How does a Virtual Receptionist complete small tasks for my business? | Smiledog

How does a Virtual Receptionist complete small tasks for my business? | Smiledog

How can a Virtual Receptionist Strengthen my Business?

 

You might be wondering what sets Smiledog apart from its competitors. After all, we’re not the only virtual reception service out there. Smiledog really approaches its role as virtual reception provider in a “full service” way. By this we mean, we want our services to strengthen your business by being virtually indistinguishable from the services provided by an in house receptionist. Often, you would have an in house receptionist that has other duties besides answering the phone. Our receptionists are capable of handling your small tasks and special instructions while providing our high quality virtual receptionist services.

Customized Virtual Reception Services

How we handle your calls is determined mostly by you! In other words, when we begin providing services to strengthen your business, we interview with you to learn more about your business and the nature of your phone calls. This makes it possible for us to determine the best way we can answer your calls. If you want to provide us with a script, we are happy to implement it. If you don’t have any preferences, we can suggest a professional greeting appropriate to your industry. Our real goal is find ways for you to take full advantage of the services we offer.

We Do More Than Just Answer Phones

If you are using our services for answering calls, it’s possible you might also be interested in our performing more small tasks as part of our answering services. This may be of particular interest to clients interested in full time reception options. Need us to fill out a form when a client calls, and submit the form to you? We can definitely do this! When you set up services with us, we can get these forms in place so that get the information from your callers that you need.

We Book Appointments Too!

For those businesses whose calls largely are related to setting up, rescheduling, and otherwise handling appointments, we are here to help! Our services are a great option for practitioners and business owners who don’t want to deal with the added overhead of hiring a full time receptionist for appointment setting purposes. Our Smiledog virtual receptionists can answer calls and schedule appointments using real-time web based calendaring systems. We can even reschedule appointments for the day if you are sick or have an emergency keeping you away from the office.

Have Another Need Not Mentioned?

Do you have another small task that you think our virtual receptionists could do to help streamline your business? Since our services are completely customizable, bring us your idea, and we will do everything possible to meet that need. We love to find new ways to help our clients!

Learn More About How We Can Help You!

If you’re ready to strengthen your business and learn more about the suite of options we have for our clients, call Smiledog today! We are excited to learn more about your business, and we are certain to have some great solutions to streamline your operations.

Contact us by phone today or visit our GETTING STARTED page to learn more!

The key elements to excellent customer service

The key elements to excellent customer service

Some say great customer service is an art. Others say it comes down to a scientific mix of character traits. We think the key elements for success lie somewhere between the two. We have put together a comprehensive list of skills, that are both developable and observational in nature. Meaning, your team can start working on these skill sets without having a natural aptitude for customer service.

Patience
For many, when they reach out to a business with an inquiry, it is from a place of confusion and sometimes frustration. Answering numerous and often repetitive client requests requires patience. Patience in dealing with clients is one thing, patience with each other and for the core of the business overall is crucial to an efficient and high-functioning organization.

Communication
This one might seem fairly obvious but you’d be surprised how easily communication styles can be misconstrued. Having consistent communication guidelines in place for your team can eliminate gaps from representative to representative. Implementing language you would like your team to use and holding regular training and role-playing will ensure that clients always receive the same level of service when they interact with your company.

Attention to Detail
Listening is one of the most important concepts behind excellent customer service. Active listening; looking for cues ‘between the lines’ will make the difference between placating a client in the moment and building a loyal client relationship for life.

Knowledge
Knowing the product or service they’re selling/supporting should be second nature for customer service experts. However, without proper training, many front-line representatives are left without the proper tools. Encorporating product and service training and ideals into your onboarding process will ensure a consistent knowledge base for your front-line team.

The power of positivity
Training your team on the power of using positive language will make a huge difference in how clients feel. Specific training on reframing statements from a negative perspective to a positive perspective will have a huge impact. If you’re not sure where to start, this positive language starter guide is a great resource.

Keeping your cool
While being completely unflappable can be difficult in heated situations, the ability to do so can turn a situation around in a hurry. While most interactions will likely remain civil, there are certain situations where keeping your cool is the ultimate solution. Clients will mirror the demeanour of their representative and often need that structure to see that the situation is solvable. The saying ‘cooler heads prevail’ should be the motto for your client service team.

Empowered Work Force
Giving your client service team the autonomy to make decisions on the fly will allow them to solve problems quickly and efficiently. This sense of empowerment will also give your team the confidence they need to handle situations with ease and professionalism. With proper training and role-playing scenarios, you should feel confident that your team can make decisions that reflect the values and goals of the company as a whole. 

Always be Closing
Your customer service team should know that their main mandate when concluding a client interaction is their satisfaction. Clients should leave the conversation feeling that their needs have been met or will be as soon as possible. Your team should verbally acknowledge that this is their mandate and confirm with the client before ending the conversation that their needs have been met.

Changing Perspective
Having empathy for client concerns can turn a situation around quickly and efficiently. The ability to think from a different perspective will allow your team to see issues from another angle, often resulting in creative solutions that work for everyone.

