5 Questions You Should Ask Your Voice Answering Service Provider

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In today’s fast-paced technology-connected world, more and more businesses are discovering that answering services are hugely beneficial for managing customer care. Determining which answering service is best for your needs, however, isn’t always so clear-cut. Whether you’re considering hiring an answering service on a full-time, after hours, or an as-needed basis, the experts at Voice Link of Columbus, Inc., know that asking the right questions can eliminate a lot of confusion and frustration. So, before you choose a voice answering service, find out the answer to these five questions first.

1. Is the service live or automated?

Automated answering services allow callers to get information or leave voice messages based on their response to recorded prompts. Automated systems may be adequate if your customers are only calling for very general information, such as your hours of operation or location. However, when customers are reaching out via phone call or web chat, it’s because they’re typically needing more guidance that requires the personal attention only a live call center agent can provide. When callers receive a live answering service, they feel more secure knowing that their concern has been heard and answered professionally and thoroughly.

2. How are the agents trained?

First of all, to avoid potential language barriers between your customers and the operators, be sure that all agents are U.S. based rather than located overseas. Beyond that, be sure that their training includes how to handle urgent calls, how to effectively record and transfer information, and how to represent your business as if they are part of the staff—because essentially they are. Ask for referrals from businesses in your area similar to yours, and look for relatively low operator turnover.

3. How will you be able to access information?

Ask how you’ll be able to view and manage your account information. Will you have access to a web portal that will allow your to access detailed information about each call, as well as view your overall call volume and coverage data? Are all calls recorded, and will they be available to you at no charge? Ask if you will be able to make changes online, such as if there’s a last-minute switch to your on-call contact information.

4. Does the service offer a HIPAA compliant mobile app?

No matter what type of business you run, you need to ensure that your customers’ information is securely protected. And if you’re in the medical or healthcare business, you need to verify that your patients’ health information is secure to meet HIPAA compliance regulations. Ask if the call answering service provider will be able to deliver messages securely via phone, text, email, or voicemail based on your communication preferences. If you’re a medical professional, ask if you’ll be able to transfer notes from calls into your patients’ electronic charts.

5. What types of fees do they charge?

This is a big indicator of whether an answering service provider is motivated by serving the needs of your business and your customers, or is more driven by their own bottom line. Ask what types of monthly fees you might expect to see. Avoid answering services that charge “hold time” fees, or extra charges if you need to make a change in day to day details such as the contact person for after-hours calls.

Also, ask what the policy is if your call volume unexpectedly exceeds your plan during any given month. The call demands of businesses vary from day to day, night to night, and weekend to weekend, so look for a provider that allows for some flexibility. Exceeding your call volume during one month shouldn’t mean you’ll automatically be changed to, plus charged for, a different plan.

Day or night, outsourcing your calls will ensure that your customers are attended to with care and compassion, 24/7, 365 days a year. Voice link offers 26 years of experience in professional answering services and provides live answering services that exceed your expectations. Request information online or call us at (800) 262-2799 for a free consultation.

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