In running a successful business, there are various aspects you might have to outsource for effectiveness and convenience. One of such things is receiving and phone calls of various kinds directed to your company. Much more than what an answering machine does, a telephone answering service is meant to process incoming calls to your company and either reroute them to your or answer them directly and relay the message to you later on providing full-time 24/7 assistance to your customers when they need it.
Being a service company and a very important part of your business, it is important that you are making the right choice when it comes to choosing a company that will answer your incoming calls.
One way people use to choose the right company in any field is to through reviews and what others who have used the company before have to say about their services. Since every telephone company will want to appear as “efficient and customer focused” there is a possibility that user reviews don’t give a full picture of all that there is to know about the company you are about to choose.
In addition to positive feedbacks and reviews, here are some other important things to look out for when choosing the right answering service for your business. Note however that asides being standalone factors to look out for in a company, these are important things to look out for in reviews as well as.
- Experience: Experience is one of the top things to look out for when hiring any service provider. In the case of an answering service, this goes beyond experience as a company itself but also involves their experience with your own industry in particular. One of the most important questions to ask is if the company you are about to hire will be able to answer to calls relating to your industry or not. In answering this question, a lot industry-related experience is of prime importance.
- Personnel: because your telephone service company is to a very large extent representing your company, it is important that they have operators that are not only professional in executing their duties but also a sort of friendly help for your customers. Beyond what the company website or user reviews say, you need to be sure that you will be hiring operators that work with optimum professionalism and are above to deliver quality services. It should be more about being a professional and friendly extension of your own company rather than simply getting through as many calls as possible.
Also related to this is the type of staffing the company operates whether it is on-site or off. This can offer varying advantages on their own and also have their own downsides to them as well. You should note, however, that on-site staffing offer advantages such as better management of employees, quality assurance, message accuracy and so on.
- Technology: you should also enquire about the answering company you are planning to choose. While most companies have the basic facilities to handle calls, it is preferable if you hire a company that has the technology to handle non-regular scenarios as well, take a power outage for example or cases of overload and server jams due to too many for example. A good company should have a recovery plan and backups for situations like this.
- Sufficient documentation: your answering service company should also be able to provide sufficient documentation for every call, preferably in the form of a recorded voice message. The company should also be able to make this available whenever you need this through a remote dashboard so that you can easily verify any claims and promises made during a call whenever you have to.
- Logical and affordable pricing: as you may rightly be informed already, offering cheap services doesn’t always mean that is the company to hire. The more important factors are that the pricing is logical, affordable and that you are getting value for your services at the end of the day. By logical, it means you should be aware of everything you are paying for and why you are paying for it. This means no underhanded billing and no irrelevant fees. Some companies, for example, will charge you a setup fee even when there is really no service to set up. Every fee to be paid must be clearly defined and possibly comparable to the competition.
For more factors to consider when choosing a good answering service click here.
Bear in mind that as mentioned, the reviews can give you a good idea about some of these points. However, you can also make inquiries about the company through other means or ask questions directly about them until you get satisfactory answers.