When it comes to telephone answering services there is a lot of choice out there. Unfortunately, not all of those services will be identical and before picking one service to run with you need to be sure that you are comparing apples with apples. Here are 5 attributes that we think you should look for when deciding on an answering service for your business.
Unfortunately there are very few barriers to entry in the telephone answering industry. If you want to start a basic phone answering service then you can do so with a couple of phones and an email service. Unfortunately, if you go for one of these budget services then it is unlikely that you will get the level of service that you need for your customers. The best service providers in the business will have highly developed systems and procedures, they will constantly be looking for ways that they can improve their service delivery and ways that they can make your life easier. If you are looking for the best then you need to make sure that they make the most of current technology and that they have a strategy to leverage technology wherever possible.
Another way that the cheap services get away with charging bargain basement rates is to make use of receptionists who are working out of low cost Asian call centers. There are a number of problems that regularly go hand in hand with these operators. Firstly, the line quality on the calls is quite often very poor. This very quickly sends a message to your callers that there is something afoot. Secondly, the receptionists answering the calls will most likely have no understanding of local business practices and local place names which can also deter your callers, finally, sometimes the receptionists will have strong accents that are difficult to understand. Your callers may become frustrated if they have to continually repeat themselves on a call. If you are looking for the best level of service for your customers then you should look for an answering services with local staff.
Just having local staff is not necessarily enough. You also want receptionists answering your calls who are trained, experienced professionals. Many of our competitors employ inexperienced staff to answer their incoming calls. If you are looking for the best telephone answering services then you should ask them about their recruitment and training policies.
If you want to be the best at anything then you need to define a range of KPI's that you believe contribute to being the best and then carefully monitor those KPI's and make structural changes to your technology/systems/training to try to improve on those KPI's. Here at Virtual Headquarters we define a variety of KPI's that we believe impact on our service levels and we carefully monitor those KPI's to be a better business.
When you are comparing answering services then you want to be comparing apples with apples. Pricing needs to be transparent and you need to be able to set up a simple spreadsheet that will indicate what it is going to cost you for each potential option. If you are looking for the best service out there then that service should save you money when compared to trying to do it yourself.