Sunday, March 14, 2010

How to Choose an Answering Service That Fits Your Business

A canned voice mail message turns off more than attracts callers. Nothing works better than the sound of a warm human voice. In answering service circles, this draws the line between who has it and who doesn’t.

If you’re looking to utilize an answering service that perfectly matches your company, you need to consider these:

1. Cost. The cost of the service depends on the kind of service you want for your company. The more specialized service your company wants the costlier it gets. Don’t easily give in to “special plans” as they may be too good to be true. Most times, in fact, comparing actual rates between two answering service providers may be too tedious. Just be clear about what you’re billed and not.

If your company requires a custom-made answering services and it’s your only choice, think of the long-term benefits you can gain from it. If it’s clear that the investment you throw in is offset by the efficiency of the service, it’s well worth the venture. And it should certainly be because a specialized answering service provides real human voice taking in and processing orders and calls, so your customers are far from getting irate. The customer service associates should blend in seamlessly with yours, so you can trust that all calls are handled like your own staff would.

Answering service companies usually provide

• order taking
• appointment scheduling
• inbound sales leads
• customized responses and
• information and product requests.

2. Answering service should be company-specific. The above services aren’t easy to do, so you need to make sure that the answering service’s script must be company-specific. Your answering service staff should anticipate every conceivable situation so they come ready with an appropriate response. These should be part of the training and of the call center’s computer system. If you’re company specializes in order taking and order processing fulfillment, you should share your inventory and pricing information with the call center.

3. Be clear about the call center’s service terms and features. Check whether your answering service provider uses up to date technology such as email, SMS, fax, and so on. You wouldn’t want to get left behind, not the least your customers.

There’s nothing wrong with taking advantage of a free trial (if there’s any). In fact, a good number of answering and order fulfillment service companies offer free trial. Try it out for yourself and see how far it will boost your own company. See if things work well between your company and the service provider.

4. Get to know about their quality control practices. How your inbound call center conducts business speaks so much about its level of expertise. Ask about how they hire and train their customer service or sales staff. There should be an in-house Quality Assurance Specialist that keeps tracks of the agents’ calls and provides coaching and evaluation whenever necessary.

5. Does your call center understand your company? You shouldn’t enter into an agreement with an answering service provider that doesn’t know how your business goes. It pays that you are assured of your order processing specialist’s track record in the industry. Bet clear about your terms and theirs. Have a hand in the training of choosing of their agents, so your own operation is not compromised.

According to industry experts choosing the right inbound call center to handle your order processing service is like choosing the right partner for marriage. The relationship should be built on give-and-take grounds.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting post! I enjoyed reading it and I learned a lot. I will really follow your tips. Thanks for sharing. Looking forward for your next post.

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