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telephone answering service

5 Tips for Choosing the Right Answering Service

There are a lot of telephone answering services out there. How do you pick the right one for your business. After all, the employees of the answering service that you choose will be the first impression that many of your customers get when they call you. Of course, all of the answering services will bill themselves as “customer focused” or “excellent” or “the best.” But when they all claim these attributes, how are you to know which one to choose for your business? Here are some tips to help you to make the right choice.

1 – Industry Experience

It is always best to work with an answering service that has worked in your industry before. That way they will be familiar with how your business works and with the best practices for your industry. Make sure to ask for references from within your industry as you are talking to the sales team.

2 – Don’t Be Impatient

Would you let a brand new receptionist start answering the phone right away, or would you spend some time training him or her first? I would imagine that you would want that receptionist to be well trained before you turned him/her loose on your customers. It is the same with a good answering service. Of course, the answering service can get you into the system so that they could start answering for you. However, a good answering service will want to spend at least some time making sure that their operators are trained and prepared to provide excellent service to your callers.

3 – Check Into Their Technology

This one is not what you think. Most of the call center technology is plenty good to give an operator all of the information that they need to handle any call. What you want to ensure is that they have the proper technology to handle any downtime with the utilities. You don’t want a simple power outage to shut down your answering service. Ask about their backup solution and what their experience with it has been.

4 – Are Their Operators Friendly and Professional?

We pride ourselves in our operators. We always refer to them as our friendly and professional operators because that is what your callers want and that is how we train our operators. Ask about any call center’s training program. Try to figure out what their priorities are for their operators – is it to get through calls as quickly as possible or is it to be a friendly and professional extension of your business?

5 – Stay Away From The Big Corporations

You have a choice when it comes to the answering service that you choose. Do you want a big, impersonal corporation that reports to its stock holders, or do you want a family owned business that treats its customers like family? Of course some of the big corporations may end up being cheaper, but from what our customers have told us, this comes at the cost of personal service.

You want to make sure that you choose the right answering service for your business. These quick tips were meant to help you think through some of the issues that will come up when you are deciding on an answering service.

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Want to give our service a test drive to see if we are right for you and your patients? Call 888-528-5678 or click the button for your risk free trial.

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home health care answering service by PCNAnswers

5 Benefits An Answering Service Offers Home Health Care

As a home health provider, you have enough to worry about with caring for your patients. But how do you do that well and make sure that you are available by phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year? For most small organizations, this is simply impossible and some calls end up getting missed. One way that this can be avoided is by hiring a home health answering service. Besides making sure missed calls are a thing of the past, here are 4 other benefits that an answering service can offer home health care providers.

1. On Call Answering
You can designate an on-call staff member, but they don’t have to take every call. Our friendly and professional operators will take your calls and deal with them according to your instructions. If it is something that we can handle, we will. If it something that can wait until the morning, we will take a message and send it to you. If it needs immediate attention, we will contact your on-call staff member so that you are able to seamlessly care for your patients and their needs.

2. After Hours Answering
You provide excellent care for your patients, but you do need to sleep. And so does your staff. You cannot be available all of the time. An answering service can make sure that a friendly and professional voice is available to your patients no matter when they call. Your patients will truly appreciate this if they need you after hours and you will appreciate not getting so many calls when you are “off the clock.”

3. Emergency Escalation
In home health, emergencies will happen. A good answering service will be able to calmly talk a patient through the situation while getting him or her the emergency care that is necessary. We will follow your protocols, but our operators will do it in a way that makes sure that your patients feel well cared for through a difficult situation.

4. Medication Reminders
While it will in no way replace the need for personal attention, we can set up reminder texts, calls, or emails that will help to remind a patient to take his or her medicine. This may help to cut down on some of your administrative work and it may help to keep a patient from missing their medicine.

We know that what you want is to make sure that your patients are well cared for. You do your best to make sure that this is exactly what happens. Our job as a home health answering service is to make it easier for you to care for you patients. We know that there is no way that we can replace your personal service, we just want to be here to supplement and make a few tasks easier for you and your staff. Our goal is to save you time without your patients noticing a difference in their level of service.

Give Us A Try – Risk Free

Want to give our service a test drive to see if we are right for you and your patients? Call 888-528-5678 or click the button for your risk free trial.

Get Started


CPA Customer service from an accounting answering service

CPA Customer Service – How To Keep Your Accounting Customers Coming Back Year After Year

Accounting firms get busy during tax season, and that is when most of the interaction between a CPA and the customer take place. However, just like in any other business, the key to keeping a client long-term is in building a relationship with that customer. How does your accounting firm build that kind of a relationship with your customers in the limited interaction that you get with them?

Here are 3 CPA Customer Service Tips To Help You Build That Relationship.

1. Be an Excellent CPA
The best and most important step, one that no other relationship will cover over, is doing your job and doing it well. File taxes on time. Be honest and upfront with clients. Keep all promises that you make. In short, treat your customers like you like to be treated and treat their tax returns like they are your own.

Most importantly, don’t make a major mistake that costs your client money. This is the foundation that all of the other tips are built on, and none of them will do you any good if you do not do a good job for them as their CPA.

2. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
In real estate, they say the three most important things are location, location, location. Based on what I hear from people about their tax professionals is, the most important thing is communication, communication, communication.

The most common complaint that I hear from people about their accountants is that they cannot get a call back. Especially during tax season, it can be days before they hear back from their CPA. You have to remember that taxes are scary to people. If they have a question, they are probably a bit freaked out. Answer their question within 24 hours and you will stand out in the industry and they will love you for it!

3. Be Available When Your Customers Need You
Of course, no one can truly be available 24/7. But your clients may come up with a question after you close for the day (or after your receptionist leaves for the day). A voicemail message is not what they are hoping for. Again, you can truly stand out by having someone answer the phone whenever it rings. How can you do that? An easy and not all that expensive way is by hiring an accounting answering service (we have many CPAs that love our service!) to answer your calls when you cannot get them.

Whether you are a lone CPA or have a large office staff, there will always be calls that go unanswered. Don’t let that happen. With an answering service, you can make sure that every call is answered by a friendly and professional voice that will follow the instructions that you have laid out for any callers. They can take a message, connect the caller to the on-call person, or even answer from a list of frequently asked questions that you provide. This is another opportunity to stand out in your industry and offer the kind of service that your customers want.


small business attorney in Atlanta, GA signing documents with a client

Atlanta, How Do You Choose A Small Business Attorney?

So You Are Looking For an Atlanta Small Business Attorney?

Looking for a small business attorney can be a delicate process. You are hiring someone that you need to be able to trust with your secrets, have confidence that their advice will not steer you into trouble, and know that they will bill and treat you fairly. Not always the easiest thing to find, so what is an Atlanta small business to do?

As a small business that deals with a lot of law firms (our legal answering service is a big part of our overall business), we have asked some of our clients how we should go about choosing a lawyer. Please note, this is not legal advice, and we are not legal experts. We are just passing on some questions that we think will help you to choose the right lawyer for your Atlanta business. I

Questions To Ask Before You Hire A Small Business Lawyer In Atlanta

1. What Is Your Experience In My Industry?
You definitely want to ask this question first. You want to make sure that your lawyer knows your industry and the potential pitfalls that can come up. The more experience that he or she has in your industry (or at least a closely related industry), the better. You may even want to ask for a couple of past clients in your industry to ask about their experience with your attorney.

2. Do You Currently Work With Any Of My Competitors?
The last thing that you want is to create a conflict of interest. You need to be able to tell your lawyer everything, but if he/she also represents your biggest competitor will you want to reveal all of your trade secrets? Always safer to ask this upfront.

3. How (And How Much) Do You Bill?
You don’t want any surprises when your bill comes. Make sure to ask them about billing increments (some lawyers don’t bill for less than an hour, others bill in 10 or 15 minute increments), fees for research, as well as if there is anything you can do on your own to cut down on any legal fees.

4. How And How Quickly Do You Communicate?
You want to find a lawyer that is available when you need them and that is OK with your favored mode of communication. If you hate to talk on the phone, don’t choose an attorney that communicates primarily on the phone. And if you see yourself having legal emergencies, make sure that your business attorney will get back to you in a timely manner. The last thing that you want to have happen is to be waiting for days to hear back from your lawyer when you have an urgent request.

5. Do You Have A Referral Network
One of the best things about a good Atlanta business lawyer is that not only do you get them, but you get their referral network as well. These can be other lawyers with specialized areas of expertise, but also other professionals like CPAs, marketing companies, payroll services, financial planners, commercial insurance agents, and pretty much any service that you can imagine needing. You will get your attorney’s connections and you can usually trust that they have vetted these people before they will be willing to refer any of them to you.

Hopefully, this has been helpful in helping you to choose the right Atlanta small business attorney (if you don’t have an attorney yet, here is a handy legal checklist for small business owners). We know that having the right information can make all the difference in choosing the right business partners.


answering service in Chicago, IL

How to Start a Business in Chicago

As a Chicago answering service, we work with a lot of small businesses. One thing that we hear from a lot of the business owners is that it is a complicated process to get a business started in the city of Chicago. To help out any aspiring small business owners, we have put together a step by step guide detailing what you will need to do to start a business in the city of Chicago.

Starting a Business in Chicago – Step By Step Guide

So you’ve decided that you want to start a small business in Chicago. You know what you want to sell, where you want it to be, you probably have an idea of a logo and a tagline – but what do you actually have to do to start the business. There are several things that you will have to do legally in order to start your business the right way. We break them down for you here and give you the resources that you need to get your Chicago business started off on the right foot.

Step 1 – Choose Your Business Entity
You have several choices, and you really need to talk with your CPA and a business attorney to make sure that you choose the right entity for your situation. You can run a business as a sole proprietorship, a general partnership, a limited partnership, a limited liability company, an S corporation, a C corporation (and there are a few others as well). Each entity type will have advantages and disadvantages, so your unique situation will help to determine what you should choose.

Resources:

Step 2 – Register With The IRS
Your Chicago business will need an EIN number (Employer Identification Number) from the IRS. This is often referred to as Federal Tax ID Number. To register your business you can go to the IRS website or go in person to the office at 230 S. Dearborn, in Chicago.

Resources:

Step 3 – Register With IDOR
If you have a business in Illinois, you must register with the Illinois Department of Revenue (formally Illinois Business Tax Number). This applies to all business entities types no matter what type of business you conduct (wholesale, retail, services, manufacturing, etc.). To apply for your IDOR Account ID you can visit their website, print form REG-1 and mail it to the address on the form, by calling 800-356-6302, or by visiting the Chicago Office at 100 W. Randolph, in Chicago.

Resources:

Step 4 – Get a Chicago Business License
If you want to start a business in Chicago, you will need a business license. There are a few businesses exempted by state law (check with your lawyer, but it probably does not include you) but for everyone else, a business license is required. You can apply online by clicking here (simplest way) or you can go into the Small Business Center at 121 N. LaSalle, Room 800, in Chicago. It is possible to walk in, but if you value your time, an appointment is highly recommended. You can make an appointment by calling 312-74-GOBIZ.

In order to apply for a business license, you will need to complete a Business Information Sheet. Just to make things a bit easier for you, we have listed the information that you will need in order to fill out the sheet.

  • The business name and ownership information
  • The business location address
  • Square footage of the business location
  • A detailed description of the business activity
  • Identification (i.e. valid driver’s license, voters registration card,
    state ID card or another government-issued photo ID)

If applicable:

  • State of Illinois File Number
  • Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • Illinois Department of Revenue Account ID Number

How to Start a Business in Chicago in 4 Easy Steps

  • Choose a Business Entity
  • Register with the IRS to get an EIN Number
  • Register with the IDOR to get an account number
  • Get a Chicago business license

does your customer service stink?

How to Professionally Answer a Business Call

Working in a small business answering service, there is one thing that you learn pretty quickly – how to answer a business call. When you are on the phone all day, you learn pretty quickly to pick up on the cues as to how your delivery was received and when the way you answered the phone just was not received well (it happens, even to the best of us!). But what are you to do as a small business owner. You don’t have the benefit of thousands of calls under your belt. You haven’t made all of the mistakes and learned from them. Hopefully, this will save you from making some of the mistakes so that you are able to represent your business well and make the kind of first impression that you want to make.

Here are 5 Tips That Will Help You Answer a Business Call Professionally

Don’t Let it Ring
Nobody wants to wait, listening to the phone ring. If you want your caller to feel cared for and to have a better interaction with you, answer the phone on the second ring whenever possible. The third ring is totally fine, but by the fourth or fifth ring your call either goes to voicemail or you risk your caller hanging up in frustration. However, if you answer the phone too quickly, it can actually catch a caller off guard which is why we recommend the second ring.

Have a Smile in Your Voice
We have always used this in our training for new operators, and it works very well. We want to answer every call with a smile in our voice. When someone answers the phone, you can often tell what kind of day they are having simply by the tone of their voice. Our operators are known as “friendly and professional” for a reason. We make it a priority to answer every call in a friendly and happy voice – no matter what has gone on earlier in the day, no matter how rude the last caller was, etc.

Everyone Loves to Hear Their Name
Always ask for (and remember) a caller’s name. Write it down if you have to. You want to be able to address a caller by their name because they will really appreciate it. It shows that you are listening and subconsciously, it puts you on their side. In our initial greetings, we always identify ourselves by name and get the callers name. That way we can use it in the course of the conversation making the call much more personal.

Pros Use a Script
The best advice that I can give you on how to answer a business call is to use a script. You should answer every call the same way. Make sure that you use and feel comfortable with your script. Something like, “Thank you for calling Dr. Smith’s Office. This is Jane, how may I help you?” You want to use your business name so that callers know that they have called the right place. You want to identify yourself so that callers know who they are talking to. And you want to ask them why they are calling so that you can help them quickly and efficiently.

End on a Positive Note
Always try to end your call on a positive note. There are several things that you can do to accomplish this. One simple way is to ask if there is anything else you can do to help. Another way is to thank them for calling and to wish them a good day. You need to find a way that feels comfortable to you and to stick with it on every call.

