Running a small business is a time-consuming endeavor. Between managing staff, reviewing budgets, evaluating sales and handling day to day tasks, it sometimes feels as though there just simply aren’t enough hours in a day. If this is the case, you may have decided that it is time to hire an answering service to take care of your phone calls, while you deal with the most important tasks. However, you might be wondering which answering service for small businesses should I use?
Choosing an answering service for your small business is an important decision. The organization you hire will often be the face of your organization that interacts telephonically with all of your clients. Although it is an important decision, it does not have to be a difficult one! Having a proper plan of action before you scout out options will fast-track the process.
At the forefront, you will need to think through exactly what you want the answering service to do. Are you simply looking for someone to take messages for your office, or are you looking for a comprehensive team that will be able to answer client questions and provide customer service? The better you are able to communicate your expectations to a potential hiring service, the more likely they can meet them once hired.
A large part of being able to communicate your expectations to a potential hiring service comes from understanding the ins and outs of your small business. If your institution consists of a few departments and many employees, you might only have a global view of the institution’s operations, rather than an understanding of the intricacies each area deals with. This doesn’t mean that you’re a bad boss! It just means that you may have to involve other employees in the conversation to ensure the answering service has a full picture of the daily operations! The more detail you can provide an answering service about the capabilities of your small business, the better they will be able to accommodate your needs.
Another aspect you should consider when hiring an answering service for a small business is to think about the ways the answering service will ameliorate some of your shortcomings. Are you falling behind on orders because you’re spending too much time on the phone? Are you receiving calls outside of business hours? Is the sheer number of calls just simply too much for your staff to handle while also performing their other job duties? It is important to not only communicate these concerns to a potential answering service, but you should also determine whether or not an answering service will be able to address these issues.
Once you’ve evaluated the needs of your company and the areas where an answering service can offer improvement, it’s time to start sorting through potential services to hire. As you interview potential partners it’s helpful to have a list of discussion points to bring up during the conversation. You should be able to convey to the answering service how many calls you expect them to handle and the nature of those calls. Also, consider your budget, and have a frank discussion of how much your small business is able to spend on these services.
At this point, it is also a good idea to read through the answering services customer reviews and their website to get a better understanding of the services they offer. If the answering service has a lot of experience working with your particular industry, they might be a better fit than other options. Another important factor to look into when picking a company is determining what kind of technology they use to field calls, and if that software is sufficient for your needs. Finally, you’ll need to decide if you want to work with a local answering service that has a better lay of the land in your immediate area, or if you’d rather work with a more remote service.
Hiring an answering service for a small business is a great way to shave off some of your workloads and continue focusing on your favorite parts about running a business. With a little bit of research and some planning, you’ll have no problem finding the right fit for you.