Written by Reginald Chan on October 15, 2020

Qualities to Look For in an Answering Service for Your Business

In today’s digital age, most companies prefer to work remotely or outsource services to save time and money. One such remote service is customer and reception service. Today, many companies are hiring answering services, which can positively impact a company’s reputation, sales, and customer reviews. Hence, it is necessary to do your research and hire a competent answering service that is not only more proficient than an in-house customer service department but is also more affordable and manageable. If you are thinking of hiring an answering service for your company to improve customer service, now is the right time. But, how does one choose a qualified answering service? Continue reading on to find out what you should look for in an answering service.

1.    Packages Offered

Affordability is one of the most important factors when hiring an answering service. Depending on the size of your business, you will have a designated budget to hire an answering service. You should do your research to determine the cost of their services and look at the packages they offer. Certain answering companies offer additional services along with the basic ones, such as call screening, appointment setting, call forwarding, setting appointments, web access, and some other applications and services. If these align with your company’s needs or could benefit it in some way, such packages should definitely be considered. In some cases, you can even take the plunge and discover new services and witness the way it benefits your company along the way.

2.    Training and Expertise of the Staff

Needless to say, the staff of any answering service should be skilled and trained to conduct any type of interaction. Whether your company handles legal matters or manufactures products, it is your right to measure and determine the expertise of the service’s staff since you are entering a partnership for a prolonged period. Question the staff and call operators to ensure that they are adequately trained to handle any questions about your business. While conducting this research, also find answers to questions like – Do they work remotely or at a designated site? Are they aware of your industry values? Do they have prior knowledge about your discipline? Are they quick on their feet? Do they sound polite and professional? Along with expertise, training, and skills, the amount of experience should also be considered.

3.    Confidentiality

Every company needs to follow certain ethics, which mainly comprises trust, privacy, and confidentiality. The interaction between a company and a potential customer should be encrypted and kept private, and the same applies to an answering service as well. The skilled operators at TelephoneAnsweringService.org.uk highlight that confidentiality and privacy are key to gaining a customer’s trust. As a company, you are placing your trust in the answering service to maintain customer confidentiality, which is why it is necessary for an answering service to maintain discretion at every step, from the very first introduction to filing the customer claims and requests. Look for an answering service with operators who are trained in maintaining confidential information. If possible, look for a service that specializes in HIPAA-compliant calls.

4.    Availability

There is no point in hiring an answering service if it is unavailable during your prime business hours. The service should be quick on its feet and ready to answer all calls at any moment. This is necessary because a single missed call could lead to a major loss. To avoid this, look for an answering service that operates in your time zone or has similar operating hours. Some businesses are more active during the night, which is when an opposite time zone comes to your rescue. Also, some answering services offer 24/7 availability, which is necessary for some types of businesses. Even if the answering service does not operate 24/7, look into the types of emergency plans and backup options that they offer. What is their emergency strategy in case they missed a call? What is their outlook on disaster planning and redundancy?

5.    Language Assistance

If your business attracts non-English speakers, you should ensure that the answering service is ready to assist them in the customer’s preferred language. In such cases, a bi- or trilingual answering service is necessary to break the language barrier. It is easy to lose a potential customer who does not speak your language, so taking the time to understand the customer means money saved. Take note of the types of customers you get, relevant reviews, and the language they speak. For example, if a majority of your customers prefer to speak Spanish or English, a bilingual answering service that is fluent in these two languages is preferable. In case you attract many international clients who speak varied languages, look for an answering service that can deal with multiple languages. Even though it may demand some extra expense, it is worth the investment.

6.    Connection and Routing Options

All your efforts are in vain if the connection and routing options offered by the answering service are poor. If all calls are managed at one common location, call diverting can be an issue as it often causes confusion and mistakes. It not only causes misunderstandings and probable losses but also affects your company’s reputation. Even if the call is diverted to an expert who works for the same service, human errors are still possible due to poor connection or miscommunication. To ensure that your company’s customer service is lauded, consider every aspect of connection and routing options offered by the answering service.

By choosing a capable and reputable answering service, you can boost your own company’s reputation and convert leads into sales. To find the right service, it is necessary to do a little research, compare different providers, and read customer reviews to ensure that your company is represented by the best customer service representatives. After all, this will directly affect your company’s sales and identity. With hundreds of reliable answering services on the market, you’ll have a myriad of options to choose from.

Article written by Reginald Chan
A meticulous entrepreneur by nature, Reginald is a sought-after success coach, digital marketing consultant and TEDx speaker from Asia. Currently, he teaches others how to make money online for free.

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