How To Answer a Business Call Professionally

  • Do your best to answer every call by the second or third ring.
  • Answer each call with a pleasant tone of voice.
  • Ask each caller their name and use it throughout the conversation.
  • Have a script that you use to start every call and then follow it.
  • Finish every call on a positive note.

Try Us Risk Free
If you would like all of your calls answered by our world-class friendly and professional operators, you can give our service a try risk-free. Give us a call at 888-528-5678 or click here to fill out a form and we will get back to you right away!


PCNAnswers offers an excellent plumbing answering service

Plumbers – Get More Clients with a Plumbing Answering Service

Running a successful plumbing company is not easy. You have to manage your employees, stay up on all of the latest tools and trends, stay on top of your inventory, and keep up with payroll and taxes. But none of those things matter if you do not have the single most important thing in your business – clients. No matter how good your work is, if you don’t have anyone to work for, you will not have a business for long. And the first point of contact for almost all of your new clients is a phone call.

Unfortunately for busy business owners, our culture has changed over the years. Prospective clients are no longer content to leave a message and wait for a callback. Instead of leaving you a voicemail (studies show that 80% of callers will not leave a voicemail), they will hang up and call another plumber (and they will generally hire the first one that they talk to).

But you are super busy. Not only are you doing all of the things listed above, you are actually out on jobs too. How are you supposed to answer every call so that you do not miss new business? Of course, you could hire a receptionist (and you may already have one), but even with a receptionist can you be sure that every call is answered? Even a perfect receptionist has to eat lunch and go to the bathroom now and then. Not to mention the fact that it seems like several calls will come in all at once making it impossible for one person to handle them all. That is where a plumbing answering service can come in. We can ensure that every call (or just every call that your staff can’t handle) is answered by a friendly and professional voice and that you won’t be missing any new business.

How Does a Plumbing Answering Service Work?

An answering service is a pretty simple thing. When someone calls you, it rings in our call center. One of our friendly and professional operators will answer the call. And as he or she answers your call, his/her computer will light up with all of your account information. He/she will read from the script that you provide us (something like, “John’s Plumbing Service, this is Wendy speaking, how may I help you”). From there, our operator will follow the directions that you provide. You can provide us with frequently asked questions and we can answer those for your callers. You can grant us access to your schedule and we can make appointments for you. You can have a certain person on call and we can connect the caller to that person if necessary. Or we can simply take a message and send the information to you through text, email, fax or pager.

Be Available For Emergencies 24/7
Just like all of the trades, as a plumber, you want to be available for emergencies 24/7, but don’t want any unnecessary calls waking you up in the middle of the night? With our construction answering service, plumbers are able to set conditions for calls to be considered “an emergency.” This allows us to take a message and send it to you in the case of a non-emergency (so you can sleep peacefully), or in the case of an emergency, we can connect the caller to the person you designate as on call. Our plumbing clients love the fact that they only get “true emergency” calls in the middle of the night and they have our operators available to effectively screen their calls for them.

Try Our Service Risk Free
We know that you will love our service – Give us a call at 888-528-5678 and let us prove it to you. Talk to one of our friendly and professional operators and let us explain how you can try our service out risk-free.


real estate answering services offer realtors many benefits

The Benefits of a Call Center for Real Estate Agents

A good real estate agent works hard. And you have to be available to your clients all the time in order to offer them the service that they expect. The trouble is, no matter how busy you are, and how many clients you have, there are only 24 hours in a day. And unfortunately, no one has (as of yet) figured out how to be in two places at one time. Fortunately, our call center for real estate agents is here to help you save time – and your sanity.

How a Call Center for Real Estate Agents Can Help You

1. No Missed Calls
You are always on the go. Whether it is an open house, showing a listing, meeting with a new client, or making one of the millions of phone calls that you make each day, you cannot always answer the phone. With our real estate answering service, you can have our friendly and professional operators answer the phone whenever you cannot. So that when a prospect calls, they will NEVER get your voicemail. We will answer the call, take a message, and send it to you immediately via text or email (whatever your preference is). That is the beauty of a real estate call center – you never have to wonder whether that missed call was a missed opportunity.

2. Help Managing Properties
One way that we really help our real estate clients is by answering the calls that come in from tenants in the properties that they are managing. Plumbing emergencies can happen at any time of the night (and they do!). Do you really want to deal with a tenant at 3:00 am complaining about a toilet that won’t stop overflowing? Of course not! But we can take those calls for you, and depending on your preferences, contact your approved repair services and get them to correct the problem – all without waking you. No more taking your phone to bed with you and praying that it won’t ring. our real estate call center can take care of those calls 24/7/365!

3. We Can Answer Questions Too!
A common misconception about a real estate answering service is that we just answer calls and take messages. While that is a large part of what we do, we can also answer frequently asked questions and schedule appointments for you (all according to your account instructions). Of course we would never answer a question that you have not given us an answer to, but if you get the same questions over and over again, we can take those calls and save you the time of having to return a call to answer a simple question.

Try Us Risk Free
We know that we offer excellent customer service, and we want to prove it to you. Give us a all at 888.528.5678 and talk to one of our account representatives. They will help you to try our services out risk free. We know that you will love the freedom that we offer and your callers will appreciate the fact that they always get a live, friendly voice.


PCN is a HIPAA Compliant answering service for doctors and medical offices

Why You Need a HIPAA Compliant Medical Answering Service

As a hospital, medical office or dental office, there is no question that you need a HIPAA compliant medical answering service – both for the protection of your patients’ privacy and to protect your liability. So as you are searching for the right medical office answering service, ensure that they are HIPAA compliant and that they take the regulations seriously.

The Benefits of HIPAA Compliant Medical Answering Services

A medical office answering service that is HIPPA Compliant offers many benefits to its clients. As you know, any communication from your patients to your office (and vice versa) have to be in compliance with ALL of the guidelines of HIPAA. The two main benefits of your answering service being HIPAA compliant are that you will be protected legally and your patients’ privacy is protected.

You may be wondering why an answering service for doctors would have to distinguish itself as being HIPAA compliant. Most answering services are not HIPAA compliant because it is very difficult. Answering services generally communicate messages with their clients through email, text messages, recordings or faxes – none of which are considered secure. And since we, as an answering service, are considered your “business associates” under the law, we are held to the same standards of compliance.

How Do We Communicate And Remain HIPAA Compliant?

HIPAA Compliant medical answering services use misecure messagesWe are a certified partner of a service called miSecure Messages which specializes in communications that are both HIPAA and HITECH Compliant. This allows us to protect your patients and your organization when you use miSecureMessages to send encrypted messages to AndroidTM, Apple® iPad®, iPhone®, iPod touch® and BlackBerry® mobile devices. It gives the ease of text messaging, but is considered secure and HIPAA compliant.

Your Communications Stay Private

Text messages are not encrypted, so they are not considered secure. The miSecure Message system encrypts all messages to keep your Protected Health Information (PHI) secure at all times. No messages are stored on any devices and you can require passwords.

Don’t Waste Time on Compliance

Many HIPAA compliant messaging systems are slow and cumbersome. With miSecure Messages, messages are sent and received immediately. This can save up to two minutes per message which adds up when you consider the amount of messages your staff sends and receives.

Don’t Waste Money on Compliance

Our system will work on your staffs’ current devices. No need to have special equipment for the “secure messages.” No need to purchase and carry clunky pagers. You can use your current smartphone and send unlimited characters in each message.

Simplify The Complex World of HIPAA Compliance

With our system, your staff can easily communicate with an easy to use app for their tablet or smartphone. There are many options for notification sounds (can be set to silent or vibrate when appropriate) and for how often users are notified about pending messages. And, miSecureMessages is available as either a cloud-based or on-site solution, allowing users to send messages from device to device, from the cloud, or directly from your call center. miSecureMessages uses both WiFi and 3G/4G technology to ensure messages are sent and received from virtually anywhere.

Try Our Service Risk Free

If you know that you need an answering service, but were hesitant because of HIPAA Compliance issues, we would love to talk to you. You can try our services risk-free and let us prove that we offer excellent service and will keep your PHI secure. Give one of our friendly and professional operators a call today at 888.528.5678 and we will help you get set up!


3 Simple Phone Tips To Make A Prospect More Likely To Buy

I know that you have heard the saying that people are more likely to buy from someone they know, like, and trust. But how do we develop that kind of a relationship when we start with a phone call? Of course this does take time, and there are no simple tips that will build a relationship for you. However, the three tips below will help you to start building the relationship with your prospects and customers. From there, if you follow up by treating your prospects right and being honest with them (even if it could cost you a sale) you will be well on your way to the know, like and trust that brings many more sales than being pushy ever could.

Before we get to the tips, let’s take a moment to look at why it works this way. The theory goes that people obviously need to know you before they can like you. And they find it easier to trust people that they like. As this trust grows, they find it much easier to not only buy from you, but to have a much higher opinion of you for offering them a solution to their problem. Contrast that to the disdain that a prospect has for a salesperson when they feel like they have been pressured into buying something that they don’t need and you will see why this is so important for long-term customer relationships.

Tip #1 – Join The Prospect’s Team With We Statements
It is always best if a prospect feels like you are on their side. One way that you can do that is to start using “we” statements as soon and as often as possible (just for clarity, we statements include other words like us, let’s, our, etc.). By using statements like “Let’s take a look” or “We can find a way to fix that” puts you on your prospects team, and no longer are you someone that is trying to sell him or her something, but you are someone that is trying to help him or her solve a problem. This is a super simple change to your vocabulary, but it can have a significant impact on how your prospect or customer feels about you.

Tip #2 – Be A Real, Live Human
It’s so easy to try to be “professional” and end up sounding like a robot. Nobody likes or trusts a robot. Be yourself, or if you are controversial and/or curse like a sailor be a cleaned up version of yourself. Find common interests and talk about them. Talk about experiences that you may have in common. Again, you want the prospect to like you and a great way to do that is to find common ground. You can’t do that if you only answer questions and offer tips.

Tip #3 – Remember His or Her Name (And Use It)
I mention this one last because I wanted to end with it. It really makes a difference in how someone feels about you on the phone if they remember your name and use it throughout the conversation. This is totally unnatural for me and I had to train myself to do this over time. I always ask for a name at the beginning of a conversation and then make a note of it somewhere. That way I can refer back to my note once I forget the name. Through this process, I have gotten much better at remembering names and have to refer to my notes less often, but the simple act of writing out the name gives me the confidence to use the prospect’s name even at the end of a conversation.

About PCNAnswers
As a live answering service, we know a thing or two about talking on the phone. We train our friendly and professional operators to answer every call quickly, with a smile in their voice, and to follow our clients’ instructions. That is why so many of our small business and medical clients feel like they couldn’t live without us. If you would like to treat your callers to our amazing customer service, give us a try risk free. You’ll be glad you did!


how to talk on the phone professionally

Talking On The Phone The Right Way – 5 Tips From The Customer Service Trenches

We hear from some of our customers that they find it difficult to have an effective phone conversation with their customers. It is understandable. Much like texting can go wrong because you cannot pick up on the tone that someone is using, phone conversations are difficult without seeing someone’s face and body language. This can lead to some unfortunate misinterpretations.

The problem is, many small businesses rely heavily on the phone to communicate with their customers, meaning that there is a great risk of being misunderstood and accidentally offending a customer. We have come up with 5 ways that you can speak more effectively and accurately with your customers on the phone.

Remember People’s Names
People love to be referred to by their name. It acknowledges that you have listened to them, boosts their ego a little bit, and it will make them like you a bit more. Using a customer’s name is a powerful tool, which is why we always ask for a name early in the conversation and then remember it and use it.

Watch Your Tone
This is where texting so often goes wrong. If you someone something meaning to be sarcastic, the tone doesn’t come across, and it can often come off as offensive. With a phone, you do have the tone of your voice to help you communicate clearly, so use it – the right way! We train our operators to “have a smile in their voice,” which really means to smile while you are talking on the phone. Try it, you will be surprised at how this will change the tone of your voice on the phone, which your customers will appreciate.

Don’t Be A Robot
Do not fall into the trap of saying the exact same thing to every caller. Of course we use a script to help us with the opening of any phone call (and I would strongly encourage you to as well!), but from their we train our operators to be sincere. We listen to callers to make sure that we understand what it is that they are calling about, and we will talk to them accordingly. Callers can tell if you have tuned them out and you are only trying to get the information from them as quickly as possible. Listen, ask clarifying questions, and use the proper emotions.

Speak Clearly
Remember, the caller cannot see you so you have to speak more clearly when you are on the phone. In a face to face conversation, when someone is having trouble understanding, he or she will look at a speakers lips to help them to understand what is being said. You do not have that luxury on a phone call. You must speak clearly so that your customer can understand every word that you say.

Put Your Customer First
Remember, your customers are the lifeblood of your business. Without them, you don’t have a business. You want to make sure that you leave each customer with a good impression of you and your business each and every time that they call. Take the time to spend with the customer, and make sure that he or she is satisfied before you hang up. We train our operators to ask if there is anything else that we can do for a caller. This simple question does two things – First, it gives an easy way to know if the phone call is finished. And second, it gives the caller the opportunity to ask anything else. The last thing that you want is someone feeling that you rushed them off of a phone because you did not have time for them.

These 5 tips will help you to greatly improve your customer service over the phone. And this is something that we know a little bit about. For more than 25 years we have been answering calls for businesses, medical offices, hospitals, government organizations, and law firms 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

If you ever need help with taking calls, whether it is all of your calls, just when you are busy, or after hours, we can help. If you would like to find out more, you can sign up for a risk free trial by clicking here.


hiring an answering service vs. hiring a receptionist

Tired of Training New Customer Service Staff?

One thing that we hear from a lot of our clients is that they love that they have to spend so much less time hiring and training staff. And all over the country, small business owners are realizing how hard it is to hire the right people – and then to keep them long term. The days of hiring a great employee and expecting them to stick long term seem to be over. Now, turnover is just part of staffing a business…

Here are a few statistics that will let you know the dire condition of employee retention.

