When choosing a live answering service for your business to use after-hours or when you are not able to get to the phone, you are going to want to take into consideration the privacy, hours, holiday fees and general pricing structure.
The first thing that you need to look into is how the answering service handles privacy. You are going to want to hire an answering service that values and protects your privacy. That means your answering service should never give out information about your location or personal details unless they have direct authorization from you to do. They should only provide the information that you have asked them to share with callers and should not provide alternative means of getting in contact with you outside of those you have provided them with.
You also want to make sure that they keep your messages that they take private. Ask how they keep track of messages. Ideally, they should be stored inside of a password protected system that only the virtual receptionist who is assigned to answer your calls has access to. The password for your account should change on a rotating basis so that no one can gain unauthorized access to your messages and your client's information. Make sure that the answering service uses secure servers and has other privacy measures in place.
The next thing you need to take into consideration is the hours that the answering service is open. You want to use a service that can talk to your customers when you are not able to be open. Not all answering services are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Some answering services only provide coverage during peak hours, which generally run from somewhere around 7am in the morning until around 8 at night.
Some answering services offer you the choice of using their services during peak hours only or twenty-four hours a day. The peak-only packages generally cost less.
Then, you need to find out if the answering service you are interested in using charges you additional for holiday coverage as well as what they consider a holiday. You may face additional charges for getting coverage during government holidays and for some companies, additional fees for coverage during religious holidays as well. Find out if any of these hidden fees exist, what holidays they apply to, and how much getting service during these times of year will ultimately cost you.
Finally, make sure that you understand the pricing structure of the answering service. Do you have to pay extra for 24-hour coverage instead of peak coverage? Do you have to pay extra for coverage during the holidays? Do you have to pay based on the number of phone calls that come in, or do you have to pay regardless of the number of phone calls that come in?
Make sure that you understand the pricing structure as well as any extra fees you will incur if you exceed the limits of your plan. The answering service you choose should be able to grow with your business as your needs grow. To begin your search, check out a company like 24 Hour Answering Service.Share