Here’s the thing about choosing the best telephone answering service. Like most investments, you get what you pay for.
That’s not to say you should run out and invest in whoever’s charging the most. But you should be wary of those claiming they’re the ‘cheapest telephone answering service’ on the market.
Chances are, there’s a reason they are the cheapest.
You have a lot riding on the professionalism of your call answering. And getting it wrong can cost you a lot in terms of lost sales and reputation.
This blog looks at the pitfalls of choosing the cheapest telephone answering service.
They’re usually call centres
Despite what you might think, a telephone answering service and a call centre are not the same.
While call centres answer your calls, it’s a very generic service that usually just takes a caller’s name and contact number and a brief message – and that’s it.
A professional telephone answering service can do a lot more. Not only will you get more detailed information from messages, but a telephone answering service can deal with calls directly to save your team time.
Because call centres make money on call volume, they can’t provide the same level of service.
They don’t deal with the same call volume
Here’s what you need to look out for with cheap telephone answering services offering 24/7 call answering.
If you look at the details of the service they offer, it’s actually extremely limited in terms of the volume of calls they’ll deal with at the initial “cheap” price.
One example is a provider offering 24/7 call answering for less than £3 a week, but they’ll only answer up to 10 calls in any 30-day period.
That’s right, 10 calls a month.
If you’re a busy company or are trying to justify investing in telephone answering, you’re likely dealing with more than 10 calls a day, so your cheap call answering isn’t going to help much.
They don’t deal with the same level of detail
Being able to return calls properly relies entirely on the level of detail you get in a message.
Depending on the complexity of the call, this could be a lot of detail you need your telephone answering service to take for you.
If you don’t get the correct information, you won’t be able to help your customers as quickly when you call them back.
Again, the cheapest providers will promise 24/7 call cover, but look closely at the service, and the level of support you get is minimal.
For instance, we found one provider that’ll only take four pieces of information per call based on their cheapest price.
After the caller’s name, company, and who they’re calling for, that doesn’t leave much room to give you the relevant information about the call.
They can’t do call transfers
While you might want a telephone answering service to deal with calls when you’re busy, there might still be urgent calls or specific clients whose calls you want to be transferred so you can deal with them directly.
This should be standard for a professional call-answering service.
But you’d be surprised how many cheap telephone answering services don’t offer call transfers.
You don’t get the same client support
When it comes to telephone answering services, getting notifications that you have a message is just as important as the message being taken.
If the notification gets lost, you’ll never know you missed the call in the first place.
This is a problem for cheap telephone answering services because their ‘notification’ process is typically to send you an email telling you about a message.
But if you’re a busy owner or employee, it’s too easy for these notifications to get lost in your inbox (it happens all the time, right) or, worse, to end up in your Junk folder.
With a professional telephone answering service, you’ll get access to a dedicated client portal where you can access all your messages and notifications in one place without worrying about them getting lost in your spam folder.
The best telephone answering services will also give you access to your complete call recordings so you can check your calls are answered correctly – which you don’t get with cheap telephone answering.
They just don’t answer a large percentage of the calls
You may think when reading this – is that a joke? Unfortunately, it’s not, and it’s all too common in the marketplace today.
To provide the service in a quality manner where the call handling service answers the vast majority of the calls diverted, let’s say, within three rings, takes more people in seats and that costs.
If the service provider has fewer people, the call answering service gets a better return on investment.
So when looking at a telephone answering service, you need to ask them first how many calls, as a percentage, they answer within three rings and how many are abandoned (ring out without answer).
At the start of the service, make some test calls to ensure the phone is answered promptly and efficiently.
Do this regularly as some services give you special treatment whilst in trial or the initial period and then place you in a pool with other existing clients getting a lesser service.
Doing this will help you avoid missing opportunities from new enquiries as a result of marketing investment and goodwill.
So not all call answering services are the same, some may appear to have a great brand, or they may be the cheapest, but will they give you value for money?
They’re not flexible
Sometimes, you might need more or less call support than you thought.
When this happens, you need flexibility built into your call handling so your business’ phone answering continues to operate correctly.
Unfortunately, with cheaper pre-pay telephone answering services, this doesn’t happen. Especially if you go over your allowance.
In these instances, you’ll typically find your phone number will stop working until your credits reset at the start of the next month, or you turn the diversion to the call centre off and start dealing with calls yourself – which defeats the point of investing in call answering.
Or, you can pay more (and usually much more than the initial few pounds a month) to add a couple more calls to your account.
Do your research before committing to telephone answering services
A professional telephone answering company can be a vital resource for your business.
It ensures you never miss a call or opportunity and gives you the reassurance your customers are dealt with professionally at all times.
A call answering service can even save you time and money by dealing with basic customer enquiries directly or having you removed from sales lists.
But simply opting for the cheapest telephone answering service could cost you a lot more than you initially thought.
So before you dive into any investment, make sure you do your research.
If you want to check out the benefits of a call handling service before committing to any money, sign up for our free, no-obligation, 7-day trial.
We’ll set you up like we would any client, and you can see how a call handling service for your business works up close.
If you’re not happy at the end or don’t think it’s for you, you don’t have to carry on. Sound reasonable?
10th November, 2022
Posted by Face For Business