Human Resources work consumes 25-35% of a small business owner’s time. – Score

63% of full-time employees are actively looking for a new job – ICIMS

42% of millennials expect to change jobs at least every 1-3 years – Jobvite

As you can see from these statistics, business owners struggle with hiring and training (and all of the paperwork that comes with it!), and employees feel no loyalty or reason to stay with a company long term. This leads to incredibly high costs for small business owners to keep properly staffed with the kind of talent that they need.

An answering service can at least help to combat a portion of your staffing needs. Imagine, never again having to worry about hiring or training a receptionist to take your calls. Or not having to worry about sick days or vacation days (and who will be answering the phone on those days). Simply being able to relax knowing that every call will be answered quickly by a friendly and professional voice that will provide the kind of service to your customers that you would provide. That is what we do for our customers at PCN.

The PCN Difference

Every time you go through the process of hiring a new employee, you have to train them in the way that you want them to speak to customers, give them a script to use when answering the phone, and then answer ALL of the questions that come up as to how to handle issues that come up on individual calls. It takes months to get a new receptionist to become very good, but often by then, they are already looking for a new job.

With PCN, we train our operators to answer the phone quickly with a friendly and professional voice. We follow the instructions and the script that you give us (don’t worry, we will help you think through all of the issues!), and we will give you accurate messages. We know how important your customers are to your business and we want to make sure that you provide them the service that will keep them coming back for years.

What Do You Do When You’re Short Staffed?

If you staff your phones yourself, you will invariably come through times when you are short staffed. An employee gets sick, has a vacation, or quits. This can mean that you are left without adequate cover on the phones which either means paying overtime, missing calls, or taking people away from their current job responsibilities to handle the phones. None of these are good options.

With PCN, you will find that you are never short staffed. We are open and available to answer your phones 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 356 days a year. Client emergency in the middle of the night? We can handle it. Someone needs you on a weekend? We’ve got you covered. An important call on Christmas day? Yep, we can take that call too. No matter what your unique needs are, we can help. We would love the opportunity to talk to you about your unique communications needs.

Give us a call today at 888-528-5678 to try us risk free


lead capture

The Missing Ingredient To Your Advertising Campaign

How Can an Answering Service Help You Get More Out Of Your Advertising?

Customers are the lifeblood of any business, no matter how big or how small so taking care of them is very important. For some businesses that means being available from 9-5 Monday through Friday to answer questions and provide service. For others, it means being available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year whenever an emergency comes up. So, what is a business owner to do? Be on call always? Delegate that out to the staff? Staff your phones 24 hours a day?

This is even more important when you are running an advertising campaign. You still need to service your existing customers, but now you have a new influx of callers that are interested in your product or service. How do you handle all of those calls (which usually last longer than an existing customer’s call because they generally have more questions) so that you are not wasting your advertising budget. The last thing that you want is for your advertising to work beautifully, generating lots of calls, only for none of them to be converted into customers. If this is a worry, you need to talk to us about our lead capture service.

If You Aren’t Answering Calls, You Are Wasting Your Advertising Budget

I know this is a strong statement, but there are statistics to back it up. If you run an ad and it is successful, you are going to get calls from it. Hopefully a lot of calls. Now, what happens if you do not have the manpower to answer all of those calls? I know what you’re thinking – I’ll just let voicemail get it. That simply doesn’t work very well any more. Forbes magazine did a recent study that showed 80 percent of callers that are sent to voicemail will not leave a message. 80%! That means that 4 out of 5 calls that your ad generates that goes to voicemail will come to nothing – meaning a lot of wasted money. Think about how much an average client is worth to you, and think of all of the missed calls that you get that don’t leave a message. How much lost revenue is that?

In the social media obsessed culture that we live in, customers expect immediate help with their problems. If you don’t answer the phone immediately, they will call around until they find someone that will. The reason that the Forbes study gave that the majority of people did not leave voice mail messages was that they felt that they would never be heard. And while you may think that it would be impossible for you (or your staff) to answer every call that came in promptly, there is a pretty simple and inexpensive way that it can be done – with an answering service.

Our friendly and professional operators are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to answer every call that comes in. Some of our clients have us answer all of their calls. Others have us answer after hours so that they still have coverage even after their staff has gone home for the day. Some have us answer during their lunch breaks. And some only have us answer when their staff is unable to answer the phones. We are flexible, and we can work to meet your individual needs and we can make sure that you are not wasting adverting money missing calls from people that want to hire you.

Give us a call at 888-528-5678 for a risk-free trial. You will be glad that you did!


answer the phone professionally

How To Answer The Phone – Tips From The Customer Service Trenches

We all know that what you say is not the only thing that matters on a phone call – how you say it is just as important. A rude voice can ruin a first impression just as quickly as a rude word. So it is very important that you make sure that you not only watch what you say on the phone, but that you watch how you say it as well. Every call can be a chance to make a first impression so don’t blow it by letting any frustration creep into your voice.

If you answer the phone regularly, this can become even more difficult. You may be on several calls at once, and it is easy to get short with a caller if you feel that you have left another caller on hold for too long. Or, you may have just finished a call with a rude customer – how do you keep that out of your voice when you answer the next call? Here are some tips that we find helpful in order to maintain a friendly and professional voice at all times.

Have An Answering Script That You Follow Every Call

This is easy for us since we answer for many businesses. Each has its own greeting script that we follow in order to make sure that we answer the way that our client wants us to. However, a happy biproduct to this is that we are able to think about what we are going to say before we pick up. This allows us to focus on putting a smile into our voice (as our supervisors always say!). If we had to think about what we were going to say each time, it would be much more difficult to think about our tone of voice.

So how can this help you if you are only answering for your own business? Have a script that you follow. Answer the phone the same every time. Maybe something like, “Thanks for calling Super Fast Plumbing, this is John, how can I help you?” You will be amazed at how much easier it is to answer the phone professionally when you have a script.

Don’t Talk Too Fast (Or Too Slow)

Pace is another issue that callers may find off putting. If you speak to fast you can be hard to understand or come across as rude. Speak too slow and people can feel like you are wasting their time. We prefer to speak at a normal pace and allow the caller to dictate how much small talk we will be engaging in (to a point!). If a caller jumps right in with a question, we will answer it quickly because they are making it clear that they would prefer to get off of the phone quickly. If a client starts with some small talk, we will politely engage with them for a short time before moving the conversation politely towards the reason for the call. This is an art form, but you do not want to make callers feel like they are a nuisance or that you do not have time for them, but you also cannot afford to spend too much time talking to each caller.

Take Notes!

Again, this is a bit easier for us as we have a computer program that allows us to take notes as the conversation is going and then to send those notes as a message to our clients. However, just because you don’t have a fancy computer program that forces you to take notes does not mean that it is not a great idea. Keep a notebook by your phone at all times and take notes during your conversation. This will allow you to follow up on any issues at a later date and if you have things in writing (with a date on it) it is much more believable if a dispute ever comes up.

These are just a few of the things that help us to take excellent care of our clients’ callers, and they are easy things that you can take into your own business and really change the first impression that you make over the phone.


answering services for home health care

Home Health Care Answering Service – What You Need To Know Before You Hire One

People are living longer, which is a great thing… but it also makes a home health care service a necessity. As parents need more and more medical care, they need the help that your company can provide. However, many of the children of your patients work during the day, meaning that they cannot always call during office hours. How do you take care of your patients and man the phones 24/7? We’d suggest that you do it with our home health care answering service.

Why Do You Need a 24 Hour Answering Service?

Many of your patients will need emergency assistance available 24 hours a day and their children can call at any time. This leaves a home health care service with two options – man the phones 24 hours a day (with multiple people just in case two emergency calls come in at once) or hire an answering service to take any calls that you cannot answer. Many of our clients only have us answer calls after hours or when they are busy while others have us answer all of their incoming calls. We are flexible and our friendly and professional operators will provide excellent service to your callers.

3 Questions To Ask Before You Hire A Home Health Care Answering Service

1. Where Are Your Operators Based?
The last thing that you want is to trust your patients and their health and safety to a call center based overseas. The language barrier that comes with that is not worth the risk, even if it is less expensive. At PCNAnswers, our operators are all based in Riverside, CA and are native English speakers. If you need bilingual service, we can offer that as well. But our priority is making sure that your patients feel cared for, that their messages are delivered promptly and accurately, and that you always look good!

Are They HIPAA Compliant?
You now how much of a pain HIPAA compliance is – the last thing that you want to worry about is whether your answering service is treating your patients’ medical information the right way. At PCNAnswers, we answer for many hospitals, medical centers, and home health services so we understand HIPAA compliance and so do all of our operators. We also have partnered with MiSecure Messaging to provide you a HIPAA Compliant way to send text messages among your staff, giving you the ease of use of text messaging without the HIPAA risks.

How Do They Handle Your Calls?
You do not want a cookie cutter answering service to be taking your calls. There are many out there that will not change their scripts or their call handling instructions to meet the needs of their clients. As a home health provider, you will have very specific needs for how the phone is answered, who the on-call messages are sent to, how emergencies are handled, etc. We allow you to completely tailor the way we answer and handle your calls to meet your unique needs. You will speak to our welcome team and they will ask you questions to make sure the we are answering the phone in a way that helps meet your needs and makes you look great to your patients.


sms messaging that is HIPAA compliant

Are Your Text Messages HIPAA Compliant? (They Probably Aren’t)

As a 24 hour medical answering service, we deal with a lot of hospitals and medical offices, and many of them use text messages to communicate because of how quick and convenient it is. This absolutely allows these doctors and their staff to provide better service to their patients, but at what risk to the medical office? HIPAA privacy rules are very strict and are very strictly enforced and no one wants to be out of compliance. So, what is a medical office to do in order to provide the fast and easy flow of information while protecting the privacy of their patients and not running afoul of the law?

What Does HIPAA Say About Text Messaging?
Text messages are considered electronic communications which means that they fall under the scope of the HIPAA regulations. If any text message contains protected health information then the message must comply with all HIPAA guidelines and the responsibility falls upon the sender to make sure that it does. Unfortunately we still think of text messages as short communications that cannot possibly contain very much information. However, with the prevalence of smart phones, text messages can now be much longer and can contain pictures or videos. If even one piece of private information is included (even if it is only an appointment schedule), that message is considered to contain protected health information.

Is Standard Text Messaging not HIPAA Compliant?
The rules for sending an HIPAA compliant text message between staff members state that:

  • Each staff member must configure and lock down their devices appropriately
  • The text message must be encrypted through the entire transmission process – from the sending device, through the mobile provider and to the device of the recipient.
  • The text message cannot be decrypted and stored in any third party system (including the cellular carrier) in any way that an unauthorized individual could gain access to the information
  • The medical office or healthcare provider has to have a Business Associate Agreement in place with any vendor that has access to any protected health information.

That Sounds Simple Enough… So What’s The Problem?
The trouble with this is that any cellular provider (such as Verizon or AT&T) will not sign an HIPAA Business Associate Agreement with your organization. This means that you cannot know for sure that messages travel securely from one of your staff members to another without being read or archived by an unauthorized individual. With all of the anti-terrorism investigations, there is not even a guarantee that your text messages will be transmitted securely. And, even though this is out of your control, it still puts you out of HIPAA compliance.

So, Are Text Messages Not A Possibility?
Unfortunately, this does mean that you should not use regular text messaging or any of the regular messaging apps. They are not designed to be HIPAA compliant and it is not worth the risk to use something not designed to protect patients’ data. Fortunately, there are options that will allow you to send information quickly and easily and securely.

One simple way that you can get around this is to use secure email and make sure that your staff has their settings to push email for very fast notifications. Though not quite as easy as text messaging, this is one option that can keep you compliant.

Our favorite solution is to use a specialized HIPAA-compliant Messaging Apps. We recommend and have partnered with MiSecure Messages. Our medical answering service clients say that they are incredibly quick and easy to use, and just as importantly, they are HIPAA and HITECH compliant. No wondering if you are covered, you can know for sure that your communications are HIPAA compliant and that your patients information is secure. Give us a call at 888-528-5678 and we will talk you through how MiSecure Messaging works and how we can get you set up.


answering service for physicians

The Holidays are Coming – Is Your Medical Office Ready?

The holidays are a busy time for everyone. Shopping for gifts, office parties, family parties, traditions, it seems like every spare minute is taken up. And it is no different because you are in the medical profession. Sure, many businesses can close, or take it easy for a couple of weeks, that doesn’t work for your office because your patients need you – literally. So what is a medical office to do? You can’t be in two places at once, but you have so many things to do. At PCNAnswers, we want to help with your productivity and your customer service over the holiday season. Here are 5 tips to help you make it through the holiday season with your sanity, while providing excellent service to your patients.

1. Be available 24/7
Sounds impossible, right? Lie we mentioned before – you’ve got parties, traditions and shopping to do (and so does your staff!). How are you supposed to be available all the time? We’ve got a solution for you! Check out our 24 hour medical answering service. Our friendly and professional operators are available around the clock to answer your patients. We will follow a script that you give us and we will either take a message and email or text it to you, or connect the caller with the on call doctor when appropriate.

2. Make your communications more efficient
Answering the phone takes a lot of time. Especially for a busy practice like yours. And when the receptionists are on another line or talking to a patient, who answers the phone? And when the call needs to be transferred, how much time is wasted? Let us handle the simple patient communication – giving directions, office hours, or answering frequently asked questions (that you provide us). If we can handle the question, we will. If not, we can connect the caller seamlessly with the right person saving your staff time and you money.

3. Don’t worry about your calendar
We are not at all saying that you do not need to keep your calendar, but we are offering to make and change appointments for you. With access to your schedule, we can make new appointments and edit existing appointments to take one more thing off of your plate.

4. Already have a great receptionist?
A lot of the offices that we work with already have an amazing receptionist that they love. We don’t want to replace that receptionist, we want to supplement him or her. No one, no matter how good they are, can answer every call in a busy office. No one can be at work every day. And no one can be available 24 hours a day to answer. It is just not humanly possible. However, if you let your amazing receptionist do what they do and then let us handle the overflow and after hours calls, you get the best of both worlds.

