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Call Answering Support – Could It Be The Most Underestimated Service Of A Virtual Assistant?

Michelle Dale - Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I was recently thinking about all the services that virtual assistants provide, and how we can really underestimate certain tasks which are an essential cog in the wheel of any VA practise. Every single task, skill and assignment which is pertinent to the operational flow of a business IS important, no matter how small, or insignificant it may seem on it’s own. Take call answering for example, for many of us who have a larger network of clients, call answering services could be essential for us to be able to function, on the one hand we are busy handling our daily schedules, whatever they may be, and on the other hand, we are still receiving enquiries, and phone calls which we can’t answer, and we need someone to be able to professionally man the telephone fort.

If you’re getting to this stage, then you may want to consider a call answering service to help you with making a really fantastic (and very important) first impression to your clients. I use a call answering service in my business to take calls and schedule appointments in my diary to call potential clients and existing clients back, this is a very important part of my business. So whether you are the virtual assistant providing the call answering services, or whether you are the one who is looking for the virtual assistant to help you with your call answering, there are some really important points to keep in mind.

If you’re a VA providing call answering services, you should be taking down this vital information in order to service your clients professionally, and if you’re VA looking for a call answering service, this is the information you should make sure the service provider has available to them, in order to ensure those all important first impressions are excellent ones!

#1 Basic Essentials

It’s important that the call answering service has all of your basic essential information, this includes:

  • Company name
  • Correspondence address
  • Telephone number
  • Email address
  • Website URL

#2 About Your Business

Next there needs to be some background information:

  • What type of business are you?
  • Company information (what you stand for/mission statements)
  • What are your opening/standard working hours?

#3 Tailoring The Service

This is really crucial, that the call answering service is tailoring their responses in accordance with your requirements.

  • How would you like the service to answer your calls? e.g. “Thank you for calling ABC Company, my name is Joe, how can I help you?”
  • Explain to the service provider, when you anticipate that you will be diverting your calls and roughly how many calls do you expect them to receive? This is important for the provider to take into consideration, so they can prepare.
  • How would you like your messages relayed? e.g. email, instant message etc…

#4 Any Special Instructions?

I primarily utilise my call answering VA’s to schedule in appointments, you may have a different need for this service, either way, it’s important to communicate your expectations, first of all to make sure that the provider is able to meet these, and second so they can be really clear on how they can best service your business needs.

To do this in my own business I provided my VA call answering service with a Jing video tutorial on how to schedule an appointment using my online booking system, I specified the details that they need to obtain from the client or potential client at the time of the call and also the procedure of making the booking. This hopefully will have a dual positive outcome, I am able to communicate effectively the way I would like the calls handled for my business, so I have everything I need, and they can then confirm if they are able to meet these, and also keep the information on file to refer back to.

If you’re a virtual assistant, no matter what skill or service you provide, and no matter where you provide it, whether you have your own business, you work for a VA company, you’re solo, or multi-VA — what you do is essential to keep businesses turning over, whether it’s transcription, answering calls, proof-reading or responding to customer support tickets, take pride in what you do, and know that it’s an important service, and if you provide that service to the highest standards, and really care about what you do, you are an invaluable and essential part of a whole.

A watch stops functioning when a cog is removed. Never underestimate the value of an individual part of a whole mechanism.

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Hi I'm Michelle, an entrepreneur specialising in virtual assistance, a digital and real world nomad, and a down-to-earth mother of three.

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