Handling all incoming business calls in-house can be extremely overwhelming, considering you also manage other business operations. This is where answering services come in to help you better manage your business and clients. Having an efficient and reliable answering service is crucial to the growth and success of your business, especially in today’s competitive business world.
Not only is hiring an in-house phone answering team time-consuming, but it also requires plenty of money and resources, which can be directed toward other business operations. Hiring a professional phone answering service like Absent Answer helps reduce internal staffing headaches while ensuring you’re always in touch with your clients. However, not all answering services are created equal, making choosing the best service for your business difficult. In this article, we’ll look at some of the key considerations to ensure you choose the right answering service for your business:
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1. 24/7 Availability
The right answering service should be available to answer customer calls around the clock, seven days a week. The answering service you’re considering should understand customers will continue calling your business even after business hours. Thus, they should always be open to answer calls and offer customer support to your clients, whether at night, on weekends, or on holidays.
Hiring a phone answering service provider that offers 24/7 coverage ensures you don’t miss a call or any potential business because you’re closed for the night. This also guarantees customers their call will be received and they’ll get the support they need, even if they call outside of normal business hours.
2. Privacy and Confidentiality
Another vital factor to consider when choosing an answering service is your customers’ privacy and confidentiality. This is crucial, especially if you run a law firm, medical practice, or financial services company. The answering agents handling customer calls should be trained to respect clients’ privacy and protect confidential information.
The answering service should also have a strict policy on the non-disclosure of confidential information. This prevents phone operators from sharing your customers’ information with people outside your company. Besides confidentially handling customer calls, the answering agents should be able to provide a great customer experience, whether it’s providing basic customer support or taking messages.
3. Properly Representing Your Business
In addition to maintaining the privacy and confidentiality of customer information, your chosen answering service should have well-trained operators. This is crucial since the level of professionalism of the operators handling your customers’ calls can make or break your company. Hence, ensure the answering agents have undergone extensive training in phone etiquette and are knowledgeable in your industry to solve customer issues adequately.
Professionally trained answering agents should offer bilingual support, ensuring they can effectively communicate and offer support services to foreign customers. They should also provide personalized customer service to keep your clients satisfied. For example, if you run a funeral home, the answering agents you work with should be composed and calm, while operators for a medical facility should be friendly, energetic, and lively. This will ensure your answering agents are properly trained to meet your company’s standards and offer professional services to your clients.
4. Consider Important Features
Not all answering service providers offer the same features. Thus, it’s also crucial to determine the features and capabilities you need from an answering service before committing, whether you need after-hours messages or call-forwarding. Determining the features of an answering service can help you know if they best suit your business structure.
Additionally, different answering services vary greatly in terms of the quality of services they offer. Some service providers have more accurate message transcription, while others offer exceptional customer support. Choose an answering service offering the features your business needs. Be sure to read customer reviews to ensure your chosen answering service can meet your company’s needs.
There is no universal answering service, and no two businesses are the same. That’s why you need to find an answering service that you can customize to fit your business needs. For instance, your chosen service should allow you to customize its call scripting to your business’s needs.
The best answering service should work with you in developing a customized call script, setting appointments, taking orders, screening or forwarding calls, and delivering your messages accurately. Make sure the service you choose can offer you the level of customization you require to run your business efficiently. This will also ensure you get value for your money.
With technology constantly evolving in the answering service industry, it’s important to consider the technology a service uses and how it integrates with your business. Ask about the capabilities of their telephony platform since some services use specialized apps for monitoring calls while others offer call recording capabilities.
Choose an answering service that uses efficient technology to ensure quicker call response and message dispatch. Ensure they offer account backups and procedures for eliminating redundancy for critical system components. Not only will this save you time and money, but it will also ensure your business runs smoothly and efficiently. Ensure their system is compatible with the software you currently use in your business.
7. Payment Plan
It’s also essential to consider the kind of payment plans an answering service offers to ensure you’re on your budget. Find a package within your budget and with all the features your business needs. The best answering service should be upfront with their pricing and have several plans tailored to meet the specific needs and budgets of different businesses.
Whether you’re a startup company or an established business looking for a reliable answering service to manage your increasing call volume, ensure you find a pricing plan that best suits your unique budget and business needs. You can identify the best pricing model based on your business’s call volume and budget. It’s also important to choose a service with a transparent and easy-to-understand pricing structure.
Now that you know things to consider while choosing an answering service, ensure you choose a service that meets your business’s unique needs. Besides considering the factors above, evaluating your business’s call patterns and volumes, objectives, and needs can help you make an informed decision when choosing an answering service.