Are you in the market for an after hours answering service? There are a variety of reasons that businesses use after hours answering services. Using an after hours answering services provides greater availability to your clients, improves the customer experience, and strengthens brand loyalty. Using an after hours answering service might reduce your operations costs, as making sure you have enough employees to provide around-the-clock on call for your business costs thousands and thousands of dollars. Using a call handling service might also improve efficiency of your business and free your staff up to focus on more growth-related work.
However, as with any major business decision, in order to have a successful on-boarding and ongoing experience with an professional answering service, it is important to do your homework and find the business telephone answering service provider that best aligns with your business. A few important factors to consider while scoping out answering service providers includes:
- Cost structure.
While considering phone answering services, you’ll find a broad range of cost structures in which fees are charged. Some businesses charge a monthly fee, regardless of how many calls they handle for you. Some businesses charge by the call, no matter how long it takes. Some businesses charge by the minute that their operator is working with your customer, whether it is split between 100 calls or just one.
The best cost structure for you business depends on the nature of the calls your business gets. Look over your call history, review how many calls you get per day and the length of them, and decide which cost structure is in your best interest.
- Data security.
Depending the industry you’re in, your call handling service may be dealing with extremely sensitive information about your clients. Perhaps their personal information, social security numbers, medical records, or financial information. When your customers put their sensitive information in your hands, it becomes your job to make sure you protect it. Before hiring an answering service, make sure to look into the measures they take to protect your customers:
- Physical Security. Do they have locked shred bins for properly disposing of client information? Do they have a no electronic device policy on the call floor?
- Background checks. Has the call handling provider thoroughly investigated each of the employees who will be dealing with the clients?
- Ongoing monitoring. Are there any ongoing measures to make sure security protocols are being followed?
- Staff Training and Monitoring.
Even though the employees who work for the call handling provider are not your employees, they do represent your business. If they use poor grammar or offer poor customer service, your clients will develop a negative opinion of your company. It is critical to understand what measures the call handling provider takes to ensure quality call handling for your business. A good call handling business will have grammar and call etiquette testing prior to hiring an employee, offer extensive training to their employees before they ever speak to a customer, and also monitor calls for training opportunities. It is also good if the call handling service provides you access to the recorded calls, so that you can circle back on what was told to your customers.
- Experience in your industry.
There are obviously some details regarding your business that the technicians who handle your calls will need to be trained on, but if they already work with other businesses in your industry, a lot of the knowledge will crossover easily. If you are in the medical industry, look for a call handling service who works with other medical services. If you work in the tech industry, using a call handling service who has other tech clients is an indication the staff has the right knowledge base. It may lead to less training while transitioning to the call handling service, and is a good indication that your business is in good hands.
Using a call handling service might be a great move for your business. Before you sign a contract though, it’s important to make sure you find the service that is best suited for your business. Considering these factors will help ensure that the call handling service you end up with is the right one for the job.