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A Better Answer Blog

Questions to Ask When Shopping for an Answering Service

anwering service

Not every answering service is the same. There are, however, certain things that a customer should look for, at a minimum, when hiring an answering service. This post will be a guide to questions and answers to consider.

How do you train your employees?

One of the most important factors when hiring an answering service is the way the service seamlessly represents your company. You’ll want to ask about the training of the call handlers that will be taking your customer calls. You may also want to think about what scripts they’ll need and what information they should be able to give to callers.

What is your turnover rate?

If the answering service treats its employees well, there’s a higher possibility that they will treat your customers well too. An answering service with a low turnover rate means you may have a few particular agents who will get the opportunity to know your customers well and become more familiar with your business. This is yet another way that the right answering service becomes a part of your company.

What are your call performance standards?

These questions can be broken down into metrics such as:

•What is the average number of rings before a call is answered?
• How long are hold times?
• What is the approximate length of a call?

You want to know that your calls are being handled efficiently and that your customers aren’t sitting on hold. You’ll also want to have some idea of how many calls the service will be able to handle if you have fluctuating call volume.

Are there industry or company specific concerns that need to be addressed?

Many industries have specific needs that not all answering services can handle. For instance, medical practices need a service that is HIPAA compliant. If you have a large Hispanic clientele, find out if bilingual agents will answer your calls. Make sure to ask the tough questions that are unique to your industry in advance to insure there are no surprises.

What kind of contract or billing can I expect?

Some answering services will attempt to lock you into a long contract period on a plan that may not fit your needs. Also, you could be billed by the call or by the minute. Be aware of your expectations, how many calls you believe you’ll receive and how long they will be. Will you need a 24/7 answering service? Are there times of the day that your call volume is higher or lower? An understanding of your needs will greatly assist an answering service sales manager when constructing your contract.

An answering service with quality training, happy employees and flexibility to meet your needs is an answering service worth investigating further. The right service will become a helpful extension to your business so you can focus on other aspects. The best answering service will help you retain current customers and offer a helpful tone to new prospects.

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Topics: Better Service