What to Look for in an Answering Service

An answering service can bring tremendous value to any office. By making your company run more smoothly, such a service can help you and your team work smarter, not harder. The best answering services don’t just pick up when the phone rings – they can help grow your business, simplify communication, and help your organization appear more professional all while enhancing the customer experience.What to Look for in an Answering Service

Of course, no two answering services are the same. In order to find the best administrative partner for your team, be sure to do plenty of research upfront. After all, you don’t want to place your customers in the hands of just anyone! When deciding between answering service options for your company, be on the lookout for these must-haves: 

Flexible Service Options

Busy entrepreneurs, business owners, and managers all require flexibility. It’s what drives so many people to search for answering services in the first place. The ability to turn a service on and off as required is crucial for many small companies who only require occasional administrative support. It’s also a great benefit for medium and large sized organizations that want to retain control of costs and avoid long-term financial commitments. Unfortunately, not every call center prioritizes flexibility. In many cases, clients are limited to specific hours of coverage or are forced into contracts that span many months or even years.

The best answering services, however, offer service plans that accommodate the natural ebbs and flows of your business. Whether you’re hoping for after-hours phone coverage or just want extra support while your receptionist is on maternity leave, your answering service should accommodate to your schedule – not the other way around. Plus, you should be able to scale your service level based on your usage and expected call volume. Furthermore, a top answering service operates on a month-to-month agreement so that they can continually earn your business with a high level of performance.

A Willingness to Collaborate

When an answering service works as intended, your callers may never realize they’re speaking with a remote receptionist. This can lead to an improved perception of your company, with callers assuming you’re staffed by an entire administrative team of resourceful professionals. This seamless blend often comes as a direct result of collaboration.

The answering service you decide to work with should offer you the chance to create customized call scripts. This process will allow you to clearly outline your company’s philosophy, preferred tone, and your policies and procedures all while gathering important info and helping each caller. Without in-depth collaboration, the answering service risks watering down the brand identity you’ve worked so tirelessly to create.

A Variety of Tools

The modern call center looks a lot different than you might imagine. Virtual receptionists aren’t simply dialed into a switchboard of phones ringing off the hook. Instead, they have state-of-the-art tools to help answer customer questions, software to help place orders and monitor shipments, and even advanced online tools for customers to securely manage their messages and monitor their accounts.

When searching for the best answering service for your organization, ask about the technology used by the call center as well as the tools available to you. If the answering services is truly one of the top providers, they will have an intuitive web portal for clients to use as a complete message management solution. It should also function as a way to manage the account and gain useful insights from call data. 

A Commitment to Security

More of our personal information is online than ever before, and that’s not likely to change any time soon. In spite of data leaks and privacy concerns, Americans are more willing than ever to share information about themselves via phone, text, email, and over social media. Answering services must have a strong commitment to the privacy of their clients and callers.

For medical answering services, this isn’t just industry best practices – it’s the law. HIPAA-compliance is regulated to ensure sensitive healthcare information isn’t leaked or shared. The best answering services thoroughly train their employees to follow the laws surrounding healthcare data and have systems in place to ensure there are no breaches. Regardless of your industry, it’s important that the answering service you decide on has tools to protect caller information.

A Proven Track Record

When it comes to something as important as your client relationships, though, it’s important to prioritize experience. Top answering services have been around for a while so they’ve figured out proper staffing levels to ensure every caller gets the attention they deserve right away without ever waiting through long ring times or being placed on hold. You should be able to verify this by testing their performance and asking for references.

You’ll also want to ask about the answering service’s specific experience with companies like yours. Without real-world experience handling calls from your field, there may be a lot of hand-holding. Ideally, your answering service will hit the ground running without you having to teach them the complexities related to your industry.

Try MAP Answering Services for Seven Days Absolutely Free

It’s no surprise MAP Communications meets all of the above requirements for quality answering services. Few answering services have been in business as long as MAP Communications has. It takes a lot of hard work, training, and evolving to become one of the leading answering services in the world. In our thirty years, we’ve learned a thing or two about customer service. Testimonials from our satisfied clients say it all: MAP has the experience and flexibility necessary to handle any challenge sent our way.

If you’re eager to see the MAP advantage for yourself, sign up for a free, week-long trial of our live answering services. During the seven-day period, you’ll discover just how beneficial a partnership with MAP can be. While there’s no commitment required after the week is up, we know you’ll be ready to make our answering service a fixture in your customer service strategy. Contact us today to learn more or get started!