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A five-star review is entered into a smartphone. Customer service is one of the most important questions to ask a telephone answering service.

Have You Worked in this Industry Before? Top Questions to Ask a Telephone Answering Service

Phone Answering

September 12, 2022

You want to build a better business, but operating capital is hard to come by – and investing in an unknown is a dicey proposition. How can you be sure you’re making an informed choice?

We’ve been there. Our suggestion: arm yourself with information. Here are just four great questions to ask a telephone answering service:

  1. Have you worked in our industry before? There’s a very good reason you don’t call the doctor when your AC is broken or look up the area’s best general contractor when you need to cater your wedding. Specialization is the secret to every business’s success. And, by far, one of the most important questions to ask your telephone answering system is just what level of experience they have fielding phone calls about the work that you do and the clientele you do it for.

The best answering services implement individualized training for their staff, ensuring that the intricacies of your business become second nature. They will be able to assure you that its leadership and agents have a firm grasp of your protocols and any possible urgencies, emergencies, or SNAFUs that can pop up. By being able to speak intelligently and confidently about your neck of the woods, so to speak, an answering service may very well save you time, money, property, and possibly even someone’s life.

Focus Answering Service, for example, has answered calls for almost everyone with a business license at one time or another. We know the needs and challenges of professionals from small business owners to property managers, and have helped plumbers, HVAC technicians, medical offices, and more keep callers satisfied and efficiencies growing.

  1. How do you ensure time efficiencies? When it comes to telephone answering services, prompt, patient, and diligent service is the key. While it’s true that the average time to answer can vary – and not all calls can be answered by that first or second ring – there are high standards that should always be met. The best answering services train their agents to get to all calls before the fourth ring. Holds, too, can be frustrating for eager and anxious callers, and often lead to errors or incomplete messages. Be sure to ask answering service prospects about their policies regarding holds after an initial greeting and go with one that makes it a point to avoid them.
  2. Are your agents certified and trained? Association of TeleServices International (ATSI) Certification Programs validate professional answering services. Certification demands time, effort, and no small expense to achieve and maintain. Answering services associated with ATSI or similar regional organizations have made ongoing investments in education. This is typically a hallmark of a trustworthy and tireless collaborator. Regarding training, 30 hours, minimum, is the industry standard, followed by 10-15 hours of on-the-job mentoring. Be sure to ask all prospects about their policies and pass on those that lack the proper credentials.
  3. How long have your team members been with the company? If you are fortunate enough to find an answering service whose agents have been on board for years – decades, even – they certainly deserve a closer look. In tandem with experience, a company’s low turnover rate speaks volumes about its quality.

These questions are good “ice-breakers” when hiring a telephone answering service. For a deeper dive into the search for a quality collaborator, download our free white paper.

Focus knows the best questions to ask a telephone answering service. Why? Because we literally “wrote the book” on the industry back in 1987. In fact, the operations manual we created is still being used today. Our compassionate and skilled agents still use the lessons we imparted back way back when, while leveraging today’s cutting-edge technology to help your brand and business to bigger, better things. More important than the questions though – we have the right answers.