Time Management
Your team should understand that there is an adequate amount of time to dedicate to each issue. Sticking to those boundaries will result in more efficient conversations and a clear course of action should things veer out of scope. Finding another resource and acknowledging the inability to help is the best course of action.

If your team is struggling to reach the level of client service you’d like, we can help, reach out if you’d like more information!

 

 

 

5 ways a virtual receptionist can make your day-to-day business life easier and help you grow!

5 ways a virtual receptionist can make your day-to-day business life easier and help you grow!

Often when people hear the term “virtual receptionist” they think of someone who answers your phone and takes a message or an assistant type person who can do data entry.

The truth is a virtual receptionist can help you with a heck of a lot. They can do almost everything an in-house receptionist can do when it comes to the phone.

Here are 5 ways a virtual receptionist can make your day-to-day business life easier and help you grow!

#1 Live answer

As high as 80% of callers won’t leave a voice message because they don’t believe they’ll get a callback. By having a virtual receptionist that answers every call live you instantly eliminate the chance of losing a prospective new or current customer to voice mail.

#2 Live transfer

Answering services take messages, but virtual reception services act as, and in fact are, your receptionist.

When someone calls looking for you or another staff member, unless there are other instructions on file to take a message, your virtual receptionist will first try to live transfer the caller to you or the proper staff member.

If that person cannot be reached your virtual receptionist will follow the instructions on your file to either try someone else or take a message.

#3 Book an Appointment

Not every call is someone looking for an answer to a question. In many businesses, the caller is looking to book an appointment. Your virtual receptionist can take the required customer information and book the appointment right on your calendar.

Virtual receptionists are integrated with numerous popular web calendars such as MindBody Online, Appointments Plus and more.

Curious how Virtual Receptionists can Book Appointments for your business? Click here now to get our Video Demo & Price Guide

#4 Answer General Questions

“I have a quick question…” is probably what half the callers to your business say when their call is answered.

No Problem!

Your virtual receptionist can field frequently asked questions and provide answers based on information and resources you provide.

If the question is outside the scope of what your virtual receptionist deems they can handle they’ll politely let the caller know that they need to speak with someone else that specializes in that area and they’ll have them call the customer back ASAP.

#5 Take a Message

This might seem like the most basic function of what a virtual receptionist can do, but it plays an important role in your day-to-day business life.

Know you’re going to be traveling or otherwise unavailable for the day? Let your receptionist know and they’ll be able to promptly tell callers you’re tied up at the moment but you can call them back at the date you’ll be available.

The message will be taken and then sent to you via email for you to return when available.

BONUS #6 Outbound Calling

Most virtual receptionists are not call-centres, but if you need to reschedule customer appointments or follow-up with certain customers they can make those calls and follow the proper procedure you lay out for them.

How Does a Virtual Receptionist Accomplish all this?

Curious how a virtual receptionist manages to be able to do all that for you?

We’ve got a demo video you can watch and also a pricing guide ready for you. Simply select the page below that you feel caters most to your business and you can access the guide and video right away.

The Art of Telephone Upselling

The Art of Telephone Upselling

Telephone upselling is a common sales technique where the telephone representative encourages the customer they are speaking with to purchase more in order to generate more revenue. This is a very successful sales tactic to encourage upgrades, add on services or bigger ticket purchases.

Here are a few ways to maximize your telephone upselling results.

Extend the Customer Relationship

In many cases, customer service teams may be uncomfortable with selling. If this is the case, enrolling the team in sales training will empower them to sell products and services that truly provide measurable value. It is much easier for a customer service based team to upsell when it becomes an extension of providing excellent customer service.

Use a Customer Relationship Management system (CRM)

CRM systems allow companies to store data on their customers. This typically includes demographics, sales history and correspondence logs. Using a CRM will provide your team with customer data allowing them to offer targeted upselling solutions. Offers that are specifically targeted to a customer are much more likely to be well received.

Leverage On-Hold Systems

When customers are placed on-hold, it is prime time to help boost any sales messaging your team might be using. A captive audience is much easier to reach! Use this time to let customers know about possible upselling incentives. Using this time as an initiative will plant the sales seed and allow for the conversation to move to an upsell position much more organically.

Offer Telephone Upselling Incentives

Many teams respond well to internal incentive programs. Humans are naturally attracted to rewards and competition. Offering daily, weekly and monthly quotas with prize levels attached can help your team get into the selling frame of mind. Research suggests that the incentives don’t need to be grandiose and expensive to be effective. Creating goals that are achievable is the main objective. Having goals that are harder to reach will have the opposite effect.

Set Realistic Expectations

Telephone upselling can be an attractive revenue generator, but know when to pull back. Excessive sales tactics can have a polarizing effect, often leading to lost sales and possibly lost clients.

Is there anything else you’d like to know more about and in this article? Let us know!

How to make the most from your Appointment Scheduling

How to make the most from your Appointment Scheduling

How to Make the Most from your Appointment Scheduling

Believe it or not, there is a science to efficient appointment scheduling.

