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An Interview with: Bill Haack

Chief Operating Officer

What does LiveVOICE do?

We provide 24/7 chat, email and call support for companies of any size.

How long have you been in business?

25 years.

What areas does LiveVOICE serve?

We serve companies all over the world. We have a domestic presence and an offshore presence. Currently, we have about 500 employees.

“We’re a premium service, not just your run of the mill call center/answering service.”

Bill Haack, Chief Operating Office, LiveVOICE

What is your mission statement?

At LiveVOICE, we want to maximize your sales and enhance your customer satisfaction. We are serving the next generation by providing 24/7 chat/email support for your business.

What differentiates LiveVOICE from its competitors?

We’re a premium service, not just your run of the mill call center/answering service. We hire the best reps in the industry and we don’t require a long-term contract. We believe that we can prove we are the best, so there’s no need to lock you into a year-long contract. We even offer a free trial if a customer is hesitant to sign on because we are so confident in the level of service we provide.

What is your most popular service?

Lead response. Whether you’re a small business or a large corporation, customers are visiting your website at all hours of the day. Often times, they want to talk to someone right then. We guarantee a response by whatever channel the lead comes in, within 60 seconds of the customer’s inquiry.

Does LiveVOICE handle inbound or outbound calls?

We do both. We are capable of doing either service, depending on the needs of your company.

What does a customer get when they sign a contract with you?

We provide all of the necessary programming to get your account up and running, as well as the training of our agents to manage your specific campaign. We also assign a dedicated client services manager to each account. All of our clients have access to the client portal where they can review their account at any time (listen to recorded calls, see where calls are coming in, find out the length of calls, etc).

“You can train anyone on the mechanics of taking a call: read a script, set an appointment, use a keyboard; but to have a rep that just wows you – that’s hard to find.”

Bill Haack, Chief Operating Office, LiveVOICE

Can a client create their own script?

Absolutely. We encourage that. But if it’s a relatively new business, we are happy to help recommend a script.

Once the script is written, what next?

Our agents already have the system knowledge, but we will spend time training them on the particular client, the scripting that will be used, FAQs and anything related to that client.

Is the client involved in this process?

It’s totally up to the client. Some clients are very involved in the training and may even lead some of the training, which we encourage. But others are more hands-off and just prefer that we handle all of it.

Do you require a certain type of software?

We use our own industry standard proprietary platform but we can integrate with any platform. Some clients have their own appointment scheduling software, for example. Our software is designed to integrate with any platform, which allows us to do things like access the client’s site in order to generate an email, schedule an appointment, etc.

What should a customer look for in a call center provider?

Agent quality. You can train anyone on the mechanics of taking a call (read a script, set an appointment, use a keyboard), but to have a rep that just wows you – that’s hard to find. We look for agents who are upbeat, friendly, knowledgeable, and professional. That’s what differentiates us from our competition. We have high-quality agents.

What information should a customer know before they talk to you?

The most important question they should know is the average duration of their calls. But rarely does a customer know that when we talk to them. So we will spend time coming up with a plan based on our best guesstimate and experience in their industry.

“We even offer a free trial if a customer is hesitant to sign on because we are so confident in the level of service we provide.”

Bill Haack, Chief Operating Office, LiveVOICE

If a customer signs on and after a month it isn’t working, can they get out?

Absolutely. We’re looking for a long-term relationship, so if you’re on a minute plan and you’re at the end of the month and you are about to burn through your minutes, your client manager will notify you and say, ‘Hey, we need to adjust your minutes.’ This is very different from our competitors, who will just wait for a customer to exceed their minutes and then charge them a higher rate.

How soon can you get an account up and running?

On a campaign that’s relatively simple (a customer just wants us to answer calls, pass a message along, or do a warm transfer), we can usually get them up and running within 72 hours. If a campaign involves a lot of intense programming with multiple platforms, it may be 1-2 days longer. In short, simple accounts typically take 2-3 days, while more complex accounts may take up to 5 days.

What should a customer look for in a Telemarketing company?

  • Experience in the industry
  • High-quality agents

What is your most frequently asked question during the sales process?

We have a lot of customers who are interested in our service but aren’t really sure what they need. They may say: ‘I need you to answer my phones, but what happens after that?’ Then they start asking more specifics like:

  • Can you send me a text?
  • Can you send me an email?
  • Can you transfer the call to someone I have on call?

That’s when we spend a lot of time educating them on all the different types of service we can provide.

How is your pricing determined?

It’s based on minute usage. It’s helpful for a client to know their minutes to determine the best pricing plan.

What is your perspective on the future of the TM industry?

It’s changed dramatically in the last 10 years or so. Quite honestly, when the FCC came in and implemented a bunch of new regulations, a lot of telemarketing companies went out of business. And good riddance. Because most of those businesses were the ones giving our industry ‘the black eye.’ What remains in our industry is a smaller group of companies who have been doing this a long time and know how to do it well.

What makes a telemarketing company successful?

It’s who you have working for you. In our industry, success lies in the front end agent. If you don’t have the right person in that chair handling the customer, it doesn’t matter how good the manager is. If you’ve got a quality agent, you’ve got a quality company.

Can you give us an example of a satisfied customer?

Sure! We have a client who is an attorney and his office grew very large very quickly. He had a receptionist handling all of his calls, but he found it challenging to manage what were becoming recurring absences and excessive breaks that negatively impacted call management and customer service. The attorney came to us because we seemed to be a cost-effective solution.

We helped him grow from one location to 6. Now, we handle all his calls. He gets calls from judges, the police, and other litigators, so his calls are of a very sensitive nature. Our agents have to be well trained and personable, otherwise, it could jeopardize a potential case. Thankfully, we’ve received glowing recommendations from him and he even ended up referring us to another attorney a few months into the relationship.

“We guarantee a response by whatever channel the lead comes in, within 60 seconds of the customer’s inquiry. ”

Bill Haack, Chief Operating Office, LiveVOICE

Who is your main type of client?

Our clientele runs the gamut. We serve hospitals, tour companies, one-man plumbing and electrician operations, you name it. Right now, we don’t have one particular industry that shows itself heavily, but one we expect to see growth in is the real estate industry. That’s because 70% of people who are looking to buy a house end up using the first realtor they talk to. If someone stops by a house that is for sale at say, 5 pm on a Sunday, the realtor is not likely to answer their phone. But with our service, we will receive that call and set an appointment time for them to talk to the realtor. They don’t know they are calling a third party agency, so the customer feels like they are talking to that actual office. We truly become an extension of our client’s business. That really helps when it comes down to converting the lead.

Can you tell us about a time you went above and beyond for a client?

There have been several situations where we start setting up the account and realize it’s going to take a lot more time and programming than we had originally discussed with the client. But because we are looking for the long term relationship, we aren’t going to charge for that. We provide a lot of our start-up either at cost or just don’t make money from it. That’s because again, we’re looking for the relationship, so we believe it’s a worthwhile investment.

From the rep perspective, a customer called one of our clients who is an apartment management company. The customer called in and said ‘I’m diabetic and I can’t get to my insulin. I’m disoriented.” Our agent was able to keep her on the line, make a call to 911 and gather the appropriate contacts to get her help. It was certainly beyond our scope of work, but we obviously had a quality rep who was able to handle that situation. That’s what you get with us – a completely human experience.

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