Answering service

Jasonk

Active Member
Just curious how many smaller companies use one? We are not quite ready for an office person yet but I feel like we are missing leads from potential clients who call and get voicemail. Seems to me for the cost if you get one additional job per month its worthwhile... Thoughts?
 

Magnum783

Well-Known Member
I would think it’s worth a ton. I know personally I get mighty frustrated when a company does not answer the phone. I think the only down side is the lack of knowledge of the person on the other end. I feel that this could be mitigated by the creation of a very in depth question flow chart. Or something to that extent. Just my opinion.
 

Tom Dunlap

Here from the beginning
Years ago I was at the same crossroads

Before getting an answering service I started tallying how many hang ups I got when the client heard the voicemail click on and the ones that left a message. At the time I thought it was high

The answering service wouldnforward calls as soon as they hung up so I could respond quickly...or not

You do have to carefully create the illusion that they are getting your office like Magnum said.

After using the answering service for a while I went back to voice mail. It was a better value.
 
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craneguy1

Well-Known Member
We've used one for years...sometimes they do get info wrong...but we really like having someone take all the info and pass along info such as "mark tree"... all calls come in and contact info is already in black and white for the next day. One important point to mention...as your "flow chart" get more detailed and longer, your price per call also goes up. I think our cost now is $1.65 per call.
 

Jasonk

Active Member
How much info can you give them and how do they usually do relaying that info? Who are you using? I keep hearing about "Ruby" ???
 

flyingsquirrel25

Well-Known Member
@Michelle Myers runs my virtual page in conjunction with Arborgold. We are currently at this same cross roads and are trying to figure out if it is going to effect our clients in a positive way or negative. If we do go with a service it will be with Michelle because they say that they dedicate one call taker to my phones, collect all of the client information and input it into Arborgold for me.
One of our hold ups is many of my clients call and ask for me, when my daughter or wife ask “can I take a message” they reply I’ll call back. We have cut down on this a little but it still happens. That same client will leave a message on the machine at other times... make no sense but we have to wade through it.
 

Jasonk

Active Member
I can sympathize. Most clients want to talk with the owner, like we have some secret powers that no one else in the company has lol. I guess what Im after more though is new leads. Ive noticed over the years that quite a few people aren't comfortable or just don't want to leave voicemails (for whatever reason).
 

southsoundtree

Well-Known Member
They could be the tire kickers that hang up.

I answer when I can.

I have a full dance card.

People will leave a message if they want me, maybe/ maybe not if they want somebody.
Screens clients for me.

A website that records service requests, and accepts details and pictures can help.

I say a picture speaks a thousand words. Please email pictures, brief project details, and address (Google maps tells me lots before I call back). Also, my outgoing voicemail tells my web address.
 

marlinspiker

Well-Known Member
Virtual Assistance is becoming a huge cottage industry. There are a few websites where you can connect with these people. If you use a cloud system they can access your schedule and provide you professional front line service. We used the same person for two years and most of my clients thought actually worked for us directly.
 

Brad Kessler

New Member
I own an internet marketing company and work with a number of tree service companies across the country. I can tell you over 50% of the callers won't leave a message. Now I can tell from call logs, generally, which calls are from sales organizations like Yelp, Homeadvisor, etc., and which are from legit prospective customers, so I am aware of the call source. I would highly recommend an answering service, if only for a trial period. I always recommend them to my clients and they separate you come almost all of your competitors.

On another note, not to insult anyone, but I listen to a lot of calls my clients get (they are all recorded so we can track unique website generated calls) and tree companies generally are not customer service oriented, which ALWAYS includes answering the phone. The good tree service owners I work with all tell me they are businessmen first, and arborists/tree care experts tenth.
 

