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Choosing the best professional answering service for your business requires you to assess your business needs. Then you have to find a service that provides the services you need and can be representative of your business office when you or your staff is not able to answer the phone. Since answering the phone, answering customer questions, and taking phone messages are the primary functions of superior customer service, you will want to consider these factors along with the pricing for the services to find the best business answering service.
One of the first aspects you want to review when shopping for an answering service is business hours and availability. Some offer 24-hour answering service. This means that they can answer your business calls during and after your normal business hours. During your business hours, this allows the service to screen your calls for you, which can be especially helpful if you are a one-person operation or have a small office staff. Around-the-clock service also helps you avoid missed business opportunities just because a customer calls after your business has closed for the day or on days of the week when your office is not open.
Another feature of a professional answering service to consider is the setup of the call services' office and its technology availability. For example, many are virtual answering services; since this type of service is in another location, it has its own office and equipment that it uses to answer your calls. Some, however, are more technological advanced than others so find out how they deliver your messages or handle call transfers.
For example, some professional answering services have technology that allows them to log your messages into a system that automatically sends you an email when you receive a message. Other services will try to transfer the call to the number you set up as a transfer number. If you answer, they will tell you who is on the call and what they are calling in reference to before you decide to take the call or have the operator take a message for you.
You should also consider your cost options. While some professional answering service companies allow you to pick and pay only for the services you need, a la carte style, others offer bundled packages that allow you to save money. In addition to the cost savings, bundled packages may also include services beyond simply answering your business calls.
Some professional answering service options also offer administrative help. This may include email management, database management, and creating correspondence such as typing up customer letters. In the end, choosing the best live answering service typically comes down to finding a service that meets the majority of your needs, has superior customer service, and fits your budget.