If you’re like many businesses, you can expect to have a significant uptick in sales and inquiries during the holiday season. More people need help with placing orders, selecting products, or tracking packages. Everything is high stakes, and everything is happening at a higher volume.
This year especially, plenty of our customers are already seeing a dramatic increase in calls at higher levels than before. Due to COVID-19, many customers who would have come in-store are now shopping exclusively online… and when they need help, they’re turning to the phone.
Since it can be expensive and impractical to hire customer service workers only for a few weeks or a few months, one of the best solutions is to hire a seasonal call answering service. You can work with them only on a short-term basis if you choose, though you could always extend the work beyond the holidays if it works well for you.
In this post, we’re going to look at how you can use a seasonal call answering service to improve your business and boost holiday sales.
Why You Need A Seasonal Call Answering Service
Plenty of businesses will hire a few seasonal employees around the holidays for entry-level help with additional holiday-related tasks. These are typically skills that are easy to teach and learn quickly.
Customer service, though, is different, because service representatives are the face of your company. They need to know about your policies, how to resolve customer issues, and how to deal with angry, upset, and confused customers. This is much more difficult to train well overnight. You need people with experience, and that can be hard (and expensive) to hire, even only for a few weeks.
It’s much more time-efficient and cost-efficient to work with a seasonal call answering service. It costs significantly less than even a seasonal employee, you don’t need to go through multiple hiring processes, and you can scale up or down as needed.
At answering services like PATLive, all of our expert agents are native speakers who are thoroughly trained, and who will follow call handling instructions to help your customers exactly as you would.
How to Leverage a Seasonal Call Answering Service for More Sales
Let’s take a look at three of the most easy-to-implement and time-saving options for small businesses to leverage a seasonal call answering service.
1. Make the Seasonal Call Answering Service the First Line of Defense
Plenty of businesses will have call navigation menus, but calls still end up going straight to an operator. Some have calls going straight to an individual to direct the calls.
Either way, have the answering service act as the first line of defense for all calls that aren’t directed to a specific department. This allows your trained staff to handle more intensive calls, giving them more time to handle important concerns that need to be tackled.
Even freeing up one or two people on your team for part of the day from having to manage these calls can make a huge impact on what they’re able to accomplish in other areas, including with nurturing sales or assisting long-term, high-value clients.
2. Let the Service Handle FAQ Calls
Your highly qualified team is ready to take on anything, including missing orders on Christmas Eve, clients demanding refunds long outside the expected policy, and troubleshooting questions.
The last thing they need is to be stuck on FAQ calls where customers are answering for an address, an order tracking number, or quick questions about shipping times and tracking information.
3. Allow the Service to Process Orders If Needed
Some answering services like PATLive can offer integrations with the point of sale system that you have, meaning that we can actually help you process orders over the phone.
This year, that will be particularly significant as more shoppers are shifting to online purchasing, and many customers call for help when placing an order – even in 2020. If the customer has a more complex inquiry prior to completing the purchase, then the answering service can direct them to you so you can still capture the sale.
How to Choose a Great Seasonal Call Answering Service
When you’re choosing a seasonal call answering service to help you boost your holiday sales, you want to look for one that has the following;
- Month-to-month pricing. It makes no sense to be locked into high call volume pricing if you’re having a seasonal influx of calls now, even if you want to continue on with the service after the holidays. Find a service that lets you scale up and down as needed.
- No contracts required. If you only want to hire the service during the holidays, you don’t want to get locked into a year-long agreement.
- The ability to process sales. Not all answering services are able to help with managing orders, so if this is a feature you want, make sure that the service offers it at no extra cost.
- Expert native speaking agents only. Some services hire non-native speakers, but this can be frustrating for your customers. Choose an agency with expert, trained, U.S. receptionists only.
The holidays are a high-stakes time for small businesses, so it’s essential to have everything in order to maximize both your sales and customer satisfaction. Remember, too, that if your customers are happy now, they’re more likely to have higher retention rates even as we move into 2021.
A seasonal call answering service can save the day, giving your team more time while ensuring that every customer call is answered within just a few seconds.