Not all answering services are created equal – and while a particular answering service might be a great fit for one business, it might not work well at all for another.
So, how can you find the best answering service for your business? Here are some tips:
Call The Service
Probably the most obvious yet overlooked tip is to simply pick-up the phone and call the service’s sales line. Do they answer your calls quickly? Do they send you to voice mail? Is the person who answers the phone easy to understand and professional? What happens if you call after normal business hours or during peak times like lunch? An answering service should answer all inbound calls promptly and professionally. If you call the service and find yourself less than impressed with how your call is handled then your clients will probably feel the same when they call. Move on to the next option.
Check Online Reviews
Not all online reviews are completely reliable. In fact, people are more likely to go online to share their opinions when they’re upset with a business instead of when they’re satisfied. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth researching what feedback has been left about an answering service that you’re considering hiring. A few good places to check for reviews include Google, Facebook and Glassdoor. Google and Facebook should have reviews from the answering service’s clients while Glassdoor will have reviews from current and past employees. You’ll generally want to look for ratings of 4 stars or better on all review sites. Also, consider the total number of reviews because if a service is not successful at getting clients and employees to leave reviews then they may only have a few which means their score can be heavily affected by just one bad review. Online reviews certainly shouldn’t be the only factor you consider before hiring a new service, but it’s worth investigating them as part of your decision making process.
Does The Service Have Experience in Your Industry?
Not all businesses have the same communication needs – especially in respect to how and when phone calls are answered. If you have a plumbing or A/C repair business then your answering service needs might be very different from those of a massage therapist or doctor’s office. Make sure that the answering service you’re vetting has some experience answering phones for other businesses in your industry. More specifically, if you need a particular service like 24/7 live answering with dispatching or HIPAA-compliant services then verify that the service has the capabilities before you sign up for service.
These are just a few great techniques you can use to determine if an answering service is a good fit for you and your business. Additionally, research at least 3-5 services before making a decision and avoid signing long-term agreements or contracts with any service. There are many answering services that will provide month-to-month services so that you are free to go to another answering service if and when you need to. Good luck shopping!
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