5 Criteria to Find the Right Answering Service for Your Consulting Firm


In the business of consulting, you have a lot on your communications to-do list. There are clients to call, emails to send, video consults, and meetings—the list can seem endless at times. Fortunately, you no longer have to try to handle everything on your own. With the assistance of a professional answering service, your consulting firm can streamline communications and save time for everyone. 

Not only that, but you’ll improve the experience for everyone who calls your business. Whether it’s a vendor, partner, client, or potential lead, having an answering service available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, will show that you’re committed to delivering the best experience possible and earn you major reputation points with all of them. There are different types of answering services out there and you’ll have to take the time to explore your options to determine what’s best. 

In order to assist with that, we’ve compiled a list of the top five criteria that should be on your list if you’re in the market for an answering service. Your time should be spent with your clients and projects, and when you have the right answering service, it can be. Here’s what you should be looking for. 

1. Professional experience 

It’s not enough to have a live person answer the phone. You need a knowledgeable, experienced person that’s going to deliver the level of professionalism that reflects your consulting firm. They should be able to work as an extension of your firm, not as a static service, and part of that comes from their professional experience and the training that they receive. 

Check out what kind of experience companies have before you agree to work with anyone. Use information from testimonials and reviews to help you get a better idea of what to expect. You can find reviews from firsthand encounters and professional third-party reviewers, and both types of information can guide you in choosing the best answering service. 

2. 24/7 availability

You may not think that having someone answering the phone 24 hours a day is a necessity for your consulting firm, but you should think again. The Internet has created an always-on, instant gratification-oriented society that expects to be able to do what they want when they want. That includes being able to call your business, even at 7 PM or over the holiday weekend if they so desire. 

With an answering service, you can have live people available at all times. That means that no matter what you’re doing, you will never worry about missing a single opportunity. You can even delegate other tasks to the answering service, like 24-hour website chat, making it easy for people to reach out in the way that works for them. However you do it, being available is a critical feature of your answering service. 

3. Features

What other features does the answering service offer? Sure, they can get the phones, but can they take care of scheduling appointments, help you screen leads, or even provide support for your outreach campaigns? Today’s companies have so many different features and solutions available that you should be able to find just about anything that you want or need. Perhaps you’ve only got a few things in mind—you should still make sure that they’re available. 

Take the time to explore the available features. Even if you’re not sure about which features you want, you’ll figure that out while you’re learning about your options. That will give you a much better chance of success in choosing the right answering service. And for a bonus tip, this is a great place to compare what features you can get for the money. 

4. Customization

What about customization? Your business has different needs than any other firm. Your solutions should be able to cater to those needs. That includes a dedicated answering service that can tailor a solution to include all the services and features that you choose. Being able to customize your plan gives you the chance to create a more bespoke solution for your clients and others, and it ensures that you are only paying for what you need. 

In addition to customization of features, consider how an answering service can scale with you over time. From business growth to unexpected lulls, it’s helpful to have solutions that grow and scale with your company. That way, you’re always getting the exact right solution. And since you’re outsourcing, you’re getting it for a fraction of the cost compared to hiring someone to work in-house. 

5. Transparent pricing 

There’s nothing worse than trying to figure out which professional services are right for your business only to keep running into those pesky “contact us for a quote” lines without any given pricing information. Sure, if you’re getting customized services, you may need a quote to match. However, the most reputable companies will at least be transparent about their costs from the start. 

If nothing else, see if they have starter plans or any information about pricing based on the number of services chosen. More importantly, you’ll want to watch out for those who deliberately avoid the pricing conversation. Companies that specifically withhold pricing information or that are elusive when you ask about costs and fees are usually doing so because they have something to hide. You don’t need to take that risk.  

Partner with Smith.ai for answering solutions and more 

At Smith.ai, our dedicated virtual receptionists have all the solutions that your consulting firm needs when it comes to answering phones and more. From our 24/7 answering services to our support for lead intake, appointment scheduling, and even outreach campaigns, we’ll make sure that your firm never misses a beat, no matter how busy you are. 

Plus, we’ll do it all with a custom strategy that fits your needs, and we’ll be able to scale and grow with those needs over time. To learn more, schedule a consultation or reach out to hello@smith.ai

Business Education
Written by Samir Sampat

Samir Sampat is a Marketing Manager with Smith.ai. He has experience working with businesses of all sizes focusing on marketing, communications, and business development.

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