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There are good answering services, and there are bad ones. There are also exceptional answering services. An exceptional provider has these key answering service essentials.
1. Sounds Like Your Office
If your callers immediately know they’ve reached your answering service, then you have the wrong provider. First, your answering service staff should sound just as professional as your own staff. In addition, other audible cues—such as ringing, hold music, and other processing sounds—should be indistinguishable from your office. Sounding as good as your office is first on our list of answering service essentials.
2. Always Accessible
Next, your answering service needs to be available 24/7. This includes during the day and after hours. It also means evenings and weekends. And it even means holidays. This is what your callers expect and what your answering service should provide, without exception.
3. Easy to Understand
Professional answering services have staff who are easy to understand. Foreign-sounding accents will make your customers and callers mad. They’ll assume they reached an offshore call center, and they’ll blame you. Though this is number three on our list of call center essentials, for many people this is the most important.
4. Continually Available
What about bad weather or natural disasters? Your answering service should be available regardless of what happens. Even if their office is affected, they should have a disaster recovery plan in place that will provide continuous coverage for you and your callers. Anything less is unacceptable.
5. Accurate Messages
The main function of an answering service is to take messages after they answer your phone. However, to be of use, these messages must be accurate. Accurate messages require complete phone numbers, correct spelling of names, and information that makes sense.
6. Help Callers
However, not all calls warrant a message. Sometimes the answering service can provide information to callers. A professional answering service will give helpful information that addresses callers’ questions and satisfies the reasons for their calls. This is an area where many answering services flounder, which makes it number six on our list of answering service essentials.
If you want the best answering service for your business—the type of answering service your customers and callers deserve—then go with a professional answering service that has these six answering service essentials.
Christopher Calhoun is president of Answering Service One, a new kind of answering service that wants to become your number one resource to handle all your telephone communication and customer service needs. Contact Chris at 865-505-0046.
Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer from Southwest Michigan.