5 Criteria to Find the Right Answering Service for Your Enterprise Business

Elizabeth Lockwood

There’s a lot of information out there about answering services for small businesses and solopreneurs because they obviously need the assistance, but what about enterprise organizations that seem to have it all? They might still benefit in several ways from a partnership with an answering service or virtual receptionist. 

For starters, it could save the company from trying to invest in an in-house call center staff that provides enough availability for callers. It also offers the chance to do more than just pick up phone calls. Modern answering services can schedule appointments, help screen leads, and even assist with your outbound sales efforts. Plus, for a fraction of what it would cost to hire people, you can get a full team of agents that are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week so that you never miss another opportunity. 

If you’re looking for a better way to utilize your resources, this could be just what you need. Whether you’ve considered it before or you’re just realizing that a few receptionists in-house aren’t enough, you’ll be pleased to know that you can rely on professional answering services to get the job done and you can do it without breaking the bank. 

Choosing the right answering service is like anything in business—you have to figure out what you’re looking for and which service would best suit those needs. Fortunately, you’re not alone. Take the time to consider which elements are most important to you, but make sure to check out the five criteria below, too. 

1. 24/7 availability 

You might not think that the customers of your enterprise business need or expect you to be available around the clock. However, you’d be sorely mistaken. Although most of your callers won’t be pining for someone to answer at three in the morning, being able to reach someone in the evenings or on the weekends is always a bonus. After all, that’s usually when things happen and people need help. 

Some answering services say they’re available 24 hours, but they’re “staffed” by a chatbot or IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system that probably frustrates more people than it helps. Choose an answering service that has live agents picking up the call at all times. 

2. Customization options

How much customization do you need in your answering service solution? There are a lot of features and included solutions available today and being able to create a custom plan could take your enterprise business even further and free up more of your resources. Find out what kind of customization is offered, if any, and whether you can choose a la carte services or if you have to build from premade plans. 

There are some things that you might need more than another business, and vice versa. That’s why the best virtual receptionists and answering services have options for total customization of your solution. 

3. Features 

What kind of features are offered by the answering service? Today’s providers typically have a lot more features and services than most people realize. Even if you aren’t quite sure what you need, now is the time to explore the available features and consider what would best suit your business demands when it comes to communications and admin. You might find a lot more than you expected, and it could make your life (and work) even easier. 

As mentioned above, consider whether features are prepackaged or if you can pick and choose to get what you need. Think about not just what you need now, but what type of features could benefit you in the future. That way, you’ll get a solution that grows with you over time. 

4. Professional experience

You’re an enterprise-level business, not an SMB or startup. Therefore, people expect you to have a certain level of professional experience and reputability. You should consider this when choosing your answering service. See how long they’ve been in the industry, what kind of training and experience they demand of (and offer to) their receptionists, and how they are rated by others. 

This is where you should be looking at reviews from those who have worked with the answering service in the past. You can also check out third-party reviews from professional companies and websites to see which services rank the best when it comes to professional experience. The last thing that you want is to choose an answering service that sounds like it just started yesterday and can’t deliver the level of service your clients demand. 

5. Transparent pricing and plans

Custom solutions are ideal, but even if you build off a pre-made plan, you need to know what you can expect to spend on this investment. The pricing is important for your budget, but the availability of it and transparency of information reassure you that you’re working with a professional company that also stands by its pricing and provides good value for the money. 

Even if they do require custom consultations to get accurate pricing, they should be able to offer general information about what their different services cost or how they charge for them in the first place. That way, you can know what to expect and budget accordingly. 

Focus on your business and let Smith.ai handle the rest

For all these things and more, ask how Smith.ai can be the solution that your enterprise business needs. Our 24/7 answering service is just the start. We also offer a team of virtual receptionists that can handle appointment scheduling, lead intake, and even live website chat. No chat yet? Maybe now is the time to give it a try!

Plus, whatever you choose for us to do, we’ll also create a custom strategy to ensure that we handle all the details, and you never miss a beat, even when you’re busy with other tasks or taking some time off to enjoy life. To learn more, schedule a consultation or reach out to us at 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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