MAP Communications - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog
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.
Publish Date: December 19, 2019 5:00 AM
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.
Publish Date: November 21, 2019 5:00 AM
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
Publish Date: July 20, 2017 5:00 AM
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
Publish Date: June 29, 2017 5:00 AM
For hotel customers, there is perhaps nothing as frustrating than having to deal with an automated answering system that doesn’t address your needs. Many times, a machine just isn’t capable of answering your question or directing you where you need to go.
For hotel owners, on the other hand, there is perhaps nothing as frustrating as losing a guest because of an automated answering mix-up. In a world of online reviews and social media posts, getting customer service right is a top priority.
Fortunately, there’s an answer to this issue that works to the benefit of both parties: A live answering service.
How a live answering service improves customer service
The benefits of opting for a live answering service over an automated system are considerable. First and foremost among these advantages is customer service. Human beings are social animals; we enjoy the sound of a live voice, rather than a taped one. If we have a complaint, the sound of another person offering us an empathetic ear sets us at ease. It diffuses the situation, whereas, the sound of an automated system might have the opposite effect.
Additionally, the presence of a live voice sends the customer a message: We care enough about you to provide you with a real person, rather than an automated voice. If you want to earn consistent customer loyalty, this is exactly the kind of message you need to send.
Along with sending your guests a positive message about how much you value their patronage, a live answering service also allows you to more accurately assess and then address their needs. An automated system, by its very design, is limited in its ability to interact with guests. It cannot make the kind of judgments that are required to find out precisely what a guest needs and how to most effectively deliver that service.
Human beings, on the other hand, are expert problem solvers. We can anticipate issues before they arise, and adapt to new developments as they occur. An automated system can’t do any of this, and is simply incapable of matching a live service in terms of high-end customer service.
Customer service: A key competitive advantage
Here’s a fact that may intrigue you: according to Time Magazine, companies that use a live answering service have shorter wait times than companies using automated systems. This is just one more reason why consumers vastly prefer dealing with live answering services.
The truth is that customer service, especially in the hospitality industry, is a key competitive advantage. Hotels that make the process of booking rooms or calling for services as seamless and responsive as possible will receive greater loyalty from guests — along with both word of mouth and online advertising benefits. Excellent customer service can make a good stay great, and can smooth over any issues that occur during a guest visit.
If your hotel aims to take its customer service to the next level, consider the use of a live answering service. By using a friendly human voice in place of an automated system, you’ll have happier guests — and a sterling reputation for customer service. Contact MAP Communications today to get started on your complimentary 7-day live answering service trial.
Here are some related articles you might be interested in:
Improving Your Hotel’s Customer Service
Focus on In-Person Guests: Why an Answering Service Helps in the Hospitality Industry
Preparing Your Hospitality Business for Holiday Travel with Live Answering Services
Publish Date: June 15, 2017 5:00 AM
In today’s hyper-competitive business climate, it’s important to seize every advantage possible. By showing customers that you have the ability to anticipate their needs — and deliver great service on their terms — you can earn enduring loyalty.
The use of a 24/7, on-call answering service is one of the most effective ways to please your clients and build your business. With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few reasons why an answering service can pay major dividends.
It makes your business much more accessible
A few decades ago, many companies could get away with following “banker’s hours” and shutting down all public communication channels at the close of the business day. In today’s highly-connected, smartphone-enabled world, that’s no longer a viable option.
Customers have been conditioned by social media and other technologies to expect near-instant answers to their queries. If they have an important question and they are told they must wait until the following day for an answer, odds are good they will start checking out the competition. Additionally, not every one of your customers has the time or the ability to call during business hours. By closing down communication, you’re missing out on a massive potential customer base.
An on-call answering service, however, allows you to provide 24/7 customer interaction. Questions can be answered immediately — something that makes for happy customers and a better bottom line.
It improves customer experience
Let’s face it — people hate talking to machines. They also dislike using voicemail: A recent study cited by the Harvard Business Review showed that voicemail use is falling out of favor, as people simply don’t like leaving or retrieving messages.
Customers do appreciate a warm, friendly human voice on the other end of the line, however. This kind of communication personalizes and humanizes professional interactions, which in turn makes people feel better about the experience. If a customer calls up with a legitimate complaint — and can only get a voicemail message — that customer may be lost for good. Yet, if that same customer is able to connect with a real, empathetic person, the issues can typically be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction.
Ultimately, this keeps customers happy and protects the reputation of the business — a precious thing in an environment when a negative review can be posted online in a matter of seconds.
