Hiring a business answering service is a great way for business owners to increase efficiency, save money, and promote great customer service. Answering your customers’ phone calls on the first ring provides a great first impression; if a caller has to wait more than four rings for someone to answer, they are most likely going to abandon the call. Not having to interrupt your business to answer simple questions like hours and directions improves your efficiency. Using 24 hour answering services to handle client inquiries promotes business around the clock and increases sales.
If your company is just starting to review business answering service companies, it is important to take a few factors into consideration before choosing one:
- Call center training. Your business answering service should have a standardize training process that ensures that all of your clients get consistent and quality service.
- Staffing levels. Make sure that that business answering service you hire has adequate staffing levels to handle any incoming calls without hold times. It’s also a good idea to ask about their policy and capacity to handle unusually high call volumes due to changes in your business practices or special promotions.
- Call center certifications. There are several reputable call center associations that provide certification programs for call centers that verify quality and excellence. Opting to use a call center that has a certification helps ensure that their business practices, management, and customer service representatives are well-trained and follow best practices for the call center industry.
- Compliance. If the nature of your business is heavily regulated, such as the medical, legal, or utility industry, you’re probably already aware of the strict compliance requirements your third-party call center representatives. Even if you don’t work in a regulated market, every call center has to meet state and federal regulations and provide business insurance coverage. Double check what requirement your state enforces and make sure that the customer service company you use is in compliance.
- Additional services. There are several extra services that customer service companies can offer that could really help your business include:
- After hours telephone answering services
- Providing automation, so that customers can get simple questions answered without needing to talk to a live representative, which saves you money.
- Handling customer inquiries through a variety of channels, including: email, online inquiries, voicemails, or live chatting.
- Light administrative tasks, such as: appointment scheduling, help desk services, processing product orders, and emergency call escalation, if necessary.
- Price points. Make sure the pricing plan that the customer service company uses is straightforward, and does it include extra fees. Ask about start-up fees, cancellation fees, overtime fees, and their pricing model. Get the pricing policies in writing, and make sure that you are comfortable with everything you would be charged for.
- Request references. Get referrals from other businesses who use answering services that they are pleased with. Get client reviews from a third-party review website online. Additionally, you should ask for references from several current and past clients that the answering company you’re considering provides service to.
Do you have any other suggestions for choosing the best business answering service? Please include them in the comment section below.