How do I Choose the Best Virtual Answering Service?

Sheri Cyprus

When choosing the best virtual answering service, don't go by price alone, but rather concentrate on value for your money. If the cheapest answering service doesn't do what you need done, its work will be of low value to your company. Of course, an expensive service that doesn't meet your needs isn't good value either. Look for a virtual answering service that guarantees its work and fits with your business goals and needs.

When choosing a virtual service to answer business calls, start out by checking into companies that offer a trial period.
When choosing a virtual service to answer business calls, start out by checking into companies that offer a trial period.

Customers calling during the hours you'll be using an answering service can't be expected to understand that the person they're talking to isn't actually a regular part of your business. The service he or she provides to your customers must leave a good impression about your company. Don't take a virtual answering service's word about satisfied clients it's had; be sure to actually call the references yourself. Refuse to deal with any virtual service that won't provide you with recent client references to check.

After all, the fact an answering service is virtual means that its location could be very distant from yours and chances are you'll never meet the people you'll hire. Checking references and making deposits rather than big payments all at once are good precautions to take when looking for the best virtual answering service for your business. If you find that a virtual service provider isn't willing to accept reasonable payment deposits, it's best to look elsewhere.

Many virtual answering services operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week (24/7). If you don't need such flexible hours, you may be able to hire a service open fewer hours at a lower price. Again though, don't go by its fee alone, but check references. Also make sure that the answering service you choose has a system that's simple for yourself and your staff to use. Customers could be lost if messages can't be properly retrieved within a reasonable amount of time after the answering service has first taken calls.

Try to choose an answering service that will allow you to listen to a sample call. Then, if you're impressed by it and what to hire that virtual answering service, you can hold it up to that sample to make sure you get what you pay for. Another consideration to make when choosing a virtual service to answer calls for your business is to first check companies that will offer a trial period rather than locking you into an agreement to use its services for months or even years.

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