It makes businesses more efficient
Efficiency is a key element of business growth. By working faster and with fewer errors, companies earn more revenue and keep their clients happy.
An on-call answering service can help promote efficiency by allowing businesses to quickly react to customer feedback and reduce the potential for mistakes. As anyone who has ever retrieved a voicemail can attest, often times much of the message is lost in translation. By using a professionally-trained answering service, the risk of such errors is minimized, as you never have to worry about a garbled message or incomplete information again.
An on-call answering service is an important part of the growth strategy for many small businesses. By reducing the potential for errors and providing better accessibility and user experience, these services have helped countless businesses reach their full potential. Contact MAP Communications today for a free 7-Day trial.
Here are some related articles you might be interested in:
3 Ways an After Hours Answering Service Builds Business
Lead Generation – Build Clients While You Sleep
Top 8 Benefits of Partnering with an Answering Service
Publish Date: June 8, 2017 5:00 AM
As any good real estate agent knows, the value of face-to-face time with potential homebuyers is immeasurable. Getting to know your clients’ needs can help you find the home of their dreams, but it’s difficult to do that from behind a desk. When you partner with a quality answering service to field your phone calls, you’ll spend more time showing homes—and closing sales!
How a Real Estate Answering Service Helps Build Your Business
Going out to show homes to potential buyers can eat up a lot of time, especially if your buyers have cast a wide geographic net for their home search. A day spent driving from home to home can be exciting, especially when your clients find “the one,” but it can be dispiriting to know that time out of the office means time you can’t answer the phone for new potential customers.
A quality answering service will be able to field calls from home buyers at all stages of the process. You can have your call center team help you build a customized script to ensure that all your callers are being handled just the way you would. You can even utilize an answering service to schedule future viewings and info sessions. This means that you and your real estate sales team spend far less time on scheduling and playing phone tag, and way more time on what you love doing—selling homes!
Why Your Current Home Buyers Will Love Your Answering Service
While an answering service can make a great first impression on new customers, your current customers will also benefit from an answering service. As you well know, buying a home can be a stressful activity, and home buyers often have questions at every step. The process can be very emotional as well, and the last thing a home buyer wants to hear is a phone that rings and rings only to get your voicemail when they have a pressing question about their home search. A professional answering service will be staffed with experienced call center employees who know how to listen to your customers’ concerns, take detailed messages, and provide some basic information to give them reassurance about whatever is on their mind.
An answering service can also help you manage the constant back and forth with not only buyers and sellers, but other real estate professionals as well. It’s important to not miss any contact from financial professionals or inspectors, especially when you and your homebuyers are at a time sensitive stage of the process. Staying on top of deadlines for your home buyers will make the process go as smoothly as possible. When things goes smoothly, your clients are happy. And when your clients are happy, you and your real estate company will be in a great position to get referrals for future customers!
Running a real estate business well means giving yourself the time you need to get to know your clients and the properties in your area. Partner with MAP Communications to provide quality answering service staff so you can focus on doing what you do best. We’re an experienced, customer focused business devoted to providing personalized real estate answering service solutions that help you grow and improve your business. Contact us today to get your 1 week free trial started!
Publish Date: May 25, 2017 5:00 AM
Partnering with an answering service like MAP Communications offers a number of benefits, no matter what type of business you run. Check out these top 8 benefits of partnering with an answering service like us. Then get in touch so we can help you create a customized answering service plan for your company today!
1. 24/7 Availability
One of the greatest benefits to using an answering service is the way it can instantly expand your “open for business” hours. Whether you deal with customers across the globe or have local customers who sometimes need support in the middle of the night, an answering service means that every call to your business will be answered, no matter what, meaning you never miss an opportunity to take care of an existing client or bring on a new customer.
2. Increased Efficiency
An answering service allows you to be far more efficient with your staff resources. A call center professional can easily triage calls to your business and provide basic information that customers are looking for, instead of tying up your full-time employees with these requests, which distracts them from using their true talents to build your company.
3. Eliminate Wait Times
Managing calls in-house often means that your customers will be subjected to holds and lengthy wait times, which can lead callers to get frustrated and some will simply hang up. A call center will eliminate wait times, which will keep callers happy and can improve your bottom line.
4. Appointment Scheduling
Whether you run a doctor’s office or a hotel, an answering service can help you schedule appointments and make bookings, all without tying up your full-time staff. So all you have to do is get ready to handle a full calendar that your answering service booked for you!
