Congratulations on launching your new business! One of the most important things for all startups is resource allocation. While you are rolling out your new company, it’s likely that you’ll be working on a bootstrap budget but also trying to churn up as many sales as you can right out of the gate. For that reason, having an answering service on your side as you launch your startup just makes good business sense. It’s a relatively low cost way to maximize the efforts of your team during this pivotal point.
In this article, our friends at Ivy Answer discuss how you can choose the right answering service for your new business venture.
What is An Answering Service?
If you have ever called your doctor or dentist after hours, then you have likely talked to an answering service before. Answering services are third party companies hired by a company, such as your doctor or dentist’s office, and they simply field calls when the staff isn’t available.
Answering services can also be used as a receptionist service, as well. Companies in all industries use answering services for a wide range of solutions. When someone calls your company’s phone number, they will automatically be forwarded to your answering service. Once your caller has arrived at the answering service, a number of things can happen. Answering services can take messages, provide dispatching, offer text and e-mail services, schedule appointments, offer customer service, and more – it all depends on the service you choose.
What are the Benefits of Using an Answering Service?
Companies of all sizes are using answering services for a number of reasons. The most obvious reason is to simply handle call volume and after hours calls, but the list of benefits is surprisingly long. For example, every caller is a potential prospect. If you miss a call, you could miss a sale. Using an answering service can help you make sales when customers call.
Answering services can also be used to provide exceptional customer service. For example, some answering services will help answer your customers’ questions, such as in the case of tech support. This can help keep your customers satisfied with prompt and helpful service.
When you use an answering service, your staff is able to spend more time focusing on other important areas of your business. Essentially, it lets you take a “hands off” approach to handling the phones and gives you more time to focus on income-earning activities. Plus, it allows you to do this without sacrificing a team member to dedicate for the purpose or having to hire and train someone as a receptionist.
How to Choose the Right Answering Service for Your New Business Venture
Choosing the right answering service for your new business isn’t a simple task, simply because there are so many services out there, and they all offer different pros and cons. You will have to be the judge of which answering service will best serve your company’s needs, but here are some tips for helping you make your choice:
1. Begin Your Search
Starting the search for the right answering service starts by conducting searches online. Look for the best answering service that can also handle your industry. Another great way to narrow down your search is to ask for referrals and word of mouth. If you network with other entrepreneurs, you might be able to ask them for advice.
2. Know What Features to Look For
When hunting for the right answering service for your new business, you’ll need to decide which features are important to you. Answering services will typically offer call forwarding and screening, of course, but what else is important?
If you’d like to ensure quality assurance, look for an answering service that offers call recording. Other features that could be important to you might include appointment setting, web access to calls, power and data backup, and more. In addition, you’ll want to inquire about the level of training staff members have, as well as their experience handling customers in your industry. If you need bilingual services, you’ll want to ask about that, too. It’s also important to ask about availability and make sure this matches your needs.
3. Explore Pricing
While it’s important to keep your budget in mind, it’s also critical to remember that the cheapest answering service is not going to likely be your best bet. When exploring pricing options, inquire about any extra fees. If you can find a service that includes all the fees with all the features you need, then that could be the best option for you. Will a contract be required, or can you pay per month? Paying per month is often a better choice for startups, as it gives you the ability to scale up or down as you need to.
4. Find the Right Fit
Sometimes, finding the right answering service really does come down to a relationship. If you feel one service’s staff is friendlier, more communicative, and more professional, then you’re likely to want to use them. If they are experts in your industry, then that only sweetens the deal. Make sure that all your questions get answered.
An answering service can be a great way to be hyperproductive as you start your new business venture. Instead of spending time worrying about handling communications, you can put phone calls on auto pilot and handle the areas of your business that will make you money.
Launching a new company can be tiring, but it’s easy to take the burden of handling calls of the table with a great answering service. Remember, a small answering service can often offer a more customized experience than “out of the box” big companies!