The Days of Telephone Answering Services Aren’t Gone

Earlier this week, Karen Condi, Office Suite Strategies’ President, hosted a webinar for The Global Workspace Association (GWA) on how telephone services are not so 2005, as many mistakenly believe.

Considering mobile tech has exponentially grown in the last several years, it’s no surprise that workspace operators starting out and people looking to get into the business of serviced workspace are a bit skeptic about offering telephone services.

“Our clients/members all use their smartphones, our market is extremely tech savvy,  or our client/members would rather use their mobile phones at all times, or coworkers don’t use office phones” are only a few of the excuses that Karen has run into. We’re not about to argue against the increased use of mobile phones, but whoever said an office phone line can’t integrate with smartphones?

Before we dive into the perks of actually offering this type of service, here are some stats that will get the ball rolling for you:

  • 12% of overall revenue of OSS managed centers comes from telephone services and its related add-ons such as vm to text, and live answering services
  • 60% of workspace members from OSS managed centers are taking phone services today
  • 35% of virtual users from OSS managed centers are subscribing to phone services today
  • 47% of total members in a center (office, coworking and virtual)  are purchasing telephone services according to a WUN Systems survey

Still believe telephone answering is out?

The way telephones are used and the revenue they provide has drastically changed over the years, but it’s an experience no one is ready yet to fully turn their backs on. Especially today, as the coworking and flexible workspace market grows and increasingly continues to attract large companies and corporations to the industry.

A big driver behind the success of flexible workspaces is the amazing customer service that staff gives to its members. Not to mention the convenience factor of having their phone supported and managed by the same group that is providing their workspace.  Imagine the downtime involved when the client/member has to set up their own business phone line with Google Voice or any other web based service.

Whether you are a brand new center or If you’re running at full capacity and experiencing a high call volume, it becomes really hard to manage members and calls while keeping everything running smoothly. Just another reason why you should consider hiring the telephone answering services of an expert. Because there are scalable and cost-effective options available today through hosted phone systems and outsourcing of live answering services, it’s really a no brainer to offer these services in your workspace. There are various options out there, one of them being PROS, which rolled out a year ago and offers a wholesale and whitelabel model of telephone answering services that’s specifically designed for workspace operators of all kinds.

Now that you’re convinced and sure that telephone answering services aren’t as old school as you thought, let’s go over some best practices for selling the new service to your members.

Sales Best Practices

  • Start with a question that puts members in a mindset of how they will provide the service to their clients as opposed to a matter of whether they will or not. Here’s an example: will you be porting a phone number into us or would you like for us to provide you with a new number?
  • Follow-up by asking them how their current call answering is handled. Do they have one? If not, share the benefits of having one. If they do, explain to them why having an integrated workspace and call answering service is beneficial to them.
  • Continue by highlighting some of the most popular features. Take for example the voicemail to text service; this is a great service to highlight as it clearly shows how smartphones can easily be integrated with the telephone answering service. (Think tech savvy members.)
  • While you’re doing your ‘sales pitch’, remember to make it sound as if everyone you talk to takes the service. It’s like a psychological thing, clients want to do what other clients are doing.
  • Finally, remember to mention all of the services and add-ons of your telephone services such as live answering, call screening and voicemail to text services.

Now that that’s taken care of, don’t forget to include your new service in your website and give yourself a shoutout over social media or a newsletter. Here’s a fun fact to close: “once a sale is done, the retention rate for phones is extremely high for the service.”

If you’d like to check out Karen’s webinar, you can easily find it by clicking here. And if you want to get started on setting up the telephone answering service, you can learn more about PROS and how it can help you generate revenue here.

Receptionist services provided by PROS

Heritage Office Suites Shares PROS Success Story

Office Suite Strategies created PROS, Professional Receptionist Outsourcing Services, to help shared workspace business’ increase the productivity of their on-site staff, provide better customer service to their members & guests, and reduce staffing expenses.  As PROS draws closer to celebrating its first year in business, we invited Christa Wilke, General Manager of Heritage Office Suites in Round Rock, Texas, to share how PROS has impacted her business.

Heritage Office Suites LogoOver the last year, my center has become increasingly busier.  On average, a little over 60% of our clients choose phone answering service with us.  We were answering on average 250 calls per day, and it was beginning to affect the quality of our customer service to our clients and prospective clients.  Answering the phones became almost debilitating for me and my team.  We were unable to walk away from the front desk area to perform other business critical tasks.  We had to hire temporary employees while staff is on vacation/sick. And, we suffered endless interruptions by the high call volume, which hampered sales presentations and in-person customer interactions.  I was even considering hiring additional staff in order to accommodate the workload as we were only getting busier.   I found out that  Office Suite Strategies (OSS) was offering outsourced phone answering through PROS, and I immediately thought, “This is the answer to my many concerns!”  I performed my own analysis, and I realized that I can actually cut some (staffing) costs and continue to experience a nice profit margin by offering phone answering services to my clients, while outsourcing this service to PROS.

The process has been practically seamless as PROS handles our calls the same way our onsite staff did previously but with added efficiency, allowing us to focus more on the customer service tasks at hand. PROS has made it an easy transition as they understand the variety of clientele we serve, especially our Legal Professionals.   They are able to take care of all of our clients professionally and efficiently. They answer with a customized greeting and transfer the caller either to the client’s desk phone, cell phone, or voicemail.  They handle our call screening clients by getting the caller’s name and the subject of the call.  They, then, contact the client to see if he/she would like to speak to the caller.

PROS reporting has given us an additional revenue source that that we were unable to tap into before.  PROS provides monthly reports that show us each client’s call volume. Because of those reports, we are now able to charge our clients for call volumes exceeding 150 calls per month and for other overages that might occur in any given month.  90% of our clients receive less than 150 calls per month so we’ve built our pricing model around the masses and only have to charge additional fees to those clients that receive an abundant amount of calls.  This allows us to keep our pricing down and for those that need more support, they understand the value and are happy to pay the additional fees involved.

The benefits of outsourcing our phones to PROS have more than exceeded my expectations.  We are able to present a more professional first impression to guests coming into the center.  There are no more loud phones ringing at the front desk while we are trying to serve clients and customers.  We have increased revenue generated from providing various administrative support services to our clients.  The morale of the whole team has improved because they can complete tasks faster without interruptions and leave work with a heightened sense of accomplishment.  Our level of customer service has increased, and the team can be more involved with our sales and marketing.

I would highly recommend PROS to any shared workspace.  We continue to see positive changes as a result of outsourcing our phone services.

For more information on PROS, please visit and feel free to reach out to Karen Condi at 800-239-8174 for an evaluation of your needs to see if PROS would be a good fit for your property!