5 Criteria to Find the Right Answering Service for Your Agency

Elizabeth Lockwood

Agencies are typically designed to provide services for others, within whatever industry or vertical they are doing business. If you’ve got an ad agency, you’re likely looking for new customers that need help with their marketing. A modeling or public relations agency? You’re likely fielding calls from top talent and professional companies looking for said talent. Whatever the purpose of your agency, you also know that just like your clients, you cannot do it alone. 

That’s where the help of a professional answering service can come in handy. While you’re busy taking care of business and making sure that your clients have what they need, you might not always be able to get to the phone. Fortunately, you don’t have to. With a dedicated answering service or virtual receptionist, you’ll have someone who’s always ready to answer the call, no matter the time of day or night. 

There are several benefits that come from adding an answering service to your list of partners and outsourced services. For starters, you can choose 24/7 services so that you never miss an opportunity, no matter what time it is or what you may be doing. You’ll also guarantee that people get a professional live person on the other end when they call with a need or concern. 

If you want to maximize these benefits, you’ll need to make sure that you choose the right answering service for your agency. What that means to you might be different than another business, but there are also some criteria that everyone should keep in mind. Here’s what should be on your top five list. 

1. Professional experience 

This is a big one, especially for agencies and professional firms. While having a live answering service already boosts your reputation, you need to choose one that has professional experience in the industry. Check out how they train their agents and what type of professional services they can provide. This is a good time to read reviews from other agencies and clients of theirs, as well as from third-party review sites. 

Remember, these people are acting as the face of your business. Anything less than professional is going to leave a bad impression on your callers, even those who have been dedicated to you and your agency for years. 

2. 24/7/365 availability 

The Internet has created a world where people want everything to be available all the time. That includes the businesses that they work with and the services that they need, and your agency is no exception. Of course, it’s impossible to expect you to be available around the clock—and you don’t have to be. With a professional answering service or virtual receptionist, you can have a staff of agents available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays if you’d like. 

That way, no matter what happens or what the time of day, you’ll never miss another opportunity or call from a client who needs your help. Think about how many people could benefit from being able to reach out to your agency, even just after normal business hours. Even opening up calling until 7 or 8 PM would do wonders, but 24/7? Imagine how many more people would contact you knowing that they will be able to speak to someone and won’t have to leave a message or wait until a certain time to call. 

3. Features

Of course, an answering service is only as good as the features that it offers. Think about the features that you could most benefit from (besides phone answering, of course). For example, you might choose a service that can also take care of scheduling appointments and screening new leads so that you can free up more of your own time and resources. 

4. Customization and scalability

How much can you customize those features we just discussed? Since your agency is growing, it will be a good idea to find an answering service that helps you tailor a custom plan that’s designed to grow and change with your business. Consider whether you need total customization or just want to tweak a few things, as well as how agile the service is to scale up (and down) with you over time. 

This option doesn’t come at a premium, either. Plenty of reputable, affordable answering services and virtual receptionists offer customization as a standard feature. 

5. Transparent pricing and plans

Is there anything worse than finding what you think is the perfect solution for your needs, only to be told you’ve got to call for pricing or get a list of vague plans that barely describe what you get, let alone what it costs? As a professional, you understand and appreciate the need for transparent pricing information, and it’s something that you should look for in an answering service. Even if they do have customization options that require custom-tailored quotes, they should at least offer some sort of information about that, base plan pricing, or other insight so that you have an idea of what to expect. 

More than the actual pricing is the focus on transparency. You don’t hide things from your clients, and you don’t want an answering service that might do that to you. They should be able to walk you through the process of setting up your services and make you feel confident that you’re getting what you need at a price that’s worth whatever you pay. If companies seem vague or misleading about costs or fees, you should definitely question that, or move on to a different provider. 

For straightforward, efficient solutions, partner with Smith.ai 

At Smith.ai, we know that you’re busy. We also know that you can’t afford to miss a single call, whether it’s from a client, a lead, or even a vendor of yours. That’s where we come in. Not only can our virtual receptionists handle 24/7 phone answering, but they’ll also be able to help with things like appointment scheduling, lead intake, and live website chat

Haven’t considered chat for your agency? Well now you can! And you can do it all, as always, with a customized strategy that covers every last detail. To learn more, schedule a consultation or reach out to hello@smith.ai

Elizabeth Lockwood

Elizabeth Lockwood is the content marketing associate at Smith.ai. She focuses specifically on writing and editing engaging articles, blog posts, and other forms of publication.

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