There weren't very many phone answering services five or 10 years ago, but now there are hundreds of companies and providers from which to choose. So, just how do you pick and narrow down your options? Pricing is a no-brainer, but there is more to these services than cost. Here are the six factors you need to consider when choosing a phone answering service that's best for you:
Reliability and Security
It's important that when you're choosing your phone answering service, that you ask questions regarding the security of their phone connections and what procedures they have in case of a power outage or a technical problem. Things may happen, so you want a company that has your interests in mind and will do everything to ensure that you're still getting your calls. You also want a company that's proactive instead of reactive, one that's taken the security measure necessary to prevent wiretapping into conversations and data breaches.
It's not everyone's dream job to work the phones, so it's important to know how a phone answering service trains and treats its employees, and how the company handles a surge in call volume. The service will do you no help if your callers have to deal with long wait times, or if the receptionist is always changing and never seems to know how to handle your specific calls, or if they aren't polite and professional on the phone. This would include finding out the types of training callers go through, the company culture of the service, and what qualifications the company looks for when hiring and retaining employees.
Has the phone answering services company received good reviews, testimonials, and/or references from their customer base? Has the company won awards, and/or received certifications from industry associations? These aspects demonstrate how trustworthy a particular company is. With reputation, you could also consider how long the company has been in business and who owns the company i.e. family-owned business, part of a bigger firm, or maybe it just separated from a larger company.
Does the phone answering service company comply with local, state and federal regulations and carry business insurance? This is important to consider if you are thinking about an out-of-state or a national phone answering service company. If you need a medical answering service, will the phone answering company be HIPAA compliant? The last thing you want is your customer's information leaked or jeopardized in some way.
If you need additional languages for your phone answering service, then its obvious you need to find one that can provide that language. Spanish may be easy to find, but if you want other languages that may be specific to your neighborhood or customer base, then you might have to spend time doing research to find a pertinent answering service company.
Most phone answering services will only answer the phone, screen calls, take messages, and forward you the important calls. If you need additional, advanced, services like appointment setting, order taking, and customer support, then you need to find a phone answering service company that offers this customized services. Not all of them do since offering these services requires additional training for the company, and might even mean that they have to dedicate a few callers specifically to you.
We hope this information helps in choosing a phone answering services. It's certainly not an easy decision, and you want to work with a trustable company as well as one that will deliver top quality services and will be there for its customers. Thinking about these six factors and asking the right questions can help you to make the right choice.