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The Definitive Guide to Hiring an Answering Service

What even is an answering service? Why would a business hire one? Wouldn’t my clients be able to tell they didn’t actually reach my office?

Answering services aren’t a new concept but they are still mysterious. If you’ve ever wondered if you should hire an answering service or virtual receptionist, read on! Back Office Betties is taking this opportunity to answer all of your burning questions, and more.

What is an answering service?

An answering service is a company that answers any incoming calls for your business. They can answer FAQs, schedule appointments, and transfer important calls to you when necessary.

Why should I hire an answering service?

Businesses hire answering services for all different reasons, but the common denominator is that it will save you time. By having someone else answer your phones, you are no longer a slave to your phone and can focus on your actual work.

Answering Service vs Receptionist

If you haven’t hired a receptionist yet, you probably have avoided it due to the cost, right? Receptionists need office space, computer equipment, salary, paid time off, etc.

If you have a business that has constant traffic through your doors, a receptionist may be the right option for you because you need someone greeting people anyway. But for small businesses that don’t have that traffic, an answering service may be the route to go.

An answering service can do everything that a receptionist does (except sit at a desk in your office, of course) for a much lower cost. There is no overhead, no paid time off, and no supplying of equipment.

Answering services offer different services depending on which company you choose to work with, but some of the most popular services offered are:

  • Call Screening (buh-bye solicitors!)
  • Client Intake
  • Appointment Scheduling
  • Calendar Management
  • Answering of FAQs
  • Transfer of Urgent Calls
  • Message Forwarding

Can my clients tell you’re not in my office?

Ah, onto the real burning question! This one depends. If you choose an answering service that bounces back and forth between different types of businesses, maybe. If you choose one that operates like a call center, probably. Choose a niched answering service that specializes in your type of small business and it’s highly unlikely.

Back Office Betties specializes in small law firms and, unless your client is standing in your office when they call, they will not even know the difference!

What should I look for in an answering service?

When looking into hiring someone to answer your phones and assist your business, you want to be sure that the company you are contemplating will offer everything you need.

Can they set appointments? Can they fill out a client intake form? Are they able to send your phone messages to you immediately? What about email management? Do they integrate with your current processes? Can they set up new, more effective processes?

The best way to make sure that these things can all be taken care of is to ensure that you are actually hiring a company that offers virtual receptionist services. Virtual receptionist services are elevated answering services, and can really let you get back to the work that only YOU can do.

Before hiring, check out their reviews

Now that you know to look for a niched virtual receptionist, head to some review sites and see what other businesses in your field have to say. Google reviews are always reliable, but there are also many niched review websites, such as Lawyerist, that can give you a firm grasp on what your colleagues think of any specific company.

Take advantage of a free trial!

Once you’ve narrowed it down to c0uple of companies you would like to potentially work with, sign up for the free trial. A great virtual receptionist service will offer one long enough to actually see the benefits of their service. Back Office Betties offers a 7-Day Free Trial to give you a really firm grasp on what we can do to help you save time and money, while upping your productivity.

 

Good luck on your journey to hiring an answering service!

 

Betties Book Brief

Want a massive social following in your business?  Who wouldn’t!

Back Office Betties had the great pleasure of reading One Million Followers by Brendan Kane and we just had to share it with all of you!  Kane gives great insight on how to take advantage of many different social media platforms.  His growth hacks for your business and your brand make this book a must read.

Betties Take-a-Ways

This book has a wealth of knowledge!  Here are our top 5 take-a-ways pertaining to Facebook:

