Choosing the right answering service for your business is important. The operator who picks up the phone may be the first interaction a potential client is having with your business, and first impressions are everything. But with so many options available, you may be wondering how to choose the answering service that’s best. Before you make your decision, examine what you want out of an answering service and what each option has to offer.
- 24/7 Availability: Availability is a key requirement for answering services because the point is that somebody will always be there to answer the phone if your office isn’t able to do it. A 24/7 answering service means that even on nights, weekends, and holidays, somebody is always available to capture leads, answer questions, and schedule appointments. Many answering services offer this kind of availability, but not all of them offer live answering after a certain cutoff point or on holidays.
- Budget: Most companies use one of two fee structures: per-minute billing and per-call billing. Per-minute billing usually comes with several plans that include different amounts of minutes per month. A per-call billing structure bills you based on how many calls come in, no matter how long they are. Most answering services have different pricing tiers, so if you understand your call volume and typical call length, you can get a good understanding of what kind of model best fits your needs.
- Features: Before you sign up with an answering service, see if they offer a free trial like Quality Answering Service does. This will give you a feel for what the service offers before you commit. It’s also a great opportunity to determine what is and isn’t working so you can make changes before you start paying for the service.
- Online Interface: Find out how you will receive your messages. Some services offer emails, texts, faxes, online dashboards, and/or a mobile app to let you see current and past messages as well as reports.
- Personalization: When an answering service takes a call for your business, ideally, the caller won’t even know they’re talking to an answering service. The experience for your customers should be seamless, so they can’t tell the difference between your staff and the person taking their call. You’ll want an answering service that doesn’t use a generic template whenever they answer the phone. Your callers should feel like valued individuals, not just names and numbers.
- Representation: The operator answering your line represents your business to potential clients. That means that to the caller, their mistakes are your mistakes and their triumphs are your triumphs. Find an answering service that will represent you well by taking good care of your callers and providing prompt and professional assistance.
- Security: Your answering service may need to take sensitive messages, especially if you work in the medical field. Make sure that the service you choose is up to the task of handling this information properly. For instance, a medical office needs a HIPAA-compliant answering service: Services that are not compliant could result in expensive fines, lost patients, and potentially jail time.
When you’re wondering, “how do I choose an answering service?” your best bet is to ask yourself what exactly it is you need and which service will help you put your best foot forward. QAS provides top-notch live answering solutions for your business, so your clients will always get supportive and personalized service that will make them feel like they are talking directly to your office. Get a free trial today to see how we can help you.