For a lot of businesses who need 24 hour phone answering coverage, it can be difficult to find and choose an answering service that provides a high level of quality at an affordable price. But how do you measure the quality of an answering service? That’s what we’re here to help explain. Let’s dive into how you can properly evaluate an answering service, what to look for, and help you learn more about which features you care about and what you may not need.
Common Features That Answering Services Offer, And Which Ones You Might Want
24 Hour Answering:
This one’s pretty self explanatory. If your business can benefit from answering the phone at all hours of the day, you’ll want an answering service that provides live receptionists 24/7. A few good examples of industries we answer the phones for that enjoy having 24 hour answering are: Plumbers, HVAC Companies, Lawyers, Real Estate, Garage Door Companies, Dentists, and Heating Companies.
If you don’t know if you could benefit from 24 hour answering, here are some questions you can ask yourself that might help you decide:
- Does your business provide some sort of emergency relief?
- Do you sometimes receive inquiries overnight but find that the lead has contacted someone else for help when you get into work the next day?
- Do you work out most deals with prospective customers over the phone?
- Do you find that most prospective customers prefer to speak with someone on the phone?
If you answered yes to one or more of the previous questions, chances are your business might benefit from having a live representative of your business handle your calls at all hours.
If you offer phone consultations, in-person meetings, on-site estimates, or any other type of initial contact with potential new customers for which both you and the inquirer both need to agree on a time, you might want to consider hiring an answering service that can help you book those types of appointments.
This can be helpful for:
- Contractors who need to visit customers to provide estimates
- Plumbers to schedule a time to fix a problem at a customers residence or business
- Lawyers who offer consultations either in person or over the phone
- Dentists, who offer appointments to their callers
- Real Estate agents, to schedule property showings
- Any business who needs to schedule time with their callers
Before choosing an answering service that says they offer scheduling and calendaring, make sure that they are able to integrate with your calendaring tool, as you might not want to change the way your business operates.
New Customer Intake:
One of the most valuable services an answering service can provide your business with is the ability to perform a new customer intake. For a lot of businesses, having more information about your caller, the type of problem they are experiencing, and the specific details you need to know before calling them back and convincing them to hire you is a gamechanger.
That’s why you’ll want to check if the live answering service in question is able to customize the questions they ask your callers, so that you have the best chance of converting them from just a lead, to a paying customer.
This goes far beyond just getting the caller’s contact information. These questions are specific to the problem they are calling you for help with. For example, if you are a plumber, and you need to create a new customer intake for first time callers, the questions you’ll want asked might include:
- What type of issue are you having?
- Did you shut the water off?
- What were the events that led up to this issue?
- Is there any water damage?
- When will you be available to have someone come look at the problem?
Not only is this information helpful to you, but by asking your callers these questions, they’ll start to get a sense that you are the person who is right to help them with their problem.
Read Reviews From Other Customers Before You Make a Decision
In life it’s always important to be educated before you make a purchase decision, and choosing an answering service is definitely something you should take the time to research before you decide to move forward.
But don’t read reviews from just one platform. Make sure you’re checking out reviews on Google, Trustpilot, Clutch, and Facebook. What should you pay attention for? Any problems that seem to be recurring in that specific answering service. Have multiple people complained that the answering service takes too long to answer? Are a lot of people having billing issues? Does the sentiment seem to be that customers experience the same problems over and over? That might just be the red flag you need to see in order to know you should steer clear of that answering service.
But don’t just read negative reviews, either. Make sure that customers are enjoying the answering service, and find reviews that highlight the main features you need for your business. Try to find customer reviews from people who are in the same industry as you, as that might mean that if this answering service can make a customer in your industry happy, they might be a good choice for you, too.
Get a Free Trial
Probably the easiest way to evaluate an answering service is to get a free trial. Most answering services offer a trial period so that you can experience the service, test their features, and so that they can prove that they are a good fit for your business.
While utilizing an answering service free trial, you’ll want to place several test calls to your own business, pretending to be a new customer and an existing customer. Pay close attention to how the receptionists handle your calls.
- Is the quality of the service consistent?
- Do they answer in a timely manner?
- Did the receptionists follow your instructions?
- Were they polite and pleasant to speak with?
These are all things that your customers will notice, so make sure that you catch problems before your customers do, as it could be detrimental to your business.
Interested in getting a free trial from an answering service that offers premium features, customizes everything to fit your business, and offers a 7 day free trial? Sign up here to get a free trial with Ring Savvy, or call us at 631-363-1000 to speak to someone about how Ring Savvy can help expand your business.