Hiring a telephone answering service should provide you with the peace of mind that no matter how busy you get, or whether your employees are working from the office or home, your business calls will always be answered.

But you should always treat your call answering like any investment and ensure you’re monitoring its success – or failures – so you’ll get the best return on your investment.

When it comes to telephone answering services, there are certain problems you should be on the lookout for that could show you’re not getting the type of service you need.

At Face For Business we’ve helped hundreds of customers who have come to us after experiencing problems with other call answering services so we’ve heard their issues and we know where the pitfalls in service are.

Here are the main problems we hear about so you can look out for them in your telephone answering service.

Long delays in getting your messages

The whole point of hiring a call answering service is that you’ll have your call answered when you’re unable to get to the phone so you can return them efficiently.

But when you’re waiting hours, or days, for your messages to get to you then you’re not going to be able to deal with your call efficiently and you risk your customer service taking a hit.

You’re getting incomplete messages

When you’re trusting someone else to handle your calls, you want to know they’re handling them professionally and timely.

But when you’re reliant on the information you get to properly return the call, you want to be confident you’re getting all the relevant information you need.

If you’re finding that you’re missing details in messages, or are being forced to have customers recount the same information they’ve already given to your call answering service, then this needs to be rectified.

It might just be a case of flagging it to your message provider, but if it’s becoming a consistent problem, it might be time for a new service.

Messages are delivered in formats you can’t use

This is a problem we hear a lot.

When you take on a call answering service it’s likely that they have their own systems or procedures for getting your messages to you, whether it’s through email, an app or an online portal.

However they’re delivered, they need to be in formats that you can open and this will depend on whether your systems and that of your call service are compatible and can be integrated.

If you’re struggling to open your messages, this is a problem you’ll need to flag.

There’s no transparency

How do you know your call answering service is dealing with your business calls in the way you expect or the way they’ve agreed when you signed up?

The only real way to know is to listen back to the call recordings.

But you can’t be on the calls to listen in (that defies the point of having the call service).

And, not every telephone answering provider will give you access to the full recordings.

If they won’t then you should consider using another service.

Prices aren’t flexible

Every business goes through increases and decreases in demand during the year.

And this includes demand on their call answering requirements.

Sometimes you’ll need more resources, sometimes less.

But what does that mean for your call answering service?

Are your prices or plans flexible and able to adapt based on your needs?

Or are you expected to pay the same monthly fee regardless? Or even pay a minimum fee?

How your prices adapt to the way you use your phone answering is definitely something you’ll want to keep a close eye on.

At Face For Business you can easily adapt your price plans around your usage, you just need to let us know before your monthly bill arrives and we’ll be able to change your plan.

You’re still missing calls

Now you would think that hiring a call answering service would eliminate the risk that you’re missing calls – and it should.

But it depends on the way your call service structures the team handling your calls.

For example do you have a single assistant – if you do then you will risk missing more calls.

Or do you get a team who can overlap and cover calls for each other when they’re on a break or already on another call?

Do they have this contingency for when one agent is on a call and another one comes in?

At Face For Business we assign a team, led by a lead assistant, so you get complete call coverage and have multiple calls answered at once with no interruptions.

Unwanted calls are still getting through

As well as managing the sales and customer calls you want, your call answering service should be able to act as a barrier between your business and unwanted, unsolicited sales calls.

This can free up yours and your team’s time to spend on adding value to your customers or growing your business.

But if you’re still finding these sales calls getting through to your team, it’s definitely a sign that your call answering service isn’t doing the job it’s meant to.

At Face For Business we’ll take the time to understand the types of sales calls you don’t want to deal with so we can not only stop the calls getting through to you, we can have you removed from these sales lists completely.

There’s more information on how a telephone answering service help you avoid nuisance calls here

You’re having to change the way you work

When you invest in a third party service, you should expect that service to fit in around your business so you can keep working how you want to – only better.

But when you find yourself having to change the way you work or the systems you use to fit around a third party, then it might not be the right thing for you.

With telephone answering services, there will be some integration that needs to take place between your phone system and the call answering service, but it should be the service’s responsibility to adapt to your business – not the other way around.

At Face For Business we always adapt the way you receive your messages around you.

With a dedicated app and online client portal your calls and messages can be replayed and your messages viewed simply and easily.

When it comes to integrating us into your business, simply provide us with the number we’ll be dealing with, and we can adapt our service around you.

Getting a telephone answering service that works for you

Whether you’re already using a telephone answering service or thinking about using one for the first time, there are always red flags to look out for that could suggest a service might not be for you.

If you’re using a telephone service already, take some time to review the service you’re getting and if you notice any of the problems we’ve identified here, it might be time to move on.

We’ve got a more in-depth look at the benefits of hiring a telephone answering service in this guide.

To find out more about our telephone answering service at Face For Business, get in touch to find out about our free trial.