One of my biggest challenges, as a one woman show, is being able to drop everything to answer the phone in case it is opportunity calling.

It’s worth it when it turned out to be a lead, but when it’s not, it can be a huge waste of my time.

I started looking for a way to screen these calls without sending them to voice mail.  My internet searches lead me to Answer Connect and I was lucky enough to meet Account Executive, Stacey Mcleod

I’m thrilled to introduce you to Stacey and allow her to explain what Answer Connect can do for your missed business opportunities while freeing your time to do those tasks that will really make a difference in your business.

My name is Stacey McLeod and I’m an Account Executive at AnswerConnect.  When I started here more than 6 years ago, I was on the front lines taking calls for our clients.  Through a lot of hard work and dedication I moved up into positions such as Assistant Manager for the call center.  Over a year and half ago I made the transition to Sales to continue the evolution of my skills and knowledge.  Since I have had the opportunity to work in so many positions and departments, I have an excellent understanding of how each piece of the puzzle works here.  My favorite part about my job is knowing that each day I can help people solve the struggles they face each day with missed calls and missed business opportunities!

1.  You have an impressive list of fortune 500, how does working with the small business owner compare?
Since opening in 1994 AnswerConnect has had the opportunity to work with a lot of companies.  Our quality assurance standards and technology attract businesses of all sizes.  The quality of our Associates and metrics are some of the best in the industry.  We look to partner with clients and work as a direct extension of their business, we’ve created features, tools, and processes that can be customized to the clients specific needs.  Our Dedicate Account Managers ensure that all of our clients, including small business owners, to never feel like they get lost in the shuffle.  Each of our clients is important to us, regardless of their size.  Working with a small business owner is exciting because small changes lead to big benefits.  For a fraction of the cost of an in-office receptionist, you can have calls answered 24/7/365 with no additional cost for weekends or holidays, and never worry about a sick day again.

2.  As small business owners wearing many hats, what is the most effective way Answer Connect can help us leverage our time?

We understand the needs of many young start-up companies. Whether you’re starting a small service company, or are venturing into an Ecommerce business, we can be there to handle your calls 24/7/365 days a year.
Essentially, we envision ourselves as an extension of your business. Our flexibility allows you to start out on any of our service plans with the comfort of knowing that you’ll be able to change plans according to your usage.  We offer turn-key solutions that include most things a small business owner will need.  When your customers or clients call and we answer, and they will think they’re talking to a receptionist in your office.

Most of the business owners we talk to are missing a lot of calls and extra business because they don’t have time to answer the phone, so it goes to voice mail.  With a service like AnswerConnect you can rest assured that your calls will be handled quickly and professionally.  No more voice mails.  Plus, you’ll likely see an increase in call volume and business just by having the phone calls answered.  When building your account we’ll customize a script and decision tree that is unique to your business.  If the caller has a common question about your company or service, we can answer that right then.  If the caller wants to schedule an appointment, we can take care of that too.

Here is a list of just a few ways we can help:
* Schedule Appointments
* Dispatch after hours emergencies
* Screen and transfer calls
* Place orders through your existing website
* Generate leads
* Web chat
* CRM
* Website development

Would you like a one-stop shop to get a website built, that allows web visitors to chat instantly when they have questions about your company or service, has a Request for Information web form that not only generates a lead for you but also has a live person call the lead back within minutes while they’re still “hot” and answer some quick questions?  What about a client placing one phone call to your company to get product information, schedule an appointment?  AnswerConnect can help with all of this and it takes very little time to set this up, but you’ll see the benefits immediately like so many of our clients have.

3.  In the growing world of work from home business operations, what kind of business profile (ie monthly call volume, etc) do you look for when recommending Answer Connect?

Quality trumps quantity and is one the most important factors to us.  Our plans are based on that and it is built into everything we do.  Any business that believes that quality systems win is a good fit for us.  Call volume can vary from business to business and not all clients’ needs are the same.  A start-up business that takes full advantage of our inbound services, as well as lead generation and web chat services could create just as much volume as a client that we primarily assist with order entry.  Each company is unique, call us and we’ll help figure out how to leverage our services for your business.

4.  As a business owner, one of my biggest challenges was maintaining my budget while trying to expand the reach of my business.  Can you tell us a bit about your pricing structure?

AnswerConnect plans are based around minutes, think of it like agent time or labor.  Our plans are similar to a cell phone plan, they are bundles of minutes.   The more time an agent spends on your account, the more minutes you might need.  The business owner will determine how many minutes are needed by adding or removing what we can assist with.  Taking a basic message (name, number, brief message) is pretty quick but scheduling an appointment and answering some FAQ’s can take more time.  An entry level plan starts at about $1 per minute but our most common plans are around .75 to .80-cents per minute.  We offer plan flexibility as well, you can always move up or down in plan sizes, even mid-month if needed, to ensure you are in the right plan for your call volume.

5. Customer service is such an important part of doing business and great customer services seems to be at the core of Answer Connect.  Can you tell us a bit about the company philosophy?

Here is our mission statement:

1. The right people make all the difference.
2. Quality trumps quantity.
3. Change is in our DNA.
4. Better systems win.
5. Think everywhere virtually.
6. Faster finishes first.
7. Reputation is the only currency.
8. Only sustainable models last.

These statements are not just put into writing, we live and breathe them and stand behind them.  Quality is built into everything we do, from how we monitor call volume to ensure our calls are answered quickly, to the people we hire to take phone calls, to how we monitor the quality of our phone calls.  The right people truly make all the difference.  Less than 10% of the people that apply are even brought in for a first interview.  Almost all interviews are conducted over the phone to ensure personnel have excellent verbal communication.

Several years ago AnswerConnect began the transition to a remote model.  All of our 300+ agents work in their home offices.  We understand the needs of a home-based business, because we’ve been through it.  Although we do have a corporate office all of our agents, Sales staff, and Client Services staff work from their home offices.  Through great reporting, consistent communication, and even call recordings we can ensure that our agents are preforming at their best around the clock.

Stacey Mcleod

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