When it comes to marketing, you either get it right, or you get right back to the drawing board to figure out what went wrong. When you do hit it out of the park, you’re going to need a little help fielding all those new incoming leads. And when you’re stuck in the brainstorming stages on a new project, you’re going to want someone there to take the calls so that you’re not collecting messages and never finding the time to get back to people.
Marketing is a busy industry. It’s fast-paced, ever-changing, and in today’s world, always on. You need an answering service that can keep up. And, since they’re not all created equal, that’s not always an easy feat. Fortunately, while you’re busy building those winning campaigns, we’ve got you covered with everything that you need to know.
Do you have time to answer the phone during the business day? Or are you typically handling projects, setting up campaigns, running testing and analytics, etc.? You’re not alone. Businesses are busy. It’s just the nature of things. And with the rising cost of running a business and managing employees, some people find it easier to outsource.
When you outsource to an answering service, you will get a team that you can scale to suit your needs. Instead of having to spend a small fortune to hire a receptionist or an admin team, you’ll be able to get a whole team of agents that are ready to respond to every single call on your behalf. Plus, they can do it in the way that you dictate, with custom greetings, standard operating procedures, and more.
The benefits of an answering service far outweigh the costs. And in today’s busy world, the fact that they’re available 24 hours a day, seven days a week is a huge selling point, especially in the marketing world.
With that in mind, here are five criteria that you’ll want to consider when choosing the team to field your calls (and more!).
The first thing you need is someone available around the clock to field every single lead that comes in. Sure, your agency can handle most of the incoming calls during business hours, but who operates on “business hours” these days? We’re not saying that you’re going to suddenly get an influx of 2 AM calls, but you will have plenty of people that want to get in touch with you in the evenings or over the weekend for one reason or another.
We live in an always-on society. The Internet has done great things, but it has created a society that expects instant answers and that wants people to be available on their time. This is much different from generations past who were more than willing to get to business matters during business hours because that’s just when things were done. Now, “business hours” can be whenever people want.
We don’t like to harp a lot on cost because there’s so much more to consider here than just what you’re going to pay for this type of solution. However, we do advocate for businesses to provide transparent plans and pricing information for everyone. If you are trying to get information about pricing from a service and they can’t seem to give you a straight answer, that could be a red flag and a sign to go elsewhere.
Even if the company only offers custom solutions, they should be more than willing to tell you that upfront and give you an idea of what to expect along the way. That way, you’ll understand why they can’t just list prices and know that you are getting the personalized service that you deserve.
An answering service is going to be an extension of your marketing agency. Therefore, you should be able to create a custom plan that scales to fit your needs. It can include custom greetings and voicemails, warm transfer services, admin solutions, and anything else that your company needs. With the selection available today, there’s no reason why you should be stuck with some cookie-cutter answering service that just doesn’t hit the mark.
Be sure to check out the different plans and pricing options we discussed above so that you can see what the starting points are. And if you have questions about customization, feel free to ask. The best companies will be willing to discuss everything with you.
Although they don’t have to be PhDs in business, the answering service that you work with should have some experience working with other marketing agencies. They should be able to handle phone calls from all kinds of parties, including those using industry lingo or asking high-level questions about their campaigns. Even if they have to forward these calls on to you to answer, they still need to know what’s being asked of them and understand their callers. This also helps them anticipate caller needs and deliver a better experience.
Although this is the final one on the list, it’s among the most important. You want an answering service that includes simple setup and that integrates easily into your tech stack and your day-to-day operations. You don’t want to end up constantly struggling to check messages, monitor call reports, and ensure that calls get routed in the right direction. Fortunately, the modern answering service makes it easy to get started and the best services will be quick and easy to set up.
The virtual receptionists at Smith.ai offer solutions for 24/7 answering services, along with a host of other features. You can create a custom strategy to handle lead intake, appointment scheduling, and even live website chat.