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, pricing structure and services to fit your individual needs.
You know better than anyone else what types of calls you receive every day; start by writing your call types down. I have created a very basic sample of a call flow structure below:
A: Potential New Client
B: Existing Client
Then decide what information you want gathered for each call type:
A: Name / Contact Number / Brief Description of Issue
B: Name / Contact Number / Message
C: Name / Company Name / Contact Number / Message
By breaking down your call types, you can require different protocols for how each call is handled or dispatched. In doing so, you never miss important calls, OR revenue generating opportunities. Here are some examples of how you might break down when and how you want the different types of calls sent or communicated to you so you can respond based on level of urgency:
A: Text and email all then call the person on-call to confirm they have received the message
B: Text and email all
C: Hold all for morning email summary
Essentially, what this call flow does for the business is alert them of all but miscellaneous call types. It goes one step further for the new revenue generating call type A: Potential New Client, by making sure the dispatcher continues to call the on-call person, until contact is made, ensuring the potential new client is contacted in a timely manner. You could even go a step further and change the instructions to indicate that once the callers information has been gathered, that the operator should attempt to patch, or live transfer the caller, to the on call.
Outlining your own needs, puts you in the driver seat during your search for an answering service. It should also mean you are consulting with the answering service representatives with whom you speak, not “being sold” by them.