  • Facebook is used to share more content than email or any other online social platform. No matter how many followers you have, Facebook only shows content to 2-5% of your audience.  What’s the determining factor?  How engaging and relevant your content is.  Your content must resonate with your audience.
  • Create ads specifically to get more likes/followers on your page. Be careful not to limit your demographics when testing ads.  A great example was given about Chatbooks in the book.  They wanted to target mom’s 45 years or older who liked scrap-booking, photography, and motherhood in a Mother’s Day ad.  Instead of age targeting, they used a broad range on age and found that younger people were sharing the ads with their moms to start a conversation.  This in turn created an organic reach to the intended demographic.
  • Have a great headline with a great hook point. Ask yourself, if your potential customer is walking down the street and passes a newsstand with 100 articles, what headline would they stop to read?  It should be relevant, interesting, and meet the needs of your audience.
  • If you do ads on Facebook, do not raise the spend limit if the ad is doing well.  Facebook will reset the cost in auction and your costs will increase.  Instead, duplicate the ad and create a new one.  It’s recommended to have a budget of $11 to $25 daily on ads.  For the most part, your page ads should not cost more than $0.10 per ‘like’.
  • Use the 80/20 rule when posting.  Make sure 80% of the time your content is share worthy and 20% of the time your asking for a sale or promoting your business.

Believe us when we say this is just the tip of the iceberg on all the information given.  It also features in-depth interviews from marketing experts, celebrities, and influencers.  This book could be helpful taking your firm to the next level you’ve been wanting!

Back Office Betties

Social Media: Content is King!

 

Mastering the art of social media can be tricky, especially when you’re not sure what to be posting. What should we be sharing? How do we keep our customers engaged? These are the questions that can keep a person up at night!

Well…. maybe not that extreme, but it can be stressful trying to run successful business and your social media accounts.

5 Things You Should Do When Posting

Check out these quick tips for posting good social media content:

  • Post information that you think is valuable to your customers. In order to do that you must know and understand your customers. Who are they? What are their demographics? Why are they following you? Don’t be afraid to ask them directly what kind of content they want to see more of!
  • Share posts with a variety of information. Share articles you were featured in, press releases, or links to your blog posts. Also post articles you find interesting, videos, photos, or stories. Stay engaged and be willing to branch out on your topics.
  • Try not to over post or under post. This is a fine line to walk, and it’s all about balance.
  • Prepare a social media content calendar. Planning will prevent the day to day stress of trying to figure out something to post so you can focus more time on the quality of your content.
  • Begin or end your posts with questions. This will get your followers engaged and potentially generate comments. Which will further help you learn more about your customers/ followers.

Social media doesn’t have to be scary or intimidating. It’s just another tool at our disposal to network and market. Offer content that you yourself would want to read.

Most importantly, have fun with it and keep it interesting!

Back Office Betties

Are You Unstoppable?

March’s Book Brief highlight is Unstoppable by Dave Anderson! This amazing book is all about how your mindset, when coupled with action, can greatly change your performance in your career. Dave Anderson breaks down the 4 different types of employees:

  • The Undertaker: Performance is below baseline, and they achieve nothing meaningful. This can include high achievers who win by violating values.
  • The Caretaker: They do just enough to get by and collect a paycheck.
  • The Playmaker: These people have what it takes to become Game Changers but aren’t quite there yet. Playmakers are more motivated by external factors, excessive affirmation, and personal glory. They have to celebrate every win and are more wrapped up in their own success rather than the success of the team.
  • The Game Changer: They are intrinsically motivated, they do ordinary extraordinary well, and are great cultural fits. They are committed to self -improvement, they want feedback from others, and they don’t see themselves as victims but products of their daily choices and efforts.

Are You A Game Changer?

So clearly, we should all be striving towards being Game Changers, but that can be easier said than done, especially without guidance. Well,

fortunately for us, Unstoppable provides a roadmap to Game Changer status:

  • Start with the “why”. What do you want to do? Do you want to inspire others? Do you want to help others succeed? What motivates you and pushes you? What inspires you?
  • Live life in the zone. Know where you excel and spend time in this zone perfecting those skills. This is called the zone of excellence. You should spend more time in the zone of excellence. When you leave your zone, snap back into it faster.
  • A.P.E– Attitude, Passion, and Enthusiasm. Having a good attitude, passion, and enthusiasm for what you do will determine how well you do it. The more A.P.E you have, the more dedicated you will be.
  • Have mental toughness. Have faith that what you are fighting for is worth every ounce of effort. Faith is what gets you back up when you fall. Faith turns criticism into helpful feedback. It’s what keeps you moving toward your goals!

Being a Game Changer isn’t easy, nothing that involves practicing discipline over your mindset is. But having discipline is what turns unexceptional into extraordinary, and there is no other way we should be living our lives!

