6 Things You Didn’t Know Your Answering Service Could Do

How does your business stay on top of incoming calls?

Around the United States and beyond, thousands of small and midsize businesses rely on telephone answering services. Many more businesses should take advantage, as it not only provides efficiencies but cost benefit. If you have a telephone answering service like Responsive Answering Service, you need to take advantage of these six features and capabilities. If you’re still on the fence about investing in an answering service, think about which of these features align best with your business’s processes and mission—you may be surprised to find it’s all of them.

Call Screening

Call screening puts live, human operators between you and your incoming call traffic. Instead of reaching your voicemail when you can’t answer, callers state their identity and intention to real people, who can then forward the call to you in the time and manner (SMS, email, voicemail or fax) of your choosing. This dramatically cuts down on the amount of time you need to devote to calls and eliminates frequent interruptions throughout your day.

Appointment Scheduling

With appointment scheduling, your customers, clients and patients no longer have to navigate cumbersome, confusing touch-tone menus. Initial scheduling and subsequent changes are handled by live operators, who pass the information along to you in the manner of your choosing and automatically remind you when an appointment is approaching.

Telephone Dispatch

Dispatching capabilities allow for the timely, accurate dispatching of important messages, resources and work orders around the clock.

Registration Services

For companies hosting large events, such as trade shows or annual meetings, registration can be a cumbersome process. Outsourcing registration through your telephone answering service streamlines the process and empowers attendees to register over the phone, rather than by email or online forms. They’re able to ask questions about the event and note any particular preferences (such as special meal requests) with a human operator, without the added burden of creating yet another password-protected account.

Message Delivery

Message delivery services ensure that you receive important after-hours communications in a timely fashion. Delivery options include, but aren’t limited to, SMS, email, voicemail, Skype, fax. If you run a practice that needs to be “on” around the clock, but can’t afford internal staff to handle inbound calls at all hours, message delivery can help.

Virtual Receptionist

Virtual receptionist services offer cost-effective, on-hours answering capabilities for small businesses that can’t afford full-time reception staff. Virtual receptionists’ capabilities are surprisingly versatile—they include live answering and transferring, call screening, call routing, administrative support, message taking and much more. All services are performed in a timely, friendly, professional manner, just as you’d expect from an on-site, full-time receptionist—and at a fraction of the cost.

What’s your favorite answering service capability?

These 4 Types of Professionals Need a Hand — or Voice

Busy professionals often don’t answer their own office phones. Unfortunately, they also often lack the staff (or staff bandwidth) to have anyone else do so, either. Companies like Responsive Answering Service, the United States’ premier provider of professional answering services, provide a wide range of cost-effective support functions for professionals and small business owners who can’t always provide them for themselves: 24/7 answering, call screening, dispatching, virtual receptionist services, registration services and much more.

These four types of professionals are particularly well-suited for  virtual answering services. Here’s why each is a natural fit.

  1. Lawyers & Law Firms

Lawyers have a sacred obligation to advocate for their clients. They’re also busy as all get-out. If you’re running a law practice (or, perhaps worse, an overworked associated at one), you likely don’t have the time or resources to handle a flood of incoming calls. Fortunately, an answering service can.

  1. Medical Professionals

Whether you’re just starting a medical practice or have been an independent provider for years, you understand how complex the medical sector has become. When you have to deal with numbingly complex insurance rules, legal compliance, patient needs and a host of other competing pressures on a daily basis, the last thing you need is an unwieldy staff that doesn’t do your patient population justice. Using an answering service frees you to focus on the work that really matters — keeping your patients (the people who really matter) healthy.

  1. Property Managers

Property managers are always on the go. When you’re out of the office more often than you’re in it, it’s not exactly easy to man the phones. And even if you have a support team helping you with the logistical demands of being a landlord, answering calls on the first ring or two isn’t likely to be its top priority. Tapping a professional outfit to handle this mission-critical component of your business is among the easiest — and highest-ROI — decisions you can make.

  1. Government Agents & Consultants

Government employees and agency managers — the sorts of people who quite literally keep the trains running on time — are prime candidates for answering services. These professionals have massive, diverse constituencies to keep satisfied, not to mention tight budgets and competing demands on their time. They can’t afford to run anything less than an airtight ship — and competent answering services can make all the difference in the world.

Answering Services for All

These four types of professionals aren’t the only hard working people who benefit from answering services. Just about anyone who operates a practice or works out of an office, particularly those who don’t have the resources to hire and maintain a large support staff, have something to gain from working with a competent outside team of dedicated logistics experts. After all, they know the value of consulting the professionals — they all too often find themselves on the other side of the equation.

George Otte of Miami Top Tips for Direct Mail in 2016

Direct mail marketing has been around, well, for longer than any of us. Problem is, many younger readers might not realize that it’s still around.

It is — really. As it turns out, says entrepreneur and marketing expert George Otte, direct mail marketing is a surprisingly effective marketing tactic that is gaining ground against newer, flashier alternatives. It’s not quite Back to the Future, but it’s certainly a case of “what goes around comes around.”

Businesses of all sizes are using direct mail marketing to reach new prospects and reinforce existing connections. And in conclusion — backed by growing volumes of statistical data — email marketing actually works.

Need something more convincing? You’re not alone. Here are five great reasons why direct mail marketing might actually be better than email (yes, really):

  1. Email Suites Don’t Like Email Marketing

Gmail and other email suites are taking an increasingly hard line on email marketing, even when it’s dressed up in a personal veneer. Your digital newsletters and ads are more likely than ever to be relegated to a second-tier folder, out of sight and out of mind for the vast majority of your prospects. By contrast, direct mail goes in the same mailbox as every other piece of snail mail, and that won’t change anytime soon.

  1. Direct Mail Is Local

These days, anything “local” sells. That’s just as true for artisanal farm products as for direct mailers. When direct mail recipients see that local postmark on your mailer, they know that a local business has taken the time and effort to reach out to its neighbors and make a compelling case for its services. When it comes to building customer trust and brand recognition, that goes a long way.

  1. Direct Mail Is Attractive and Personal

Direct mail is a personal contact method that simply can’t be matched by cold, unfeeling digital overtures. After all, you can actually hold a piece of mail in your hand — not just a facsimile of a piece of mail on your iPhone screen. Even if they grumble about the volume or quality of mail they receive, the average person appreciates the personal nature of direct mail outreach. In this great big world, consumers like to know that someone — that’s you, direct mail marketer — is still willing to take the time to put their words down on paper.

  1. Direct Mail Is Secure

It’s hard to overstate the importance of cyber-threats. Today’s consumers are hyper-vigilant about anything that could possibly be construed as a threat to the sanctity of their home computers, mobile devices and personal networks. To state the obvious, direct mail is far less threatening in this regard than email, which can carry a whole host of digital threats. The most threatening thing about direct mail, by contrast, is an ill-advised color scheme.

Does your business use direct mail marketing? What’s your favorite thing about it?