5 Questions to Ask When Hiring an Answering Service
What Solutions Does Your Answering Service Provide?
Answering the phone and receiving messages is a process, not a solution. The phone can be answered by most people, to varying degrees of success. Nevertheless, the deciding factor in the solutions they offer is the importance of an answering service to your company.
Results and advantages are other terms for solutions.
Look at the solutions, results, and advantages they can bring to your business when you evaluate an answering service. Although it is a basic need for your business to "answer the telephone," consider why this is important. Let's say, for example, that the real need is for specific messages that you can import into your customer service database. Can this be done by the answering service? If so, they will have a solution that will fulfill your needs.
What Industries Does Your Answering Service Have Experience In?
Next, look at the expertise of the answering service. Do they have expertise in the sector and represent other customers in your industry? Oh, if they do, it's a positive thing.
Getting experience in your industry ensures that they have an integrated understanding of how to service your account, can fulfill the types of needs met by your callers, and know-how to communicate with them effectively. They know what matters to your business, the kinds of reasons people call for, and even the jargon they're going to use.
Never go with an answering service that in your industry lacks expertise. In the end, you will pay for their learning curve, and your callers will suffer.
What Schedule Does Your Answering Service Follow?
Confirm their timetable and availability, too. Although many response systems run twenty-four hours a day, not all do. Make sure that when you need them, your potential answering service is open.
Ask specifically about after-hour calls, including weekends and particularly holidays, for when your business is closed. Consider their time zone, too. Typically, being in your time zone is helpful for your answering service, although you may have strategic reasons for having a provider in a different time zone.
What Is the Location of Your Answering Service?
Consumers are increasingly suspicious of engaging with offshore call centers and attempting to connect with accented agents is becoming more intolerant. With foreign-sounding reps, they become impatient, which reflects negatively on your business and your name. This is why location is so significant.
Choosing a US-based call center is the most significant criterion. However, just because a response service is in the U.S. doesn't mean that all of their workers are accent-free or easy to understand. Seek to check that the workers can communicate efficiently in English at your prospective answering service. The aim is to make it easy to understand your answering service for your callers.
In addition, most businesses, even within the same state, geographic area, or city, choose to use an answering service in their time zone. That makes it easier for the answering service to match its work with the local environment and your company's specific time of day.
How Does Your Answering Service Ensure Quality?
Much of any answering service claims they provide quality, but going beyond talking about it and hiring an answering service that provides it is important. Besides taking their word for it, how can you check that a quality company is your prospective answering service?
One way is to look at reviews online. Bear in mind, though, that people use online review sites too often to rant, be a bully, or demand their way. So, in online reviews, keep a positive outlook on what you read.
But testimonials from happy customers are better than online reviews. Customer testimonials should be able to provide you with every worthwhile answering service. If they can't or won't, be vigilant. Scrutinize consumer feedback. More value carries lengthier claims. Ignore short soundbites, since there is typically a positive-sounding word in even bad feedback that may appear nice out of context. Check for testimonials from individuals in your field, as well as recent ones. This gives the answering service insight into the current situation. Just because five years ago, an answering service offered quality service, doesn't mean that they still do today.
The best way to ensure that you work with a quality telephone answering service, however, is to look at awards from independent, third-party research organizations that they have received. There is more than a cliché to an award-winning answering service; it's a good company. Don't take their word for it, though. Check that they have won the awards that they claim to have.
By Jeffreymendel Jeffrey Nash - Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50308966
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