When you’re a small business owner, it can be hard to outsource and trust someone else to take over part of your business. However, outsourcing can be essential to allow your business to grow. By outsourcing tasks, you can shift some jobs off your desk to allow you the time to get on with the more important task of running your business. A telephone answering service is one of the easiest ways to outsource and free up a lot of time for yourself.
Does the service fit your company culture?
It’s important to remember that an answering service will often be the first point of contact that a customer has with your business when they try to interact with you. Make sure the service you choose understands the expectations that you have. Are they getting the tone right? Think whether the tone they use should be formal or informal. Decide what happens when they put people on hold. You should be clear on every detail, from how customers are greeted to any hold music that gets played.
Does the service have experience in your industry?
If they have, they will be able to get started working for you very quickly with minimal training needed. If they don’t, you may need to spend some time bringing them up to speed so they know what to expect from speaking to your customers.
Do you need 24/7 service?
For some businesses, a big priority will be getting the phones answered at any time of day or night, any day of the week. While the office may not be open, businesses like medical practices or locksmiths need to be contactable at all times. If you need this, make sure you choose a service that can offer this.
What volume of calls do you get?
Cost is usually one of the biggest considerations when choosing an answering service. While looking to find a cheap phone answering service, you should also think about what your needs are so you can find the right service.
If your call volume can spike, you might want to choose a service that charges a flat monthly fee. However, many of these services are assuming you will have a low volume of calls, so they may not have much incentive to answer a higher volume of calls.
Some services charge by the minutes or by the call, which offers a strong incentive to get customers off the phone so more calls can be answered, meaning people may not get the support they need when they call.
Do they have an emergency back-up plan?
One of the most important times to stay connected to your customers is during an emergency. Make sure you choose a service that has emergency backup power or options like rerouting calls to another location during an emergency.
Can they assist non-English speakers?
If your company deals with customers who speak a language other than English as their first language, then you need your answering service to be able to manage this. Can they offer bilingual call agents?