Treetopflyer

Well-Known Member
The good tree service owners I work with all tell me they are businessmen first, and arborists/tree care experts tenth.
Is that why I see such shitty work and killing of unnecessary trees out there, I always wondered... Sorry derail , no one cares anyway obviously from what I see and hear .. I see businessmen who sell unnecessary vanity and tree slaying without a thought or care, just for revenue. Maybe they should be arborist first and business people second, all making more than they need to buy more useless bullshit that leads to more pollution any way.. I'm done carry on... :endesacuerdo:
 

Treetopflyer

Well-Known Member
Tree slayings... ok. You missed the point, but ok, carry on.
Ok will then..I don't miss much, just chose to highlight one problem in our industry I feel strongly about..is that not ok with you, as an internet marketer here on an open tree forum?Maybe in using your post as part of an example you put out there was thought to be an attack on your persona, I assure it wasnt...Good luck with your endeavours. Glad you you joined the buzz. I wasnt going to carry on but now.. well you see I wasnt fond of your statistic that a tree company owner is business person first and arborist tenth you did say... which from what i see from the work some partake in seems accurate.. that to me seems ass backwards, that is all! I'll leave it at that.. Everyone needs an answering service to connect with clients , but let's not lose connection with the tree because money supersedes the air we breath. Urban deforestation does exist! .
Sure they're a "renewable resource" but can you really replace a big old tree..Not in our lifetimes or possibly children's. Ok done wasting my time here... Have at it ..
I agree with Southsounds answering service.. I have a loud ass flip phone in my pocket all day.. Call numbers back I missed asap.. don't miss many.. Don't need a big company like some out there to make money.. Keep it small and keep it all.. good luck to yall
 

Brad Kessler

New Member
I thought I was on the business sub-forum of this website and specifically a thread about answering services, which implies a desire for customer service, more business, etc. I didn't know I was in the tree homicide (slaying) and mass murder (deforestation) thread.

My mistake. Geezbus! Light-up Francis.
 

Tom Dunlap

Here from the beginning
@Brad Kessler

This is the right forum...and welcome

What you're likely to find is that most of the people here are arborists first and business owners tenth. There's a different mindset in a forum like this than if it were a business forum.

Most of us have seen what happens to trees when the arbo part is considered #10. Sure...might make more money but the trees look awful. These companies are up to date on all of the whizzy techie things but have not been to a tree-related conference in how long?

This is a generalization that is painted with a narrow brush. There are some that where the #10 and #1 in your view operate with #1A and #1B format where proper tree care is as important as proper business care. That's what arborist's expect from business owners.

Its about the trees first to most here.

Getting your insights about how to be better business owners is sure valuable. It took me years to bring the #10 business owner up closer to my #1 Arborist position. As I did I made more money and didn't work as hard...meaning, knocking myself out of shape to make a buck.
 

Brad Kessler

New Member
The #1 and #10 thing was a figurative statement, not literal. However, as you say, it can't hurt to be good at both: being true to your profession and making smart money at the same time.
 

Treetopflyer

Well-Known Member
I thought I was on the business sub-forum of this website and specifically a thread about answering services, which implies a desire for customer service, more business, etc. I didn't know I was in the tree homicide (slaying) and mass murder (deforestation) thread.

My mistake. Geezbus! Light-up Francis.
Yeah your right I'm the bull in a China shop here.. whatever, hope you sell some business here, most people aren't a holes like me..
 

flyingsquirrel25

Well-Known Member
Those arbos that own their own shows have to balance arboriculture, business, and one more thing called family life. The biggest reason we were looking into an answering service was not for the trees. It wasn’t even for business... it was for my family. As things pick up we are working more, and longer hours. This past week getting done work around 430 or 5 and going right back out to do estimates. Get home at around 6 or 630 now I gotta call back all those that call today along with get the estimates out and billing for the day.

For me I want it to be #1 family and life (that’s why I started my own business), #2a trees and #2b business because with out a clue how to run business you won’t be looking at peoples trees for very long (at least as your own employer). But I would agree with treetop most in our industry are business first, that’s why us guys that do it right struggle sometimes. We walk away from a ton of work that we could say “needs to happen” where the business wo/men just sell it. You could come up with a dozen reasons it’s that way, but this isn’t the thread for that.

One of the stop gaps we are working toward to help ease the need to hire an answering service is our web site. We are in the process of designing now and part of that will be a web contact form where clients can input their info, maybe upload a picture or two and we can get back to them with an appointment via phone, text or email. Hopefully save a little time.
 
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