What is an after hours answering service?
After hours answering service is an answering service provided to the customers after business hours and on the weekends. This means that no matter when the customers are calling or leaving their messages, they will always get their answers and the help they need. Of course, just like any type of answering service, an after hours team can deal with different channels of communication.
Modern businesses cannot afford to be offline. Anytime. Customers want the coverage to be provided to them after business hours and even on the weekends. Generally speaking — modern businesses need to be available and provide after hours answering service 24/7. And it is no matter, what type of answering service a business provides — a virtual receptionist answering all your incoming calls and messages, a separate team that will provide after hours call answering service to your customers or a chatbot that will take care of an after hours message service — they are all essential to a smooth run of your business.
So, what are after hours answering services, how can they influence your business and what businesses should think about outsourcing their after hours call centers?
Types of answering service
After hours live chat answering service
46% of customers prefer communicating with businesses over chat. And that doesn't necessarily mean that they will write to you during business hours only. They are sure to reach out to you when your entire team has gone home. And if they do not get an answer within an expected 2-3 minutes time they will try seeking another way to reach you, which might only aggravate them. In its turn, it is better to provide customers with after hours answering services for your chat than to inconvenience them even more beyond having to contact your support team.
After hours phone service
Answering the phone around the clock is crucial for the run of your business. Customers expect to hear a HUMAN on the other end of the line within 15 seconds from the start of the call. With that in mind, only 44% of customers say that they are satisfied with the answering service they get over the phone. And anything can contribute to this number — from bad conversation to inability of the support team to resolve the customer’s issue right away to a long pick-up time. By making sure that your business hires an after hours call center or ensures that there is an on-call answering service available to take all the customers’ inquiries, it is easy to improve not only the satisfaction with the answering service but also with your business as a whole.
Email answering service
Average reply time for an email varies depending on the type of business and the average urgency of the request. It may be anywhere from 1 to 24 hours. Again, it all depends on each particular business itself and on its ability to set up an answering service, especially an after hours one. Even though answering emails does not seem like an urgent need, it is still quite important, especially given the fact that customers tend to send a lot of important information as well as screenshots and documents’ scans in order to help speed up the resolution process.
If you ensure that your customers have the possibility to get the best after hours answering service for their email, you will see that they are satisfied with your services.
What can be answered after hours? Phone, chat, email? A receptionist can take down the caller’s information and pass it over later. Another tool that can help any business provide customer service after hours is a chatbot that can be set up in-house or by a crafty third-party vendor within their CRM system. Chatbots are a very interesting and neat option for businesses that want to cut their expenses and at the same time provide their customers with the best after hours answering service.
In reality, providing customers with after hours answering service and after hours call service option will go a long way, as a business that is ready to go an extra mile and either set up an after hours team in-house or outsource it to a third party vendor like SupportYourApp is a business that is worth dealing with.
What businesses from different industries would benefit from after hours answering services?
Of course, even though any business can benefit from having an after hours team, there are certain industries that simply must have an after hours solution, as they simply cannot afford to miss any calls and messages:
Doctor offices (including veterinary)
Doctors and veterinarians simply must give their patients (even furry ones) a possibility to connect with them after hours. After all, you never know what medical emergency might occur and when it might occur. When it comes to doctor’s office answering services can:
- Accept the calls and messages
- Set up appointments for the patients
- Dispatch the calls to the appropriate medical professionals
- Deal with any kind of emergency
- Be on-call
Lawyers usually have a great flow of requests. And dealing with at least some of them after hours can greatly influence the efficiency of any lawyer’s office. After hours lawyer’s office operation is one of the best ways to ensure great coverage and the most efficient way of communication with those who need help from a lawyer’s office any time of day, especially after hours.
Plumbers, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) and electricians usually work during day time and business hours, but missing a call about a home emergency after hours may cost them their customers. That is why when dealing with home service, after hours answering service is a must. They can help you get the messages and calls from customers as well as deal with any kind of emergency and, as a result, form a very trusting relationship with the customers.
Tech companies might not necessarily think about after hours answering service or 24/7 customer support as a must. But it is. It is especially true for big companies that have customers around the globe, which means that it is impossible to know when a technical issue might occur. Tier 1 and 2 answering services are especially important to cover after hours because they deal with most customers: 80% of tickets are resolved at tier 1 — the least technically demanding one.
Having an after hours IT service will significantly ease the tasks for your daily support team and is sure to increase customer satisfaction KPI.
Custom after hours answering service — whatever your business needs
What do after hours answering services include and what kind of answering service can be provided to a business upon request?
After hours customer service and support
Make sure that your customers get top-notch answering service whenever they need help from your team
After hours dispatching service
Especially needed by medical offices, lawyers and insurance companies to make sure that no emergency goes unnoticed
After hours call center
Accepting calls and providing your customers with any information regarding your business, starting from setting an upcoming appointment all the way up to providing them with info on their delivery
After hours on-call service
Run a plumbing business or a veterinary? Be on-call after hours and make sure that your answering service is up to standard
After hours receptionist
After hours receptionist is a great way to delight your customers and your clients who need to reach your business after you have closed for the day
After hours technical support
Tech support tier 1-3 is the best way to deal with any user’s issue any time of day. Provide the best after hours technical support and the customers are going to stay loyal
Outsourcing after hours answering service: benefits
When you have the opportunity to get your customer’s call after hours it instantly forms a trusting relationship with your customer base. And surely, any business wants to have that as soon as possible with their customers. But, setting up an in-house answering service team might be hard to do, especially an after hours one. That is why a lot of businesses opt for outsourcing it to a third party vendor. After all, it is possible to outsource after hours call center services without additional hassle. What are the benefits of outsourcing when it comes to after hours answering service?
No unanswered calls
One of the biggest and greatest perks when it comes to after hours answering service is the fact that your business decreases a number of unanswered calls to a zero. And we all know that in the world of business, unanswered calls, messages and emails are equal to a possibility lost. And in the world of business we cannot afford to lose opportunities.
Hire after hours answering service in order to decrease the number of unanswered calls and messages for the growth of your business.
In-house after hours team will need a lot of resources — it will need additional payments for all the after hours operations, working spaces, hard- and software, coffee, paid sick leaves, vacationing and so on. They will also need some after hours managing, which will also take a toll on your management team.
In other words, after hours answering service team is an ordeal. On the other hand, finding an outsourced team that can very well become an after hours extension of your answering service department. This solution will also allow you to cut costs as all the above-mentioned is going to be taken care of by an outsourcing company. In the end, the cost saved will allow you to focus on business development and scaling your other departments.
Experienced calls and messages handling
Answering service is not as easy as it sounds. You have to have an understanding of your customer base and the tone of voice that they expect from you. To provide the best answering service, one has to be experienced in it. Outsourced solution will let you get the necessary expertise within a matter of days.
Ensuring that you are doing the right thing and providing excellent customer service by arranging a perfect after hours answering service team is one of the best ways to ensure loyalty of your customer base.
Ensure high customer satisfaction KPI
When your after hours team is answering the calls and messages instantly, when they provide the right information no matter the time of day and when they know exactly what needs to be done in order to satisfy a customer, then your customer satisfaction KPI is going to grow.
And if your customer satisfaction KPI is growing, your business will scale and develop, further trying to maintain the same high level of service. It is a circle where after hours answering service might be a locking ingredient.
As you can see, outsourcing your after hours answering service team will allow you to provide the best service around the clock and it will also help your customer base get the answers and help they need whenever they need it.