Many different kinds of businesses can find benefits in the use of a call service or phone answering provider. For sole traders, in particular, it can free up time that can be used in other more productive ways as well as giving your business a professional touch. If you are looking at going down this path, it’s important to go with a proven call answering service that offers customised business services for your particular needs. Below are a few of the considerations and questions you should keep in mind.
How Do They Charge?
Most providers will have a range of different packages available and it's worth considering each of them. Monthly, low-cost plans may look good on the surface, but often it will mean you’re dealing with a lot of extra, add-on costs that you didn’t account for. Other options are on a per-call or per-minute basis, meaning you only really pay for what you use (this may be in addition to a sign-up fee of some description). Keep in mind that these can quickly rack up the bill if you’re getting a lot of calls from tele-markers and/or not very important calls. Ultimately, you know what will work best for you - for example, if you have only a few quite intensive phone calls a day, a per-call package will be in your best interests.
The details of the contract are also something you should consider. Some providers will try to lock you in for 6 months or more, which may not suit your situation. Others may go month by month.
What are Their Business Hours?
For some types of businesses, you may need 24/7 phone service without any exceptions - in fact, this may be the reason you’re looking for a phone answering service in the first place. Some services will provide this and some may not - again it comes down to what you need and matching yourself up with a provider that accommodates this.
Who’s Working the Phones?
Part of the job description of these providers is that they have an excellent phone etiquette to represent your business in a professional way. If it is obvious to the caller that they are speaking to a third-party rather than the company they intended to call, this is obviously not ideal.
Find out where their call centres are and how big the phone team is. Usually, it’s a case of the more the better - you don’t want to have you callers kept on hold for too long.
A lot of providers will have offshore offices with foreign staff that answer phones, which in most cases is fine and can mean lower rates. However, if possible you’d prefer onshore phone operators as they are more likely to be able to connect with the callers culturally and in terms of the language used as well.
What is the Level of Service Provided?
This may seem like a broad question, but how much of your work the call service company is able to do is very important. Some will simply be able to take a message or book appointments and nothing more. Others can provide information according to a script they are given. Some may even be able to deal with problems the callers face on-the-fly or take payments. Figure out what you’re looking for and what you’re expecting before finding the provider that offers this.
For more information about phone answering services, virtual office services and more, speak to the friendly team at Call Service today!