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PLAY #1:  Determine the best VALUE for your company.

General managers and head coaches compare and evaluate the abilities of players, the success of new plays, and the benefits of new training techniques to determine which ones work best for their team.  In other words, who or what will bring a greater VALUE to their teams to achieve their goal of winning a championship?

Your business operates in much the same manner when determining the best answering service partner to achieve a profitable relationship.  Most reputable answering services have many of the same features, but having more features does not necessarily bring VALUE.

First, your team must decide how can the answering service make life easier and better for your employees and your callers?  Here are a few basic questions to determine your needs.

  • Are employees becoming frustrated with handling non-essential calls?
    • Can employee morale and engagement improve with more personal time?
    • Can you free up employees’ work time to focus on more profitable activities for your company?
  • Do you need assistance to better serve your customers and new callers?
    • Are you missing phone calls during business hours or after hours?
    • Are you responding to email and social media requests in a timely manner?
  • Will having a professionally educated and caring team available 24/7 build and increase trust with your customer base?
    • What complaints are your customers expressing?
    • Are you losing customers because of lack of response?
    • Are you following up with customers for satisfaction or possible reorders?

The answers to these basic questions provide you with an excellent starting point to determine the VALUE you need from any answering service.  Use your answers to focus on what your potential answering service partner can do to meet and exceed these needs.  In addition, here are some basic points to help determine the VALUE an answering service can provide.

  • Learn about the education process for phone agents.
    • What is the starting time for new agents?
    • What is the ongoing education process?
    • Do you have specific education related to the industry?
  • Visit at an unannounced time or have a live virtual tour.
    • Does it seem properly staffed?
    • Does everyone have a happy demeanor?
    • Does the center seem clean, organized, and well managed?
  • Make test calls at random times.
    • Do agents sound professional and engaged?
    • Was the call answered promptly?

These few simple tasks can provide you with peace of mind that you are choosing the best answering service partner to bring the greatest VALUE to your company.  If your company uses this practice plan to find the best partner, you will receive the VALUE you need during game time—when your customers are calling.

Play #2 will be discussed next week to help determine the best TYPE of communications partner.

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