5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Buy “The Bundle”

Many answering services sell prepackaged plans that require you to commit to a bundle of calls or minutes each billing cycle. The perceived advantage is that you know what your monthly bill will be – as long as you don’t go over the amount of allotted minutes or calls. This perception is actually misguided. An answering service is much like a utility company that you partner with to ensure you can effectively run your business. […]

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The Importance of Online Access to Your Contact Center Account

In the past, I’ve blogged about the importance of transparency when working with an answering service, but today I want to discuss the actual tool we provide to our partners that delivers account transparency as well as another valuable account feature that’s on the horizon. When you become an AnswerFirst partner you are asked to create a username and password for Client Web Access (CWA).  CWA is our secure online portal where you can view […]

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2014 Is All About Availability

Being Available to Your Clients in 2014

How accessible are you to your clients, vendors and partners? Are your business contacts turning to social media to communicate? Are they calling after normal business hours?  Are you providing every possible channel to satisfy their communication needs? Being within your clients’ reach every hour of the day for questions, concerns and issues has become the key to growth in nearly every industry in 2014.  Providing service before your competitors is frequently an important first […]

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Why We Don’t Do Free Trials

Free Trial Answering Service Account

It is fairly easy to find answering service providers that offer free trials. In my experience, companies that do so are having to make up for offering an inferior product.  If they can only sell accounts through manipulation and perceived cost savings instead of by offering value and superior customer service, then what are you really buying? Free trial accounts are typically set-up using templates, that allow for only the most basic account functionality to […]

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Shared Agents Vs. Dedicated Agents

Shared Agents Vs. Dedicated Agents

Earlier this week, I exchanged emails with an e-commerce business owner who asked if AnswerFirst could do the following: place orders and look up order status for call-in customers using his website’s back-end, answer questions about shipping, returns, etc. using his existing customer service knowledge-base, and open new tickets in the his support system for callers that have very specific questions about his products and services. I explained to this business owner that his service […]

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Tips for Finding the Right Answering Service for Your Business

How to Choose the Right Answering Service

There are many things you should consider when shopping for an answering service including reliability, service features, pricing structure, etc.  So, how do you know what topics to address during your search and how to find a service that will fit your particular business model? In previous blogs I’ve mentioned that price is typically the first topic I am asked about when I speak with a potential new partner.  However, there are several more important […]

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When Using A Live Answering Service Doesn’t Make Sense

When Using A Live Answering Service Doesn't Make Sense

Over the past few weeks I’ve been consulting with a potential client who owns an e-commerce business. Together, we were able to determine that an answering service is not a good fit for his business at this time. This decision was primarily based on a very basic cost-benefit analysis in which we considered 3 factors. First, we identified the client’s main objective.  He wanted to provide 24-hour order assistance for his online business. Basically, our […]

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Create a Call Type Flowchart

Call Type Flowchart

When you start considering an answering service as a solution for covering your missed calls, go into your search prepared. There are several types of contact center services available and they are not all the same. Some do more; some do less. A contact center’s pricing structure will also make a big difference in the level of service you’ll receive.  Identifying your own needs, before shopping, will ensure that you find the right contact center, […]

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Quality Customer Service Is A Responsibility

Customer Service Is Giving Back

I often hear business owners stating that they feel a sense of responsibility to give back something to the communities in which they operate their businesses. Giving back to the community is a great service, but this sense of reciprocity should also apply to the customer service these businesses provide.  It would be very difficult to accomplish the goal of “giving back” if the purchasing experience your business provides is not pleasant or the level […]

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AnswerFirst Business Development Coordinator Visits Clients in New York

AnswerFirst Answering Service Visits New York City

I recently visited New York City to meet several AnswerFirst clients in person. The month of January is difficult for our clients in New York and the rest of the Northeast; many have to shut down during regular business hours due to all of the traffic, public transportation delays and various infrastructure issues that are all synonymous with Winter in the Northeast. When those businesses can’t get to their buildings and open their office doors, […]

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