Back Office Betties

Know Your Position When Playing the Game

It is human nature to always be searching for something better, the proverbial ‘grass is always greener on the other side’. We might have fooled ourselves into believing that a constant search for success is what will eventually get us there, but this mindset is what is limiting us in our businesses.

Basketball pro Bill Walton believed hyper focusing on your weaknesses does nothing but chew up time that could be spent sharpening your strengths. The truth is, there are just some things we aren’t good at, and we never will be. But there is a silver lining; there are things we are great at that other people aren’t. And it is these things we should be focusing on.

Stick with What You Know

So how do we do this? It is as simple as sticking with what you know, and really pushing yourself towards improvement in those areas. This was a lesson I learned the long and hard way, but when I finally realized I don’t have to be good at everything, I was really liberated. You have employees and coworkers for a reason! Each person has a set of unique skills and abilities, and like a puzzle, they can fill the gaps you can’t.

In the game of basketball, one person isn’t responsible for every position on the court. If so, there would be no game, it would be constant failure, especially when competing with teams who operate like a well-oiled machine. So, it’s silly to think different rules apply when it comes to our businesses.

Push yourself outside your comfort zone with your strengths. Be more than just “good” at your strengths… be great!  If you’re point guard, then be the best point guard you can be, and stop trying to master the role of playing the forward. You have what it takes to be successful, so start applying those skills!

Back Office Betties

Solo Concierge’s at Your Service!

Back Office Betties specializes in helping small and single attorney firms, which allows us to provide unmatched services for our clients.  We are proud to announce that we are making your customer experience even better with our NEW Solo Concierge Service!

Unlimited Personal Concierge Services

Aside from answering phone calls and other duties that commensurate with daily office function; here are some examples of what personal concierge’s service can do for you:

  • Online shopping- for when you get held up in court and don’t have time.
  • Setting up lunch dates- for when you get caught up on the phone with a chatty client!
  • Researching travel- for when you unexpectedly make a new client that you need to see.
  • Scheduling family events- for when things get hectic, keeping your home life balanced.
  • Ordering flowers or a gift – for your loved one and you don’t want to miss the occasion!
  • …And so much more!!

Save Precious Time

We know that as a busy attorney, you don’t always have time to get personal things done. The great news is, you don’t have to! With our Solo Concierge you have a professional who you can trust to take care of those small tasks that seem to take time out of your day.  There’s nothing wrong with asking for help, especially when it means you get significantly more time in the day to spend working with your clients, providing the services you know they need.

The Solo Concierge by Back Office Betties is here for you… After all, we are your team of professional virtual receptionists who will work on your side and support you like no other!

What Are You Bad At?

Despite the things you may have heard, it is in fact okay for your firm to be bad at things. There is no such thing as perfection.  However, there is such thing as niche expertise, and that is where you should strive to be. For example, if you are focused on your clientele and you should have a strong understanding of your ‘dream’ client – the more you will be able to meet his/her needs.

What Walmart Knows…

Let’s use an example like the store Walmart for instance. Walmart knows exactly who they are catering to, and they are offering exactly what their customer base wants- affordable grocery and retail products.  It’s not a glamorous, upscale shopping experience…. and for them it doesn’t have to be!  If Walmart wanted to become a high-end retailer, they would not be able to do that and keep their prices low.  They cater to the budget-conscious consumer and are ok not serving the higher-end retail customer.  They have embraced their strengths, and they are dominating their niche because of it.

Our Niche

At Back Office Betties, we are a prime example as well!  Our ‘dream’ clients are small law firms.  We can provide a very specialized service to attorneys that need a virtual receptionist.  Lawyers want to help their clients win cases and they cannot focus on what’s important if they are constantly answering the phone.  We are the team that stands behind the scenes and takes care of phone tasks with our professional legal receptionists.  Because we identify what we are best at, we provide unparalleled service in our industry!

Find Your Niche

As you decide to develop you niche further, find out what your bad at first and eliminate that.  Then focus on what your firm is good at. What is your niche? Who is your dream client?  Just remember, you don’t need to please everyone!