When you manage or own a business, constant communication with your customers and clients is key to providing the best services. However, when you have too many calls to pick, you may neglect other important aspects of the business, like solving clients’ problems. Fortunately, partnering with an answering service relieves that burden allowing your office staff to concentrate on other tasks.
One of the most critical steps in working with an answering service is integrating your company with a call center. It is important to review different answering service companies and partner with the one that best suits your company’s needs.
At Best Call Center, we focus on thoroughly understanding your process and taking time to integrate our call center with your business. Additionally, our Mesa Answering Service Agents are always available to provide live answers for customers and clients and ensure that your business does not lose customers from automated messages or missed calls.
What is an Answering Service?
An answering service is a company that helps another business answer its calls. Depending on the type of solution you choose and the needs of your business, your answering service can do more than pick up calls coming through to your business. A professional and high-quality answering service will help present your business positively to both potential and existing customers.
Depending on the answering service you use and your purpose of integrating a call center with your business, your answering service could perform the following tasks:
- Answer your calls. Taking your calls is the primary role of an answering service. This helps you save time that you could spend on the phone and focus on growing the business and bettering your services.
- Forward calls to you or other staff members in the company. Many calls may be coming through to your business, but not all of them are urgent. When an answering service agent answers your calls, they can filter the ones that can wait and forward the critical ones to you.
- Take messages. Since a Mesa Answering Service provides live answers for your callers, they can have a full conversation with your client, take the message, and forward it to you.
- Resolve customer issues. Not all issues that customers bring will need your presence. For example, the answering service agents can handle an inquiry when there is an inquiry. When you hire an answering service, they will learn more about your business and its needs to ensure that they can solve client issues.
- Collect customer feedback. When you are busy handling other aspects of your business, Mesa answering service agents will help you collect feedback from your customers and determine what you can improve.
Common Types of Answering Service
Partnering with an answering service can help your business build a professional relationship with your existing and potential customers, whether big or small. However, there are several types of answering services, and each provides a wide range of services for your business. Before you settle for a particular answering service, it would be wise to understand each type and the services they offer. This allows you to make an informed decision that will benefit your business. The four main types of answering services include:
1) Live Answering Service
The live answering service is the most common type of answering service. With this answering service, an actual person is tasked with answering calls for your business. Most live answering service providers have the same few people taking your calls. Therefore, you will not be worried about someone new giving the wrong information. Sometimes, the live answering service agents can provide customer support, take messages, and set appointments. Most businesses prefer this answering service because of its ability to answer large call volumes.
2) Automated Answering Service
Automated answering services are a good option for individuals who need round-the-clock service, and the callers do not need elaborations on their queries. With this answering service, the caller will have a menu to choose the service they need. However, many people do not want to listen to automated messages when they call for help. Therefore, if your clients often call looking for more than the basic information about your company. An automated answering service is not the right option for you.
3) Internet Answering Service
In businesses where much of the business activity occurs online, the online answering service may be the way to go. This answering service may include live chats, web inquiries, and accessing your messages online. Although the live answering service could also work for web-only businesses, it does not contain the specific features needed for e-commerce.
The internet answering service can be used interchangeably with the live answering service. However, if you are looking for web-specific features, it would be wise to partner with an internet answering service.
4) Call Center Services
A call center is an answering service option best for businesses that need to handle a high call volume. If your business s seasonal and at one time you are overwhelmed with calls, partnering will a call center can help relieve your office staff so they can concentrate on other office duties. Call centers have many answering service agents who handle the high call volumes and help your business avoid missed calls.
Benefits of a Call Answering Service for your Business
As customer demands become diverse, you must implement every possible support channel. That is why partnering with a call answering service is essential when your business is scaling up and dealing with high-volume calls. The following are some of the ways through which you could benefit from hiring an answering service for your business:
1. Saves on Cost
Hiring an in-house receptionist could be costly and time-consuming. Each time you hire office staff, you must take time to train them to meet the need of your customers. Also, you will need to find them a workspace and equipment to use for answering your calls. However, partnering with an answering service allows you to save training and equipment costs. Most answering service companies come with their equipment and will only charge you for the calls they receive. This is unlike the office staff you must pay even when no calls are coming through to your business.
