Who answers your phone? Many companies rely on an automated answering service to answer and route calls to the right individual or department. This is not the best plan for a number of companies and offices for whom customer service is an important part of their business. For instance, doctor’s practices often rely on a medical telephone answering service for times when their staff cannot get to the phone. If you are looking at hiring a live operator answering service, you need to consider the following.
Tips to Finding the a Quality Answering Service:
- Decide what kind of service you need. Do you need a 24 hour answering service? Do you an after hours answering service? Do you just need a service to answer calls when you are really busy? If you run an office for doctors or dentists, you may beed a medical telephone answering service, If you run a busy restaurant, you may need a service to answer calls during busy meals times when your employees are helping customers. A medical telephone answering service should be able to take calls whenever an emergency strikes.
- Ask similar businesses who they use for they phones. You probably know someone who uses a live operator answering service to take their calls. If you know people who do this, you can ask them who they use and how they found them. They can point you in the right direction for finding a good answering service that can make your clients and customers feel more valued.
- Call the telephone answering service. See what they sound like when they answer the phone. Do you feel like your concerns are taken seriously? Do they seem to take the time to answer your questions? You can also look online for telephone answering service reviews. Ask different companies if you can talk to current or former clients of theirs. Some put client testimonials on their website. If they do not have people with a professional and caring manner answer their calls, they may not be right for you.
- How does the telephone answering service deal with sensitive information? If you are a medical or legal office, the people who answer your phones may be privy to very private or sensitive information. Operators who work for a medical telephone answering service cannot legally share any information they get from patients over the phone. To give that information out is a violation of the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act. These breaches are not just rude to the client but can cost a medical office thousands of dollars or even shut the office down. It is critical that anyone answering those phones understands the importance of confidentiality.
- Ask what their fees are. If you need to change the kinds of services you get from your small business or medical telephone answering service, you need to know what the services policies are for that. Make sure you know what you need to do if that happens. If you own a store, you may find that your busy time of day changes and that you need someone to answer your phones at a different time or on different days. You should clarify what their policy is for answering the phones over the holidays and on the weekends. If the company doe snot have a clear fee structure and you cannot get your questions about their fees answered, go to another company.
Most people prefer to get assistance from a live person over the phone rather than get that same service in another way. Studies show that most people (nearly 55%) will pay more for better customer service. Many telephone answering services do more than route calls. They can take customer complaints, suggestions ,make appointments and reservations, set meetings and can give out basic information about your business. They can give directions, hours and other pertinent information that callers may need.
The people who you have answering your phones are the voice and face of your company. While they do not work for you directly, people who call you will judge you and your company based on how they are treated. It is critically important that these people accurately reflect your values and approach to business.