By Phoebe Osborn, Content Marketing Specialist
When you’re handling people’s money, there’s no doubt trust is essential. As a CPA, financial advisor, or estate planner, your clients depend on your expertise to guide their finances and their futures. It’s a big deal to say the least, and in competitive fields like these, customer service can be the differentiator that sets you apart or the weakness that holds you back.
When it comes to building healthy client relationships, every touchpoint matters and every interaction counts—especially the first one. While prospective clients may browse your website or scroll through online reviews before reaching out, their first human-to-human interaction with your business is likely to be a phone call, and to make the most of it, you need the right voice on your end of the line. Creating a quality phone experience is critical to earning new clients and keeping existing clients happy, and a good receptionist can help you get there. Whether you’re seeking in-house phone help, encouraging you current receptionist brush up on skills, or looking for a remote solution, here are some important factors to consider.
The right receptionist is a master of first impressions
(and second impressions, and third, and 245th…)
Although smartphones allow users to interact with businesses in all sorts of ways, research shows more and more people are using those pocket-sized computers to do what they were initially intended to do: make phone calls. If you’re ready to impress when potential clients call, you’re in luck—80% of smartphone users recently polled said a positive phone experience is likely to turn them into repeat customer.
On the flip side, 74% said just one negative phone experience is enough to make them move on to another business. What might that poor experience look like? If you call many businesses, you can probably guess: long hold times, botched transfers, complicated automated systems, having to repeat the same information over and over, and being sent straight to voicemail are common complaints, along with reaching a less-than-enthusiastic live person.
Winning over potential clients means not only picking up when they call, but making them feel appreciated. As an ambassador for your business, your receptionist’s word choice and tone of voice play a pivotal role in a client’s perception of your firm, so positive phrasing and a warm, upbeat tone are a must. And, of course, so is a live answer—after all, if you don’t pick up the phone, you definitely won’t make a good first impression. If you have an in-house receptionist, be sure to have a phone coverage plan for lunch breaks, sick days, vacations, and emergencies, so your service doesn’t slip. You never know when your next big client is going to call.
The right receptionist is a customer experience expert
A great receptionist doesn’t need to solve every caller’s problem or answer every caller’s question in order to build rapport—in fact, answering questions isn’t always ideal. Imagine calling your doctor’s office with a medical question: would you rather the receptionist tell you to take two Tylenol, or politely listen to your concerns and offer to have the doctor return your call?
Sure, a good receptionist can answer basic questions about your business, but it’s about much more than that. Listening, taking detailed notes and messages, and guiding callers to collect the information you need in order to deliver your best service are all key skills in the receptionist’s toolkit, and the best receptionists can transfer those skills to any office or business without missing a beat. Building trust is all about creating experiences that leave callers feeling heard and taken care of, so it’s important to choose a receptionist who is naturally motivated to help and reassure others. While any bright person can learn the ins and outs of your business, a natural desire to connect with people isn’t necessarily something you can train for, so if you’re hiring in-house help, interpersonal skills should be considered as highly as clerical skills, if not more so.
Buy-in is important, too. We all have our ups and downs, but a standout receptionist—and one who makes your business stand out—can be consistently relied upon to delight callers and help your day run more smoothly, morning and afternoon, during busy times and slow times. In order to deliver unwaveringly stellar service, a receptionist has to believe in the importance and value of their role, and that of your business as a whole.
The right receptionist isn’t necessarily in the same office
An outstanding phone experience doesn’t need to take place from your lobby—and if you are fortunate enough to have found your in-house dream receptionist, chances are they’re tasked with a heck of a lot more than fielding incoming calls, like greeting visitors and helping with administrative tasks, to name a few. And even the best receptionist needs (and deserves!) breaks, vacation days, and the occasional sick day. A virtual receptionist service can be the missing link that ensures your current and potential clients always get top-notch service when they call. Whether using such a service in tandem with an in-house receptionist, or leaving your phone experience fully in their capable hands, you’ll find many remote services offer impressive features that more than justify their (typically very affordable) expense.
Today’s virtual receptionist services are a far cry from yesterday’s answering services, and they bring a lot more to the table than, “I’m sorry. The office is closed for lunch.” The best around offer 100% live answering with your custom greeting, and can transfer calls when and where you want, conduct new client intake, answer basic questions, take detailed messages, and much more, so you never have to worry about missed calls or missed opportunities. Most services can be turned on and off quickly and easily, and virtual teams can adjust their call-handling on the fly instructions to suit your changing day. And with a quality service, you get not one, but a team of customer experience experts trained in telephone etiquette and positive phrasing, committed to making meaningful connections that delight new and longtime clients. In short, if you truly want to capitalize on your caller experience, a virtual receptionist service can help you make the most of every call—for a fraction of the cost of hiring a new team member. Ruby® Receptionists is the only virtual receptionist service dedicated to creating personal connections with your callers and growing your firm—and as an Ultimate Estate Planner customer, you’ll receive $75 off your first invoice! Learn more www.callruby.com/ultimate.
ABOUT RUBY® RECEPTIONIST
Ruby® Receptionists is the only live virtual receptionist service dedicated to creating real, meaningful connections with callers—building trust and helping you win business. A virtual receptionist ensures every call is answered in a friendly, but professional manner. Ruby Receptionists will screen and transfer calls, take messages, answer frequently asked questions about your business and even complete basic client intake forms—all while sounding like we’re right there in your office. Potential customers will feel more at ease being able to bounce initial questions off a receptionist first, and as a bonus, having a receptionist buffer will increase the value of your time to callers. Most importantly, a good virtual receptionist is your first line of defense against distractions.
For more information about the benefits of Ruby Receptionists, click here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Phoebe Osborn, Content Marketing Specialist, Ruby Receptionists
Phoebe loves to write, and is happy writing has played a key role in her Ruby career. She joined the marketing team after ten years in learning and development, where she helped build Ruby’s thorough and ongoing receptionist training program.
OTHER ARTICLES IN THIS ISSUE
- IRA & RETIREMENT BENEFIT PLANNING: FAKE NEWS! by Philip J. Kavesh, J.D., LL.M. (Taxation), CFP®, ChFC, California State Bar Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law
- ASSET PROTECTION: The Nevada Asset Protection Trust: Why Nevada is the Leading Jurisdiction…Period! by Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished)