How to Choose the Ideal Answering Service
Positive customer service experiences are integral to any organization. As customers are increasingly more vocal about their needs, companies have adjusted their strategies to stand out from the competition. One way to excel is by employing an answering service that is well equipped to handle customer service needs. If you are constantly struggling to adequately meet customer service demands, important details will slip through the cracks. These oversights can cause setbacks that could be detrimental to your organization’s reputation. Poor service makes your business seem disorganized, careless and unprofessional. Hiring the ideal answering service will allow you to outsource a critical element to your success. Here are some things to look for in a call answering service.
An answering service won’t provide exceptional benefits if the agents don’t have experience in your field. When interviewing a prospect, pose questions that pertain to your specific industry. If the candidate doesn’t demonstrate a deep understanding of your line of work, they are not the best fit. A good way to test the waters is by using some industry language during your questioning. This will help you identify those who can’t communicate in a way that mimics industry standards. You can also assess a company’s experience by inquiring about their current clients as well as those served previously. Your ideal choice will have served clients who are similar in size to your company. They should be able to offer helpful information to your clients, as opposed to simply taking messages. Lastly, ask about the training process that the agents undergo. The agents will be the ones speaking to your customers, so they should have substantial and frequent training.
If you are looking for round-the-clock customer service, you’ll want to confirm with the answering service that they can meet your needs. Keep in mind that as your business grows, your customer service needs will as well. The answering service you choose should be able to handle your specific workload. Not all companies will accommodate after-hours requests. Others have 24-hour availability, which allows for tremendous flexibility. However, you don’t want to pay extra for a service you don’t need. Prioritizing the functions your company needs most will help you choose a relevant vendor. If you only require the service to be available during office hours, you might be able to cut costs by hiring a company with limited options. Even if you do need more choices, be sure to shop around. Some vendors will charge additional fees for extensive options, and some are more affordable.
When choosing an answering service, look beyond the initial pricing. Chances are, there are other costs involved, and you’ll want to know that you can truly afford the service. If a company is charging a low base rate but has steep fees for add-ons, you might be better off going elsewhere. For example, some companies that offer robust hours will also charge for weekends and holidays. There may also be charges for non-call services, such as texting and email. If these are services you use often, you will be regularly paying a large sum due to additional fees. Verify that the advertised prices are accurate and that there won’t be hidden costs.
While answering service agents are not your employees, you want your clients to feel that they are a part of your organization. To provide that sense, generic call scripts should be avoided. If a customer gets the impression that they are insignificant, they are not likely to remain loyal. Your answering service should place a high priority on working with you to tailor services to your needs. You’ll want to be confident that you can readily share any tips that will help the agents deliver a customized experience. Your clients will have different needs than another company’s clients, and the vendor should be able to reflect your business.
An answering service that doesn’t meet your needs is a massive drain on your company. The wrong service is not only unhelpful, but it also could cause you to lose business. When you’re seeking the ideal candidate, ask as many questions as you feel are necessary, and express your needs openly. With sufficient research, you could see your organization blossom with the inclusion of an answering service.