Live phone answering is still good business for providers in the shared workspace industry as seen on our recent webinar “Phone Answering Best Practices and Outsourcing.” To ensure their answering services are top notch, providers can outsource to CloudAnswering, but whether they outsource or not, there are operational factors every provider should implement to ensure the best customer service to members.
Remove Phone Answering From the Front Desk
We’ve all come to expect phone answering for any business to take place at the front desk, but for a shared workspace provider this is a mistake. Call volume is a drain on time and resources, and your front desk staff’s priority should be to ensure the needs of members and guests are taken care of real-time. How can this be done if she is also responsible for processing incoming calls? If a member has a pressing need while front desk staff is answering phones for dozens of businesses, the reality is customer service quality will suffer.
So what can be done? Operators should centralize call answering to a specific back office area other than the front lobby. Centralization is important specifically for operators with five or more locations since there is enough call volume to justify the investment. This could mean converting under-utilized space in the back of one of your centers for the purposes of phone answering, or even turning an empty office into your call center for the entire portfolio. For operators with less than five locations, centralization does not make sense due to lack of critical mass, and outsourcing would be the best option. The takeaway here is whatever needs to be done in order to remove call answering from the front desk should be high on the priority list.
Re-deployment of Front Desk Responsibilities
Once your front desk staff no longer has to deal with answering calls, their focus should be on providing exceptional customer service to members and guests. Your front desk staff can now oversee everything from managing busy meeting rooms, to troubleshooting IT issues, even responding to sales inquiries and providing tours of the space if necessary.
Planning networking events, mixers and social activities which curate the community is also a better way to make use of front desk time. Establishing a community in your workplace is essential to the success of a provider’s business. None of the essential elevated tasks above would be possible if phone answering operations aren’t relocated.
In this era of Google Voice and text messaging, many question whether live call answering is still relevant, but while technology has made a difference on the way people communicate, it can’t always replace a human voice answering incoming calls. There is a segment of our member base such as attorneys, consultants, and sales reps where the human touch is critical and that is not well served by an automated voice mail.
For more resources specific to workspace providers, check out our LinkedIn Workplace-as-a-Service™ discussion group and join the conversation.