7 Tips on Choosing an Answering Service for Your Business
The global market size for call centers is expected to reach a staggering $496 billion in 2027, up from $339.4 billion in 2020.
Demand for call answering services has been on the rise as companies seek reliable ways for improving communication with customers. Outsourcing answering services can help make sure that your customers can reach you whenever they need to and save you the costs of hiring an in-house team.
But with over 1,300 companies that offer answering services, how do you tell which one is ideal for you? Read on for tips on choosing an answering service that will help take your business to the next level.
1. Prioritize Availability
About 85% of customers will not contact you again if they fail to reach you with their first call. Few callers will bother to leave a voicemail. That’s why it’s critical for your potential answering service provider to guarantee availability.
Ideally, you want an answering service provider who is available round the clock, every day of the year. After all, the primary goal of hiring an answering service is to ensure that your business is always open, including at night, on weekends, and during holidays. It’s the best way to prevent losing leads, besides dispatching urgent calls when necessary.
Note that some services charge extra for offering 24/7 availability. Others offer live support up to a certain time and then switch to automated support. Strive to find a service provider who offers round-the-clock live support at no additional cost.
2. Look for Professionalism
Your answering service provider represents your brand, and you want to be sure that they’re portraying the right image. Look for a service provider who conducts themselves professionally. You want a partner who goes out of their way to take care of the needs of your customers, just like your staff would.
Ensure your answering service provider knows exactly how you handle your clients. Some businesses, such as those in the sport’s sector, require an energetic operator. Others, such as funeral homes, require a calm and composed operator.
An operator with considerable experience answering calls also knows how to evaluate each situation carefully and adapt to the caller’s needs. Remember, each caller is unique, and call center agents need to be able to adapt well.
3. Inquire About Personalization
Generally, there should be little difference between calls handled in your office and those handled by your answering service provider. Ask whether your potential service provider can personalize their service to meet your clients’ experiences.
You don’t want to work with an answering service that uses generic call answering templates. Generic call answering makes customers feel like a statistic, while personalized call handling makes them feel like they’re cared for.
Make sure your service provider’s scripting is customized to fit your specific company needs. You want your clients to know how much you appreciate their business, and one way to do so is by tailoring call handling to suit their needs.
4. Determine Your Budget
Obviously, you’re going to be comparing service costs as you make a decision about who to partner with. Call answering services range from free trials to almost any cost you can imagine.
The vast majority of answering services charge you based on how much activity your line has, rather than a flat rate. That means the busier your line, the higher the price.
Some answering services also offer pricing tiers that provide allotments in use. This pricing option can be more affordable, especially if your call volume is predictable.
Generally, you want to get multiple quotes from different answering service providers and compare them. Choose a quote that makes the most sense for your business.
5. Evaluate the Features
Before you sign up with a service provider, check their free trial if they have any. A free trial gives you the opportunity to experience their service before you have to pay for it, particularly if the service provider requires clients to sign a contract.
At the start of your trial period, place test calls to get a feel of what your clients will experience the moment they call. The goal is to identify and fix potential issues with call handling before you go live with clients.
This is also the perfect time to test all the essential features the answering service provides. For instance, you can test the on-call dispatching system to see how it works.
6. Opt for a Family-Owned Service
A family-owned answering service that reports can offer more personalized service than a publicly-traded company that reports to shareholders.
In recent years, venture capital companies have been purchasing call center firms and consolidating them with others they’ve bought. Many of these services don’t offer the hands-on approach to call handling that your customers need.
A family-owned call center will usually have a vested interest in your success. Such a company will also be highly conscious when it comes to their reputation and generally have positive online customer reviews.
7. Consider Security
Your call answering service provider will often be handling sensitive business information. If this information lands in the wrong hands, it could prove disastrous for your business.
To protect yourself, it’s crucial to work with a service provider who is HIPAA or PCI compliant. Depending on the type of business you do, you could be held liable for working with a non-compliant answering service. Penalties include hefty fines, jail time, or loss of business.
Choosing an Answering Service Doesn’t Need to Be too Hard
The answering service you partner with can make or break your business. That’s why you need to do your due diligence while choosing an answering service to make sure you hire the right one. The tips we’ve shared in this guide can help you make the right decision.
Are you interested in reliable answering services for your company? Please, contact us today to get a free service quote.