5. Stay HIPAA compliant
I know what you’re thinking – all of this sounds great, but we have to stay HIPAA compliant so this won’t work for us. We’ve got great news for you. We are HIPAA compliant and even offer HIPAA compliant messaging through MisecureMessaging!

We would love the opportunity to talk to you about your communications needs, whether they be just for the holiday season, or 24/7/365. We are pretty confident that once you have tried our service, you will never want to go back to handling all of your calls on your own ever again! Give us a call at 888.528.5678 and we can chat about your communications needs.


PCNAnswers answering service for real estate professionals

Realtors Lose Business If They Rely on Voicemail

Real estate is a tough business to be in. There are great times and there are terrible times, and everything in between. But one truth in the real estate industry is that it is a numbers game, and that you have to take every good opportunity that comes your way if you want to be successful. Unfortunately, because real estate does not always lead to a steady income, many realtors have a second job to help to pay their bills or provide for their family. And those that do real estate full time often are so busy that phone calls can be a real nuisance.

The problem with this though is that a missed phone call can mean a missed sale and a loss of a very significant commission. When one sale can mean so much to a realtor, it is important that you don’t miss any opportunities. And if you do not answer a call from a prospect, you have almost surely missed the opportunity to work with that person because almost no one is willing to leave a voice mail any more. They will simply make another phone call and talk to the first person that answers their call.

So how do you make sure that you are able to answer every call so that you do not miss any opportunities? It is impossible to answer a call if you are showing a house to a current client. Or what if you are in the middle of an open house, can you really stop showing the house to take a call? Of course not! And that doesn’t even get into your social life, family time, or while you are sleeping (yep, you might get calls then too) when you either don’t want to or cannot answer a call.

One simple way that you can take control of your callers so that you never miss a call and you are not burdened with answering your phone 24 hours a day is to hire a real estate answering service (PCNAnswers is the one that we recommend!). With a real estate answering service every call will be answered by a friendly and professional voice, they will connect the call to you if appropriate (following your instructions), and if not, they will take a message and either text or email it to you (depending on what you prefer). Imagine, never having to worry that you are missing an opportunity when you feel your phone buzz at a time that you simply can’t answer it.

Again, it is important that you not rely on voicemail to take the calls that you cannot. A single missed call can mean a missed commission. A real estate answering service like PCNAnswers can take all of your calls and help to turn your prospects into clients.

If you would like to give our service a try risk free, give us a call at 888.528.5678 and talk to one of our friendly and professional operators. We can start the quick and simple process to get you started.


smal business answering service lets you compete with the big boys

5 Small Business Tips To Help You Compete With The Big Boys

The economy is getting slowly better, and with it, the fortunes of small businesses are improving as well. Many think that it will keep improving and that new jobs will be created and that small businesses will expand. Since we help many small businesses with their communications needs, we sincerely hope that this is the case. However, whether the economy keeps improving or not, as a small business owner you want to be able to compete with the big companies – of course at a fraction of the cost. Here are 3 ways that you can do just that.

Invest In Your Team

I know, I know, you are a small business. You may even run a one man show. But whatever size you are, you will never get anywhere if you do not have a team to help you out. If you hire employees, take the time to train them to do their jobs right. The worst thing that can happen is for your employees to damage relationships with your customers because they were not trained properly. If you do not have employees, you need to do two things. First, find people that you can outsource some of your more menial tasks to. And second, get a network of professionals that can help you out with advice, send referrals your way, and be a resources to your clients.

Don’t Let Your Prospects Know You’re Small

Just because you are a small business doesn’t mean you have to let your prospects (or even your customers!) know that you are small. Run your business professionally. Offer great service, make sure everything looks professional, and mind the details. Often, by having a professional logo, website, packaging and marketing materials, you can appear much bigger than your are and give a great first impression to any prospects.

Make Sure That You’re Reachable, Even When You’re Not

Do you like leaving voicemail? Of course not, no one does – and that includes all of your customers. But, sometimes you are on the phone or in a meeting when the phone rings. What can you do to make sure that your prospects and customers always talk to a live voice? It is usually cost prohibitive to hire a receptionist to handle those calls for you (and even with a receptionist, sometimes they are on a break, call in sick or are on the other line). Often, the simplest solution is to hire a small business answering service to handle the calls that you can’t (perhaps someone like PCNAnswers!), They will have a friendly and professional operator answer your calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year so you’ll never miss an important call again and your customers will never have to talk to a voicemail box!

Of course you know your business best. You know what your customers need and how you can best meet their needs. And if being more reachable and making a great first impression is something that would help your small business, we would love the opportunity to talk to you about your customer service needs!


HVAC answering service

Why An HVAC Company Needs An Answering Service

No matter what business you are in, profit margins matter. As an HVAC contractor, you know that you need to provide excellent service to all of your customers, but you also know that you have to do it inexpensively. You can’t afford a big staff to answer all of your calls for you so you have been answering all of your calls on your own… or at least trying to. If you are like most HVAC contractors that we talk to, there are times when it is no problem to answer all of your calls, and there are times when there is no way that you can keep up.

Tell me if this sounds familiar… you climb up into the attic… and your phone rings. Do you answer it in the attic? Do you climb down and answer it? Do you hope that they leave a voicemail (hint – no one leaves a voicemail any more)? Any way around it, would it be nice to have someone available to answer your phone for you whenever you were on a job? That is exactly what an answering service can do for you. We can answer for you 24/7, after hours, or only when you are busy so that your customers are always cared for and you don’t pay for calls that you can answer yourself.

So How Does an Answering Service Work?

When we set up your account, we will talk with you and come up with a script that we will use to answer your phone. You can give us answers to simple questions that come up frequently, and we can also set appointments for you if you would like. When one of our friendly and professional operators answers the phone for your business, they will instantly have all of your company information in front of them on a computer screen. They will use the script to answer the phone and they will follow your instructions to assist your caller. When appropriate they will forward a caller to you, but otherwise, they will take a message and text or email it to you immediately.

Make Your Advertising Count

Of course you run ads and leave a phone number in your ad. Sometimes an ad will run and not much happens – no phone calls, no new business. However, there are times when you get your ad just right and your phone starts ringing and you get an influx of new business. You don’t want to waste a single call because you know that you have a much better chance of converting the caller to a customer if they talk to a real, live human being. Our answering service will make sure that every caller is greeted with a friendly voice that will represent your company well.

Try Us Risk Free

We know that we can help your HVAC company and we would love the opportunity to prove it. Give us a try, risk free. You can call and talk to one of our operators at 888.528.5678 or you can fill out the form here to get started!


answering service sets you apart from the competition

Get A Competitive Advantage Over Your Competition

Do you want an easy way to get some new business ideas? Take a look at what your competitors are doing and compare it with what you are doing. I know it sounds obvious, and I know it sounds simple, but when was the last time that you took a comprehensive look at your main competitors to see how you stack up with them? If you are like most business owners, it has probably been a little while.

And that makes sense. You are busy dealing with customers. You are busy dealing with employees. You are busy with your sales team. You are busy with accounting. And payroll. And… There are so many things to deal with and oversee as a small business owner that we often do not take the time to really evaluate where our company fits in the market as a whole. There are always opportunities available if you know your market and you differentiate yourselves from your competitors.

We Can Give You A Competitive Advantage

One of the things that we hear from our clients is that they appreciate that we give them a competitive advantage over their competition. There are a few common themes as to how, which we will get into below.

1. Your Customers Never Get Voicemail
This one is bigger than you think. Imagine if you never had any missed calls without a voicemail left. Any one of those could be a potential client that decided to call one of your competitors because you were not available. In today’s instant gratification society, no one wants to leave a voice mail any more. With our live answering service, your clients will get a friendly and professional voice any time they call.

2. You Are Always Available
How great would your customers feel if they could call you any time, day or night? While that doesn’t sound appealing for most business owners – having to be available all the time – but your customers will appreciate it. With our 24 hour answering service, we can answer your calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Our operators will follow your script, so they are able to answer frequently asked questions (that you provide the answer to), give directions, give hours of operation, schedule appointments, or simply take a message. Whatever you and your customers need, we will figure out a way to help.

3. We Are a Lot Less Expensive Than A Receptionist
Of course, you could hire another receptionist to take some of the load off of you and you would get many of the benefits that we offer. However, that would be a lot more expensive and a lot more hassle. First you have to advertise for a job opening, then interview, then train the new employee, pay their salary, the payroll taxes, benefits… According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a receptionist will cost (on average throughout the country, so a lot more in California) over $27,000 for salary alone. This doesn’t take into account all of the other expenses that you will incur. Or, you could hire us for a low monthly rate and know that we will handle everything for you.


customer service tips

4 Customer Service Tips from A Telephone Answering Service

Customer service is an uphill battle. I don’t know if it has something to do with society today or if it has always been this way, but customers have incredibly high expectations. Often impossible expectations. And they are all too happy to post all over social media any time a company is not perfect. So what is a company to do in 2016 to try to provide excellent customer service even when their employees may be feeling like they are fighting an uphill battle.

Here are four tips that help us to keep our employee morale high and our service scores excellent.

1. Be a Team
Everything is easier if you are a part of a team. If you feel like your boss and your coworkers have your back, it is a lot easier to take any complaints that come your way. Of course if you deserve the complaints you should own up to your mistakes and take responsibility (another way to provide great customer service), but I am talking more about when a customer is complaining about something that you have no control over. If you foster an environment among your employees where everyone feels like they are a part of a team, not only will they enjoy work more, but they will be able to provide better service as well.

2. Be Efficient, Not Fast
Of course we all know that there are always more calls to answer. It is pretty tempting to go for speed and to let the service that you are providing suffer. However, while this might be OK in the short run, it is not going to work out well for you in the long run. Of course you should not be wasting any time or shooting the breeze with your callers. You need to be efficient – hear their problems, answer their questions, offer assistance, give them the information that they need – and then hang up and move on to the next caller. But you do not want to shoot for speed alone. In my experience, the callers that end up feeling worst about the service that they receive are the ones that do not feel heard. They end up feeling like the operator rushed through their call and didn’t take the time necessary to solve the problem. Take the time, but be efficient.

3. Have the Information that You Need
Working at an answering service (PCNAnswers Phoenix is the best!) is great because as we answer the phone, all of the information that we need about the customer that we are answering for pops up on a computer screen. However, we do run into trouble if a client does not give us all of the information that we need to answer questions. It is so much more efficient if you have all of the information right their with you. Make a sheet of frequently asked questions and have all of the answers right there. That way, no matter who answers the phone, you can be sure that they will give accurate information quickly.

4. Don’t Talk Down to your Customers
Your clients are usually calling because they have a problem. Many of them may be confused about something. Don’t be condescending or talk to them as if they are stupid – remember, you know it so well because you work there! The worst thing that you can do is make a customer feel like you think that they are stupid. That will raise the emotions and frankly leave a very bad taste in their mouths. Be patient, be kind, be friendly, and your customers will thank you!


medical answering service at PCN in Riverside, CA

Your Smart Phone – Indispensable or Major Distraction?

Everyone has a smart phone now. You can’t travel a few feet without seeing somebody staring at their phone. So why is everyone staring at their phones? Because they have become an indispensable part of our lives. You need to find out how to get somewhere? You get on Waze and have directions and know how long it will take to get there. Bored? Pop out your phone and start catching some Pokemon with Pokemon Go. Looking for a great place to eat? Pull up Yelp and find an amazing restaurant right around the corner.

To keep from beating a dead horse, our phones have become an integral part of our lives, and there is nothing that is going to change that. So why is this a problem? If you are the boss at work and you walk in and see half of your staff looking at something on their phone you start to wonder how productive your employees actually are. Is the ease of entertainment found on a phone keeping your staff from being as efficient as they should be?

Here are 3 Tips To Help You to Get the Most Out of Your Employees in the Smart Phone Era

1. Turn off non-essential notifications
The last thing that you need is your employees looking at their phone every 15 seconds at a new notification. Of course some notifications are necessary. If they text with clients, you cannot have them turn off their texting notification. If they monitor Twitter for the company account, those alerts must come through. However, productivity would go way up if the amount of notifications would go down. Just think about what we do when we get a notification on our phone… we look at the notification, unlock our phone, and do three or four tasks that we were not thinking about doing before the notification.

2. Have official cell phone breaks
It is one of those things that is just going to happen. Your employees are going to check Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Instagram whether you let them or not. You would be much better off setting aside 15 minutes a couple times a day for cell phone breaks. Let your employees get their fix, and then bring them back to the task at hand. A couple of short breaks are good for productivity in general, but it will be even better if you can cut down on most of the unofficial social media breaks that your employees are already taking.

3. Cut down on office stress
One of the main reasons that people use cell phones is as a stress reliever. You will find that the more stressed your employees are, the more they will want to use their phones for something mindless. If you can keep the morale up and the stress level down, you will find that there will be much less use for your employees to use their phones for non work related tasks. At PCN, our supervisors are always available and make sure that we are getting the training that we need. One of the most stressful parts of our job is when there is a caller with a medical emergency and medical office has not given us updated information. Of course we have procedures in place to handle that particular call, but our management is very good about making sure that we feel supported and that we get the information that we need updated so that it is available the next time. With just these little changes, it not only makes the quality of our medical answering service better, it makes us as operators feel valued and our stress levels stay low.


too busy, need answering service as a virtual receptionist

Why Your Small Business Needs A Virtual Receptionist

So, you run a small business. If you are like the other small business owners that we work with, you feel that there just are not enough hours in the day. Between managing your business, managing employees, answering the phone, and actually doing your job, the time runs out quickly. In the past, this would be at the point that it would be time to bring in a receptionist to help take some of the stress off of you. But is that still the best way to go?

With our ever changing world of technology, you now have options. Instead of paying a receptionist to sit at a desk in your office, waiting for the phone to ring, you can hire a company like ours to be your virtual receptionist. So what is a virtual receptionist, and why do you need one?

A virtual receptionist is exactly like a regular receptionist, only they do not sit in your office, cost you a full salary (and benefits, workers’ comp, etc.), or require you to add an extra phone line or an expensive phone system.

