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Top tips for choosing a call answering service

Hayley, Moneypenny Receptionist

Trusting someone else with your calls is a big step. It makes sense to shop around first, do your research and ask around.

Whatever your reason for outsourcing your calls, here are just a few things to consider when choosing a provider that’s right for you:

1. Do you get your own dedicated receptionist?

Make sure any provider you’re looking to work with is clear about this; if calls are going to be handled by the ‘next available operator’, this is a message taking service, not call answering. Having a dedicated receptionist ensures one person is accountable to you, working as if they are a member of your team; the only difference is they’re based at the call answering service itself, rather than your own office.

2. Is there a set-up fee?

A low monthly subscription may sound great, but will you be expected to pay a large set-up fee when you sign up? Even if you’re not tied into a long-term contract, a set-up fee means you’ve effectively bought into the service and to recoup, you’re probably going to feel forced to stick with them until you’ve seen any value. Any worthy call answering service won’t charge for this, because they’re confident the benefits will speak for themselves.

3. Are there charges to send messages by text or email?

Once again, these are other chargeable extras rarely showcased alongside any headline fee, and you should definitely have these confirmed if you’re being offered a monthly subscription that, at first, seems significantly lower than other providers.

4. Are you charged to make admin changes?

Some providers go as far as charging for simple updates, such as adding new employees to your company information. Charges like these are rarely discovered until you’re days – sometimes even weeks –into your service, so be sure to ask whether these will apply for you.

5. Are you charged to have out-of-hours voicemail?

Can you see a theme developing here? A low monthly subscription fee doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily receive an inexpensive service; variable charges can add up quickly, so crunching your numbers is really key in order to avoid any nasty surprises at the end of your first month of service.

6. Are you tied into a long-term contract?

There’s absolutely no reason for you to be tied into a long-term contract, similar to a 12 or 24-month cellphone plan. You should want to stay with a service and have the freedom to cancel whenever you like, not be locked into a service where you find yourself counting down the months before you can cancel. Be sure to check this condition before you sign up with any provider.

7. Can you access your call log online or via an app?

Technology plays an important role in the provision offered by many call answering services. Why is it so important? Because increasingly it forms a highly effective bridge of communication between client and receptionist – making outsourced support even better than the efforts of an in-house receptionist. Many of the bigger providers offer online platforms and apps, which allow you to communicate with the person who’s managing your calls in real-time. This way, you don’t need to waste time sending emails or calling your office to update your receptionist on your whereabouts. Simply change your status using cloud technology and the system updates instantly to reflect your movements and preferences: ‘In the car – email me’. You can also indicate who are VIP callers and block sales people. As always, be sure to check you’ll incur no additional charge for activating these helpful extras.

8. Are they affiliated to any sector organizations?

Many of the more credible call answering providers are endorsed by national organizations and bodies, so it’s well worth an ask if you’re in a particular industry or a member of specific organization as you may well be eligible for exclusive rates.

 

Support from the world’s leading call answering service

Moneypenny has been managing calls since 2000, so we like to think we know a thing or two about answering calls. In fact, some might say that we eat, sleep and breathe call answering; today, we handle 13m calls on behalf of businesses of all shapes and sizes.

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You’re very welcome to take advantage of our free week trial. This way, you’ll have experienced the benefits of our award-winning service and be able to make an informed decision, knowing exactly what your expected monthly cost will be.

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