How to Hire a Great Answering Service

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Finding a great answering service is not as difficult as it sounds.  It will take a little time, but in the long run you and your customers will be glad you did. Here are 6 simple tips to hiring a quality answering service for your business.

1.       Hiring a answering service is like hiring a new employee. Take the time to outline what you want the answering service to provide for you. What role would like the answering service to fill? Act as an overflow receptionist?  Do you need triage support? Do you need sales calls transferred to field reps? Maybe the answering service can assist you with prioritizing service calls?
2.       Companies that place value on quality would never hire the cheapest employee.  When it comes to hiring the best employee for the job sometimes it may cost a little more.  There are very few situations where it is beneficial to go with the cheapest vendor.  Consider  what kind of impression you want to make when your answering service is talking to your clients.

3.       The best answering service can still help you contain costs. I know I just mentioned that sometimes you need to pay for quality, but that doesn’t mean that the after hour service can’t save you money. Talk to them about finding ways to stream line your call process. Sometime the service does not need to collect all the information you do in your office, maybe you only need the caller’s Name & number, and not the full address.  Consider this, when we answer for a medical offices after hours, we only need to answer the calls that need immediate attention, other calls can be screened  and referred to office hours.

4.       Ask about quality control. What does the answering service do to maintain the quality they brag about during the sales process? Do they use independent quality control testing (secret shoppers)?  How do they incentivize their employees? How do they screen, hire, and train their employees?

5.     What other services can they offer you that will enhance your customers experience? A high quality answer service will identify  your needs and evolve with you as you business grows. The service you choose should have a system place and plan to help you meet your company goals.

6.     If possible meet with them in person, preferably at their location. This gives you an opportunity to meet the staff and make sure they have the right team for the job.  If you can’t meet with them in person, ask for a conference call to meet the team.

In the end, answering services are like any small business, they all have a different personalities. Take the time to find the right fit for your business , and your answering service will be like a loyal employee there when you need them day after day, year after year.

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