There were some absolutely brilliant figures released recently by telephone answering specialist, Moneypenny.
The highest call volumes diverted from agents to Moneypenny occurred between 10am-11am on Tuesday, 9am-10am on Tuesday and 9am-10am on Monday.
Although it wasn’t disclosed whether agents were actively diverting their lines to Moneypenny or if callers were automatically redirected because the agent’s lines were busy or the call went unanswered, it is surprising that agents look considerably understaffed during the week. Surely on Tuesdays offices should be fully staffed with a complete team able to answer the phone?
Speaking with clients personally – whether it’s new home movers or existing landlords and tenants, is thought by many to be the best way to win new business and forge fruitful relationships.
Of course, there are some unavoidable instances when staff are unable to answer a call during the normal working day – staff shortages, valuations, property inspections and team meetings – but this poses a wider resourcing question.
An answering service should really come into its own when an agency wants to promote longer ‘contactable’ hours, leaving a third party to professionally deal with calls outside of the 9-5, and at weekends when clients want to make contact but perhaps the office is only open for a half a day or closed completely on a Sunday, for instance.
Businesses – letting agents and property managers especially – should start asking themselves where their resources should be deployed. Would they rather be out of the office for hours at a time conducting property inspections or check ins, or would it be more beneficial for them to be in branch taking calls first hand – converting leads into new business and retaining existing clients?
Perhaps it’s a case that property managers spend so much time ringing around to find a free tradesperson, for example, then scheduling maintenance works with tenants that their lines are always engaged, automatically rerouting potential instructions to an answering service.
Moneypenny is a shining example of an outsourced service that’s been welcomed by the property industry with open arms. It’s an absolutely invaluable service that helps agents present a more ‘open all hours’ image – crucial in a climate of online agents whose ‘shop’ is open online 24/7 (and it’s not unheard of for online agents to be ‘on call’ permanently).
*Simon Duce is managing director of the ARPM Group, which provides national outsourced lettings support