Answering Service

Written by Kathleen Gagne
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If you think the question is how important your answering service is, the real questions are these: how important is your face, your voice, your smile? The minute you turn your phones over to an answering service, the person who answers the call becomes the face of your company, the voice of your business ethic, and the smile (or frown) of your customer service staff. Think about it. If someone is calling in the middle of the night, it is probably an emergency. That means the caller is already under stress. The quality of your answering service can save or lose your customer's trust.

As you already know, customers are pretty expensive to come by. Generally, it takes up to three times more effort and money to get a new customer than it does to keep an existing one. The larger the customer, the more expensive it is to replace her business. Whether you have a small, mid-sized, or large business of your own, the equation is the same. With all it takes to make customers happy, losing even one because of your answering service is not acceptable.

What Makes a Quality Answering Service?

Some answering service companies offer the very latest in technology. They promise to have enough representatives on each shift so that your customer's call is answered by the second ring. They may even have the lowest rates. The problem is, how do you know that they deliver what they promise? Do you find out about problems when your customers call to cancel their service?

If you care about your customers, you can become one. Make that call in the middle of the night and find out how your customers are being treated. Have someone play an irate customer or an upset customer. You might even want to let your service know that you are planning to make spot calls. What makes a quality answering service is how they respond to each and every call.

Why an Answering Service?

If you have limited business hours but your customers need access 24/7, you need a service to answer incoming calls. If you've ever tried an answering machine, you know how ineffective they can be. There are a lot of businesses that need to use these services. Doctors, emergency home repair companies, local pager companies, newspapers, air conditioning and heating companies--the list is almost endless.

During your non-business hours, your customers need to talk to a live person, someone who can express empathy for their problem, and, hopefully, someone who can help them get it fixed or who can at least assure them that you will be notified and will contact them in the morning. That's why tone of voice, confidence, and follow-up are critical. The representatives must know what to say and how to say it.

Find a Great Answering Service Online

Having hired, and fired, several local answering services, I know how hard it can be to find one that actually represents your company in the best possible light. Have you ever thought about the simple fact that your service's customer service should be as competent and capable as your own in-house team? I created this website to provide you with information on what to look for in an answering service and to give you tips on how you can help your answering service to provide your late-night customer callers with a positive experience.

Remember that each call to your answering service is a moment-of-truth for both your customer and you, not to mention the service. Remember also that every customer contact with your answering service is money on the table, and you should count on a reasonable expectation that the service will meet your requirements. As you browse through the lists of services you can sign up with, you will find that your answering service is truly your face, your smile, and your voice for your customers. That's how important it is to find the best possible service!


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