Scheduling appointments is a vital part to clinic efficiency and as a result, clinic profitability. Understanding the techniques that frame scheduling best practices, will ensure that you are maximizing your revenue generating activities.

As appointment scheduling specialists, here are a few of the techniques we have crafted and perfected for our clients.

Schedule in blocks

Scheduling from noon is a common best practice in the world of scheduling. Many clinics use this process to minimize gaps in the day and maximize revenue opportunities. Scheduling from noon means you schedule backwards from 12:00 for your morning appointments and forward from 12:00 for your afternoon appointments. This method also helps to reduce operating costs by enabling clinic owners to schedule providers to maximum capacity. When the odd gap does present itself, savvy clinic owners use those time slots to hold team meetings, have their team catch up on documentation or complete admin tasks.

Implement a Reminder System

Appointment reminder systems are paramount in decreasing no-shows and last minute cancellations. There are a few options for such systems, including automatic confirmation systems that leave voicemail or text messages with reminders. Alternatively, clinics may opt to manually confirm with their clients. Either system will serve as a huge asset to cutting down on missed opportunities for revenue. Additionally, having a cancellation policy and open communication systems for your clients will allow for less last minute misses.

Create a Waiting List

For those times when you don’t catch a last minute cancellation, it is a great idea to have a client waiting list that you can blast last minute opportunities out to. Social media, text or email blasts are a great way to engage with those clients who may be waiting patiently for an opportunity to come in.

Analyze Appointment Scheduling History

At least once a month and then bi-annually and annually, take some time to analyze your appointment book. Look for patterns where your day was ahead of schedule or behind. Were there certain times of the year when you had higher no-shows or cancellations? Where your waiting list was longer than others? Look for those opportunities where you can perhaps pad or streamline your staff availability. This is also a great way to see if you’re allowing the appropriate amount of time per service and perhaps make some adjustments to increase efficiency.

Double Book with Caution

Many clinics opt to maximize capacity by double booking when possible. Double booking essentially means having two clients booked at the same time or overlapping and servicing both during a window typically allotted for one. This can be a highly efficient and profitable business model, however, proceed with caution. Ensure that your provider can adequately serve both clients without the possibility for poor customer service. That may mean analyzing the efforts required for particular services and matching lower effort appointments with higher effort appointments to ensure viability.

Prioritize

Lastly, it is important to understand which services bring in your best margins and allow for those to be your top booking priority. This may mean blocking off time each day for those high priority appointments to ensure that you can get them in efficiently. However, remember to leave room for all of the services you offer.

As a clinic owner, your ‘book’ is one of your most valued tools. By following these best practices, you will ensure that you providing the most value for your customers and your team!

If you’d like to learn more about our appointment scheduling services, get in touch for a free demo!

Building trust in a virtual workplace

Building trust in a virtual workplace

How to Build Trust in a Virtual Workplace


Building trust in a virtual workplace is the cornerstone of all high-performance organizations. In fact, according to the Harvard Business Review, high-performance companies report 50% more productivity, 76% more engagement, 74% less stress & 70% more alignment with company purpose. 

In a virtual workplace, building trust has its own unique challenges. Without casual interactions at the water cooler, it becomes more difficult to build rapport. Often colleagues lose context for each others’ actions in a remote setting, unable to intuitively pick up on external behaviour influences. Finally, as is always the case, digital communication leaves room for many misunderstandings. 

So how do leaders build trust in a virtual workplace?  

It comes down to a number of factors. The first is kindness.

It may seem over simplified, but treating people with respect is the first step to building a trusted environment. How does this work in a virtual setting? It means allowing for flexibility, understanding that working from home may have some unique challenges and making space for that. Successful leaders carve out time to work with each employee one on one. Additionally, they set up regular weekly meetings as a team to stay connected. Not only that, they know it is important to allow time for employees to connect with each other, so they create opportunities for that. 

Building trust in the virtual workplace requires competence.

Strong leadership skills like communication and transparency are key when working with a team remotely. With so much opportunity for misinterpretation, it is imperative that leaders put communication at the top of their priority list. They don’t always need to have all the answers, but they must be honest about it when they don’t. These actions build a solid foundation for their team.  

Successful remote leaders possess is reliability.

 When building trust, it is essential to do what you say you are going to do. If you promised to send follow up documents at a certain time, ensure that you do. Stand by your commitments, try not to cancel meetings last minute, let your team know that you value their time.  

They foster connection

 Finally, successfully commanding a virtual team, requires creating a genuine connection. Ensuring that your camera is on for every online meeting. Looking directly at the camera emulates eye contact. Making efforts to connect ‘off-line’ via check-in texts and phone calls. Lastly, making sure your team feels comfortable to reach out when they are facing challenges without fear of repercussions. 

 
More and more companies are veering toward a virtual model based on the current situation, but also in a more longer term capacity. Understanding the unique challenges you may face as a remote leader will ensure that you are equipped to succeed. 


If you’d like assistance with building a virtual team, we can help!