Be Available 24/7/365:
At PCNAnswers, our operators are available to answer your calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year with our 24 hour answering service. Whenever a customer calls, they will reach a friendly and professional voice who follows the script that you provide and then promptly either connects you to the caller or texts or emails you your message. Whether you need us to answer frequently asked questions, give directions, schedule appointments, or handle your common customer service issues, we can help – and for a whole lot less than a receptionist would cost.

Call Forwarding:
Just like with a real receptionist, we are able to forward calls to you or your staff when it is appropriate. You will let us know who is on call, give us reasons for that person to be connected with a caller, and then we handle the rest. If it is an issue that we can take care of, we will without disturbing you (you will get a notification of the call so you know what calls we have taken). If the call requires either you or a staff member, we will call your number, let you know that you have a call that needs your attention, and then connect you.

You Set The Script:
The best part about having us as your virtual receptionist is that you get to choose how we answer. No having to train your receptionist on how to answer the phone professionally (we take our training very seriously, and our operators are the best in the business). You simply write out a script for us (we are happy to assist you with this!) and when we answer the phone for you, your script and all of the information that you have given us about your company will pop up on our computer screen. We will follow the script exactly and we will handle all calls just the way you want them handled. Our most important job is to be your representative to your customers. We will do that exactly like you set out in your instructions.


voicemail is dead use an answering service

The Long, Sad Decline of Voice Mail

Voice mail used to be an absolute business essential. A decade ago it would have been hard to imagine any business without a voice mail box (though Shawn Hakl the Verizon business division’s head of new products estimates that 80% of business phones had voice mail before the digital age). Now however, usage of voice mail have dropped to the point that many business (even large businesses) are dropping voice mail for the vast majority of their employees. Coca Cola recently gave employees the option to keep or get rid of their voice mail. The results were stunning with only 6% opting to keep their coverage. And while it was a bit of a cost savings measure, their Chief Information Officer Ed Steinike said that the change was “to simplify the way we work and increase productivity.

Of course you could think that we are being melodramatic. That voice mail is still a big part of the communications landscape and will continue to be. That the companies ditching voice mail altogether are not trail blazers, but outliers, simply looking for a way to cut costs. It would be a valid criticism if this hadn’t been predicted by the techies for years, and if this did not mirror the consumer usage of voice mail.

People Actually Hate Voice Mail

Of course this isn’t everybody, but a lot of people, and especially millennials, hate voicemail and refuse to listen to it. With the rise of text messages, they figure if it is important enough to need a reply, then the person will text. I have actually heard people get angry at a caller for leaving a voicemail. It’s strange, and it is a lot different than only a few years ago, but voicemail is something that has the capacity to bring scorn rather than goodwill.

People Get Anxious When They Have To Leave A Message on Voicemail

I have to admit that I giggled a little bit when I first read this. But then I thought about it and it made sense. I have always hated leaving voicemail messages. It always made me nervous and I would usually stammer something out and regret what I said instantly. For people that view voicemail with contempt, they simply won’t leave a message at the beep. Think that won’t cost you business? Imagine that you are unavailable and your voicemail kicked on. How many millennials do you think are going to brave their fear of public speaking to leave you a message. Every single one of them is a missed opportunity (which coincidentally is why we offer our live answering service so that you never have to miss another call again…).

Voicemail is a Waste of Time

This is the one that hits home for me. I hate when I get a voicemail because it simply seems like a waste of time to listen to it. If the person had texted me, I could read it instantly and reply. But with a voicemail, I have to click and swipe a few times, actually listen to the message, then call back to reply. That takes a lot longer than a simple text.


call answering service

Listen To Your Clients and Get More Business

Listening to your clients’ needs is vital to unlocking your business’s true potential; call answering services are the key to not only building clientele, but also keeping them loyal. Hiring a call answering service lets you capture business that others let slip away.

Are You Listening To Your Customers?

You spend good money on advertising – which is not cheap by any means – and for other necessities to put your business out ahead of others. So, what can a call answering service offer you over and above that? Well, say someone is intrigued by an advertisement and gives your business a call. What do you want them to hear? – A telephone answering service right? Of course, you want them to hear a live, professional operator. This is what your client wants as well, no matter the type of business.

People want to be heard. Being heard means by a person, not a machine. A call answering service offer just that: live professional caring service. Clients know that they have a choice and the choice they make is greatly affected by the type of treatment they receive from your business. Call answering services are the best at truly hearing your customers and making sure they feel valued and heard.

You might say “but wait, I’m always courteous to my clients – they know that I really care about how I manage my business”; but what about your receptionist? OK – say you have the best receptionist ever, never a day where you have to hire a temp. What happens after hours? Usually a recorded voicemail with an “I’m sorry…” message is set up to answer calls. That’s not good enough; you need a call answering service.

Getting More from Your Calls through Call Answering Services

Voicemail is great at taking information – if they are not full. However, call answering services not only excel at gathering information and asking the best questions, but also giving back to the client. Call answering services give clients the peace of mind that their phone call was important enough for you to make sure there was a call answering service, not just a machine, to take it. This is especially important in the medical field, where a full voicemail box cannot help with an emergency. Your patients need the assistance that medical answering services provide.

Call answering services go a lot further than just to your immediate callers as well. Remember, word of mouth can sometimes make or break a business. The inability to reach a business or impolite or distracted phone handling often results in a client not recommending a company to their friends and associates. A telephone answering service operator is able to concentrate on one thing: your telephone calls. Unlike receptionists or secretaries, a call answering service operator at PCN has one job and that is to handle each call as if it is the most important ever.
Call Answering Services: The Bottom Line

Every business owner has a choice: listen to the needs of your clientele and push your business strength further by hiring a telephone answering service, or do things the old fashioned way and let voicemail take their calls. Making sure people realize your business cares and is ready to do business is one inexpensive and simple step away. Employing our expert call answering services here at Professional Communications Network ensures that people know you mean business.


answer the phone like a pro

Answer the Phone Like a Pro – 4 Tips From an Answering Service

Funny thing, that telephone. Of course so many of us would love to pretend that it didn’t exist – or at least pretend that it is a text only device. However, as a business, how you answer the phone is still the first impression that you will have with the majority of your customers (and that makes it pretty important!).

Since we are an answering service, we know a thing or two about answering the phone professionally. Our clients trust us to represent them well every time that we answer the call. We know that every call could be that next big deal – or for our medical clients, the emergency that needs quick attention to save a life – so we can never take a call off. Here are 4 tips that will help you to answer the phone like a pro even when you don’t want to.

1. Answer the Phone
This one seems pretty obvious, but it definitely needs mentioning. Many business owners simply can’t be bothered to answer the phone.  We hear this one a lot, “If it’s important, they’ll leave a voicemail.” Guess what? Most of the time they won’t. If your caller does not get a live answer they will generally move on to another company that answers the phone. Shameless Plug – if you are having trouble answering the phone and think that you may be losing business because of it, we’d love to talk to you. Our friendly and professional operators will answer your calls 24/7/365 and you can concentrate on running your business. Give us a call at 888.528.5678 if you’d like to try us out risk free.

2. Identify Yourself When You Answer
You want to let people know 2 things – that they called the right place and who they are talking to. Something like, “Southern California Plumbing, John speaking” is great. You let the customer know that they called the right business and who they are talking to. If your phone is a cell phone that gets both business and personal calls, this is a little bit harder. We generally recommend that you answer with your name in that situation – “Hello, Andrew Jones speaking” so that people know who they are speaking with. And this way, whether it is a business or personal call there will be no confusion.



3. Do Not Answer When You Are In A Meeting

This is a tough one, and of course there are exceptions to it, but it is incredibly rude to answer a call while you are in a meeting. You are telling the person that you are meeting with that they are less important than a phone call. Of course if you are expecting an important call, it is acceptable to warn the person that you are meeting with in advance that an important call may come in and that if it does you will have to take it. Then after the call, apologize and continue on with the meeting. However, if it is not an urgent/important call do not answer it!



4. Don’t Be Funny

Don’t try to be funny with your greeting. Unless you have caller id and you are sure that you know that the caller is a good friend or family, always answer the phone professionally. We have heard too many horror stories of people expecting a call from a spouse or friend, answering the phone in an inappropriate way, only to find that it is their boss or an important client on the other end. Don’t put yourself in that uncomfortable situation. Be professional with every call!


customer service tips

5 Effective Customer Service Tips Battle Tested in a Call Center

customer service tipsWhen what you do all day is talk on the phone, you get to learn a little something about customer service. I’ve been with PCN for quite some time now and they are amazing at making sure that we are well trained in customer service. They asked me to write up a blog post about the 5 things that I find most helpful in dealing with customers on the phone, so I’ve come up with 5 tips that I think will help anyone that deals with customers on the phone on a daily basis.

1. Don’t Try To Go Too Fast With A Customer
Yes, you have a lot of calls coming through. You probably have a stack of work on your desk too. But if you want to deliver excellent customer service it takes time. You need to make sure that the customer feels heard and you can’t do that if you are already thinking about the next call that you are going to take. Stop, breathe, and focus on the caller. Hear their problem, understand their problem, and then deal with their problem however possible. We find that hearing a customer is better than solving a problem as far as customer satisfaction goes.

2. Close The Conversation Well
This goes hand and hand with number one, but you have to make sure that you have actually dealt with the issue. You want to take the time to ask, “Is there anything else that I can help you with today?” Don’t assume that if you solve one issue that the customer is now happy. There are often multiple things that a customer would like help with, and if you do not give them the chance to voice them, they will often not call back and will leave the interaction quite unsatisfied.

3. Be Unified
This one is huge. It is great as an answering service that we get to talk through common complaints and how to handle them with our clients. That allows us to have all of the information in our script so that no matter what operator a caller talks to, they will get the same answer with a complaint. All companies should have something similar, and it has to be a working document. When a new issue arises, take the time to document how you want it to be handled and make sure that every employee that may deal with customers on the phone has easy access to it. The last thing that you want is for two customers to compare notes and find that they were both told different things. Or for two employees to tell the same customer two different things. Either of these can turn into a customer service nightmare.

4. Answer The Phone Quickly
We find that when we answer the phone quickly customers appreciate it and feel better cared for. At the times when the phone rings a few more times, a customer has already started to become annoyed and it can often last through the whole conversation. So do yourself a favor. Answer the phone quickly with a friendly and professional voice (our trainers tell us to have a smile in our voice and that really seems to work) and you can already start to put out any fires.

5. Have The Right People Answer The Phone
I bet having read that, you pictured an employee (or past employee) that shouldn’t be taking customer service calls taking one. There are some people that should not be tasked with customer service. If you have a very task oriented employee, they are going to struggle to take the time necessary to make a customer feel heard. That is not to say that there is no place for task oriented employees – companies would be lost without them. But you need to make sure that you have the right people plugged into the right places.

Need Help With Your Customer Service?

If you need help delivering excellent customer service or you are looking to lighten the workload on your employees (or yourself) we would love to help. We offer a 7 day risk free trial. Give us a call at 888.528.5678 and we will get you set up!


does your customer service stink?

4 Signs That Your Customer Service Stinks

If you’re a small business owner, you know that customer service is important. You know that it is hard and/or expensive to get a new customer. You know that your business depends on keeping the customers that you have. And you know that the fastest way to lose customers is to offer less than excellent customer service. But you do not know how your customers would rate your customer service. Here are 4 signs that your customer service stinks.

You Don’t Get Many Referrals

Of course there is a lot more that goes into getting referrals than simply offering excellent customer service. However, we find that companies that offer amazing customer service will get a decent amount of referrals automatically – just because their customers are happy and they tell people about it. This is not to say that if you have an established referral program that gets great results means that you have amazing customer service. What find is that if you are not getting referrals from your current or past customers – there must be a reason and it usually has something to do with your service.

You Think That Not Getting Many Complaints Means Something

Nobody wants to get complaints about their service. And if you are not getting many complaints, it can mean that you start to feel pretty good about your service. However, there is a small problem with that thinking. Research finds that no more than 4% of unsatisfied customers will actually complain. Let that sink in for a minute. That means that for every complaint that you get, there are at least 25 other dissatisfied customers that didn’t bother to complain. Still feeling good about your service because you don’t get many complaints? Didn’t think so. A better measure would be a survey of your current and past customers. Or even looking at the times that someone does the opposite of complains – when you get a compliment about your service without asking. If you are getting more compliments than complaints, maybe you are doing something right!

You Want to Handle Customers as Quickly as Possible

This one can be tough. Your staff has only so many hours in the day and it is easier to take calls as quickly as possible. However, excellent customer service is never done as quickly as possible. It works best if you take your time and actually listen to your customers so that you can best answer their questions and solve their issues. But how can you do that? One simple way is to hire an answering service to answer overflow calls (this is one of our favorite things to do for companies – you can read more about our service here – http://www.pcnanswers.com/areas/chicago-answering-service/), to take messages, and to answer simple questions. This will free up your customer service representatives to handle more calls, spending more time with your customers without having to hire additional staff.

You are not Prepared For Complaints

There is nothing that will drive an irritated customer more crazy than having the customer service representative not know how to handle the situation. Of course there will be things that come up that you cannot prepare for, but you have to take time to think about issues that might arise – and then train your staff to deal with them. The better prepared your staff is for each individual situation, the better they are able to handle the customer well. Our operators answer for the Call Boxes on the side of the Freeways (https://www.newswire.com/pcn-introduces-live-telephone-answering/192815). As you can imagine, we get some strange calls with strange requests. We really had to take time to think about what issues could come up and train our staff on how to handle them. It has really made a difference for our operators and for the callers.

Conclusion

You want to offer excellent customer service. All business owners do. But right now, you’re not sure how your customer service stacks up. These were four tips that can help you to measure your customer service and give you areas where you can address and make necessary changes.


good customer service starts on the phone

Use An Answering Service To Improve Small Business Customer Service

lead capture servicesCompeting against larger companies with greater pools of resources can be very difficult for smaller companies; small business tips that are time-proven and sound can be of great help for small business owners.

