A number of organizations do their call answering in-house with the customer care department usually taking the responsibility of handling calls. This is a great way of handling calls and can be very effective especially for small businesses. However, you’ll need a professional and hardworking group, and it’s never easy getting both qualities in one team. For this reason most organizations are now considering working with dedicated telephone answering service providers. But how do you go about finding the right telephone service provider? Where do you start the search? And how do you tell the good from the bad?
Here are a few tips to help you identify a suitable call service provider.
Basic answering services vs. advanced call center services
Basic telephone answering is the cheaper of the two options and provides the bare essentials of call answering. Typically, an agent answers a call with a greeting message you provided and proceeds to serve the customer. You are also expected to provide guidelines on how incoming calls must be handled. For example, under which circumstances should you be contacted immediately? When should a message be taken for a return call? What kind of information should be given for which enquiries? Advanced call answering is much more comprehensive and therefore more expensive than basic telephone answering services. Apart from the services provided in a Basic option, you also get to select one or more of the following services provided to your callers;
• Order tracking
• Technical support
• Appointment scheduling
• Emergency service dispatching
• Inbound sales leads
• Customized responses
• Information and product requests
What message delivery options does the company have? Options here may include voice, SMS, email, alpha page, fax, and encrypted messaging. How do they retain messages? Do they record calls and if so can the recordings be availed to you on request? Do they have system and power back-up plans to keep them running even if there was a phone or power outage? Can the service be interfaced with your own information system so that it’s even easier to keep track of the services?
Staffing and staff professionalism
Are there measures to ensure that there will always be enough staff tending to your calls to eliminate incidences of long hold or ring times? What if your call volume increases significantly? Do they have the capacity to continue providing quality services?
It may also be wise to ascertain the qualifications of the staff. Are they properly trained? Are they members of industry associations such as the Association of TeleServices International (ATSI)?
Compliance, testimonials/references, and awards
A telephone answering service provider must be licensed to do business. They must also comply with local authority and federal regulations including the Error and Omissions provision. Check to see that they are members of an active organization that helps them keep up-to-date with regulations, laws, and industry trends. Be sure to ask for references and testimonials. You can also check the provider’s website to read a few testimonials. As well, check and see if they have any awards for outstanding work.
How much will you be expected to pay and how do they arrive at this figure? Typically, charges are based on “time” and “calls”. Always ask for a written proposal and find out if the pricing plan can be changed in the future.
Are you searching for a professional telephone answering service in Canada? Please contact Extend Communications toll-free at 800-265-9975 for more information.