An outsourced answering service team should serve as an extension to your business, but this is only possible if your team and answering service provider are on the same page.
Use the following tips during each stage of your business relationship to create and maintain a healthy partnership with your outsourced answering service.
Before You Choose A Call Answering Service
Before you commit to working with a call answering service, use these tips to determine if they are the best partner for your business.
Consider Their Core Values
It is incredibly important to work with others who share your core values. This is especially important when working with an outsourced call center or answering service as these types of partners represent your business to callers.
If your answering service company doesn't share similar core values to your business, they could misrepresent your business to callers.
Try A Test Call or Listen To Sample Calls from Different Answering Services
After taking a look at their website, you may want to give your potential outsourced answering service a call. Your call will most likely be answered by operators, so you will have an opportunity to hear how their call operators sound on the phone. This helps you decide if these operators would work well answering your business calls.
Another way to hear how the call operators sound is to ask for a sample call, or call script. Most providers will have real calls on file (with personal customer info edited out) that they can share with you, allowing you to see first hand how effective their customer service skills are.
Plan to Visit Their Offices
If you are considering working with a local answering service, give them a visit! Visiting the office will give you an opportunity to see the call agents in the office environment. Typically, call agents who are in a positive and professional environment will create a similar atmosphere when on a call with your customers.
If you choose to work with a premium answering service that is too far for an in-person visit, check the company's YouTube and other social media platforms. They may have a video walk-through of the office or other videos that will allow you to get a feel for the company.
Successfully Onboarding Your Call Center Reps
Establish Good Communication Channels
The onboarding process is a great time to formally establish communication lines between your business and your answering service company. By coming to an agreement on how you'll communicate, you can prevent any future miscommunications, which could negatively impact your callers.
During the start of your relationship, be sure to have frequent communication with your answering service. Regular check-ins can help eliminate any small errors that are likely to come up whenever you first begin forwarding your calls.
Be sure to determine who your point of contact is, and save their email address, phone number, and other information. Also, share the contact information for your call center manager or office manager who will be directly working with the answering service provider.
Determine What Success Looks Like
You've found a call center who is a good fit for your business, but how do you know that they’re doing a good job?
- Early on in your business relationship, establish frameworks for what success looks like.
- Make sure that they are tangible and measurable markers that you can analyze appropriately.
- Share these with your provider and be clear on the expectations that you have.
Understand Their Billing Practices
Answering service companies use varying billing practices, so make sure that you understand how your provider bills for services.
A good way to best understand how they bill is to schedule time to meet with a representative from the billing department.
Keep An Open Mind
When first working with any outsourced answering service provider, small mistakes and hiccups are to be expected. No answering service or call center is perfect, but they should be perfectly polite and pleasant whenever you bring mistakes to their attention, and should always follow proper call etiquette.
Remember that your provider doesn't know your company as well as you do just yet, so they may need some pointers on the best way to assist your customers.
During Your Partnership
Complete Quality Checks
Once you've chosen an answering service partner, make sure that you continue monitoring your customer calls. You want to guarantee that your callers are consistently experiencing professional call agents.
Keep the Lines of Communication Open
A good answering service provider should make regular contact with you to ensure that you’re happy and satisfied with your services, and to fix any problems that may arise. Dexcomm’s account managers recommend checking in at least once a quarter once your partnership is fully established.
If your answering service doesn't make regular contact, don't be afraid to reach out to them and let them know about any changes you need to make to your services.