Get the Best Deal: How to Compare Answering Service Companies
With so many answering service companies in the market, you want to be sure you’re getting the best deal. Learn how to compare the best from the rest with our buying guide.
About 60% of customers still prefer to call small businesses on the phone.
You need a way to handles these calls, and if you spend all your time on the phone, you’re not doing what you should be doing, such as growing your business. Hiring a company to answer these calls frees up your time and will help you make more money in the long run.
But how do you find one?
We’ve put together this guide to help you learn how to compare answering service companies and pick the best one for your business.
Find out If They Have Specialized Training for Your Industry
Before you start looking at prices or features, you should find out if the answering service has specialized training in your industry. Anyone can answer the phone, but this training will allow your receptionist(s) to provide more personalized customer service to your callers.
For example, an attorney’s office doesn’t answer the phone the same way as, say, a dental office. While the receptionist tasks may be similar for both locations, the receptionist may need to know specific information or be able to perform industry-needed jobs.
Hiring an answering service with specialized training will give you an edge over the competition and make your customers feel more valued and secure.
Ask About Their Hours
If you need someone answering the phone during the early morning hours or late at night, you need to find an answering service that can meet those needs. Depending on your business, you may even need an answering service that’s available 24/7.
Talk to them about their hours and find out if they can be on the phone when you need them.
Then make sure they really mean it. Do they have a backup plan for things like power outages? If they aren’t able to pick up calls, they’re hurting your business, so make sure nothing will stop them from picking up during your business hours.
Make Sure They’re Trustworthy and Secure
Any call service you hire will be handling sensitive information—both for you and your clients. You need to know this information will be secure and protected.
Talk to the answering service about their security methods. If you’re part of the healthcare or medical field, you should also make sure the answering service is HIPAA compliant. Otherwise, you could find yourself in a heap of trouble later.
Shop Around and Compare Quotes
You should never just sign a contract with the first answering company you stumble across on Google. Instead, take a look at several options in your area, get a quote from each one, and compare the prices.
But don’t just focus on the lowest number.
Cheapest doesn’t equal best. In fact, it’s usually the other way around. It’s often worth investing a bit of extra money into the answering service you choose to ensure you get an experienced and qualified company.
You should also find out how the company will charge you. Do you have to pay per minute, per call, etc.? This will help you find an answering service that fits your budget.
Read Reviews and Get Referrals
No matter how “pretty” an answering service seems on its website or on the phone, it’s always a good idea to visit third-party sites, such as Yelp, to read reviews. This will give you insider information about what past clients thought of the answering service’s features, flexibility, customer services, etc.
If you see a lot of negative reviews, that’s a red flag. You should find a different company for your business instead.
You can also ask the answering service for referrals. They should be able to provide these to you (if they can’t, proceed with caution), and if you have concerns about the company, get in touch with these references so you can learn more details.
Take Advantage of Free Trial Periods
Most answering services offer a free trial period so you can get more familiar with the features they provide and how they work. Always take advantage of these trials before you hand over any money. Otherwise, you won’t really know what you’re paying for.
During this time, make sure you do the following:
Make Test Calls
Do the calls go through? Do you like what the answering service says when they pick up the phone?
Making test calls will let you experience what your customers will hear when they call your business. If you find any mistakes during these calls or if you want to further personalize the answering script, use this time to tweak things until they’re to your liking.
Test All the Features
Get a list of all the features the answering service provides and spend some time testing all of them. If something doesn’t work or needs a few changes, you’ll want to get all this set up before you let the answering service handle your customers for real.
Some of the things you should check include:
- Call recording
- Receiving and listening to messages
- Tone, personality, and customer service
- Online interface (any answering service you hire should have one)
Find out If the Answering Service Has Flexibility
If you need to make adjustments to things, does the answering service make it easy to do so? They should be able to change anything you need right away. A company that drags its feet or that isn’t willing to personalize your experience probably isn’t worth your time or money.
Finding the Best Answering Service Companies for Your Business
It takes time to fine answering service companies that will be a good fit for your business, so take your time and do your research. Following the tips on this guide will help you narrow down the choices until you’re left with only the best.
Not sure where to start?
Don’t hesitate to give us a call! Our team knows the ins and outs of several industries, so we can give you services that meet the needs of your business.