Answering service providers have become an integral part of every organization. They help you handle calls even when you are out of the office. However, you need to do your due diligence before settling for an answering service provider.  If you are looking for a reliable answering service, you need to consider some factors, including customer service, cost, quality calls, call handling and the answering service staffing.

Apart from these, you also need to look at answering service’s security and privacy concerns. Answering services serve as a gateway to your business. If you want your business to grow, you should seek the services of an answering service that offers excellent customer service. 

Does your business need an answering service provider? If so, your search has come to a halt. At Best Call Center, we are a reputable Washington, D.C. answering service and have served clients in diverse industries, including medicine, law, manufacturing and a host of other fields. We have gained a reputation as a reliable and professional partner over the last more than 15 years.

Since an answering service provider is an integral gateway to your organization, you should consider some factors before settling for a provider. Below are some of the factors you should consider when searching for an ideal answering service.

Customer Service The Answering Service Provider Offers

Customer service is crucial because the quality of the answering service determines the impression the clients will have of your company. One of the main things that your Washington, D.C. answering service needs to provide is exceptional customer service, which only an established company can provide. For example, if you have an answering service that is not very professional, you may lose a lot of business.

If your clients call and receive poor customer service, they will most likely call your competitor, and you will lose business. Customer service is an important factor in selecting the best answering service to meet your clients’ needs. The answering service should provide effective and consistent quality customer service.

Additionally, the best answering service provider must have a good reputation, great support, and a strong network. Only the best answering service services provider will have all these qualities. You may find the best answering service provider by using the internet or consulting your friends or relatives. Although no business can have a 100% positive customer review, you should incline towards a partner who has overwhelming positive reviews. Also check the customer feedback to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the Washington, D.C. answering service provider.

Consider The Capability Of The Answering Service

Another factor you should consider is the capability of the answering service. The Washington, D.C. answering service must have the ability to handle all your incoming calls in a reasonable time frame. The provider should also have the necessary infrastructure to handle a higher volume of calls as your business grows. The ability of the answering service to efficiently handle the volume of calls is critical.

If the answering service struggles to handle their current call volume, you will have a problem once your call volume increases. The service provider should also have the ability to communicate to you via e-mail, chat and VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). The call center representatives should have the experience to handle a high volume of calls.

Consider The Cost Of The Answering Service Provider

The cost an answering service provider charges is crucial, and the service provider you choose should offer the service at a reasonable price. So many companies outsource or use an answering service because the cost of making and receiving calls is considerably less than it is to keep those calls in-house. Answering services are also more flexible than a company's internal staff because there is only one answering service. And in some cases, that's a good thing because your company can rely on the services of an answering service when needed most. Such times include a crisis or taking advantage of holiday seasons and weekends.   

Various answering services in Washington, D.C. have different billing options, and the most common are per-call billing and per-call billing.

  • Per Minute Billing

Under per minute billing, the answering service allocates your business minutes. The service provider will offer their services until you exhaust your minutes. The plan is similar to a cell phone service provider, and the company ceases to receive calls on behalf of your company once you exceed the minutes you had purchased.

Your Washington, D.C. answering service provider may charge extra if they receive the calls on your company’s behalf once you exhaust the minutes. This type of billing plan is preferable if you don’t receive many phone calls or the duration of the calls is short. The plan also works best if you have a predictable number of calls per month.

  • Per- Call Billing

Under this billing plan, the answering service provider charges you per call. It doesn’t matter its length. You have to analyze all the clauses of the contract carefully. Some providers may include additional charges for other services offered apart from answering the phone. They may charge an extra fee for sending messages, answering wrong number calls, answering emails, making outgoing calls, and hang-ups.

Per-call billing is preferable if your business requires specialized knowledge. If your company deals with technical products or services, the call agents may need to explain some aspects of your business in detail. Per-bill calling is the best option as you don’t have to worry about the time the agents spend with every customer, and the customer care representative can take their time.

The Washington, D.C. Answering Service Should Provide 24/7 Service

The answering service provider should provide a 24/7 answering service.  The provider should be able to handle the calls promptly, and they should be in a position to handle any type of call.  The best answering service providers should be highly flexible regarding the hours and days they provide their services. An answering service provider should be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and handle calls during the holidays.

