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waterheaterzone.com
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2,043 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I am thinking of using one. I answer every call personally, but lately the sheer volume, or trying to drive, and all the telemarketers and price-shoppers are driving me mad!!!
It sure would be nice to have an answering service, but I am afraid that I will not get an answer when I call the customer back.
This question is for any small service companies that use an answering service.
Pros?
Cons?
 

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every tool is a hammer
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4,304 Posts
Carl,
I will tell you what I think of answering services. I have called other contractors, mainly for emergency jetting or pumping jobs. By emergency, I mean during the day, but it needs to be done ASAP. I hate getting answering services. I end up calling listings until I get a live employee that can tell me, "we will have someone there in two hours." So, unless they keep your schedule, you will lose business because they will keep calling until they get a hold of someone who can schedule an appointment. Maybe you can find another one man shop, in a different trade who can split the cost of a scheduler with you. When I was in business, I ended up hiring a girl to run my office. She worked 3 days a week and I raised my rates appropriately.

Jeff
 

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Retired Moderator
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6,781 Posts
I myself had never used one. BUT I had got some calls because people want a live plumber when they have an emergency, not an answering service. Now as far as an answering service for contracted work, then maybe.
 

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3,806 Posts
Carl, done right with an answering service that is geared to the service work type business, it can work very well. I spent part of my apprenticeship working for an owner that never wanted a call made to his business number answered by a machine, he had a service that would take the information from the customer while they were paging his cell phone, and they ended the call with someone will be back to you within 15 minutes. If you can find a service that can deliver service, and you are willing to be a slave to your cell phone, you can make it appear that you always have a person manning the phone.
 

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waterheaterzone.com
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2,043 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Carl, done right with an answering service that is geared to the service work type business, it can work very well. I spent part of my apprenticeship working for an owner that never wanted a call made to his business number answered by a machine, he had a service that would take the information from the customer while they were paging his cell phone, and they ended the call with someone will be back to you within 15 minutes. If you can find a service that can deliver service, and you are willing to be a slave to your cell phone, you can make it appear that you always have a person manning the phone.
That sounds like the way to go.:thumbsup:
 

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Banned
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1,644 Posts
I am thinking of using one. I answer every call personally, but lately the sheer volume, or trying to drive, and all the telemarketers and price-shoppers are driving me mad!!!
It sure would be nice to have an answering service, but I am afraid that I will not get an answer when I call the customer back.
This question is for any small service companies that use an answering service.
Pros?
Cons?
Did you list your phone on the dont not call registry?

I think personal service is always better , but a answering service can be good as well.
 

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Registered
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1,122 Posts
Carl, live voices are awesome for customer service confidence. I had one in the beginning that used the phone script I developed. It was done in a fashion that led the customer to believe it was my people not an answering service. We were very happy with what the service did for us.
 

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Certified Lunatic
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20,658 Posts
Yep, but the scumbags call anyway.
I always love it when They call and I have time to play with them.
I'm registered on the "Do not Call" list and consider any that do call to be fair game!
At home I had one call me one night...
I'm registered there too...
He wanted to sell me siding for my house.
We had a very long conversation as I told him the size of the building...
Rather large with 2 stories...
On and on we went...
I could hear the drool offa his chin hitting the floor.
Finally after about 1/2 an hour or so I finally couldn't hold him any longer with our chat and he was wanting to send a sales rep...
I then told him he'd be better off sending the rep to meet with the condo association!:laughing:

For some reason he was pissed at me.
I told him I was only being a nice guy for not reporting his :censored::censored::censored::censored::censored: and hung up the phone....

I'm pretty sure I got taken off their list!:thumbup:
If I was a real :censored: I would have had him send the rep!
 

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Banned
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8,808 Posts
Next time reverse the conversation, sell him a plumbing job, and don't let the other party get the selling side. They will hang up.
 

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There was a time I got a call from a phone company trying to see me a service, I asked to speak to there manager, told manager to put me on there do not call list, they agreed. Got there name wrote down all needed info, no more the 5 min later they call me back, told them I was going to file a complaint and hung up, went to FCC site filed a compliant, 2 weeks later got a letter in the mail from said phone company, telling me they was sorry and promised not to call my number again. I guess the FCC will act on their filed complaints.

On the DNC registry web site is the link to file a complaint, use it all you want.
 

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179 Posts
I pay a retired lady 250.00 dollars a month to answer my phones and schedule my work from her house. I just got her a cellphone, but if you could find someone that stays home all day you could just foward the calls. I have went to church with this lady my hole life and she is good at what she is doing for me. I almost will never talk to a customer myself, it is a waist of everyones time 99% of the time.
 

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Banned
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913 Posts
If you use an answering service, check them out on a regular basis. I have answered our phones from day 1. Since I am the one benefitting from the call (possible sale / job), I do my best sales pitch when they are price shopping and the majority of the time we get the call. It is rare to find someone you hire to go the extra mile for you. How far do you think the person at the answering service is willing to go when most likely they have never met you? Here are a few problems I see w/ ans. services.

1. After hours, many callers will flat out ask "Is this an answering service?" They want a scheduled time now, not hope someone will call them back in 15 minutes. Too many companies promise to call back so the customer doesn't believe it anymore. They will call another company.

2. Customers are impatient and busy. They want their answers now, not 15 minutes from now. If they can't get it, they will go somewhere else. Think about it, your water line bursts and you don't know how to shut the water off - Would YOU wait and hope for a return call in 15 minutes? What about raw sewage backing up in your tub?

3. Answering services usually know nothing about your business. Ex. - Will your company do a complete bathroom remodel? Ans. Serv. looks at your company info. which lists drain cleaning, water heaters etc. but doesn't see remodeling. No sir, we don't do remodeling. Grrrrr.

We are 15 pages or so back in the Yellow Pages. Most companies w/ full page ads advertise Emergency Service. More times than I care to count, I get an after hours call where the caller says "You were the first real person to answer the phone"

Answering service - when we are rolling in the money and can afford to lose the Emergency Jobs, we will reclaim our lives and hire an ans. service. In today's economy, we need every job we can get.
 

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Plumber Manhattan Beach
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828 Posts
The customer can leave a message, if your worried, promise a return call in 20 mins or less on your voice mail, mine leave a message, even if the water heater is spraying all over or the sewage is pouring over the toilet, I return calls in 20 mins or less, or I answer right away, customers like to get you on the phone, or your voicemail, it's one of the things that makes us independant guys special.
 

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hire a retired person to answer phones. buy a cell phone and have calls forwarded to cell phone so the retired person has some freedom (not sitting and waiting for phone to ring). try it. your only out a cell phone if does'nt work
 

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I leave my cell # on my voice mail greeting , stateing if this is a emergecy i can be reached by my cell # , most of my customers respect it , but my cell does ring all the time
 
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