5. Bilingual Support
Another great benefit to using an answering service is the option to offer both English and Spanish as options for your callers so they can speak whichever they are most comfortable with. Fluent bilingual virtual receptionists will have a conversation with your customers and deliver your messages to you in whichever language you prefer. This option can help to drastically expand your customer base.
6. Technical Assistance
Providing basic technical support via answering service is a great, cost effective way to assist your customers with the product support they need, when they need it. This is a handy added feature for your product/service, and your customers will appreciate that they can call your company directly to get the technical assistance they need, no matter what time of day or night.
7. Better Customer Service
Put simply, an answering service improves every aspect of your customer service. An answering service will allow every customer call to be answered promptly. Plus, it will free up your full-time employees from “phone duty” so that they can focus on face-to-face encounters that include closing sales, providing services and consultations, and being a positive face of your business.
8. No More Missed Calls—Or Opportunities
Finally, one of the best benefits to partnering with an answering service is both simple and powerful: your business won’t miss a single call ever again. By immediately responding to every call you receive, you put your company into a better position to make the most of every incoming opportunity for new sales or customer service.
A responsive, customer focused company is a company with great potential. Partner with MAP Communications to take advantage of these many benefits and more, and start growing your business today! Go ahead, give us a shot with a 1 week free trial.
Publish Date: May 11, 2017 5:00 AM
New leads are the lifeblood of a healthy and growing company. Whether you have a small, young company still aggressively finding new business or a well-established company looking to sustain itself and grow, the art of nurturing cold leads into happy customers (who hopefully refer even more business!) is absolutely essential.
While every business is different, there are some business practices that will maximize your opportunities to turn cold calls into loyal customers. Here are a few examples:
Target the right potential customers
One of the most fundamental ways to improve your success rate with cold calls is to make sure you are targeting the right type of potential customer. If your product or service simply doesn’t have enough clear value to the prospects being targeted, you will waste valuable time and resources, while also wasting the prospect’s time as well.
Instead, before you commit significant resources to developing or expanding your lead funnel, spend some time researching which types of customers are the best fit for your business and building a quality list before spending significant time and energy cold calling them. While this will delay the process a bit, it will pay for itself many times over.
Find out what their needs and pain points are
One of the most common reasons that cold calls don’t go well is that the company doing the cold calling doesn’t actually understand what the lead truly needs. If you’re going on and on about the benefits of your product or service, but those benefits are not significant solutions for the lead you’re talking to, the conversation will probably not end with a sale.
Instead, make sure you and your sales team are conducting proper discovery on the lead, probing them for specific pain points that your company can solve. By doing more listening than talking, you can figure out, specifically, how your company can solve the problems affecting the lead.
Learn what their expectations are, then exceed them
When speaking with leads, it’s important to get a sense of what they expect from your company. This is done by setting expectations, getting their reaction, and coming to a clear and explicit understanding of how things will go moving forward.
Once you’ve established those expectations, do everything in your power to exceed those expectations. By going above and beyond for a potential client, you will stand out from your competitors and generate loyalty that will pay off both with the long-term business you get from that lead, as well as the warm referral leads you hopefully get from them down the line.
One of the best ways to stand out and exceed expectations is to be available when others are not. Even if you and your employees work a regular 9 to 5 schedule, it is still possible to provide customer service outside those hours. A call answering service can provide as much as 24/7 support for your clients. Phone answering services can even identify which problems are of critical importance and escalate the call or message to you or one of your employees.
MAP Communications is highly experienced in providing premium-quality call answering service. If you want to close more deals and exceed the expectations of your leads and customers, let MAP Communications work with you to provide world-class customer service.
Publish Date: May 4, 2017 5:00 AM
When disaster strikes, is your business prepared? From natural disasters to maintenance emergencies, a 24/7 answering service can help your business better respond to emergency situations in the moment. MAP Communications can work with your business to provide trained call center professionals who are able to triage emergency concerns at any time of day or night.
From Earthquakes to Floods…Is Your Business Ready?
While some inclement weather situations can be predicted, like major blizzards or flood conditions, often it’s hard to tell exactly what Mother Nature has in store. When a natural disaster hits the area in which you conduct your business, will your customers turn to your company for support? Whether you run a plumbing service or a small hotel, when disasters strike, many businesses receive calls from frantic customers trying to find order in the chaos. With a 24/7 answering service in place, your company can rise above the fray to be on hand to provide a calm response, and, in some cases, even connect your clientele to needed emergency services.
