At restaurants and other small businesses, the phone is a daily stressor. While trying to figure out the staff schedule, serving eight customers, keeping the line moving, making sure everything is clean, and ensuring your staff are able to do their best work, the phone chimes in as an unwelcome interruption to the flow of the day.
But leaving the phone to ring (and ring, and ring, and ring) until one of your teammates has time to answer it is not the approach you should be taking. By missing calls on a regular basis, hoping the person will try again later when things are less hectic, you’re actually opting out of daily new business opportunities.
Reservations, online orders, catering inquiries, customer service issues, and big event requests — they all come in over the phone, and they’re all opportunities to provide great customer service, or upsell your event space or dessert packages. But by leaving calls to ring or go completely unanswered, you push customers to consider one of your competitors, even if you’d been their first choice.
A virtual answering service can alleviate all of these issues — not only will your staff be free to do their best work at your business without having to jump to the phone every time it rings, but every customer will get their queries answered in a timely manner, increasing customer happiness and helping you reach new business.
So, what are you waiting for? Slang.ai can help you answer calls 24/7 — check us out! Here’s why a virtual answering service is key to driving revenue at today’s customer-facing businesses.
For many customers, a phone call to your business will be the first impression they get of what you do and how you do it. And a poor first impression means no second impression: when calls go unanswered, or if your business has an unsatisfactory answering system, potential customers quickly give up on you, keep Googling, and go elsewhere. Not having a great virtual answering system literally sends your customers to your competitors.
Consider that even in the smallest town in the smallest state, Wickford, Rhode Island, there are over 30 coffee shop recommendations among the 1.5M results that appeared on Google in just over half a second. The early bird gets the worm, or, in other words:
For restaurants, 42% of reservations are made through online booking platforms, but that still leaves 58% of reservations being made either over the phone or via walk-ins. Restaurants, hotels, and other hospitality companies still do a lot of business over the phone, so leaving customers to wait on the line until someone (hopefully) answers is simply leaving money on the table.
While online food ordering did boom in popularity in the pandemic, many restaurants still do process significant order volume over the phone, especially pizza places and restaurants with older clientele. Not answering the phone means missing out on those orders — and that includes very lucrative catering and event orders which typically come in over the phone. Plus, you can set your phone answering system up to direct customers to order online, and save your staff time while ensuring order accuracy.
Event planners and those organizing large catering orders tend to call around and prefer to speak with a manager or event specialist, since they’re dealing with a large budget. Prioritize these customers, since their questions may not be able to be answered online or by front-of-house staff.
Simple issues with orders, reservations, or upcoming events can be fixed quickly over the phone, but if customers are left to wait and feel neglected, their perception of the business will go down, and their frustration will increase, meaning a more difficult interaction when they do get you on the phone.
How Can a Virtual Answering Service help?
A virtual answering service system like Slang.ai helps improve the customer experience, making sure that every question is answered quickly and that any complex queries are routed to the right person.
You can set up Slang.ai to recognize and handle catering orders, online orders, order issues, reservations, and more. The system walks the customer through a customized, logical and engaging flow to get them what they need right away, and can also text your customers all the information they need.
And with a detailed phone analytics dashboard, you can learn more about what kinds of calls your business receives, showing you how you can best serve your community.
Slang.ai can be set up in less than 30 minutes, and it’s ready to go live on the same day. Just program the answers to common questions, choose a voice and background music, and set it and forget it. Complex queries will still be routed to the correct teammate, but simple questions will be easily answered and your customers will get all the information they need.
Restaurants and hospitality businesses everywhere need phone support. “Before Slang.ai 80% of calls would go unanswered because staff was too busy. Slang answers our calls 24/7, so guests get answers fast,” says Charlie, Director of Operations at Crave Fishbar Group. Don’t leave your customers hanging, capture every new business opportunity, and take one thing off your staff’s plates with Slang.ai.