local answering services lafayette,la

If your business is considering a partnership with a telephone answering service (TAS), you may be debating between going with a local or a national answering service company. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages, so let’s look at which choice is best for your company and, most importantly, your customers.

The Benefits of a Local Answering Service or Call Center

When doing business, most people like to work within their own neighborhoods or with people they know. Working with a local call center provides the following advantages:


  • You’re spending money within your own community and supporting a local business.
    • You can provide in-person training to the customer service representatives who will be answering your calls.
    • You can visit your answering service in person. You'll also be able to take a tour of the facilities and see if their work atmosphere and core values align with those of your company.
    • You have the confidence that the call agents will be familiar with your community. When a caller says they live on Feu Follet Road, your agent will be able to say it and spell it correctly without seeming unfamiliar with the area.

    The Disadvantages of a Local Answering Service

Although the familiarity with local neighborhoods and convenience of a close location may be appealing to small-business owners, there are some major limitations to consider when choosing a local answering service to represent your company.

Limited Industry Expertise:

A local answering service will most likely have limited industry expertise. If you run an HVAC, plumbing, electrical, medical, funeral, or oil and gas company, industry expertise may be a necessity for your after-hours answering service.

The reason that local answering companies can't always provide the needed industry expertise is due to a lack of clients in that particular industry. For example, if a local answering service has only one HVAC client, the company and its agents will not spend enough time working with the HVAC client to gain familiarity and eventually expertise in the industry. 

This will become apparent with your callers when an agent is unfamiliar with certain industry terms, which could make your business seem less reliable. Remember, your live call agents are often the first impression a caller will have of your company!


Cost:

The cost of a quality telephone answering service can vary for a number of reasons. One of the most common reasons for price fluctuations is due to the location of your provider. If a local provider is located in a city with a higher cost of living, its prices will most likely be higher in order for the company to pay employees a living wage. 

Another reason for differences in pricing is quality. Premium telephone answering services will generally cost more than commodity answering services. Call agents at a premium answering service will usually stay on a call longer to ensure accuracy and customer satisfaction.


Reliability (Power Outages):

Reliability should be a top priority when you’re comparing answering service providers. Natural disasters, weather emergencies, and other major events can often result in power outages and office closures. If a natural disaster or weather emergency happens in your local area, your local call center will most likely be overwhelmed with increased call traffic. If a disaster reaches a certain level, the business itself may be without power, which means that your calls will not be answered!


Limited Software Expertise:

Much like with limited industry expertise, your local answering service can have only the expertise that your community allows. If your answering service provider doesn’t work with customers who use certain software or CRMs, the provider won't have the familiarity or know-how to handle your business.


The Importance of US-Based Call Agents

When considering an answering service to represent your company, you should always ask if the TAS employs U.S.-based customer service representatives. U.S.-based representatives will most likely provide a better caller experience to your customers and eliminate any confusion with unfamiliar accents.


The Benefits of a National Answering Service

Expertise in a specific industry or with specific software:

National answering services are more likely to have expertise in specific industries or with specific software due to the varying types of clients they work with. As they answer for more companies, they become familiar with industry-specific terms and phrases. This familiarity will allow for a smoother call between your provider's live call agent and your customer.

A national TAS will also be more likely to work with your industry-specific software. For example, a national provider may be able to work with ServiceTitan or offer you API integration or CRM integration.

Tip: When determining the best telephone answering service provider for your business, be sure to probe with direct questions about your industry to find a level of experience and knowledge that you are comfortable with.

Increased Reliability:

Reliability should be a top priority when you’re comparing answering service providers. Natural disasters, weather emergencies, and other major events can often result in power outages and office closures. If a natural disaster or weather emergency happens in your local area, your local call center will most likely be overwhelmed with increased call traffic. If a disaster reaches a certain level, the business itself may be without power, which means that your calls will not be answered! 

Possible Lower Cost 

Cost of service is directly affected by the cost of production. If you live in an area with a high cost of living, your answering service will pay its agents more and, as a result, charge you more. Working with a national provider can help you lower costs, depending on your provider's geographic location.

Higher Quality 

With the wide variety of national answering services, you can choose the highest-quality provider. The quality of your answering service is vital because it determines how your customers will be treated when they call.

A major component of your answering service's quality is the tone of voice that its call operators use. Read "How Tone of Voice Affects the Outcome of Telephone Calls" to learn more about the importance of tone of voice for a call service.

The Disadvantages of a National Answering Service

Lack of Familiarity With Local Area:

The most common disadvantage to working with a national answering service as opposed to one within your own community is the lack of familiarity with your local area. As our owner Jamey Hopper said in the above YouTube video, cities usually have landmarks that are spelled one way but pronounced another. This can confuse agents and irk local callers.

A simple solution to this issue is to identify those local landmarks with your national answering service provider. A provider whose goal is to satisfy you and your customers will be happy to learn correct pronunciations!

Distance:

Although a national answering service may be the best solution for your business, the distance between your store and its office can be daunting. Working with a premium answering service can alleviate this stress. Regular check-ins with account management and customer support, whether they be via email, on Zoom or Skype, or over the telephone, will allow you and your provider to remain connected and ensure that all goals are aligned.


Key Points

Essentially, whether you choose to partner with a local answering service that's just a few miles from your own location or a national answering service that is in a completely different region, quality and call etiquette are of utmost importance.

Your answering service provider should be answering your calls promptly, professionally, and with compassion. When taking messages, its agents should be accurate and thorough. Above all, they should complement your company by aligning with your core values and pleasing your callers.

  • I'm on the fence about a new answering service partner!

Do you have an answering service partner in mind, but you want to test them out first? Read "3 Things to Consider When Testing Out an Answering Service" to guarantee that the answering service you choose will provide the best service to your callers.

  • I'm considering switching answering service providers.

Do you currently have an answering service, but you aren't sure if it’s the right fit for your company? Take a minute to read "How to Analyze Your Current Answering Service Provider.” This article contains seven questions (and one simple solution) that you should consider when determining the value of your local phone answering service.

nexstar strategic partnership


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 50 people, and our average client retention rate is 10+ years.

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Read More About The Author: Marina Prestenbach