HVAC Horrors and More
Many “disaster” scenarios are actually commonplace calamities that just need a little customer service TLC. If you manage a hotel, residential property, or another building or facility in which your tenants or customers may deal with late night maintenance issues, a 24/7 answering service is key for handling serious concerns. When the heat stops working on a cold, snowy night, you could be facing serious legal issues if you fail to respond promptly to tenant concerns. Use a professional call service to field your tenant calls quickly and efficiently, and make sure everyone stays safe and satisfied.
On the flip side, a sudden heat wave coupled with an air conditioning short out can mean irate tenants who are dealing with serious sweaty discomfort. Instead of suffering through a sleepless night, work with a 24/7 call center to handle calls about all aspects of your business’ HVAC system so you can dispatch help and keep everyone calm, cool, and collected-literally.
While no business should be expected to act as law enforcement, you may find your tenants or customers calling in the middle of the night after experiencing a crime. A professional 24/7 answering service will ensure that the caller gets connected to emergency help right away, and can give an extra layer of safety to your building, hotel, or business. Proper documentation and recording of the call is also available with an emergency answering service.
Emergencies happen, and it seems like they have a strong preference for happening outside of the typical business day! Working with an on-call answering service will relieve you and your staff of the burden of late night phone calls, while still ensuring your callers get a real person on the line. For more information on how a 24/7 call center can meet your needs, contact MAP Communications today! We offer customized, customer-focused solutions for a range of industries, and we’d be happy to talk through an after-hours emergency call center solution that meets your requirements.
Publish Date: April 27, 2017 5:00 AM
Tax season is upon us, and that means accountants are burning the midnight oil to handle all of their clients’ needs. Many accountants find tax season to be a mixed blessing. On the one hand, business is good. On the other, sleep, social life, and sometimes even family don’t receive the attention they deserve. It can be challenging to balance all the needs of clients during tax season while also maintaining a semblance of work-life balance. In fact, for some accountants, tax season is simply accepted as a time when other priorities are neglected.
Fortunately, there are ways that accountants can reduce some of the burden that comes with tax season. An answering service for accountants can streamline non-accounting work, allowing accountants to focus on their core work.
Here are some specific ways that an answering service can benefit accountants.
Handle non-urgent issues
An answering service can answer all of the non-emergency questions that a client might inquire about. Whether it’s a pricing question, an inquiry about turnaround times, or some other logistical issue, an answering service can give client’s a live individual to speak to without burdening the accountant.
Set up appointments for after tax season
If a current or potential client is interested in setting up an appointment, an answering service can be utilized to set that appointment up. In addition, if the client’s request isn’t urgent (i.e. it isn’t related to the current tax season), the appointment can be scheduled for after the busy season — all without the need for an accountant to look at his or her calendar.
Reduce office overhead
Some accounting offices hire temporary, or seasonal, front office workers during tax season. This is due in large part to the huge influx of client calls that come in during this period. This of course adds significant overhead via office operating costs, but many accountants simply take it as a given that these expenditures needs to be made. Furthermore, temporary workers hired for the tax season might not have the same level of dedication or knowledge that someone who worked with your firm year after year might.
An answering service employs highly skilled virtual receptionists who can assist your accounting business with streamlined efficiency. This means you aren’t paying for idle customer service workers. Instead, you’re benefiting from the economies of scale provided by the answering service itself. Virtual receptionists for accountants handle all the calls and appointment scheduling at a fraction of the cost of in-house employees. Go ahead, crunch those numbers.
Ensure high-priority calls and clients are heard
By the same token, high-priority calls — whether from high-value clients or simply an urgent call from any client — can be automatically directed to the appropriate individual. The ability to filter high priority calls from the rest ensures that client needs are handled efficiently without sacrificing the client’s interests.
A high-quality live answering service spends time learning about your firm, and even you as an individual accountant. They understand what makes a call urgent, and they know who the key clients are. If you haven’t yet tried an answering service, contact MAP Communications to learn about starting your free trial! You’ll be able to focus on your core business, and provide your clients with the best possible tax preparation service.
Publish Date: April 6, 2017 5:00 AM
If your business serves a diverse community, are you confident that you’re doing your part to effectively communicate with your clientele. Standing apart from the competition can help your business succeed, so partner with MAP Communications and we can provide a bilingual answering service to facilitate communication with a variety of customers.
Better Customer Service & Customer Driven Referrals
Working with a bilingual answering service can have a number of positive effects on your business. Using a bilingual answering service can help you reach a larger customer base, and provide more comprehensive customer service to your existing clientele. Using an answering service partner can help you achieve this goal without having to invest a ton of money in new full-time staff or training resources. You can focus your energy instead on creating a marketing plan specifically targeting non-English speakers, and then let the call center field your new inbound calls!
