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Up to 70% of first time callers to businesses hang up and call a competitor when they have a bad caller experience?

Research conducted by OfficeHQ on consumer attitudes to handling of their phone inquiries is conclusive: ineffective call handling will result in lost business.

According to the Australian Caller Index™ 2014, 94% of consumers say that effective call handling is critical in creating a positive first impression. That may not be a revelation to most people but the implications for business of all sizes when the first impression is a bad caller experience, should make owners and managers responsible for customer experience take notice.

Not surprisingly, the top two reasons new business inquirers are compelled to hang up and call a competitor company are:

  1. The call is answered by a person who lacks courtesy and professionalism, and
  2. The person answering the phone lacks knowledge and can’t answer the caller’s questions.

Not only is it highly likely they will hang up and call another business if their call is not handled well, 83% of Aussies will tell family and friends to avoid a business based on their experience.

Why is it that Australian business continues to underinvest in this critical aspect of the customer experience?

In the interests of managing costs, many businesses have turned to technology and/or off-shore call centres, but the research reveals that the greatest irritation for Aussies calling a business for the first time, is having their calls answered by technology or diverted to an overseas call centre. Australian callers prefer to speak to a person (92%) but even then, if their call is not handled effectively, 89% of those surveyed will disregard a business.

The research demonstrates that the personal touch matters most when contacting a business. Despite the multiple alternatives available to consumers today to contact businesses, almost two thirds of people will pick up the phone to make that first contact. They prefer a person to be at the other end of the phone line and they expect a professional answer by a courteous, knowledgeable person who can assist with their enquiries.

Bring back the Officer of First Impressions!

The first impression your callers have of your business is determined by the quality of the call handling experience. The receptionist (a.k.a. the Officer of First Impressions) could be the difference between a good and a bad first time caller experience.

The concept of bringing back the traditional phone answering and receptionist solutions may not be the best fit solution for the workplace of today and for the future. From sole operators to global enterprises, the traditional workplace is quickly evolving into collaborative workspaces, remote offices and off-site locations. The concept of a receptionist on-site working “core business hours” will unlikely be the best alternative to the dilemma of re-focusing attention on managing first contact, first impressions of your business.

Reception as a Service™ is the professional answer.

Otherwise known as the “virtual receptionist”, the combination of state of the art technology and highly trained, professional receptionists can deliver a premium reception service on behalf of your business.

This is achieved through the deployment of integrated telephony and CRM technologies that provide instantaneous availability of company information along with real-time information about employees availability and contact preferences for calls and messages utilised by professional receptionists answering your calls and providing your customers with an exceptional caller experience, especially first time callers where first impression matters.

The virtual receptionist doesn’t need to be employed by your business and they don’t need to be located at your premises and they can be one or many and still be highly knowledgeable and competent to professionally, courteously and effectively greet and assist your callers every time. Reception as a Service™ is a cost effective, modern alternative to the Officer of First Impressions. A virtual or cloud solution, these services are available on demand and can be activated based on business requirements from taking call overflow to 24×7 call answering.

About OfficeHQ

OfficeHQ provides specialised, professional, outsourced telephone answering services, including messaging and appointment scheduling – all built and delivered on a cloud-based platform serving over 25,000 global customers.

Founded in 2003 by David Atkinson, an IT entrepreneur with 30 years’ experience building software and telephony systems for large corporates, OfficeHQ is a fast growing, locally based, Australian private company with global operations in the US, Canada, UK and Japan.

We were the first virtual reception service provider to launch with an in-house developed, cloud communications platform, comprising of an integrated, real-time billing, voice and CRM system, with the ease of instant activation and pay-as-you-go subscriptions.

OfficeHQ embraces activity-based and flexible working; employing a fully-trained remote workforce, located in collaborative hubs around the world in Australia, the US the UK and Japan.

Angela Peverell

angela@officehq.com.au | 1300 ANSWER (1300 267 937)

Sales & Marketing Director, OfficeHQ Pty Ltd