So you’ve noticed the signs that your trade business needs an answering service, and it's time to find one that meets all your criteria. Whether you’re searching for a service equipped with industry-specific expertise, a team that’s available 24/7, or representatives who embody your business’s professionalism and courtesy, the right answering service is out there! However, not all answering services are created equal, and selecting the best one for your needs requires careful consideration of several key factors. By the end of this blog, you’ll have a clear understanding of some essential qualities that should be on your answering service criteria list, helping you to choose an answering service that not only meets but exceeds your expectations.

  1. Industry Experience
  2. 24/7 Availability
  3. Updated Technology
  4. Customizability
  5. Transparency with Records
  6. Scalability
  7. Professionalism & Courtesy
  8. Cost-Effectiveness
  9. Reputation & Reviews




Industry Experience

An answering service with trade experience ensures that when prospective clients call about issues with their hot water heater or AC, agents know the right probing questions to ask to understand the caller’s problem and book the appropriate appointment. This expertise helps clients feel heard and understood, thus improving your business’s level of customer service.

And industry experience isn’t a factor that’s only beneficial for your callers! An answering service that has trade experience minimizes confusion and the spread of misinformation. When agents gather accurate information that’s relevant to you, the tradesman, you’ll have an easier time servicing your client’s house and interacting with the client.


industry experience


24/7 Availability

24/7 availability is essential for a trade business’s answering service because electric, HVAC, and/or plumbing emergencies can arise at any point in time throughout the day. Unlike other appointments, such as haircuts or car detailing, home issues have an urgent feel to them. While people often wait to schedule a trim or have their car seats cleaned, problems like a malfunctioning toilet or lack of electricity are critical to a home's functionality, thus affecting our comfort. By hiring an answering service with around-the-clock availability, you won’t miss those after-hours calls, and as a result, you’ll give your callers immediate peace of mind.

Additionally, if your answering service has the ability to book appointments for you 24/7, you could wake up to a full schedule for the next day— without having to worry about a ringing phone while you do your job. This brings us to our next crucial criteria point: technology.


all hours


Updated Technology

In this fast-paced world, it’s important to acknowledge the role that up-to-date technology plays in all facets of business, and the answering service you choose to represent your company is no exception to that. It's important to choose an answering service that utilizes up-to-date communication channels and efficient methods of message-taking. Some services can even book appointments directly into your trade business's scheduling software, while others offer AI chat features integrated into your website—seamlessly communicating with those who arrive on your site’s home page.

In short, the answering service you select should be harnessed with technology that provides multiple methods for communication (that customers of this digital day and age expect), as well as technology that supports your needs for appointment scheduling and message delivery.





An answering service that offers script customizability allows you to tailor how agents represent your business. For instance, you might want agents to greet callers with a friendly “This is Bill’s Plumbing! How may I assist you?” Or maybe you’d rather agents answer with something witty and memorable to your callers before proceeding to gather necessary customer information, such as name, phone number, physical address, and e-mail address. Choosing an answering service with script customizability gives you control over how agents interact with your prospective clients, ultimately keeping your business’s tone and personality at the heart of over-the-phone exchanges.

Another facet of customizability to look out for is how the information that agents collect is relayed to you. Maybe you want that information e-mailed to you, or maybe you want it delivered via text. Either way, it should be entirely your decision, customized to your preferences, how you receive the data gathered by an answering service.




Transparency with Records

Look for a service that provides detailed call logs, feedback, and insights into the types of calls being received. This includes access to the audio of the calls the answering service takes! This sort of information can be invaluable for improving your services, tailoring your offerings, and bettering the overall experience you have with the answering service.

If the answering service you’re looking into doesn’t offer this sort of transparency, it should be cause for you to proceed with caution, if at all. Your answering service should prioritize openness and accountability to ensure that you’re being represented in a fashion that you’re satisfied with.





Choose a service that can scale with your business as it grows; they should be able to handle an increase in call volume and expand their services as needed. This becomes especially important when you consider the various busy seasons that come with working in the trades. In summertime, HVAC workers experience a boost in calls, while plumbing businesses experience an increase in calls in winter.

If the answering service won’t have the capability to scale with your business, there’s an inevitable cap you’ll reach when it comes to the return on your investment.




Professionalism & Courtesy

This one is a bit of a no-brainer to have on your checklist, but it’s the fact that it’s a no-brainer that landed this bit of criteria on this blog— unfortunately, not all answering services are concerned with the level of professionalism and courtesy that they extend to your callers. An answering service that handles calls with professionalism and courtesy ensures that clients feel valued and respected, fostering trust and confidence in your services. These qualities directly impact the customer experience, as well as your business's reputation.

To ensure that the answering service you select answers calls with professionalism and courtesy, inquire about their hiring standards for agents or their core values. These telling qualities that will reveal how the answering service will treat you, as well as your business’s callers.





Cost is an important factor to consider, as you most likely have other needs on your hands beyond an answering service. Maybe you need to hire more employees, maybe you need new equipment, or maybe you need to invest in marketing. At the end of the day, however, your answering service should be a factor that helps in driving profits—not that simply reaps your hard-earned money.

Evaluate their pricing structure to ensure it fits within your budget. Rather than just opting for the cheapest option, also consider the value that the answering service could provide relative to the cost.




Reputation & Reviews

An answering service's reputation and reviews are important to consider because they reflect people’s real-life experiences with the service. This becomes even more important when you consider the fact that your answering service will affect your business’s reputation and reviews!

Positive reviews and a strong reputation indicate that the service consistently meets or exceeds customer expectations, which is crucial for maintaining your business's professionalism and customer satisfaction. Reviews can highlight the service's potential strengths and weaknesses, both which will enable you to make an informed decision about the service you choose.




Summary & Conclusion

All in all, you should have the following nine bits of criteria on your answering service checklist to ensure that your business remains responsive, efficient, and customer-focused:

  • Industry Experience- ensures that your callers feel understood and that you receive relevant, accurate information
  • 24/7 Availability- guarantees that your calls are taken (and in the case of some answering services, that appointments are booked) even after your hours of operation
  • Updated Technology- provides various up-to-date methods for communication, appointment scheduling, and message delivery to increase customer satisfaction and business efficiency
  • Customizability- secures your role in choosing how your answering service represents your business, what they offer to callers, and how you receive the information they collect
  • Transparency with Records- confirms that the information you receive is accurate and and will help you in long run to improve your services to your clients
  • Scalability- ensures that your answering service will leverage your busy season and grow with your business
  • Professionalism & Courtesy- improves customer relationships and your business’s reputation
  • Cost-Effectiveness- should fit in your budget but also drive profits overtime
  • Reputation & Reviews- helps you to make an informed decision that’s based on people’s real experiences with the service

Finding an answering service that aligns with both your own values and these nine criteria will take some time, but the benefits of such an answering service are worth the search! Take the time to evaluate your options, ask the right questions, and choose a service that you feel you can trust. When you opt to do so, your business will organically foster long-term loyalty and trust amongst callers through your answering service, setting you up to experience long-term growth and success of your business.

Dexcomm is a Louisiana-based corporation that provides answering services to businesses and service agencies across the United States. We have been open since 1954, employ a staff of roughly 80 people, and our average client retention rate is 10+ years.

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Read More About The Author: Kennedy McNabb