Systems

Why I am Considering a Live Answering Service

 May 31, 2020

By  Uriah Guilford, MFT

minute read

I want to tell you why I am considering signing up with a live answering service for my group practice.

But, first a story about a broken garage door.

Today I was at my Mother-in-law’s house and I was helping her with something in her garage. I forgot that she always engages the manual lock on her garage door and before I knew it . . . crunch, creek, smash . . . I had pushed the button without thinking. The door went up and contorted into a twist of metal and the damage was done.

Ugh!

I told her the bad news, but not to worry I was going to take care of it. Long story made shorter, I tried to fix it, failed and resorted to calling a few local companies to get some help.

Oh, yeah I forgot to mention this was 4:30pm on a Thursday evening. Not the best time for a service call.

I immediately thought of the garage door company that I used a couple years ago. They seemed great, so I called them . . . and left a voicemail. Strike out.

Then I hit up Yelp to find a company even closer to my location. I found Mike’s Garage Doors and hit the call button.

To my surprise Mike answered and after some helpful tips, he promptly set me up with a service call the following day. Nice guy, quick service and a solution on the way.

He got my business because he picked up the phone.

He was available and super helpful. Just what I needed.

Side note: if the business owner is answering the phone that tells me that he may not have much support and may not be delegating in his business. Nevertheless, I appreciated it. Can’t turn off my business evaluating brain. LOL.

Of course, this got me thinking about my counseling practice. I have an amazing virtual assistant named Tiffany (in San Diego) who handles the intake coordinator role like a pro. However, we don’t offer live answer to our Productive Therapist clients or for my practice.

I had been thinking about experimenting with a live answering service and was already researching Ruby Receptionists. Not the cheapest option, but they have great reviews and some nifty features.

The garage door experience kind of settled it in my mind. I am going to bring on a live answering service that will answer the phone during business hours and schedule consultation appointment with my intake coordinator.

I predict that client conversion numbers will go up.

Our customer service will be a step above other local practices. It should be worth the investment.

We shall see!

One more side note: I love my VA business owner friends, but any company that has “shared VAs” and promises live call answering is likely not able to deliver at a high level. A virtual assistant supporting multiple practices is juggling many tasks and can only answer live a small-ish percentage of the time. Just saying!

And now for the happy ending. My good friend Michael came over and we were able to fix the garage door! I called Mike back and cancelled the appointment, but told him I would definitely call him next time I had a need.

Tomorrow I will contact Ruby Receptionists and start that process. I will definitely keep you updated on how it goes!

How about you. Have you tried using a live answer service?

I would love to hear about it in the comments below.

Uriah Guilford, MFT


Uriah is a group practice owner and the creator of Productive Therapist. He is a technology nerd, a minimalist travel packer, a rock drummer and business development enthusiast.

  • You have great timing, as always! I am thinking about this too but haven’t taken the leap yet. Can’t wait for Part 2 of this point to see how it goes for you.

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