Internet Telephone Service Providers (TSPs) like Google Voice, E-Voice and Ring Central have gained popularity over the last few years.
These solutions are either free or cheap, which makes them attractive to budding entrepreneurs. However, there are inherent problems with these services that entrepreneurs often don’t consider before committing to use them. If you wish to work with an answering service as your company grows there might be better telecom solutions for your business.
All Internet TSPs allow you 25 seconds to answer your calls and you are completely dependent on when these providers actually send your calls.
For instance, if your TSP does not send a call until 20 seconds after the number is dialed, the call might never make it to your switch or destination (if you have the line forwarded). So, integrating any of the previously mentioned providers with an answering service is difficult because it is almost impossible to get forwarded calls to live agents to be answered. That being known, we accommodate our partners who are already using one of those free or cheap phone service providers by configuring their accounts a little differently:
- We turn the ring count down from 4 to 1, so that calls ring into our contact center only once instead of four times before action is taken. As long as the TSP sends calls within 19 seconds, these calls will ring at least one time to our contact center and action will be taken on these calls.
- Since it is impossible for our Customer Service Professionals to answer every call after only one ring, we configure a customized “Please Hold” announcement to answer in the client’s company name before the call is pulled back to the TSP. The announcement informs callers that they are being transferred to a representative. This configuration prevents the call from being pulled back to the provider to be sent to voice mail or disconnected.
So, how many calls actually make it through to us?
It varies depending on the carrier, but with the majority of TSPs we are seeing about an 80% answer ratio with 20% going back to the voice mail of that carrier, except for Google Voice. Google Voice calls get through about 50% of the time. This means that your callers will often end up in your voice mail even when forwarding to your answering service or your cell phone and if you’re using AnswerFirst, your callers might hear your company’s “Please Hold” announcement more often than not.
The biggest questions you should ask yourself before you start using an Internet TSP are:
- How much are my business phone calls worth?
- Am I really saving money by choosing a cheaper solution?
If your calls generate revenue, then maybe they’re worth the expense of choosing a reputable, long-standing TSP; because good, reliable technology is never cheap, but it is always affordable.