People starting a business or running a smaller one spend a lot of time brushing up on small business help, checking on how other successful companies do things, and even spending money on consultations to maximize efficiency. But sometimes the best small business tips that can be offered are how to capture every opportunity to increase business at the lowest possible cost. One of the best small business tips is to make sure that your business is known as attentive, quality-based, and customer service orientated.

Small Business Tips for Getting and Keeping Customers

For many companies, making the smaller business shine amongst those with more capital means making use of local advertising. Another great way to assure that one’s business prospers is through word of mouth. People who use and recommend a small business help to promote that business – for free! To keep up the good word, owners should listen to small business tips and pay careful attention to public face. This means having qualified and friendly people as customer service personnel.

Small Business Tips Include Use of the Best Phone Operators

When it comes to staff, the best help for small owners is the use of professional telephone operators – particularly after hours or on holidays. Some companies are literally skeleton-staffed or even one-man operations. Particularly with a small business, help is needed answering the phones consistently and professionally. But budgets don’t necessarily allow for a full-time receptionist, much less one for after hours. One of the most important small business tips is to have someone handling the phones at all times, focused on your calls.
Small Business Tips May Lead to Business Success
small business tips

Small business tips, so that you won’t have to wear quite so many hats!

Of all the small business help and advice, one hint that should never be overlooked is that customer satisfaction is particularly important for smaller companies, and a great help for small business owners. Telephone answering services for a small business help keep that business in touch with its clients, providing the best possible service with a lower number of employees.

When a customer calls in, the customer’s information can be pulled up so every call is handled as if the owner were handling it personally. Small business tips emphasize that personal and customized service builds loyalty, which is vital for the relevance of any company. This is exactly what a phone answering service will provide – if you hire the right one. There is no better small business help than making every client feel appreciated and important.

Being available to customers 24 hours a day 7 days a week is a rarity for smaller companies, but it need not be expensive. A phone answering company such as Professional Communications Network will offer help for small owners by being there when the owner cannot. Listening to these important small business tips can inexpensively put one’s business at the forefront ahead of all the others and fresh in the minds of those who count: customers.


amazing customer service doesn't have to cost an arm or a leg

Great Customer Service – 3 Companies That Get It Right (And How You Can Too)

With customer service, it seems that companies either get it, or they don’t. There are lots of stories of companies going out of their way to make sure that a customer is happy. Unfortunately, there are many more stories about companies that completely miss the boat when it comes to their customer service. And why anyone would miss the boat so badly with customer service is beyond me… customers are the lifeblood of any company. Lose a customer and you have to gain another one. Gaining a customer is hard (or expensive) depending on the industry that you are in and your marketing and sales process.

Unfortunately, with social media these days, a company’s bad customer service can become a very public nightmare very quickly. If you are familiar with Amy’s Baking Company you will know exactly what I am talking about. The company went on Gordan Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmare and the owners were so hard to work with that Gordon Ramsey actually left without making any changes. This started what Buzzfeed called “The Most Epic Brand Meltdown on Facebook Ever” (It’s an entertaining read, but there is some strong language from the owners’ Facebook posts, so consider yourselves warned). The whole episode ended with the bakery closing, showing how powerful a customer service fail can be.

But what about good customer service? Of course the train wrecks of bad customer service spread like wildfire through the different social media channels. What can a company do to get their great customer service noticed and shared? We are going to look at three brands that totally get customer service and how they spread their message.

Buffer Has That Personal Touch

Buffer is a big brand that doesn’t act that way. I use Buffer for all of my social media scheduling (and so do a lot of other people), and I made a tutorial video showing how to schedule retweets using Buffer. Just a simple video that I made, posted to my blog, and then tweeted it mentioning Buffer. You can see the post here and a screenshot of the tweet below.

tweet 1
I didn’t think anything of it. I was excited to find a time saver and wanted to share it on my blog. I didn’t think that Buffer would particularly care. I am not even a paying customer – I use their free account. However, I got a tweet from buffer saying that they wanted to send me something and asking me to message them my address. I did and then this happened:
Buffer customer serviceTotally unexpected, but I got a handwritten note from Bonnie at Buffer along with a bunch of sweet stickers. Did it cost them much? No. However they made me feel like a million bucks because of the personal touch. And I have seen other stories of their great service and responsiveness. They are truly a big company that values their customers and it shows!

Key Takeaway – The Personal Touch Can Go a Long Way Towards Making a Customer Feel Valued.

Right Movers Has Figured Out The Referral Game

Full disclosure – Tim, the owner of Right Movers in Tustin, CA is a friend of mine. However, that has made it easier for me to see what he is doing in his business and see the crazy growth that he has had over the last year. When I met him a little bit over a year ago, he had just leased 3 new trucks and was hoping to be able to keep them moving. He had some pretty good reviews on Yelp, and he obviously was passionate about his business, but he just hadn’t been able to grow all that much (to be fair, moving is a pretty competitive industry to get into).

Then, Tim decided to get serious about his referral marketing. He knew that he had to look more professional, so he had his website redesigned, had new business cards made, and new graphics on his trucks. And he started asking customers to leave him a review on Yelp as well as asking for referrals. Suddenly he went from having right about 40 5 star reviews to 97 5 star reviews at time of writing. And when you read his reviews, it’s easy to see why he gets so many referrals. He gets back to people quickly, his guys take their job seriously (and in turn make sure that they take good care of their clients’ stuff), his prices are fair, and he is accommodating in his scheduling.

Another aspect of Right Mover’s growth is an organization called BNI. It is a referral organization, and Tim attributes a good amount of his growth to joining. After a year in BNI, not only are his 3 trucks kept busy, he has had to lease an additional 2 trucks to keep up with demand (and we haven’t even gotten to the busy summer months yet). And all of this growth has come because Right Movers has figured out the referral game – give amazing service, stand behind your work, ask for reviews, and ask for referrals.

Key Takeaway – If you want to get referrals, you better offer an outstanding product/service

Custom Comfort Mattresses

If you have been mattress shopping recently, you are probably surprised that there is a mattress place listed here. But Custom Comfort does things a little bit differently. First of all, they produce a quality product that they stand behind. It’s important to note that no matter how good the service was, I would not have purchased (or referred friends and family to purchase) a Custom Comfort mattress if they did not make an incredibly high quality mattress. My wife and I are not fans of memory foam, and it seemed that every other mattress store only sold memory foam (or their super cheap mattresses that felt like cardboard).

Going into all of the other mattress stores (and we went to a lot) was truly an experience that I would rather forget. Salesmen talking down to us. Salesmen trying to convince us that there must be something wrong with us if we didn’t want memory foam. Salesmen trying to sell us a mattress that we clearly hated the feel of. Mostly, it can all be summed up as salesmen trying to sell a mattress whether the we wanted it or not. My wife was beginning to get a little bit desperate, wondering if we would ever find a mattress that we could stand (we weren’t even looking for a mattress that we loved any more – we just wanted something marginally better than the 16 year old mattress that we had used for our whole marriage).

Thankfully we stumbled upon the Custom Comfort store in Brea, CA. It was a totally different experience. The super helpful salesperson asked us some questions, actually listened to our answers, and then used that info to suggest a bed that she thought we would like. We were expecting to be led to some of the expensive beds (like at every other mattress store) but instead we were led to one of the cheapest options. The saleslady said, “I think you guys will really like this one. Why don’t you guys lie down for 10 minutes or so and relax and see how it feels.” That was her pitch. Mind you, we had our 6 year old and 10 year old boys there with us, so she proceeded to talk to and entertain them while my wife and I relaxed. We did try a few of the other mattresses in the store, but we ended up buying the original one that our saleslady recommended. We got out the door with a mattress, fancy sheets and an awesome pillow for less than half of what we thought we were going to have to pay AND we had an amazing experience in the store.

Key Takeaway – Listen to your customers and point them in the right direction – don’t try to sell them what they don’t want or need.

Conclusion

Amazing customer service doesn’t have to be difficult, it is possible, and it makes an enormous difference in the customer experience. By being personal and adding little touches, Buffer was able to make me feel like I was important to them. By focusing on providing excellent service (in an industry not known for it) Right Movers was able to get a lot more referrals from their customers. And by listening to their customers and giving them what they want/need, Custom Comfort was able to make a fan for life (and get the referrals that come with that).


Does Your Firm Need a Legal Answering Service?

PCNAnswer's legal answering service at work
Keeping in contact with clients is top priority for attorneys and every call is important; a legal answering service like PCNAnswers ensures that the all-important line of communication between attorney and client is never broken. Attorney answering services are one feature no law office should ever neglect in their venture to protect their clients.

A Legal Answering Service – When There’s No Time to Waste

A live answering service can be there for the attorney – and his/her clients – at all hours of the day, any day, even holidays. Attorney answering services are particularly important because any current legal issues at hand may change at the drop of a hat and so keeping up to date with the most recent developments can be critical.

A legal answering service, particularly a live answering service, is specially trained to answer phone calls professionally. This means prioritizing with knowledge that only an attorney answering service company’s trained staff can have. Legal answering service operators also know how to kindly and empathetically deal with clients who are stressed or may be rude on the phone. A live answering service does what a machine cannot; live staff can tactically analyze situations and deal with them as they need to be handled.

A legal Answering Service – At Any Hour

Lawyers are often required to be available for their clients at all hours. Unfortunately, hiring a full time receptionist or PA for an office is expensive – and unnecessary due to the quality and specialized operators of a legal answering service. When you need time handling other cases, work in court, or even to attend to personal matters, attorney answering services can manage calls and ensure that the most important ones get through to you as needed.

For those phone calls that do not necessarily need to come right through, a live answering service gives your clients confidence that their phone call will indeed be forwarded to you at the earliest possible time by your attorney answering services. This is a value that only a specially trained legal answering service can offer.

Peace of Mind with Our Legal Answering Service

The services that attorneys provide change and sometimes save lives. Handling phone calls for a legal firm should mean never losing any important information – even and maybe particularly information from middle-of-the-night calls. Our trained legal answering service operators know just what questions to ask and what you, as an attorney, need from an operator.

Hiring PCNAnswers’ attorney answering services means never again having to worry if someone remembered to turn the answering machine on, or whether or not the messages were cleared to make room for more. Our legal answering service is there – without fail – when you cannot be. Besides, if you were a client, would you rather entrust your important legal matters to a machine or a live answering service? Erin Steinhem, receptionist at Wishart Law, a Brea family law firm, says that she loves the fact that she knows that anyone who calls will get a live person, even if she is on the phone with someone else. “I used to hate to put people on hold or cut them short if another call came in. But now I know that no matter what, the caller will reach a live, friendly voice. Our clients love it to because now I never have to put them on hold!”

To PCN Legal Answering Service, Every Call Counts

Every customer counts and every phone call is of the utmost importance for a law firm. Our professional and capable legal answering service recognizes this and our attorney answering services are ready to handle your affairs in just the right manner. We never miss a call, and we never lose a client to your competitors. Professional Communications Network is a live answering service that cares about your business.


somebody wishes they knew how to answer the phone professionally

How To Answer The Phone Professionally

Let’s be totally honest about something; everyone wants to have the most professional business possible, I mean, that’s an absolute fact of life. Businesses have to compete for every customer and the last thing that you want to do is lose a valuable customer because of poor customer service. It is found that often the quality of the product and the price are not the main factors in a customer’s decision – it is the quality of the service that they receive and the relationship that they have with the business. One of the easiest ways that you can improve your customer service is simply understanding how to answer the phone professionally. Now, that sounds like something that should be basic information, but the fact of the matter is that there are so many businesses that do not understand the true concept of having a professional and courteous tone when they answer the phone. A professional answering service may be “just what the doctor ordered” in terms of improving your customer service.

How to Answer The Phone Professionally – Prevent Bad Customer Experiences

somebody wishes they knew how to answer the phone professionally

Now, why do I think it is important to learn how to answer the phone professionally? Think of how many times have you called a business and had an unpleasant experience over the phone? It happens all the time, and leaves a very bad taste in a customer’s mouth. I can do business with a company for years and years, and the very first time I have a bad experience when I call the company, I am ready to find someone else to do business with…seriously. It’s that important that you ALWAYS have stellar customer service over the phone. It might be necessary for your business to go with a professional answering service that can handle all of your calls, this way you are pretty much guaranteed to get for the most part, excellent handling of all of your incoming calls. Professional phone services are trained to handle your phone calls for your business, they are trained to know everything from a-z about your company; they are trained to answer questions and concerns, and they can also order product and items based on the customer’s needs. Many times the customer will think they are talking directly to your business, and they will have a great impression based on the nature of the call.

How To Answer The Phone Professionally – Back To The Basics

If you’re trying to improve your customer service, you may want to go back to the basics, and just work on how to answer the phone professionally. As basic as that may sound, it really is the most important part of customer service. Ultimately, it only takes one bad customer interaction to ruin any amount of good will that you have built with that customer. No one really remembers the good of a business, and that’s the sad thing, but everyone will remember that one bad experience they had with a business, and it’s that one bad experience that will send those people to the competing businesses. You can eliminate this from happening by using a professional answering service and having the best possible customer service that you can possibly have!


an answering service is a great way to improve your customer service

Improve Your Customer Service The Easy Way

Your business should always want to improve customer service. One of the main things that your company may be struggling with is providing solid customer service, and you may find yourself struggling to keep up with your competition because of this lack of customer service skills. Maybe you are specifically lacking in the area of customer service over the phone. What you may want to consider incorporating is a professional answering service to handle all of your incoming phone calls to your business. How can that help to improve customer service? Let’s take a look at a few reasons as to how you can improve the customer service of your business with a professional telephone answering service.

an answering service is a great way to improve your customer service

Improve Customer Service And Give A Strong First Impression

Let’s be honest, many businesses only get one chance to make a strong first impression, and a lot of times, that is through phone calls that potential customers might make to get some information or to have a question answered. If you don’t have a strong showing on that phone call, you can bet your bottom dollar that you will not be getting that person’s business. So that’s where a professional answering service may come in. You can use an answering service to handle all of your incoming calls.

