Being a small business owner has more demands than most people would believe. You need to know your market and your product, which is understandable. However, you also need to know tax and HR laws in different states. You need to know marketing and social media. You need to understand real estate, customer service, and pricing. In short, you need to be an expert in everything that you can't outsource. Most large companies can hire people who have training and degrees in what the company needs, which gives larger businesses an advantage. If you're looking to expand as a small business or you find that your current phone system is overwhelmed, hiring an answering service is one way to take some of the burden off your shoulders.
Know What You Need
Answering services aren't just about taking a call and writing down a message anymore. They can do everything from offering customer support to scheduling appointments and giving out information. They can decide which calls are priority and which can be dealt with later; this is especially important for businesses that go out on calls. Knowing what you need and what answering services can provide will help you find the best service for you.
If you have a couple of answering services that you're looking at, ask for three to five referrals. If a company can't give you referrals, do not use them. Once you have the referrals, call them and get information about the answering service's performance, what responsibilities the answering service does well, and what it could improve upon. Some answering services will sign you as a customer, and then forget that you exist. They might answer your calls, but you won't be able to get through to management at the answering service. Be sure to ask about availability when you talk to the referrals.
The Right Price
Make sure you're getting the right price and that all fees are spelled out in the contract. If you're paying by the minute, companies shouldn't round up if a call only lasts 45 seconds. If the answering service does this, you need to know before you sign the contract. Contracts that are by call may charge for disrupted calls or hang-ups. Make sure that your bill is detailed with the number of calls, how long they lasted, and what you're paying for.
Go for a Visit
Checking out the call center can give you a lot of insight into how the answering service will perform. If it's messy and the employees are talking to each other while taking calls, it may not be the service for you. On the other hand, if it looks like the call center is orderly and the people are pleasantly answering phones, you may have found the right service for you.
Do They Speak Your Languages?
Any live answering service for small business should be able to handle the languages that your customers speak. If you have a large contingent of Spanish-speaking clients, your answering service should be able to help them just as well as they help people who speak English. If you're looking for the best answering service for your small business, contact CallNet and find out how they can transform your business into a client-driven, profit maximizer.