Signing up with an answering service is a cost-effective way to expand your staff and improve your customer service. For a set monthly fee, a live operator answers your calls during the hours you specify to take messages, provide information, schedule appointments, take orders, or answer detailed questions as required. This concept works well for many companies who can gain additional phone coverage during busy times, mealtimes, emergencies, nights, weekends, or any time they need help fielding calls. The cost for an answering service is less than having an existing employee or worker on duty, while the service quality is excellent.
How can you make sure that the answering service you select will meet your expectations? Ensure that you ask these four questions before hiring an answering service.
Question 1: What is your turnover rate?
Workers tend to stay at companies where they are well-treated and well-supported. The high turnover rates at some answering services translate to putting your business in the hands of inexperienced call agents.
An agency with a low turnover rate is able to assign the same agents to your account on a regular basis so that they become familiar with the ins and outs of your business. You can’t expect that the same person will always be assigned to your account every day, but working with a firm that can verify its low turnover rate verifies that competent and experienced people will be the voice of your company
Question 2: Can you handle high call volume?
If you are hiring an answering service to cover lunches, breaks, and busy times, you want to make sure that the agency has staff to provide what you need. The goal is to have your call answered by the second or third ring and to provide service without putting the caller on hold. Before you sign up for a service, make sure you have a good idea of the approximate number and length of calls for the hours you are requesting, which will help the agency ensure that they can provide proper staffing.
Ask them what percentage of their business your account will represent. Some experts say that it should be no more than half; however, devoting that much time to you means that they have either lost clients or have to do some quick hiring to accommodate you.
Question 3: Do you use domestic or offshore workers?
Some answering services offer low prices that seem appealing, but they may employ offshore workers for whom English is not their native tongue. Today’s technology allows answering service operators to be located anywhere and still be able to answer your phone, but there is often a communication gap that frustrates customers.
U.S. customers complain they cannot understand the operators, who may not be completely fluent in English or who may have a thick accent. When the operator’s isn’t fluent in the language spoken by the callers they support, they may offer responses that are so strictly by the script that customers may feel the service is not personal or flexible to their needs. At a time when many companies prefer to support domestic workers, using offshore answering service operators may not jive with your message.
Question 4: What type of technology do you have?
Any modern answering service will offer a variety of options for taking calls and relaying messages to you. With many web tools available, even companies that utilize virtual operators can assure that their staff utilizes the proper Internet tools. They verify that their workers have computers that meet the certain technology specs, give them access to the right software, and may even supply them with headsets or particular equipment to do the job. To make sure that your calls will be covered even in the case of an emergency, ask see the company’s backup and disaster preparedness plan.
By asking the right questions, you will find an answering service that will meet your goals of having your phone answered when you need it by knowledgeable, friendly voices. RiteResponse of Houston, Texas has the low turnover, capacity, a domestic workforce, and the technology to help your business your business. For more information, fill out the customer form to the right on our website or call us at 866.838.RITE or 713.868.7500.