Shopping for an Answering Service? Know Your Technology!Your phones are ringing off the hook and you’re missing out on new sales.

What do you do?

Hire an answering service to handle your overflow calls, right?  Absolutely.

Wait!  Before you start shopping there are a few important things that you need to know:

  1. Answering services can not just “automagically” take over your phone line and start answering your calls.
    You must have call forwarding; this is a feature that your phone service provider offers.  If you don’t know how to activate and deactivate this feature then you must contact your service provider for clarification.  An answering service is unable to provide this information for you because each service provider handles call forwarding differently.
  2. Free & cheap telephone services (e.g. Google Voice, Grasshopper, Ring Central, etc.) have limitations. 
    Most of these services do not offer live support and some of them do not offer any support at all.  So, if you have any issues with your service, you may have to wait for support, if it’s even available.  Additionally, these services do not allow more than 25 seconds to answer a phone call before pulling it back into voice mail or their system – even if you have your number forwarded.  As a result, if a call rings to you first and then to an answering service there is no guarantee the answering service will have a chance to answer the call.  Why?  If the carrier does not immediately send the call out after it’s dialed then it rings once or twice to you and forwards to the answering service.  By the time the call reaches the answering service 25 seconds have passed and the call is pulled back to the service provider’s system before the answering service is able to answer it.
  3. Your business telephone number is the lifeblood of your business.
    Your ability to keep, service, and generate new business relies on your ability to effectively communicate with current and potential clients.  So, how important is it that you choose a reliable and responsive phone service provider?  Would you replace a coronary artery with a paper straw?  If not, maybe you should reconsider trusting the main artery of your business to a substandard telephone service provider.  Choose a reliable and established carrier that will provide support and offer the features that you need to make your business run smoothly.

No matter what answering service you choose, you need a solid phone service provider that offers call forwarding; and it’s ideal if the service provider offers technical support for service issues.

By doing your research and being prepared before you start shopping for an answering service, you will save yourself time and frustration.
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Teri Erickson

Business Development Coordinator at AnswerFirst
I hope you found this article helpful, if you have any questions you can contact me on my direct line at AnswerFirst: 813-636-3975. If I don’t provide our potential clients with top-notch customer service from day 1, then why should they trust my company to provide their clients with the same?