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What to think about when looking for a telephone answering service provider

What to think about when looking for a telephone answering service provider

Telephone answering is what we do best for our clients and we’ve been doing it for a long time. So we like to think we know what we’re talking about when it comes to providing an excellent service to customers. We also know it can be tough deciding what to look for when choosing a telephone answering service.

Here are the main things we think will help you when looking around at telephone answering service providers.

1. Do they have similar clients to you?

There’s something to be said for investing in a telephone answering service with specific industry experience. The main benefit being your PAs already understand the types of calls they’ll be dealing with and have a working knowledge of the services your industry offers.

So it’s worth looking at your potential telephone answering service’s existing clients – and case studies and testimonials – to see if they already work in your industry.

2. Do you get a point of contact

As with any outsourced service it helps when you have a single point of contact that you can call if you have questions or need an issue resolving. At Face For Business, for example, all clients get a dedicated Lead PA who will be your main contact and will proactively stay in touch to make sure things are running smoothly on your account.

3. How will you know they’re answering your calls like you want?

At Face For Business we’re highly transparent about the services we provide and we actively give you the full recordings of every call we deal with. This way you can listen to exactly how we deal with your calls and can request changes if needed.

Not every call answering service offers this proactive approach to call recordings, so it’s worth keeping in mind.

4. Do they provide out-of-hours call answering?

If your customers can’t call you during the regular 9-5 (perhaps they’re at work too) then it’s worth asking if your telephone answering service provides out of hours call support.

Face For Business provides 8am-8pm call cover on weekdays and can also be available to answer calls on the weekend.

You might be considering a service that offers 24/7 call answering, but ask yourself if that’s really worth the additional costs you’ll have to pay. For example we have a number of lettings and property management clients and even they rarely get 3am calls from tenants or landlords.

5. How does their pricing work?

How your monthly costs are worked out is definitely something you should look at as some providers are known to round-up the cost of a call to the nearest 15-30s (or minute) so you actually end up paying more for service you’re not actually using.

At Face For Business we charge to the penny, so you really do only pay for the service you use.

6. Do they charge extras?

You might think the cheapest telephone answering service is the best option, until you start to see the additional costs piling up. This could be additional charges for going over your contract call allowance, charges for out-of-hours message taking and call transfers, extra charges for call transfers over Teams – the list can go on.

Some call answering providers even charge for setting your number up on their system or for any initial training you or your team need.

We don’t – in case you were wondering.

7. What other services do they offer?

Do you need help booking online appointments?

Need help taking payments over the phone?

Need managed live chat for your website to capture more opportunities online?

Investing in a telephone answering service doesn’t just limit you to having the phone answered, so it could be worth finding out what other services you could benefit from.

8. What training do their PAs get?

Being a virtual PA isn’t like answering a call in a call centre where the object is to move the customer on quickly. It’s acting as a representative of your business and giving customers great service that reflects well on your company.

So it’s worth knowing what kind of training your potential provider’s PAs go through. Face For Business’s PAs for example go through regular training to improve their customer service skills, ensuring we’re offering the best support to our clients.

9. Are you locked into a contract?

You might sign up for a telephone answering service during a busy period of the year, so it’s no good if you find yourself stuck in a long-term contract that leaves you paying for more than you need.

At Face For Business we offer flexible contracts and you can make changes to your package when you need to. Our typical minimum contract length is three months. 

10. How do they manage your service?

One big problem you can find with some telephone answering service providers is that you struggle to get your messages or manage your account because everything is done through email or text, which can be easily missed.

Here at Face For Business we provide all clients with their own dedicated customer portal where they can get all their messages, manage their account, review their bills and listen to their full call recordings from one place.

11. Do they integrate with your existing technology?

One consideration when taking on a new partner or software is how will it fit in with the technology you’re already using.

If you have a CRM, for example, can your telephone answering provider integrate with the CRM so new opportunities can be easily logged for your sales teams to follow up with?

If you want to take payments over the phone using a payment service like Stripe, can your telephone answering service provider integrate with that so PAs can take payments directly over the phone for you?

When looking for a telephone answering providers, it’s worth having a look how the service will fit in with your existing partners or software.

 12. Can you get a free trial?

It’s a big decision to outsource something as customer facing as your telephone answering, and the last thing you want is to land with a service that doesn’t work for you.

That’s why Face For Business offers a no-obligation free trial of our telephone answering and live chat services so you can try us out before you commit and be sure we’re a good fit for your business.

After the trial there’s no requirement or pressure for you to carry on with us. If you don’t think a telephone answering service is worth it or we’re not the right fit for your business we can go our separate ways – no hard feelings.

Know what to expect from a call answering service

There’s a lot more to consider when it comes to investing in a telephone answering service and deciding which provider is right for you.

But we’re positive you won’t regret signing up for our service at Face For Business.

Get in touch with us today on 0333 323 1007 to get a free quote and let’s get you set up on a free trial.

01st December, 2023

Posted by Face For Business

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