2. Presents your Business a Professionally to the Customers
When you hire a receptionist for your business, you do not have control of their mood, tone, or how they respond to your customers. If your in-house receptionist has a bad day, you cannot be sure that they will present your company in the best light. However, answering service agents are trained to meet your business need and can provide professional responses to the callers at all times.
3. Allows you to Spend Time on More Important Matters
You do not want to spend a whole day answering calls, especially when your business receives many calls. When you partner with a Mesa Answering Service, the call answering agents will receive your calls and only forward the ones requiring your immediate attention to you. This frees you and other office staff to handle other business matters.
4. Makes your Calls More Efficient
Answering service agents work with other departments of your business and forwards calls relevant to each department. This makes your calls more efficient and saves you time that could be used to sort out the calls. Also, this allows all the staff in your business to work as a team.
5. Reduce Instances of Missed Calls
When a potential client calls your business, failing to receive the expected response could turn them away and prompt them to call your competition. For example, if you run a law firm, a client calls your business may need urgent help. If their call is not answered or is sent to voice mail, they may not bother calling again. With an answering service, agents are always available to provide live answers for your clients. This can help ensure that you do not lose clients from missed calls.
6. Reduce Managerial Tasks
Hiring an in-house receptionist is too much work for managerial staff. This is because they will need to train and monitor these receptionists. Additionally, you must constantly review their performance to meet your business needs. You can avoid all these additional tasks with a virtual receptionist or an answering service. Once the answering service has been set up to your liking, your work will be done.
Cost of Answering Services
Answering service plans vary. Therefore, the pricing for these services is different for each business. It is challenging to understand the different options available, especially since there is no rule on billing. Some of the pricing plans that could be available for your business include:
- Per-minute billing. This is the most common form of pricing, and companies will be billed based on the duration of their calls. The longer the answering service agent spends on the phone with a caller, the higher you will pay for the services. Most live answering service providers have a standard fee and additional fees when the call time exceeds the minutes on the plan. You can decide whether this plan is suitable for your business by predicting how much time your business spends on phone calls each month.
- Per-unit billing. You must pay for every call, message, or transferred call with this pricing method. This billing method may be much more expensive and is uncommon.
- Per-call billing. The call answering service company charges you for all their agents’ calls for your business with a per-call billing method. One of the major drawbacks of this pricing method is that you will still need to pay for accidental calls.
In addition to checking out the pricing method for each answering service, you need to know what you are paying for. The following are some elements of the pricing structure that you must consider:
- Account setup and activation fees. A Mesa Answering Service will generally charge you for setting up and activating your account in the initiation period. The activation fees reflect the company’s effort to prepare a script and start working for your business.
- Billing type. The kind of billing plan you choose will have different accounting methods.
- Special holiday fees. Partnering with an answering service means that you need your calls answered after business hours and during the holidays when your office staff is unavailable. The answering service company may offer their agents a bonus for working on holidays. In this case, you could encounter an additional fee for the holidays.
- Features and Capabilities. If you need additional features like bilingual receptionists for your business, you may need to pay extra costs for these features.
- Contract fees. Before partnering with an answering service company, you should be sure to look into their billing cycle and enquire about every charge. Sometimes there are hidden contract fees meant to cover long-distance calls or even overtime charges. Additionally, it would be wiser to partner with a company that offers a monthly billing than one that ties you to yearly contracts.
Find a Reliable Answering Service Provider Near Me
The number of customers and clients you can pull and retain for your business will significantly impact its growth. First impressions are everything when dealing with customers, and you will not have a second chance at a first impression. The type of greetings and response a customer receives when they call your business makes a difference between continuing to work with you and contacting another business.
If you want to ensure a consistent and professional appearance for your business, partnering with an answering service is your best option. Answering service agents not only give off a good first impression but are always available to receive calls for your business and will help you enhance your image.
At Best Call Center, we understand how picking up calls all day could disrupt your office duties, and we will help you reduce the workload by taking up the call answering duties. Contact our Mesa Answering Service Agents today at 800-385-4656 if you wish to grow your business by partnering with an answering service.