Stop Missing Calls during Tax Season: A Guide to Using a Live Answering Service for Accountants

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It’s tax season and the phone is ringing off the hook. But if you’re an accountant this is a busy time of year as it is. Surely, you can’t keep interrupting your work to answer the telephone. But then again, if the phone remains unanswered you might be missing out on potential clients. You could get your staff to answer the phone too but things are bound to be busy for everyone at your chambers during this time of the year. Your front desk staff too is probably tied up with a host of paperwork and can’t attend to every call.

This is a difficult position you don’t want to be in but alas, come tax season and it’s the same story every year. The one thing you can do to make life easier around this time of the year is to get a live phone answering service, like the ones PATLive.com offers, so you can book more clients without driving yourself up against the wall. But how does it work? Here’s a handy guide to using a live phone answering service at your office:

Trained Virtual Receptionists

With a live phone answering service, you can rely on trained virtual receptionists to answer the phone for you. Typically, the service you hire will employ 10 to 15 virtual receptionists who are trained to offer support to callers. Depending on the field that they have to work in, the virtual receptionists are given training accordingly. So if a virtual receptionist must speak to your clients, they will have to be well-versed with your field and have if not an inclination then some knowledge about accounting.

You can let the calls be answered by the virtual receptionist if your front desk is too busy or have them answer each call irrespectively. Their job will be to book appointments, answer any questions your client may have and even give clients directions to your office if required. As virtual receptionists, they may also have more duties other than simply collecting information. They may have to make decisions on the spot and virtual receptionists are trained to handle clients in a systematic, professional manner.

Virtual receptionists at PATLive.com are in fact trained to answer ‘frequently asked questions’ your clients may have, with information provided by your agency.

24×7 Service

What’s great about a live phone answering service is that your work phone can be attended to 24 hours of the day and even on weekends, without you having to worry about it too much. If a client calls in the middle of the night to fix an appointment, there will be a virtual receptionist at the other end of the phone to make note of it. By doing this, not only are you accessible to your clients throughout but also don’t have to worry about attending each call personally.

If you have come back home after a long day and just want to kick back and relax for a bit, without looking at your phone, you can do just that with a live phone answering service. The virtual receptionists at the service will take care of everything after hours and you don’t have to feel guilty about losing clients simply because you took a few minutes off after working for 10 hours in the day. You deserve that break and you must take it!

With a live answering phone service, you don’t even have to be anxious about whether you left the answering machine at work on or not. In fact, you can even get rid of the clunky answering machine. The virtual receptionists will take care of all calls.

Forward Urgent Calls

While you’re relaxing after hours, relying on the virtual receptionist to attend to all calls made by clients or prospective clients, something urgent might crop up. The virtual receptionists are trained enough to know which calls are urgent and which can wait until the next day. If a client calls with something urgent, like an important deadline being moved or a form being incomplete, you should know as soon as possible.

The virtual receptionist is trained to sense this urgency and will patch the call through to you immediately. You can act accordingly afterwards but it is the job of the virtual assistant to make sure you don’t miss the important things.

At the same time, they will also not bother you with the less important matters and intercept the calls so you don’t have to be disturbed after hours. The ability to do this also ties in with the first point about the receptionist’s training. Only if they know certain things about your field will they be able to tell the urgent calls apart from the ones that don’t require immediate attention.

Take Down Messages

As mentioned earlier, you can simply pack up that answering machine and put it away. The virtual receptionists are responsible for taking down every message that a client leaves, whether it’s to confirm an appointment or asking you to call them back. The virtual receptionist will take these messages down methodically and sort them according to the most urgent and least urgent. If there is a message that you should get immediately, the virtual receptionist will contact you if possible. Otherwise, you will get all your messages when you go to work the next day. Alternately, you can even have the messages sent directly to you. The virtual receptionist can send a transcript of the voicemail to your email. You can read them at your own leisure. This method might even be easier for you to sort through which messages are for businesses wanting to sell you a service and which are potential clients looking to buy services from you.

The virtual receptionist will also ensure that the messages that require a response are replied to as early as possible. This guarantees client satisfaction as well. Your clients will appreciate your promptness.

Make Your Business Sound More Established

If a client calls and a trained professional, whose job it is to speak to clients in a polite, sophisticated manner answers the phone, it leaves a good impression. If the first impression is a good one then you know that the client will come back. If the service provided to them was satisfactory and if the person at the other end of the phone was helpful and polite, it only makes your practice look better. It makes the client feel like they are important and that your business treats them with respect.

That one first impression could go a long way in building a rapport with your clients and will keep them coming back. If the same client called and an overworked front desk staff was curt with them, things might play out differently.

Customize Menu and Answering Service

With a live phone answering service, you call the shots yourself. You can record a message that clients will hear when they first call, before being transferred to a virtual receptionist. You can even give the client automated options to select the department or official they want to speak with even before being connected to a live receptionist. You can even set up an urgent option so calls can be patched through to you directly. There are several ways you can customize your answering service menu.

What’s more, you can get all of these facilities without having to install any extra phone equipment, so no added cost!

Final Thoughts

As explained above, there are several benefits to getting a live phone answering service for your office. This service is helpful especially during the busy tax season where you might be buried in work. But it also might be the time of the year you want to make the best of. So despite being swamped with work, you don’t want to let clients go. A live phone answering service can come to your rescue then.

Besides, it’s remarkably cost-efficient. If you install a live phone answering service instead of employing an extra staff member on your payroll, you can write it off as a business expense – meaning it’s entirely tax deductible and you don’t have to pay payroll taxes! Several people feel skeptical about having an automated service answer the phone since it doesn’t have the human touch. But with a live phone answering service, the automated service connects you directly to a virtual receptionist, who can emote and understand situations better than a computer system. It not only gives your client more freedom to choose (based on the customizations you make to your menu) but also gives them the satisfaction that an actual human being is on the other end of the phone. More than anything, it will simply make your life easier and allow you, your partners and your staff to focus on more important things while the answering service books more clients for you. Try the PATLive 14-day trial today, you will not be disappointed.

 

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