some time in the beginning business phases to feel out the scope of how much time energy and effort it takes to manage your calls. Be careful not to let yourself get stuck here, though. You are running a business where your unique time and talents shouldn’t be tied up in doing this balancing act. To be successful, your business should grow and mature. The sooner you get past this step, the more prepared you will be for future success.

2.) Anger: Once business starts picking up, it won’t take long for phone calls to start exposing holes in processes or highlighting where your limits are. This can quickly become frustrating. At this point, you might find yourself saying things like:

“Customer issues keep slipping through the cracks!”

“I feel like I can never get ahead!”

“Why can’t this be easier?!”

“Every time I feel like I am making progress on a mission-critical task that will aid the growth of my business, I get interrupted by another phone call and completely lose track of what I was doing!”

Frustration is a great indication that it is time to make a change. Your business and your customers deserve a dedicated resource that can give calls the time and attention they deserve without coming at the cost of your own productivity.

3.) Bargaining: The time has come for you to pick a solution to your phone problem. You’ve stalled as long as you could, but it is clear that you can’t keep this up for much longer before you start dropping the ball in one area or another. In your rush to find instant relief, you are probably considering taking on the deep expense of hiring an employee. You might even catch yourself saying things like:

“Hiring another employee is kind of expensive, but I can’t keep missing phone calls.”

“Maybe I can find enough work for a new employee to do between calls.”

“I am sure I will find someone who won’t take too much time to train and who can service enough customers and be enough of a self-starter to be worth the financial and time investment I will have to put in upfront.”

It is easy to find yourself looking for the quickest way to find relief when you are under pressure. When problems come to a head and surface like this, it is important to take a step back and consider your options carefully. Your mission should be to find a proven, sustainable and cost-effective solution rather than a quick fix.

4.) Depression: Like many businesses before your time, you decide to hire an employee. It seems like a fair, familiar and sound choice to make given the current demands of your business. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work out as smoothly as you’d imagined:

“It’d be nice if my new employee didn’t need new office equipment, take time to use the bathroom, or eat lunch, or need medical benefits.”

“If I wasn’t spending tens of thousands of dollars on an extra employee every year, I could be putting that money towards my exciting new idea for the business.”

I wasted weeks of time and thousands of dollars on training my employee and after the first 2 months they quit on me and now I have to start all over.”

Employees are usually the highest impact on a company’s budget; from their base pay, to employee taxes, workers comp, benefits, etc. Worse than that, when you have to let them go or they decide to leave, they take whatever investments in training you made with them. This can cost you dearly in resources that took your business a considerable amount of time to build up.

5.) Acceptance: It is time to seek a better option. The common answer of hiring an employee is costly and unreliable. You need a solution that is flexible and can scale with your demands. You’ve decided your business deserves better:

“I have to find a reliable service that can meet the requirements of my company and my customers at an affordable cost.”

Once you’ve decided to make customer service a priority that deserves a dedicated, cost effective resource with a proven track record, your only answer is to find yourself a call center. The problem is, not all call centers are created equal. You need an answering service for small businesses that stands out from the competition so you can do the same.

MAP Communications has provided industry leading answering services and call center support solutions to businesses from virtually every industry for over 25 years. With a proprietary call handling platform, live virtual receptionists available 24/7, and an unmatched support team that will help you get started and assist with the set up your customer support script, your business couldn’t be in better hands. Now, freeing yourself from the Phone Stages of Grief and stepping aboard is easier than ever with a one-week free trial. Give us a call and start your free trial today.

Here are some related articles you might be interested in:

5 Tips to Grow Your Small Business

How to Maintain a Small Business with MAP Communications

How an Answering Service 7-Day Free Trial Can Change Your Business

Source: https://www.mapcommunications.com/blog/phone-stages-grief/

Publish Date: June 29, 2017 5:00 AM

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