Or, if you simply want to increase engagement of your existing community, a bilingual call center can make your current customers feel more comfortable and connected to your business. An excellent answering service will always lead to positive word-of-mouth referrals, and a bilingual service will help your business stand out, especially in communities where English is not the primary language spoken.
Bilingual Answering Service Ensures Accuracy
If you run a service oriented business or manage an office that schedules patient appointments, it’s crucial to offer bilingual call center staff. When your clients or patients call to set up an appointment or express their need for a specific service, you want to ensure that they can communicate clearly and effectively with your team. By obtaining the most accurate information from your call center staff, you can better meet the needs of your customer base.
And if you run a medical or dental practice, it’s vital to guarantee that your patients have a way to communicate their health information with accuracy and ease. Don’t rely on automated translations or rough estimates; allow the people who call your business to be heard clearly, and ensure that the call center staff you hire can deliver clear, accurate information about your business’ hours, available appointments, and more.
Running a business or practice today means getting better at meeting the needs of an increasingly global world. A bilingual call center can position your business as a welcoming, knowledgeable organization committed to serving a wider community. Using a bilingual answering service will help grow your business by connecting to a larger number of customers and community members.
For more information about how a bilingual answering service can help your business, contact MAP Communications today. Map Communications is a leading call-center business devoted to customized customer solutions. We work with businesses large and small, from Fortune 500 firms to small B&B clients. Our detail oriented approach and proprietary software allow us to efficiently and seamlessly manage your calls, and options for bilingual answering can truly take your business to the next level. Get in touch!
Publish Date: March 23, 2017 5:00 AM
Managing rental properties can be lucrative work, but the demands from tenants and the community can be challenging to keep up with. Whether it’s a big complaint or a small request, every resident wants high-quality, efficient service. By partnering with a property management answering service, you can be sure every call gets answered quickly and efficiently.
Why a 24-Hour Access Answering Service is Key for Property Management
Running a property management company not only requires keeping your buildings well-maintained, it also means you must keep a great reputation in the community in order to attract and retain high-quality, reliable tenants. If your tenants run into problems like a leaky faucet or a smoke alarm that just won’t turn off, they want to be able to pick up the phone and speak with someone about their concern, no matter what time of day or night.
If your company takes too long to respond or return messages, your tenants can get frustrated, and word will certainly spread among their social spheres. Keep tenants happy and satisfied, however, and you can count on quality word-of-mouth publicity about your commitment to satisfying tenants and making issues right quickly. When your tenants are pleased, you’ll be able to fill units faster, maintain competitive market rates, and establish yourself as a quality property management company to prospective tenants and business partners.
Emergency Help, Efficient Response
Beyond the importance of keeping tenants happy, it’s also vital to keep all of your properties and tenants safe. If an emergency arises in one of your units, your tenants shouldn’t have to wait until 9:00 the next morning to get help. Create a standard emergency protocol for all tenants that include calling 911 or other emergency services, and partner with a property management answering service so that your tenants have a contact to call to report their emergency. A call service can help triage those late night calls to loop you or your management staff in when an urgent response is required.
For less dire situations, an answering service can also make for a much smoother workflow when tenants call to report maintenance issues. Use a property management answering service to compile service requests, then schedule work orders with your maintenance team for the following day or week. The service can also help you manage the influx of calls when you list an available unit. Receiving an organized report of inquiries will help you respond to potential tenants quickly and equitably, so you can rent your units faster and better maintain full occupancy all year round.
For more information on how a property management answering service can assist your business, please contact MAP Communications. We’re a customer focused call center service that offers flexible solutions to help ensure smooth delivery of excellent service, while maintaining and improving your community reputation. Best of all, we do it without you needing to hire any additional full-time management staff. Call us today at 888-252-6555.
Publish Date: March 16, 2017 5:00 AM
Starting a business is one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences an individual can put themselves through. The concept of turning an idea, a passion, or a skill set into a profitable entity that provides value to customers and a living for employees is at the heart of the American spirit. Unsurprisingly, entrepreneurs starting a business are often faced with numerous challenges, often all at once. Even the most experienced and level-headed entrepreneur will find themselves faced with issues they either don’t have the ability or the time to handle properly.
One of the keys to being an effective and smart startup business owner is knowing where and how to delegate and outsource certain elements of the business. Neither a single entrepreneur nor a small startup team can handle everything that comes their way (at least not effectively), so knowing when and how to outsource and delegate is absolutely essential.
