How IVR and Live Receptionist Services Can Make Life Simple for You and Your Clients
When it comes to owning a small business, being organized is absolutely critical, both for the success of your state of mind and the success of your endeavors. This is the case whether you are just starting off on a new business-owning adventure or you are a seasoned pro. One of the first things to nail down in this regard is client contact; namely, how will your clients be contacting you? If you become successful, how will you handle an increased flow of customers? If you have a particularly smart ad campaign, how will you deal with a rapid influx of new callers?
These are important questions. Fortunately, they all have pretty much the same answer: employ the use of an IVR system. IVR, which is an acronym for “Interactive voice response,” is an incredibly useful tool which, when used correctly, can take your business to the next level and keep you, your employees (if you have them), and your clients (we know you’ll have them!) happy.
If you want to maximize an IVR system, you can combine it with some other useful tools — like a live receptionist service, which maximizes the potential of both.
We’ll be going through exactly how to get the most out of the use of an IVR system here. First, we’ll touch on the basics of what an IVR system is and how you use it. Then, we’ll address how it helps you and how it helps your clients. Throughout, we’ll shine a light on how combining an IVR system with a live receptionist service ups your A-game and brings out the best of both services.
The Basics of an Interactive Voice Response System
Although you may not think you have previously read or come across the acronym IVR, or not have any idea what an interactive voice response system is, you’re almost definitely mistaken- in fact, you have probably used one many times before.
Interactive voice response systems—sometimes known by other names, such as auto-attendants—are the systems you encounter whenever you call your bank or your local hospital and hear “Press one for Sales, press two to speak to a representative,” etc. It’s basically a way for you to interact with the computer, most often via the phone’s keypad (though sometimes systems have you give voice commands, this isn’t widespread and sometimes serves to annoy clients who may already be in slightly shouty moods).
IVR systems have been around for a long time — since the early 1970s. But over the last couple of decades they’ve really improved, transitioning from slow, clunky awful robotic voices to fully complete and well-rounded programs which you can edit and update as you please (don’t worry, we’ll get into more detail below). With those updates, they’ve become incredibly widespread, mostly due to their usefulness for both caller and called. They frequently save time and money and are all around a useful tool to have in your business’ arsenal. How exactly? Read on to find out more!
How an IVR + Live Receptionist Service Setup Saves You Time, Money, and Energy
Time, money, and energy. These are the three (non-scientific) variables which you must have most in balance in order to succeed with your small business. Too much energy but not enough time? No good. Tons of time but no energy? No good. Too much money? Ok well, that’s usually good. But you get the picture.
Using IVR from a business phone system like MightyCall helps you keep the balance in all three of those variables, and in some ways dramatically increases your effectiveness with each of them. Let’s go variable by variable.
Save time with IVR
When you run a small business you quickly learn that, even on less-busy days, those twenty-four hours that make up a day just aren’t enough to get done what you need to get done. Forget cutting costs (though we’ll get to that too) — you have to learn to cut time!
An interactive voice system is one of the best ways you can go about doing that, even if you are on the smaller side of small business. IVR systems effectively act as a way of “weeding out” the customers who will end up taking up huge chunks of your time with what are probably pretty low-level stuff: what are your hours, what are any current sales, things like that. By telling the IVR what to say (or, with some services, putting in your own audio so that your customers don’t have to hear a robot slowly speaking to them), many of those callers may never even end up needing to get through to you. When you’re a smaller business, that means saving you time which can be better spent doing other things.
By adding a live receptionist service like Gabbyville’s to the IVR setup, the time benefits skyrocket. Live receptionists are knowledgeable as to your callers most frequently asked questions and can help direct your callers to where they need to go. The benefits of combining the two are obvious: having the IVR set up to answer the most basic questions will weed out many callers; the live receptionist can then take care of the rest, filtering any remaining callers by answering them or determining who on your team needs to be contacted by said caller.
Save money with IVR
IVR services, such as MightyCall’s, are part of small business telephony services. This means that for a single small price, you get lots of business phone features such as local, toll-free and vanity numbers, unlimited extensions, call forwarding, built-in CRM, and much more. Then there’s the added fact that it doesn’t cost much extra to upkeep the IVR– in fact, it costs nothing extra oftentimes. Plus, for some services, when you aren’t answering calls, you aren’t using up minutes — the IVR is taking care of those callers for you.
But what if you want the touch of a real-life person? Well, as we suggested above, it’s not just time which will be saved with a live receptionist service- your cold hard cash is going to stay firmly in your wallet too. Hiring a single dedicated receptionist can (will, if you’re paying everyone what you’re legally supposed to be paying them!) cost you tens of thousands of dollars a year. It’s not cheap. But a live receptionist service—which oftentimes includes the services of multiple live receptionists—is significantly cheaper.
Give Yourself Peace of Mind
And what about energy? Your energy isn’t exactly quantifiable, like time or money — but it is in a way just as, if not more important. Yes, you obviously need time to run a business and you certainly need money — but if you don’t have energy, time won’t matter and you won’t ever get a chance to make your first nickel of profit.
Now look—we know you care about your clients and callers, and you want that personal and professional touch. But the thing is…that’s why you’re thinking of setting up an IVR system and getting a live receptionist service! Those services take care of your customers for you, allowing you to use your energy in a way that best suits the needs of your business — so that you can make it better for your customers over a long period of time!
Both an IVR and a live receptionist service take the heat off of you and your phone. That’s not a weakness — it’s giving yourself an added strength.
Put Your Clients First with IVR + Live Receptionist
Remember the most important perspectives here — those of your clients. They are going to be what really matters at the end of the day when it comes to you getting more money (one of the more important of the variables above). When it comes to spreading word of mouth, when it comes to return investments — making them happy is priority one.
Look at customer service from your clients’ perspective. They call with some quick question, but you don’t have an IVR system or a live receptionist. There are three people ahead of them, and it’s just you picking up — maybe a designated receptionist whom you’ve hired. Great. They get to wait for 15 minutes just to ask about a new sale, something that takes 30 seconds, and they probably finish the call more annoyed than when they started. Maybe they don’t even buy anything from you at all in the end. Repeat that a couple of times a day, and you have yourself a not-great situation.
Why risk any of that? The simplest ways of avoiding any unpleasantness—and giving your client the idea that you care about your needs (because you do!)—is taking the extra step of setting up a dual IVR/live receptionist service system.
When you run a small business, you need every hand available — and unfortunately, you only have two. Give yourself an extra pair (or several!) with IVR from MightyCall and a live receptionist service from Gabbyville today, and be thankful for years to come.