Factors to Consider When Choosing a Live Answering Service

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As a business grows, keeping up with sales calls is a great problem to have. Yet, it is a problem nonetheless. When leads and sales are trapped in a game of phone tag, it won’t take long for a prospect to pick up the phone and talk to someone who can take their call.

What types of calls can a live answering service handle?

Outsourcing calls can have a number of positive impacts on a business, but it helps to know your destination before starting on a path to get there. Do you want to increase sales, improve customer satisfaction, reduce overhead, or something else entirely?

Sales support includes capturing and qualifying leads and scheduling sales appointments. It can also mean answering calls generated from marketing campaigns, managing email leads, or taking sales orders.

Customer service can range from help desk support to dispatching field service personnel to making outbound calls for clients. If a business needs help answering calls after-hours or is having difficulty handling peak times or seasonal traffic, live answering services can help improve service without increased overhead costs.

What factors should I keep in mind?

The short answer is volume, complexity, and reporting. Large call centers are often optimized to handle simple, high-volume traffic. If you have a moderate volume of complex calls, a call center for small to mid-size businesses is order.

What is a complex call? Help desk support that requires specialized training and knowledge of industry terms is one example. A call center required to interact with a businesses’ software applications is another.

The more complexity built into your calls, the more important the call center’s experience becomes.  A call center that only has experience taking basic messages is not usually able to handle calls that require multiple steps to manage appropriately.

Reporting is another issue.  Do you require an audit trail of everything that happened on each call and when it happened?  Systems of accountability for personnel is not a factor to overlook if required for your business.

Can anything help me recognize when a call center is a bad fit?

The big three are a lack of responsiveness, experience, or process. A live answering service should always follow-up with clients in a timely manner, have relevant experience in the areas where assistance is needed, and have a documented process for determining needs and maintaining the account. Look for a business partner who asks good questions before you start and assigns a single-point-of-contact to handle your account set-up and management.

Choosing the right telephone answering service can seem like a daunting process, but the challenge becomes much easier if you keep these considerations in mind.

Are there specific kinds of calls that you would prefer to outsource all of the time?

Call Center Buying Guide

This blog was written by Laurie Leonard, the President of SUITE 1000, a U.S. based national telephone answering service, inbound call center and outsourced call center service. Her company has specialized in handling legal intake, sales leads, email lead response, appointment scheduling, customer service and help desk calls for over 20 years.

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