The short answer: an answering service works whichever way you want it to.
Answering services are designed to work for you, answering calls on your behalf and fitting simply and flexibly around your business, so that you can get on with your job.
You can pick a plan to suit your needs, it’s easy to sign up, and once you do, an answering service can take your calls so there’s always someone available to talk to customers.
Who does the answering?
Customers like to feel heard, so when they call your business, it’s important someone answers.
With an answering service, you will always have someone to take calls for your business.
The people behind the phones, known as client experience associates, will talk to customers and take messages so you don’t have to, working offsite and across time zones so that they can be available to customers even when you can’t.
Where will my answering service team be based?
Technology can be complicated, but answering services try to keep it simple, and use it to help you provide a high-quality and consistent customer experience.
Your client experience associates won’t be in the office with you. That’s because they operate ‘virtually’, from quiet environments wherever they live, rather than swarming call centers where your customers can hear the hum of a hundred other calls.
With an answering service, there’s no one central location where your associates are based. Because you won’t be bound by geographical location, you can be sure the best talent from around the country is representing your business – not only those who happen to live a bus ride from the office.
How will an answering service know what to say?
If someone is talking to customers on behalf of your business, you want to be sure they know what they’re talking about.
The good news is your client experience associate always will, because you’ll tell them exactly what to say and how to say it.
You’ll create call scripts that replicate the kind of conversations you and your team have with customers. These scripts will flash up on screen whenever an associate receives a call from one of your customers.
If you like, you can even give them access to your schedule so they can book customer appointments on your behalf.
Getting what you pay for with an answering service
It’s not always easy to determine exactly what kind of call plan your business needs, but we can help you understand how to approach this question.
Some issues to consider might be: How many calls does your business receive in an average day? How likely is it your customers will call after hours? Do your customers tend to be local, or do they call from overseas?
Answering service pricing works a bit like a monthly mobile phone bill – you pay a certain amount of money for a certain amount of call minutes.
If you choose a monthly answering service plan for 200 call minutes, your team of client experience associates will answer 200 minutes worth of calls coming in to your business.
There are additional minutes available at a higher rate, giving you room to manoeuvre if your business goes through a busy period.
Work with your chosen provider to choose the plan that’s right for you, and remember that answering services are able to quickly scale to fit your business needs.