The Good and The Bad of Hiring an Answering Service

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Will an Answering Service Work for Me? 

Are you currently experiencing high call volume? Is your internal staffing stretched thin answering the phones? Is your lead conversion rate low? If so, consider hiring an answering service to manage your call volume. Many businesses are turning to call centers for help. That’s because lead conversion rates increase exponentially when a potential customer talks to a live person the first time they call. It makes sense. Nobody likes to be on hold or dropped into voicemail. But first: know the pros and cons before you choose to outsource.

pros and cons

Pros

  1. Hassle Free – You get to hand over the burdensome task of scheduling and message forwarding to someone who is trained to do this task full-time.
  2. Higher Conversion Rate – Evidence shows that there is a greater likelihood of converting a potential customer if they talk to a live person the first time they contact your company.
  3. Cost Effective – You no longer have to pay your internal staff for this job. Nor do you need to worry about filling the gaps when your staff is on leave, out sick, etc.
  4. Simple – In most cases, there is not a lot of complexity involved in the call center when they are merely forwarding messages or scheduling appointments. It’s hard to mess that up.

Cons

Agent answering calls
  1. Friction – Many customers HATE talking to a call center, especially one that’s in another country. They feel tricked or pushed off. That friction that can quickly lead to frustration. You need to evaluate the impact of outsourcing these services for your specific client base. If the friction is high for your client base, it’s not worth it.

2. Lack of Knowledge – It is important to know what kind of training the TRs or CSRs receive before you sign on with an answering service. In most cases, the training is pretty simple because the job is fairly simple. However, if your call needs are more complicated, you will need to be more discerning when determining the level of qualification of the agents.

3. Monetary Risk – Some answering services have a bad rap for charging incrementally more if you go over your minute plan. But other suppliers offer a guaranteed ‘heads up’ notice once you are getting anywhere close to going over your specific plan. This is an important question to ask potential suppliers – how do you handle overage? You can usually get a feel for their customer service just by listening to how they answer that question.

4. Security – There is always a risk of exposing highly sensitive information to a third party (patient files, legal information, etc.). You need to weigh the cost vs. the benefits for your business.


Learn More: How to Choose the Right Inbound Call Center.

Free Trial

If you are considering hiring an answering service, ask suppliers if they would consider offering a free monthly trial period. This is a great way to get a feel for their service before you have to commit to a contract. Many suppliers find clients are prone to stay once they see the quality of customer service that is offered.

Learn More

But before you start shopping for call center/answering service suppliers, be sure to do your research on what makes a quality company.

Find out the key ingredients of a quality call center.

Check out our Call Center Buyer’s Guide.

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