The importance of customer service for a startup business
In the early stages of a business, your reputation and brand are still being established. That means that interactions with customers, potential customers, and anyone else you come in contact with (on a professional basis or not) can have a substantial impact on your company brand, and your personal reputation, for a long time.
At the start, it’s unlikely that you have an individual who is solely dedicated to handling customer service inquiries. Nevertheless, customers will no doubt have a large number of questions, concerns, and requests for your company, and it is imperative that you answer those questions professionally, promptly, and thoroughly.
While it is certainly admirable to try and personally answer each of your customer’s questions, the reality is that there simply won’t be enough time in the day for you (or likely even your team) to do so, and certainly not without a negative impact on your core business. While customer service is indeed important, spending all day responding to those questions will prevent you from creating and improving the actual product or service they wish to purchase from you.
Using an answering service for customer service
Instead of spending all your time answering customer questions — or worse, ignoring or postponing those questions — you should strongly consider an answering service. Using an answering service for a startup business takes the bulk of the time and energy associated with customer service calls and transfers them to a professional and highly-trained customer service team. That team will be able to provide world-class service while leaving your team to focus on growing the business. Ultimately, using an answering service is a win-win for you and your customers.
MAP Communications is one of the leading providers of answering services in the United States, and their customers range from large Fortune 500 companies to startup businesses that are just barely getting off the ground. MAP Communications customer service representatives will take the time to understand your core business in order to provide the best possible customer service to your customers. In addition, they can be trained to filter out high-priority calls that should in fact be handled directly by you or a member of your team. MAP Communications is a fully scalable service as well. This means you won’t be spending more than you can (or should) in the early going, yet your MAP Communications answering service will be able to grow right alongside your business.
To learn more about MAP Communications, including how an answering service can have a profoundly positive impact on your startup, please contact us at 888-252-6555 or sign up for your free 7-day trial here.
Publish Date: February 9, 2017 5:00 AM
Business owners face challenges every day, and small business owners typically must face those challenges with finite resources. Whether it is cash flow limitations, employee bandwidth, or something else altogether, businesses must choose what aspects of the business they want to focus on. Customer service is a key component for any business that wants to be successful long-term, yet it is often overlooked or underserved. A highly-trained and qualified answering service can address these limitations in an affordable way, and improve the business overall.
Benefits of an answering service
An answering service adds professionalism to even the smallest business. By allowing highly-trained customer service representatives to handle the bulk of your company’s customer service calls, your customers will get answers to their questions quickly and professionally. Of course, customer service representatives at an answering service are also trained to transfer calls that require a specific individual or department within your business, so there’s no need to worry about advanced or special calls getting where they need to go.
In addition to providing your existing customers with a quality experience, our customer service representatives are also highly-trained and qualified to help convert phone leads into customers. With experience across HVAC, hospitality, medical and more – our team wants to help grow your business while you focus on the core of your business. Our customer service representatives are well-versed in your business and can answer questions of potential customers and help turn them into loyal, repeating customers.
An answering service also allows the rest of your employees to focus on core business objectives. Those objectives will certainly vary depending on the business in question, but having simple and straightforward customer service calls handled by an answering service will free up your team to focus on the actual product, or even other administrative tasks, that your customers rely on.
Having an answering service working for your company means that your customers, vendors, and anyone else that needs to reach your business can do so, even outside of normal business hours. Since an answering service can be available 24/7, customers calling in can speak to a live person instead of simply leaving a message in the hopes that the right person will hear it and respond promptly. For truly urgent calls, a forwarding service is a viable option as well.
A risk-free 7-day trial makes the decision easy
Of course, as a business owner, it’s important to be prudent and strategic with the investments and expenditures you make in your business. After all, you wouldn’t hire six customer service representatives without even interviewing them first. MAP Communications understand this, which is why the risk-free answering service 7-day free trial is available to business owners curious about the potential benefits of such a service. During the trial, businesses can see for themselves the tremendous benefits to customer service, employee productivity and morale, and overall professionalism that a top-tier answering service can provide.
MAP Communications is one of the leading call-center providers in the United States. With clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to small businesses and start-ups, MAP Communications understands how to scale and adjust their answering service for the specific business they are serving. MAP Communications can change the way your company does business, and completely revamp your customer service.
To start your free trial today, simply click here, or contact us at 888-252-6555 for more information.
Publish Date: February 2, 2017 5:00 AM