However, some answering service providers may charge extra for the 24/7 availability and the holiday and weekend availability. Remember, some offer the live service up to a certain time before switching to automated response machines. Some answering service providers offer 24/7 support as part of the basic package, and you don’t pay extra. Therefore, you should make sure you understand the terms and conditions of the service provider you choose.

Check The Features The Answering Service Offers

Various Washington, D.C. answering service providers offer different features, and you should work with a provider who meets your needs. You shouldn’t base your choice of a partner solely on the price. Check what you may need in the future and select an answering service that can meet your business needs as it grows. An answering service’s features should include offering a free trial period, web portal, appointment scheduling, and emergency dispatch system.

  • Offer A Free Trial Period

A free trial period is always a welcome feature. During this period, you will experience the quality of service the answering service offers. You will understand if that’s the kind of service you need for your company.  You should take the opportunity to place test calls during this period. The test calls will give you a first-hand experience of the quality your clients will receive. The test run will also help you fine-tune any issues with the service provider.

The trial also allows you to test the features of the call center. You should only work with a partner who meets and exceeds your expectation since they will be responsible for creating the first impression of your company to the customers. During this trial period, check out the adaptability of the call center.

  • Offer Appointment scheduling

Appointment scheduling is where a customer can call your office at any time to schedule an appointment. The ability of customers to book an appointment is invaluable for your business.

Choose An Answering Service That Is Industry Specific

If you are in a specialized field like medicine or law, you need to work with a Washington, D.C. call center with experience in your particular field. The experience will enable the call center agents to offer top-notch customer service. If the staff at the answering service is familiar with your industry’s lingo, they can adequately respond to any inquiries. The case will be different if the staff doesn’t understand what the client is inquiring about when they call. If that’s the case, your company runs the risk of coming out as unprofessional.

Consider The Professionalism Of The Answering Service Representatives

Another factor you should consider before settling for an answering service provider is the professionalism of the operators. You should choose the right partner as an answering service provider that can determine the failure or success of your company. The operators should offer top-tier customer care services to your clients. But if they aren’t professional or competent, your clients will receive below bar services. Poor customer service can have a detrimental effect on your company.

Maybe your company requires lively and pleasant customer care representatives. Or maybe it requires a more somber and collected response. Whichever the situation, your Washington, D.C. answering service provider should perfectly cater to the client’s needs. All callers are different. While some are straight-to-the-point individuals, others are outgoing. The representative should be sharp enough to identify the personality of each caller and adapt accordingly. In a nutshell, the customer care representatives should be well trained and highly professional.

Choose An Answering Service That’s Easy To Work With

The answering service you use should be easy to work with. It should be easy for your provider to affect changes you make along the way. It shouldn’t be a problem for the provider to change an email address or a telephone number or update any other information. Making such changes is a normal occurrence for any business. If the answering service can’t enact such changes promptly, you should look for a more adaptable partner.

If you change your email address, for example, and the customer service agents don’t relay the same information to your customers, you may lose business. The customer may use the wrong email address to file a complaint which you will never receive. Once the customer realizes you aren’t solving their issue, they may tarnish your company’s reputation, although you didn’t receive the complaint.

Work With A Company With A High Level Of Security Measures

The answering service provider you choose to partner with will be handling sensitive information. The information pertains to your organization and clients. Therefore, you should ensure the provider has top-notch security to protect this sensitive information. According to the law, answering service providers, handling sensitive data must be PCI or HIPAA compliant.

Ensure the service provider you want to work with has all the necessary compliance certification. Compliance certification indicates the provider is serious about security, and your company’s data and that of your clients is secure. Enquire that your Washington, D.C. answering service provider passes a quarterly security scan and performs yearly security self-assessment as the law requires. Any Washington, D.C. answering service dealing with patients’ information must be HIPPA compliant. According to the law, an answering service can’t send a patient’s information through voicemail, text or email.

Call An Answering Service Provider Near Me

When choosing an answering service provider, you should look at certain qualities. The customer service provided must be top-tier. The provider must also have advanced equipment that will enable them to handle a high volume of calls and on time. The answering service provider should also charge a reasonable price for the services. You should also check the customer service, pricing of the services, ability to handle a high volume of calls, and other similar factors.  

If you or your loved ones are looking for a Washington, D.C. answering service, look no more. At Best Call Center, we have highly experienced and professional customer care representatives who assess your business and understand its needs. Call us today at 800-385-4656 for any inquiries.