Operators at a quality answering service are trained to handle all of your calls in an efficient and professional manner. They are trained to follow your instructions, can answer questions from a customer, and can place orders as well. Many times the customer has no idea that they are talking to a 3rd party answering service, they just know that they have received excellent customer service. Chances are, you’ll be seeing them time and time again at your business!

Improve Customer Service And Save Time

Along with offering better customer service to your customers, another benefit of having a professional phone service is the fact that you have less management responsibilities and more time to focus on other things that may otherwise get overlooked. I am sure that you have heard the quote, “work on your business not for your business.” This will help you to focus on fewer interactions which will allow you to improve your in-house customer service. A professional answering service can handle all of your calls for you, and you as a business manager can focus the time normally spent managing those calls and reps on in-person interactions as well as other aspects of running your business.

Having a professional answering service for your phones is a great way that your business can improve customer service, and it can help you to rise above your competition and to make sure that you are able to develop long term relationships with your customers. It is a very cost effective way to offer superior over the phone service that will improve your overall customer service and leave a strong impression with your customers and your potential customers.


24 hour answering services help busy companies offer excellent customer service

Why Your Business Needs a 24 Hour Answering Service

I’m sure that you have called businesses that had a 24 hour answering service, often without even realizing it. Think about this for a second – if you needed something right then (let’s say you had a plumbing leak) would you prefer to talk to a friendly and professional voice that can get you the help that you need or voicemail message. Having phone support for your business at all hours is one of the main ways that you can greatly improve your customer service, especially if you have clients that need you after hours. Below we talk about some of the benefits of having a 24 hour answering service.

24 hour answering services help busy companies offer excellent customer service

Is your team busy? A 24 hour answering service may be exactly what you need! Credit – Startup Stock Photos


Your Customers Can Call At Any Time

For one, it gives your callers the opportunity to call the business at all hours of the day. Now, for some businesses this is going to be a bigger benefit than others. If your small business offers medical information, you do emergency repairs, or you deal with customers who cannot call during the work day then having a 24 hour call center will greatly increase your customer satisfaction. A professional answering service can give you the ability to accept phone calls 24 hours a day, so you are never unable to take an inbound call from a client.

Staffing Becomes Much Easier

Staffing can be difficult and needs to be managed, and this is another benefit of having a 24 hour professional answering service that is able to always handle your calls. Whether you get seasonal spikes in calls or you have employees calling in sick, there are times when it is difficult to get all of your calls answered. Our operators are trained to be able to handle your calls for your specific business. They can take calls, place orders, order products, answer questions and concerns (all based on the instructions that you give us), and many times the callers will never know that they are not talking directly to one of your employees. This eliminates the need to make sure that you always have enough employees dedicated to answering the phones. This will help with your payroll and will save money, time, and resources, as the time spent managing those employees can be set aside to manage and work on other top priority things going on in your business.

Calls Get Answered Quicker

Having a 24 hour answering service to support your employees is also good because each call to your business is answered quickly and efficiently. Nothing is worse than calling a business and hearing the phone ring forever and ever before finally, someone answers it (or worse – it goes to voicemail). With an answering service to help, your calls can be answered 24 hours a day, at specific times, or anytime that your staff gets busy. Some of our clients have us answer their calls if it rings more than a set number of times. This means that they only use our service when they need it, but a call is never missed because their staff is too busy.

There are many benefits to having a 24 hour professional answering service for your business or medical office. It is important that each phone call is treated as a priority which helps your customers to feel valued. And that is exactly what you get with a 24 hour call center like PCNAnswers.


better customer service

6 Tips To Improve Your Employees Customer Service Skills

If there is one thing that we know a lot about, and train our employees on, it’s customer service. We understand that as an answering service we are the face and voice for our clients to their customers. And we know that if we do not treat those customers right it reflects very poorly on our clients which is unacceptable. What we have found in working with a lot of small businesses over the years is that while they expect us to provide excellent customer service, they don’t always expect or train their employees to do the same.

Let me tell you a little secret. Your customer’s first impression of your business is often derived from interaction with your employees.  The customer service skills demonstrated by your employees can make or break your relationships with your clients.  You’re dependent upon your employees to deliver phenomenal and effective service in an effort to gain and retain customers.  There are several things you can do to improve the customer service skills of your employees.  Here are 6 great tips that we at PCNAnswers offer to our clients to help them to train their employees to offer excellent service:

Tip 1:  Encourage Innovation and Involvement

Think of your front-line employees as the eyes and ears of your business.  Your employees are often the first people your customers come into contact with.  When your customers aren’t happy, your front-line employees will hear about it.  Likewise, when your front-line employees aren’t happy,  your customers are often negatively affected. Often times, your employees can identify areas of opportunity as a result of their interactions with your customers. With that said, take time to request feedback and suggestions from employees and use the information provided to implement new policies and procedures in an effort to improve your business operations.

Tip 2:  Communicate Positive Messages

Your employees encounter a variety of personality types every day.  This often subjects your employees to a certain level of negativity.  Dealing with unhappy and unpleasant customers on a day-to-day basis can take its toll.  Whether its good news about the company’s achievements or just simple words of encouragement, taking time to communicate positive messages creates positive moods and in turn, improves customer service skills.

Tip 3:  Recognize Outstanding Service and Achievements

Take time to recognize achievements such as outstanding service, perfect attendance, years of service, etc.  Some suggestions include:

  • Offer paid time off to the highest achiever(s)
  • Offer casual dress days
  • Free lunch

Tip 4:  Interact with your Employees

Many of your greatest assets are hidden behind cubicle walls.  With that said, you may not have an abundance of interaction with them.  Interaction with your employees sends messages of acknowledgement and appreciation.  Promote interaction in a variety of ways, including:

Focus groups – Small group sessions where Senior Management shares important corporate information and opens the floor for suggestions.

Team meetings – Allow time for individual groups to communicate with each other.  This allows employees to work as a team to overcome many of the daily obstacles they face.

Observation – Spend time on-the-job with your employees in an effort to put yourself in their position and better identify areas of opportunity.

Tip 5:  Demonstrate Positive Behaviors

Create an organizational culture that cultivates positive growth. Demonstrate behaviors you expect your employees to pass on to your customers.  Communicate your expectations to your employees and hold them accountable for results.  Great customer service skills are delivered by employees who are provided with well-defined rules and expectations.

Tip 6:  Customer Feedback

Many companies use surveys to measure customer satisfaction.  Customers want a great products, but also expect outstanding service.  Surveys are a great tool used to measure customer satisfaction and help organizations identify areas of opportunity.


PCN services

Personal Service Key For Small Businesses

Small business owners will look for any advantage that they can find to help them succeed. Technology is often seen as the answer, offering greater ranges of service for less money. This is great in many areas, but one place where many small business owners are steering clear of the lure of technology is in customer service.

There is a certain feeling of disconnectedness that customers feel when they call a business and are greeted with a cold and impersonal machine. Even worse, the machine often tells the caller that his or her call is important. This just doesn’t ring true, and many callers will simply hang up rather than leave a message or spend the time and effort to navigate through the recorded maze that many companies set up. While this might be a good business practice for a huge corporation that needs to cut costs and isn’t worried about losing a few customers here and there, for small businesses this can be a disaster.

So what are small businesses to do? They need to offer personal customer care, but they often cannot afford the employees that it would take to adequately cover all of their phone calls. PCN is an answering service that has seen this need and is offering small businesses an affordable way to provide the personal care that their customers expect. Brian White, a vice president at the Riverside, CA based live answering service, says, “We know that small businesses need to offer excellent customer service, but the cost and time commitment that goes into hiring and training receptionists is often prohibitive. That is where we come in. We provide professional and friendly operators ready to be the voice of your company.”

Kurt Abel of Two Cans Media, an internet marketing company based in Southern California, is one of the small business owners that appreciates the personal touch that an answering service offers. He says, “I know that whether I am on the road or in a meeting, when a client or a prospect calls, they will be well taken care of and that I will get the message. And an added bonus is that they give my business a more professional feel. My customers think that I have a receptionist who answers all of my calls. Before PCN I used voice mail when I was out of the office and I found that most people would not leave a message. I’ll never know how much business I lost.”

One service that small businesses are especially excited about is on-call scheduling. On-call scheduling is an incredibly complex task, and it has to be done perfectly or it doesn’t work. Employees do not want to be bothered when they are not on-call and callers do not want to wait while an employee is tracked down. White acknowledges this, and adds, “At PCN, we understand the hard work and complexity behind the task of on-call scheduling.  We also understand the importance of reaching the correct person every time. Our operators are on-call scheduling experts and we use state of the art technology to integrate your schedule into our system. We can customize each schedule and we can program schedules daily, monthly, or annually.”

It sounds complicated, but it is actually quite easy for the small business owner. They are able to send their on-call schedules to PCN via email or fax and it is quickly updated in the system and is displayed on the computer screen when the operator answers a call.  Then, when a customer calls and they need to reach an on-call employee, the PCN operator knows who to call and can quickly and seamlessly connect the caller to the employee. Just what every small business owner wants – great service for customers, less stress for employees, and it’s easy on the bottom line.


PCN operator

Does Good Customer Service Lead To Success?

good customer service starts on the phoneIf you have your own business, good customer service can mean the difference between success and failure. There’s lots of talk out there about bringing in customers, but what about keeping them? Good customer service is essential if you want to keep your business profitable. Take a look at these customer service tips:

Only make promises you can keep

Customers are savvy. If you make exaggerated promises and then don’t keep them, those promises may get a few people in the door, but word will get around fast that you’re not a man or woman of your word. Only promise to do something if you can actually deliver. Realistic promises may be lower key than hyped up promises, but they’re honest and will help your reputation. Customers will refer you to others and will recommend you as someone who is honest, straightforward, and reliable.

Answer your phone

It’s essential to good business that you’re reliable, and that translates to answering your phone. Your voice mail message should enumerate your business hours if you have them, and when you won’t be available; invite customers to leave a message and then get back to them promptly. Answer your phone without fail during business hours. If you can’t do it yourself, hire staff to do it, or if you can’t afford to staff, hire an answering service (we suggest PCNAnswers!). Being available to customers at set hours of the day through phone contact is a sign that you’re reliable, and that’s going to both bring customers to you, and keep them coming back.

Listen to customers and handle any complaints promptly

If a customer comes to you with a need or complaint, listen intently and handle it promptly. Nothing is more frustrating to customers than not being listened to or taken care of when they have a problem you can fix. A successful business doesn’t just rely on bringing in new customers. It also handles current customers with TLC. That’s good business practice anyway, and word will spread that you care about your customers and take care of their needs, promptly.

Be helpful to visitors even if it doesn’t necessarily mean profit for you right now

If you’ve got a business that offers services to people, be helpful and friendly to them even if they’re not going to buy anything from you. For example, if a visitor comes into your store and isn’t buying anything that day but just wants advice on what you sell, give them that advice freely without trying to make a sale. If you’re accessible and not going for the “hard sell,” that customer will think of you the next time he or she needs something you sell – and will come to you to buy it.

Give a little extra

Go the extra mile by helping a customer find something instead of telling him or her where to look. Throw in an unexpected small discount. “A little extra” costs you little or nothing, but it can improve your bottom line significantly.

Smile

Why? A genuine smile can make a customer’s day — and a sale, too.


About PCN

4 Tips for Better Employee Productivity

Leadership often pushes employees to churn out more work in shorter periods of time; faster employee productivity seems like a cost-efficient way to reduce the bottom line. Constantly raising the bar on your staff has negative consequences as well: You can demotivate employees by striving for impossible heights or increase errors by promoting quantity over quality.

Someone once said that you can only type so fast; the same premise applies to any area of production. Some people are faster than others, but at some point, the human body can only do so much. So, how do you increase employee productivity without burning through your staff? One answer is to use technology.

Encourage Keyboard Short Cuts

Almost any software has a series of macros or hotkeys that make work faster. Microsoft Word has dozens of keyboard commands that reduce dependence on a mouse. It may seem like a small thing, but every move of the mouse can take an extra second or two. Staff who work in a data-entry environment may complete the same task hundreds of times every day. One second saved on a task that is repeated 200 times in an average work day saves between 13 and 15 hours of work a year per employee. Identify common tasks and related short cuts, and then teach them to your staff. If you have proprietary software, ask about the possibility of creating customized shortcuts.

Create Templates

Never let your staff do work that can be automated. You don’t need sophisticated software to boost employee productivity through automation; you can built your own templates to boost efficiency on numerous tasks. Anytime your staff must answer questions, write documents, or fill out forms that are repetitive in nature, design a common-use form; reinventing the wheel every day takes time and opens the door for misunderstandings and errors.

Program Macros

Use macros in Excel and Word, and ask about the option for built-in macros for in-house systems. Use macros to boost employee efficiency on simple tasks like data entry. Medical data entry often involves long medication or procedure names. Identify the most-used words and create keyboard shortcuts. Instead of keying ten or more letters, employees can strike three keys. You can also build macros to handle more complex tasks like mail merges for shipping or daily reporting. Employees should never pull manual numbers when the option for programming automatic reports exists.

Working smarter and not harder” may sound like a cliche, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Look for ways to increase employee efficiency using tools and software you already have. Often, throughput is boosted by a bit of creativity and education and not by large expenditures.

Outsource

As business owners, we are good at outsourcing to our employees, because we simply do not have the time to do everything. However, what about some of the menial tasks that you can outsource to another company that can free up your employees to be more productive.

Bookkeeping is one great example of a task that can easily be outsourced to a professional and can free up your employees to help you to build your business. One more example is hiring a 24 hour answering service (like PCNAnswers) to answer some or all of your calls. Imagine if your staff was not bogged down with time-consuming phone calls and were actually able to spend more time on the tasks that you have assigned them.


customer service training

5 Customer Service Training Tips

The success of your small business is often measured by the satisfaction of your customers. That is why so many capable entrepreneurs put a premium on customer service. From big companies like Starbucks and Zappos to neighborhood cafes passionate about satisfying both local patrons and newcomers, excellent customer service is key to staying ahead.

