It’s hard to find a service provider when so many websites and sales people are full of empty promises. Everywhere you look answering services are telling you that they answer quickly and provide you with accurate messages. It burns when you sign up and learn that the company falls short of what they promised you.
Before anything else, you need to have a clear picture of what you need from your provider. The HVAC business is competitive—if your phones aren’t answered quickly and professionally, your potential customer is likely to hang up and call someone else. Are your callers constantly being put on hold by some agent who sounds like they’d like to be somewhere else? Then your potential customer will likely go somewhere else. Figure out exactly what you want from your answering service provider, and be ready to ask your potential partner to offer their customized solutions for those needs.
Every answering service will tell you that’s not what you should expect from them, but how can you make them prove it?
- Look at your personal experience dealing with this provider’s sales process. Did the phone ring too long when you called and spoke to a sales person? Did they have your name right when they sent information to you? You can bet that whatever experience you received in your sales process will be the absolute best experience this answering service will be giving to your potential customers. If there are any red flags during the time the answering service is trying to win your business, you should multiply it by ten as to how they might treat your own customers.
- Ask for referrals. A good HVAC answering service should be able to share the names of many happy customers of theirs in your industry. These professionals are likely to share the same concerns as you, and can give you a sense of what you can expect from the provider. If the answering service you’re speaking with cannot give you the name of individuals in your industry who can give you an assessment of their value, then that should tell you everything you need to know about them.
- Ask them for a test! There are certain ways an answering service can offer you a “test” scenario. Whether it’s through providing you with a simulated number or giving you the names of a few clients so that you can call yourself and see how they do in a live environment, you’ll want to place a call yourself to experience exactly what you should expect for your callers. You can use that opportunity to see how long the phone rings. Are the staff professional and courteous? Do they confirm information so that you know you’re going to get accurate names of your customers and their addresses?
It’s very hard to separate one answering service from another when many tend to make the same promises. Use these three steps when you’re looking for a good provider for your HVAC business. Think about your own sales experience with them. Ask them to give you some references so that you can check in for yourself. And finally, give them an honest test to see how they measure up. You can use these steps to prove for yourself that you’ve found an answering service who will be a professional partner to you.