7 Crucial Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Phone Answering Service
Customer service is key in the success of any business; to deliver impeccable customer support, answering every call from customers is crucial.
Nevertheless, finding a good telephone answering service can be a daunting task, especially if one has no prior experience with answering services.
The following checklist enables business people to ask the right questions before hiring an answering service.
1. What exact services do you provide?
Phone answering services like their names suggest, answer calls on behalf of their clients. However, there are additional services that a business person should consider including bilingual services, patching and dispatching, dialing out, message delivery and online administration among others to make the package complete. In most cases, these services offer different plans for clients to choose from. A client needs to inquire which services are offered in each plan.
2. Do you charge by the call or by the minute?
When hiring a phone answering service, a businessperson is let into different plans; each plan bearing different services and charges from the others. While the plan may come at a fixed rate, extra minutes may have to be billed separately. This is where clarity on charges comes in. While some services charge up to $1.5 for every extra minute, some charge the same rate for every call after the minutes on the plan have been exhausted.
3. Are my clients ever put on hold?
The main reason of hiring a phone answering service is to have all calls answered when they come in. If, for any reason, a ‘one-call’ provider puts a business’ customer on hold, the business reputation on customer support will be stained. If the service has limited staff, customers and/or prospects will be put on hold often. A call should be put on hold only awaiting transfer to the business manager/owner.
4. Will my calls be answered out of the USA?
This question is very critical, especially when a business is planning to expand offshore. Onshore call centers offer a marketing advantage to local businesses. However, when a business is running branches throughout and outside the country, a call center with branches in different regions and one that offers multilingual services comes handy.
5. Am I locked into a contract?
In most cases, phone answering services operate with monthly plans. Nonetheless, a few will sign up clients for multiple months or even a year. Some will even request for a notice of discontinuity to be submitted a month or a couple of months earlier. It is therefore important to ensure that the answering service offers only monthly plans which can be discontinued without notice. This way, the service will put its best game in handling calls. Services may have plans but still engage in hideous charges and subscriptions, inquire on extra charges, subscriptions and what it takes to cancel a contract.
6. Do you offer payment processing besides answering calls?
A call center can process payments for its clients either through creating a system specifically for that service or through accessing the business’s payment processing system. If these services are available, they are an added advantage to a business. Besides asking whether the services are available, it is important to inquire how they are offered.
7. Do you operate 24 hours all days of the week?
There is no telling when clients will want to reach a business. To this end, there is need to inquire on whether there is a 24-hour phone answering service, whether the call center operates on weekends and on holidays and on which occasions the services are not available.
Though other factors such as years of experience and affordability of plans may be considered, it is crucial to ensure that the services offered are the right fit for a business.
Front Office Solutions provides state of the art answering services 24 hours and 7 days a week. We never miss one of your calls and your clients will never know they’ve reached an answering service. You will truly have an awesome extension of your own business with Front Office Solutions.
Learn more about the newest “State of The Art” answering services available.
Give us a call today at: 855-208-8877