Here are five easily doable ideas on customer service training:

1. Switch their roles from staff to customer.

Ask your staff to identify themselves as a customer. More importantly, ask them to specifically think about a typical customer. By imagining a real-life person and stepping into his/her shoes, your staff will most likely empathize with customers and satisfy each of their individual needs. Don’t forget to ask your staff to identify ways of “going to extra mile” for customers. While this may seem like a simple exercise, it can really go a long way into helping your staff to answer common questions more clearly, and with more compassion.

2. Give them a motivational boost.

It’s no secret that motivated employees serve people best. But how will you get them energized to do something mundane as answering calls? Pep talks are thing of the past. Researchers found that the single most crucial factor that keeps people motivated is having a sense of purpose. Make sure your staff knows that their jobs benefit not only a business but an entire community. Let them know about success stories that you hear about. Give them praise when you get a favorable review about how a customer service situations was handled.

3. Check competitor customer service.

Have them phone a competitor to purchase an item or inquire about a service. This alone will help your staff critique customer service from a constructive, non-biased perspective. They can learn from other people’s mistakes and embrace best practices to improve their own service. This can often take the blinders off of a representative. They can pick up on some of the bad habits that they don’t realize that they have if they experience it from the other side.

4. Provide regular communication skills training.

How trained is your staff when it comes to explaining a service or handling upset customers? Get them involved in basic customer communication trainings. Give them practical scenarios so that they can practice their skills and build their confidence. Don’t forget to give them constructive feedback and encourage them to support one another. Role playing can be a good idea here, but don’t let it get out of hand.

5. Make them explain your product or service.

This can be done in less than half an hour. You can do simple quizzes, product demos and team briefings to help your staff develop product or service knowledge. As customer service representatives, they’re likely to receive a lot of questions pertaining to products and services. As expected of a stellar staff, they should be able to confidently explain them to customers.

Are your employees trained and qualified to give customers the service they deserve? Use these 5 tips and your employees will be better able to serve your customers with excellence.


medical answering service

Choosing the Right Medical Answering Service

In the fast paced world of practicing medical offices, there is no room for inaccuracy. Whether you are a doctor, chiropractor, dentist, or other more specialized medical provider, the need to have all the facts correctly and succinctly laid out before you is key. When you are talking about larger medical offices the same is even more true simply because of the increase in volume. There are more people so the potential for information to get lost, messages to fall through the cracks, and approvals and denials to fall on deaf ears not only effects your offices productivity, it also could quite literally be a life and death issue.

One solution for busy offices and solo practitioners can be to try and utilize a medical answering service. Medical answering services not only allow you to get direct messages to the places they need to be the most, but they also offer a number of other services as well.

When you’re trying to decide how to choose a medical answering service you first need to decide why you are seeking this service. Do you only have a part time secretary in your private office and you can’t possibly get all your patients the information they need in the timely manner that is required? Or are you a manger of a larger office and you find that you keep losing calls? Or maybe the confusion of the switchboard and the busy bustling staff keep having calls get misdirected? A medical answering service can help medical offices on all accounts.

Medical answering providers allow your business to really focus in on the issues which affect your practice. One big concern many medical professionals have is not being able to correctly communicate to their patients the information which is essential for their well-being. Medical answering services take a lot of the burden of rote information communication off of your backs so that you can deal with the patient who is in front of you.

Moreover a medical answering service will allow you to leave patient specific messages for particular patients so that no matter when they call, that particular client will get that specific message. If your office called in a prescription for a patient but they are required to go to a different pharmacy than normal; a patient who calls in late on Friday may not get that message until Monday; but Monday may be too late. A medical answering service will do what is required to be sure that all of your patients are operating on a level playing field no matter their inability to call on you during normal business hours.

One of the leading messaging providers in the medical services business has been and continues to be PCN. For more than 20 years PCN has offered a wide range of call center services for all different industries. All the PCN services come with a level of reliably and service which leaves all your patients feeling valued and allows you to rest easy knowing that you can focus on healing those in need.

Check Out Our Video of Our Operators In Action


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PCN and California’s Minimum Wage Hike

Is your business prepared for California’s 2016 minimum wage increase?

California’s mandated minimum wage increase is just around the corner. We’ve all heard about the financial impact this will create and how corporations are preparing to handle it. We’ve already seen the price increases at restaurants, retail, and grocery stores. Is your business prepared? Does the idea of additional staff to help your growing business thrive now seem out of reach?

Do not let your company’s quality of service be affected. An answering service is an excellent way to provide around the clock assistance to your callers without the extra overhead and payroll costs. Stay ahead of your competition with a live, professional, 24-hour answering service!

Professional Communications Network has provided call center services for 25 years, and we know what it takes to care for your callers. With PCN, you’ll never miss a call, and your callers will be happy to know they can rely on a live person to answer their calls anytime – day or night.  We’ll become extension of your office!

Some of our services include:

  • Free week trial
  • 24-hour live professional and friendly operator service
  • Weekends and holidays included
  • Custom tailored programming
  • Instant message delivery to your smart phone, email, or fax
  • Emergency dispatching
  • Recorded calls
  • Appointment scheduling
  • Detailed reporting

Our professional operators know how to respond to your callers’ needs and will go the extra mile to ensure that your calls are handled just the way you would handle them from start to finish!

Contact us for more information about our free week trial. We are confident you’ll be satisfied with our services, and we hope to speak with you soon!


staff receiving awards!

June Update

We Love Our Staff

This month, PCN gave special recognition to our 3-year employees. These four hard-working young ladies have become strong team players, and they bring so much to the table. PCN is blessed to have this special group on our team, and we can’t thank them enough for their hard work, for always taking the initiative to help out with extra projects, and for everything they contribute to our team! Way to go girls!

Did you know?

The average length of Employment here at PCN is 8 years! We offer many rewards and incentives to show our staff how much we appreciate them. We also treat them like family!

Tips and Tricks

Is your work constantly interrupted by the phone? Let us help! PCN can answer your calls – even while you’re in the office!

We will follow your customized instructions and send you messages instantly!

Refer A Client

Refer a client to PCN and receive a 10% coupon! Contact us for details.


PCN 25 Year Logo

Client of the Month – Elite Cargo Services, Inc.

Elite Cargo Service, Inc. is a domestic air freight and logistics forwarder, providing specialty services to their customers.

It has been a great honor to provide after hours assistance to Elite Cargo Service, Inc. for over 15 years! We love working with their staff, and we truly feel like we are a part of their office!

Nancy Ferguson is the Customer Service and Operations Advisor. She’s responsible for providing customer information, setting up routing of shipments, carrier billing and rating customer shipments. We appreciate the time she took out of her busy schedule to tell us what she enjoys most about PCN:

“We have been a PCN customer for over 15 years, and they have always provided us with professional communications and now have the ability to send e-mail and text alerts to us. They have always been courteous, friendly, and have provided accurate and timely information from our customers to us.”


Client of the Month – Inland Tile and Carpet Cleaning

We love working with small businesses and serving this hard working community with 24-hour assistance. We consider ourselves as an extension of their company!

Inland Tile and Carpet cleaning has been a client of PCN’s for several years. Carl is very busy in the field and relies on PCN’s services so that he never misses a call!

“I own a carpet and tile cleaning company and have used PCN for over 5 years to take all of my incoming calls. The staff at PCN is very good about following my instructions, and they are always very courteous to our callers. I highly recommend PCN to any company looking for a great answering service at an affordable price.” – Carl Wuersch, Inland Carpet and Tile Cleaning

If you are interested in carpet cleaning services or our Rug cleaning with FREE pick- up and delivery, give Inland Carpet Cleaning a call at 888-888-3068.


Seabreeze Management Logo

February Client of the Month – Seabreeze Management

PCN has provided live answering and emergency services for Seabreeze Management Company for decades, and it has been an honor to be a part of their team!

“Seabreeze Management Company is one o Southern California’s leading community association management companies. Founded in 1987, Seabreeeze provides full-service property management for mid-rise and high-rise developments, single family homes, condominiums, master-planned communities, senior and mixed-use communities, active adult lifestyle communities, business parks and commercial properties. With a management portfolio of more than 100 associations and more than 30,000 properties today, Seabreeze serves this variety of property types with the shared understanding that every community is unique. Seabreeze’s people-focused approach consists of ongoing professional education and development, along with the achievement of multiple regional and international recognitions and accreditations. Above all, the company’s vision (people, performance, passion) is what provides every community with superior professional management and strategic guidance.

Seabreeze Management Company operates as a community – focused on people, performance, and passion. Our job is people focused… and we love this. We understand how important it is to provide our clients with a personable and knowledgeable team that has a shared passion for serving others. Every community and property type is unique. It’s why we choose to listen to our clients, understand their vision, and together, provide comprehensive management services, financial understanding and strategic guidance that allow each community to thrive.

PCN has been a great partner to Seabreeze for years, their polite, professional and prompt response times have become instrumental in our ability to meet the needs of our clients. We truly value our partnership and are looking forward to continued success.”

Barbara Mayo is the Associate manager. She is mainly responsible for Seabreeze Management’s customer care team and the after-hours emergency response team, although she wears many hats. She’s always on top of things and she is a pleasure to work with. Visit their website at seabreezemgmt.com.


PCN 25 Year Logo

February Update

We Love our Staff!

The celebration continues as PCN gives special recognition this month to another special group of employees – our new hires. This group has been a part of our family for less than a year, but they are just as valuable and appreciated as the rest!

Although the very first call they answered is still fresh in our minds, we are amazed at how fast this group caught on. We truly admire their drive and eagerness to learn – that’s still as strong as the day they were hired!

Highlights

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PCN celebrating 25 years!

We Love Our Staff

As part of our year-long celebration, we will be honoring our staff!  Their hard work and dedication have made our achievements possible, and we appreciate all they do!

This month, PCN gave special recognition and praise to fourteen employees who have been with PCN for ten+ years!  These loyal employees have helped shape our standards to be better than the rest and have helped PCN become the success that it is today.

We asked them what they love about PCN;

“PCN is like family, and we take care of each other”

“We are recognized for our personal strengths”

“PCN has been very supportive and understanding during family emergencies”,

“We are treated more like family than employees!”


Cannon Management

Client of the Month – Cannon Management

It has been a pleasure to work closely with Cannon Management, and we are truly grateful for the opportunity to be a part of their business since October of 1991.  Ann Robertson is our main contact.  She’s wears many hats in her position, and we appreciate the time she took out of her busy day to write us:

“Cannon Management is a property management firm that manages over 10,000 units in both apartment rentals and homeowner association management.  Our goal is to provide excellence in property management.  In the past year alone, Cannon has taken over several new properties and anticipates more in the coming year  I like that our rep is easily accessible via email and that she is very timely in responding to our requests for new accounts and account updates.”

To learn more about Cannon Management, visit their website at www.cannonmanagement.com

Cannon Management


Celebrating our 25th Anniversary!

PCN 25 Year Logo2015 is here, and we are excited to announce that PCN has reached its 25th anniversary!  This is a huge milestone, and we would like to express our gratitude to you – our clients for allowing PCN to serve you through the years!

We will be celebrating PCN’s anniversary and celebrating YOU all year long! Special announcements and new features will be introduced each month, and we invite you to join the celebration!  

Please check our monthly “PCN 25th Anniversary Newsletter” or visit us at www.PCNanswers.com!

25th Anniversary Highlights

PCN celebrating 25 years!


Christmas at PCN

How Does your Company Plan to Celebrate the Holidays?

For over 20 years, PCN has given piece of mind to hundreds of businesses during the holidays. Our clients know that they will never miss a call during the holidays – or anytime of the year!

PCN is here 24-hours a day, seven days a week to answer your calls while you enjoy your holiday parties, vacations, family, or even just a little time to away from the office for some Christmas shopping! Our professional staff understands the importance of each call and will go the extra mile to ensure that your calls are handled just the way you would from start to finish. And your callers will be happy to know that they can rely on a live person to answer their calls anytime – day or night!

Contact us to see how we can help your business thrive. PCN would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


operation christmas child shoeboxes

Samaritans Purse – Operation Christmas Child

Another year, another 50 shoeboxes packed to the brim with toys, school supplies, everyday necessities, and of course, CANDY! Bye-bye shoeboxes. We send you off to needy boys and girls around the world with Christmas spirit and with God’s love!

For over five year, Operation Christmas Child has been a wonderful way for PCN to provide employees with the opportunity to GIVE. Our staff is very proud and excited to be a part of this program, and we would encourage any business to participate.

Samaritans Purse has provided emergency relief to victims of natural disaster, war, disease, and famine around the world. Operation Christmas Child has packed and distributed shoeboxes to the needy worldwide since 1993.

You too can help Operation Christmas Child surpass 1 million shoeboxes! To learn more, visit their website at http://www.samaritanspurse.org/


Thanksgiving donations

Fair Housing Council of Riverside Thanksgiving Food Giveaway

Once again, PCN employees have collected a generous donation for The Fair Housing Council of Riverside’s Annual Thanksgiving Food Giveaway. Way to go, staff!

PCN would like to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!

To learn more about The Fair Housing Council of Riverside, visit their website at http://fairhousing.net/


Andrew Holybee's 15th anniversary

Happy 15-Year Anniversary to PCN’s I.T. Manager, Andrew Holybee

The entire PCN staff would like to congratulate Andrew Holybee on his 15-year anniversary with PCN! Andrew was hired as a telephone operator in November, 1999 but quickly became PCN’s “Jack of all Trades”! He wore the hat of many roles – from operator to handyman, technician, comedian, spiritual advisor, and the list goes on and on! Andrew was promoted to PCN’s I.T. Manager in November, 2007 and is now responsible for all of our systems and hardware. (Although he still gets pulled out of the office from time-to-time to fix the coffee machine!)

Andrew loves our staff and has always gone out of his way to help someone in time of need – whether it’s technical advice, fixing a personal computer, app suggestions, a ride, or simply just being a friend and an ear to listen – you name it, he’s there! And our staff loves him, too!

Andrew is an asset to us, and we can’t thank him enough for all he does. PCN is blessed to have him on our team!


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