An excellent answering service will help your business to prosper. However, hiring one might not be a smooth sail. It can be easy to make a wrong move.
Moreover, if you are doing it for the first time, there are some critical questions that you need to ask whenever you are searching for an answering service company. These questions will help you when you’re shopping for an answering service.
1. How Old Is Your Business?
Some business owners invest time, energy, and money into an answering services company only to suddenly close their doors with no warning.
It might be that they were in business for a few months but didn’t achieve their goals. Or perhaps they incurred a big financial loss because they didn’t manage their workflow properly. Get an answer about how long a certain company has been operational. This reduces your risk of dealing with a newbie company that closes up shop before you can even blink.
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2. Do You Bill by the Call or by the Minute?
Most answering services have by-the-call or by-the-minute plans. A few companies offer flat-rate plans, but there are only a few of those. However, you need to know everything about a company’s pricing structure and what they will bill you for.
3. What Solutions Does Your Answering Service Provide?
Anyone can answer a phone. However, an answering service’s value is defined by the value of its benefits for your company. When evaluating an answering service, focus on these solutions.
For example, let’s assume that you need accurate messages that will import into your database. Will the answering service company provide this solution? If they can do this, they are providing a solution you need.
4. How Many Representatives Do You Have in Your Center?
When hiring an answering service company, you need to know how many representatives they have who will be responsible for your calls. However, their answer could be misleading.
For example, some services will promise to answer on the first ring every time. But they might put callers on hold because of limited staff.
Additionally, the service’s touted call volumes may sound impressive at first. But later, you might find that users experience poor service levels.
The only reason they should put your callers on hold is if they are transferring them to you. Otherwise, this practice will turn your customers away. Look for a provider who promises a “one call” service.
5. What Schedule Does Your Answering Service Follow?
Not all answering service companies operate around the clock. Therefore, you need to confirm their schedule and availability. Make sure the answering service company is at your disposal any time you need them.
6. What’s Included in Your Monthly Plan?
A low-cost monthly plan is most likely a good deal. However, some providers offer a low-cost plan, then charge additionally for your phone number, holidays, minutes, dialing out, bilingual services, and patching. Ensure that all these items are included in your base plan for no additional charge.
7. Where Is Your Answering Service Located?
Consumers tend to be wary of dealing with call center companies from outside their country. Moreover, a foreign-sounding representative can ruin your brand or your company’s reputation or both. Therefore, select a call center that’s based in your country.
8. Will My Calls Be Answered Offshore?
Onshore answering services provide more benefits for your company. This includes speaking the local language and expressing cultural knowledge. Ask the provider if you can be serviced by one or a few locals from the place where you are based.
Armed with the answers to the eight questions above, you can make a better decision about hiring an answering service company. Moreover, this approach will help you to avoid hiring the wrong company.