The Days of Telephone Answering Services Aren’t Gone

By September 22, 2016Center Manager Tips, PROS

Earlier this week, Karen Condi, Workspace Strategies’ President, hosted a webinar for The Global Workspace Association (GWA) on how telephone services are not so 2005, as many mistakenly believe.

Considering mobile tech has exponentially grown in the last several years, it’s no surprise that workspace operators starting out and people looking to get into the business of serviced workspace are a bit skeptic about offering telephone services.

“Our clients/members all use their smartphones, our market is extremely tech savvy,  or our client/members would rather use their mobile phones at all times, or coworkers don’t use office phones” are only a few of the excuses that Karen has run into. We’re not about to argue against the increased use of mobile phones, but whoever said an office phone line can’t integrate with smartphones?

Before we dive into the perks of actually offering this type of service, here are some stats that will get the ball rolling for you:

  • 12% of overall revenue of WS managed centers comes from telephone services and its related add-ons such as vm to text, and live answering services
  • 60% of workspace members from WS managed centers are taking phone services today
  • 35% of virtual users from WS managed centers are subscribing to phone services today
  • 47% of total members in a center (office, coworking and virtual)  are purchasing telephone services according to a WUN Systems survey

Still believe telephone answering is out?

The way telephones are used and the revenue they provide has drastically changed over the years, but it’s an experience no one is ready yet to fully turn their backs on. Especially today, as the coworking and flexible workspace market grows and increasingly continues to attract large companies and corporations to the industry.

A big driver behind the success of flexible workspaces is the amazing customer service that staff gives to its members. Not to mention the convenience factor of having their phone supported and managed by the same group that is providing their workspace.  Imagine the downtime involved when the client/member has to set up their own business phone line with Google Voice or any other web based service.

Whether you are a brand new center or If you’re running at full capacity and experiencing a high call volume, it becomes really hard to manage members and calls while keeping everything running smoothly. Just another reason why you should consider hiring the telephone answering services of an expert. Because there are scalable and cost-effective options available today through hosted phone systems and outsourcing of live answering services, it’s really a no brainer to offer these services in your workspace. There are various options out there, one of them being PROS, which rolled out a year ago and offers a wholesale and whitelabel model of telephone answering services that’s specifically designed for workspace operators of all kinds.

Now that you’re convinced and sure that telephone answering services aren’t as old school as you thought, let’s go over some best practices for selling the new service to your members.

Sales Best Practices

  • Start with a question that puts members in a mindset of how they will provide the service to their clients as opposed to a matter of whether they will or not. Here’s an example: will you be porting a phone number into us or would you like for us to provide you with a new number?
  • Follow-up by asking them how their current call answering is handled. Do they have one? If not, share the benefits of having one. If they do, explain to them why having an integrated workspace and call answering service is beneficial to them.
  • Continue by highlighting some of the most popular features. Take for example the voicemail to text service; this is a great service to highlight as it clearly shows how smartphones can easily be integrated with the telephone answering service. (Think tech savvy members.)
  • While you’re doing your ‘sales pitch’, remember to make it sound as if everyone you talk to takes the service. It’s like a psychological thing, clients want to do what other clients are doing.
  • Finally, remember to mention all of the services and add-ons of your telephone services such as live answering, call screening and voicemail to text services.

Now that that’s taken care of, don’t forget to include your new service in your website and give yourself a shoutout over social media or a newsletter. Here’s a fun fact to close: “once a sale is done, the retention rate for phones is extremely high for the service.”

If you’d like to check out Karen’s webinar, you can easily find it by clicking here. And if you want to get started on setting up the telephone answering service, you can learn more about PROS and how it can help you generate revenue here.