Considerations When Choosing A Great Live Answering Service

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As a small business owner, if you need to spend a lot of time out of the office, a live answering service could be a real godsend.  But how do you go about choosing a suitable service?  Read on for some helpful tips.

Suitability

If your business sits in a clearly-defined professional niche, such as legal or medical, you might want to consider using an answering service that specialises in this area.  This means that the call handler will be equipped with the knowledge to provide better assistance to a client with a query, than someone who is only able to take basic messages, thereby giving a much better impression of your business.

Many live answering services also provide a diary management service, however, if you simply require messages taking and passing on to you, or callers put on hold and then transferred through to you, a basic live answering service will probably be all you need.

Another consideration is the amount of coverage that you require.  Not all live answering services provide 24/7 cover, so if that's what you require, check that it can be supplied, and bear in mind that you will probably have to pay more than you would for office hours cover only.

Call quality

Before you sign up for a live answering service, make sure that the call quality is crystal clear.  Clients will become very frustrated if they can't understand the call handler because the line quality is poor.

When you speak to the call handlers, can you 'hear a smile' in their voices or do they sound fed up and bored with the whole job?  If the person on the end of the phone sounds professional, pleasant and happy, your clients will have a much better experience.

Pricing

Although a live answering service will mean that you don't miss important client calls, which may save you money in the long run, there are a number of pricing aspects you should query including:

  • will you be billed per minute?
  • will you be charged a flat rate?
  • what overage charges might you incur?
  • does the company charge extra during holiday periods?

Make sure that you have the charges you're likely to incur clearly laid down and agreed to before you sign a contract.

In conclusion

A live answering service, like The Message Centre, can offer huge benefits to you if you spend a lot of time out of your office.  Ask friends and business associates in your field who use a live answering service for their recommendations.

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10 February 2016

Value Added: How Good Marketing Techniques Improve Your Business

Hi, everybody. As the loans manager for a small bank, I'm often approached by startups looking for extra finance. Some of these entrepreneurs have fantastic services or products and sound business plans. Unfortunately, many of them have poor marketing techniques. Often business owners think that having a good website and advertising locally will gradually expand their client base. With strong competition, this isn't enough. I tell my clients to get marketing advice and then reapply. Sometimes, businesses do so well that they don't need to come back for a loan! Over time, I've been able to see which marketing techniques are working for the businesses that become successful. I'm really quite fascinated by the process. In this blog, I plan to post some of the marketing knowledge I've gained over the years to assist others who need to promote goods and services. I hope it is helpful. Thank you.