Does your company need an answering service? If you can’t hire in-house or can’t hire a virtual assistant, then an answering service is a great option.
There are benefits when you outsource an answering service. You’re not responding to phone calls and messages, and you don’t need to hire a customer service representative.
But there are so many answering services to choose from. It’s easy to go with the first one you find or sign up with the cheapest company. But you’ll likely be wasting money in the long-run.
But just because they all offer the same services doesn’t mean these companies are the same. Some companies aren’t as professional as others or don’t offer the same equipment. Other companies may not even be based in your country.
Here are 8 tips to follow when searching for the best answering service.
1. Check Their Technology
Telephones have been around for decades. But this doesn’t mean telephone tech is increasing. New telephones have a lot of capabilities that are essential for customer support.
When finding an answering service, do your own research. Find the most updated and best-performing phones.
If you’re inquiring with a company, ask which phones they use and research reviews. Their phones should be reliable and won’t have as much downtime or service interruptions.
2. Make Sure Their Phone Calls are Secure
The last thing you want is your customers’ information to be compromised. And if you work in the medical or legal fields? Security is even more dire and you should find out what kind of answering service you need.
What if a customer’s identity is stolen. Even if it’s the answering service’s fault and not yours, guess who’s the one who gets blamed? That’s right — you.
One of the many added features of modern professional phones is added security.
If the answering service has a new phone system, that usually means their security is really good. But this is still a question you should ask the answering service.
3. Look at Their Current Client Profile
The easiest way to ensure the legitimacy of an answering service is by checking their client profile. Major clients won’t go with just any answering service; they will choose the answering service that offers the best skill and technology.
What if an answering service doesn’t have an A-plus client list, but you’re still interested in them?
A good answering service attracts client of all sizes and in all industries. Some answering services also tailor to certain industry niches based on knowledge.
Take a look at the different clients they have. Use that to gauge their legitimacy or services.
4. Ask About Call Quality
Every answering service will boast about their call quality. But if you really want to discover the quality of their calls, you need to get into the specifics.
Ask what their quality procedures are. Request a contract or a statement about their quality assurance. If you’re met with any resistance, the company doesn’t actually offer quality phone calls.
A reputable answering service will have a procedure to ensure quality service.
This procedure can include call monitoring, receptionist feedback, regular updates, and any place where customers can submit a problem.
5. Service Flexibility
How often have you signed up for any service and realized there was no flexibility? You’re forced to sign a contract and abide by everything the company demands.
This is more than inconvenient — it proves the company isn’t reliable. These companies are usually cheap ones who scam you out of good service.
Different answering services vary, but a reliable answering service has different plan options. All of these plan options include different features and are each priced differently.
These can include 24/7 support, high call volume features, unlimited minutes, and backup plans for bad weather and other emergencies.
6. Call Them Yourself
There’s another helpful — and fun — way to gauge an answering call yourself: pose as a customer.
Research the answering service’s clients, find one you’re familiar with and come up with a fake question or complaint. Call the answering service and study the call.
Get a sense of how the representative answers and speaks to you. Did they provide a good service?
Document any long hold times or if you’re sent to voicemail. If the call center is 24/7 hours, call at odd hours. See how quickly they answer or if you’re on hold.
By acting as a customer, you’re putting yourself in the POV of your actual customers.
7. Find Out If They Have Industry Experience
Let’s say you need a niche answering service. You find an answering service you like but notice they have no clients in your industry. This doesn’t mean they can’t help. Inquire and ask if they can of assistance in your industry.
Depending on your industry, this is necessary. Some customers will have questions specific to your industry. If the answering service has no knowledge, this might deter the customer.
What if they don’t have experience? You can either find a new answering service or ask if you can provide educational material about the industry, your company, and your products.
8. Ask About Their Referral Rate
Have you ever loved or hated an experience you had with a business? If so, you probably wanted to say something. But what if the company didn’t have an easy point of contact? Then you were probably pretty upset.
When you inquire with an answering service, ask if they offer referrals. This can include a survey or any other feedback method. Next, ask about their referral rate.
Find out, on average, how many referrals their clients get and if the feedback is generally positive or negative.
Now You Can Find the Best Answering Service
Your business is only as good as its customer service. If you decide to outsource an answering service rather than hiring in-house, you need to find the best answering service.
You need to ensure the answering service has good quality phone technology and provide great service. Don’t hesitate to ask questions or even pose as a customer for one of their clients.
Are you ready to look for a call answering service? Search companies here.