If you’re in business, you know how important it is to be able to answer your phone at all times. A business phone answering service can help make sure that the office never goes unmanned when someone needs customer service or when a client tries to reach you. In addition, it creates an image that the business is expanding and that this company is one that you should work with. Answering service providers can help any viable business set up a phone answering system that will grow as the business does.
In this post, we’ll look at how a professional provider can help your small or big enterprise establish a reliable phone answering system for less than you may think.
Choosing a Provider for Your Business Phone Answering Service
One of the first things you’ll need to do if you want a business phone answering service is finding a good provider. Different providers will have different types of services and prices, so you must know your needs before you start looking for someone to set up your phone system. If you’re not sure what type of system you want, read on for some advice.
Choosing an Answering Service Type
There are different types of business phone answering service providers, including virtual answering services and live answering services. The latter is the type that you want to look for when you’re searching for a provider. A live operator will answer your calls in person by transferring them to the right department or directly to whoever handles the calls.
Virtual business phone answering services are automated, meaning that the person on the other end is not a human being; it’s just an automatic voice that asks callers to leave messages or press certain buttons to be directed to different departments. This can be helpful if your company is very small and only needs one line, but it doesn’t create the personal image that a live service creates. If you want your business to be seen as professional, always choose a live answering service provider.
Making the Decision
Once you’ve chosen between virtual and live services, you’ll need to make another decision: do you actually need an answering service? The chances are good that if your business does not have enough employees to answer the phone at all times, you want one. First, however, you should think about whether your company needs this type of service or if it can handle messages on its own.
If you’re not sure whether your business needs an answering service, here are some things to consider:
- How many messages do customers need to leave each day?
- How long does it take for employees to return calls?
- If there’s an emergency, is your business able to answer the phone and give important information immediately? This can be crucial if you run a medical or law office.
Once you have a better idea of whether an answering service would benefit your small business, you can start looking for providers.
Working With the Provider
When you work with a provider, they’ll probably ask you to choose between three different types of plans. The least expensive option is usually to have one phone line go directly to an operator who will transfer callers when necessary. This plan will be the cheapest because it doesn’t offer many services.
The second type of plan is what most businesses will want: it gives you a certain number of lines for your business and operators who will answer all of them. Your employees can still answer some calls, but an operator will handle customer service if there’s an emergency or you’re out of the office. This plan offers more benefits than the previous one and is a great choice for a small business.
The most expensive plan is the one that offers 24/7 support for your business, which means that employees will pick up every call and take messages if necessary. This type of answering service is usually best for larger companies or ones with many employees who can’t answer the phone all of the time.