Deciding on an answering service can be a rough trial. With Globalization and the rise of cheap, easy to get equipment, the number of answering services in the world is climbing. There are many tactics you can use to help determine which answering services are legitimate and which is right for you.
The first is the age of the company. How long have they been in the business? Many new answering services are hurt by poor customer service. If it is an older company, then their customer service techniques are tried and true. If they have been training employees for years and are still going strong, then they will surely be able to meet the needs of you and your clients.
Another important item to check on is if the answering service has any specialties. Today there are many nich specific answering services that deal only with one type of business. For instance: medical answering services, real estate answering services. These are generally smaller companies that cannot handle large amounts of calls or varying types of calls. Most non-nich services also specialize, but train their operators to takes all kinds of calls. It is always good to ask and see. Especially if your business has needs that spread out over many areas.
Price is always a factor when you’re in the market. As with anything, you pay for what you get, but you must always keep your budget in mind. Price varies considerably with different companies so it is a good idea to shop around. Many services will allow you to pay by the month, rather than roping you into a year long contract. These are great because then it is possible for you to test them out.
Lastly, ask them for references. Any reputable answering service will have several clients who will be willing to provide testimonials. Make sure to pay special attention to references from people in the same line of work as you. For instance a plumber would not care at all how well someone’s operators can enter orders into a clothing website.
As always, use common sense and ask a lot questions. If you are expecting over 200 calls a night, it may not be a good idea to hire Nancy, who just set up a home answering service next door in her living room. If something seems fishy, ask questions in different ways, or go somewhere else. Answering services can be powerful tools if the business is a professional one. I wish you the best of luck in finding the service that is right for you and your clients.