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HomeBusiness TechIT SupportAround-the-clock support: How to manage after-hours calls to your MSP business

Around-the-clock support: How to manage after-hours calls to your MSP business

After-hours calls
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As an MSP, your company’s success is built on your level of service. And that includes providing consistent, professional customer support. But many businesses face the same conundrum when it comes to answering every call.

It’s not easy fielding calls during regular business hours (especially when you’re busy), but answering after-hours calls can be even more difficult.

Why you need to answer your after-hours calls.

In today’s world of 24/7 access, consumers expect instant (or near-instant) responses. 64.5% of IT professionals agree that their customers will hang up if their call isn’t answered within five minutes of calling. Meanwhile, 75% of consumers say they’re “highly annoyed” when they can’t get a live person on the phone.

Failure to respond can also damage your reputation with existing clients. Meanwhile, a new lead could choose another MSP if they don’t receive a response. After all, if they don’t receive an answer to their initial enquiry, why should they assume you’ll respond when they’re a customer?

That’s why answering after-hours calls is so crucial.

Three tips to better manage calls after hours.

1. Hire a dedicated after-hours team.

There really is no substitute for a real response from a real person. 78% of consumers prefer to speak to a real person over AI or a bot. In the MSP world, where each client represents a significant chunk of revenue, that personal touch can mean the difference between a bumper year and a worrying drop in profits.

You could hire your own in-house team to handle after-hours calls, but that can be time-consuming and cost-intensive. In addition to paying wages, you’ll need to advertise positions, interview applicants, and train them. Plus, if you only receive a few after-hours calls a week, hiring an entire in-house team may not be worth the ROI.

Alternatively, you can outsource the process of answering your after-hours. This will enable you to respond to every query. But it’s also more flexible than hiring in-house, with the freedom to upgrade, downgrade or cancel according to demand.

2. Set up call escalation protocols.

Not every call is created equal. Some will require input from an engineer, while some can be resolved on the spot by a receptionist. You can help better manage different call types by setting up call escalation protocols.

Call escalation is a process in which you designate members of your engineering team to particular issues. When a client calls with that issue, the receptionist can forward the call to that specific engineer. If none of your engineers are available, the receptionist can then take a message and direct it to the engineer to pick up when they’re next online.

3. Embrace the Three T approach.

When clients contact your business, they’re looking for a resolution. They want to feel understood and supported. And that requires taking a multi-pronged approach to

It’s called the three T approach: Transparency, timeframes and tech-clear.

Transparency: Being transparent with callers means being open about what may have caused the issue and how you’ll go about resolving it.

Just as importantly, that means being open about when you’ll be able to resolve their issues. Which brings us to the next T.

Timeframes: Timeframes are essential to effective communication. But what about when you can’t give an exact resolution timeline? Even offering a rough timeframe can help assuage client fears.

Timeframes also allow clients to manage their own schedules. If they know their issue will be resolved within 24 hours, they can work around the issue until then. 

Tech-clear: Clients often call with issues they don’t quite understand. Don’t assume the client has the same technological knowledge as you. That’s why being “tech-clear” is so important.

Being tech-clear means explaining the issue and how you’re working to resolve it in clear, simple language.

All of these will help you build (another) T: Trust.  By utilising the three T approach, you can build trust with the caller so they have faith that you’re working to resolve their issue as fast as possible.

Four key benefits of answering your after-hours calls.

1. Increase profitability.

We commissioned Arlington Research to conduct an independent study into how businesses use their telephone network. The results revealed that UK businesses lose an average of £600,000 in annual revenue by missing 16% of inbound calls. You might think they’ll try to call again later – but 85% of missed calls will not call back. Being there for your customers day or night builds trust and, ultimately, brand loyalty.

2. Improve client retention.

An alarming 75% of callers think it takes too long to reach a real person on the phone. Imagine how many of them would just give up and leave the call. That’s a lot of lost business. Answering calls whenever they come in improves customer satisfaction rates, which in turn helps you retain customers. When customers feel heard and valued, they’re motivated to come back again and again.

3. Give leads a great first impression.

The same Arlington study found that 80% of people prefer to talk to a person rather than a chatbot, or voice recording. When someone places a call, they want an immediate answer.

For new leads, that call could be their first impression of your business. Responding promptly shows the caller your company is:

  • Reliable
  • Efficient
  • Professional

4. Harness your reputation to grow.

Positive reviews drive over 70% of customers towards your business. A big part of that lies in greeting your customers pleasantly and engaging them without letting them go to voicemail. And happy customers are more likely to:

  • Leave positive reviews
  • Recommend you to a friend
  • Give you testimonials to use in your marketing

Endorsements from industry leaders will help you win more clients and could even open doors to new partnerships and events.

To wrap up

In today’s 24/7 world, clients expect support. While answering calls after hours requires investment, the ROI can be significant. Through increased reliability, professionalism, and accessibility, you can maintain your reputation and gain an edge over the competition.

If you’re struggling to field calls to your business, our MSP answering service could offer the solution.

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