5 Criteria to Find the Right Answering Service for Your MSP/IT Firm


If you’re in the IT and managed services industry, you know all about having the right support for people when and where they need it. What you might not have considered is that this also applies to you and your business needs. Just as you manage IT systems and networks for your customers, you can outsource to a team that can handle your communications and admin needs: the modern answering service. 

Answering services can deliver everything that you need, whether that’s just someone to field the calls when you’re busy or a full-service, end-to-end solution for calls, emails, admin needs, and more. Of course, that depends on finding the right answering service for the job. With so many to choose from today, it won’t be hard for every business to find its best fit, no matter what that means. 

The criteria you need to consider in choosing an answering service might seem familiar to you, given your line of work. Check out the list below and use these elements to help you find a partnership with an answering service that can improve your lead intake, communications, and more. 

1. 24/7 availability and support 

In the business of IT and managed services, you know the value of being available at all the “worst possible times” so that your clients aren’t left hanging. The same holds true for your answering service. You might not be there to field every call, but you can find a partner that will pick up the phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and make sure that every opportunity is captured and every query is handled accordingly. 

Even if you’re out of the office for the weekend and someone has a question about your services, an answering service can field the call. Just need some help with overflow calls during business hours? An answering service can be there. 

2. Professional experience 

You can’t just pick the cheapest answering service or opt to outsource to an overseas call center and call it a day. In fact, those are two of the worst things that you can do. Choose a North American-based answering service that has years of experience in the field. See what kind of clients they’ve worked with and what people have to say about their services. This is the time to check out firsthand reviews from their existing and former clients and investigate third-party reviews that rate answering services so that you know you’re getting the best service. 

3. Features and services 

What kinds of features can you find with the answering service(s) that you are considering? Even if you didn’t realize you could get more than someone to handle basic receptionist duties, you can now see that these companies can be an extension of your business for everything from lead intake all the way to payment collection, customer support, and everywhere in between. Take advantage of this by choosing to partner with an answering service that offers a host of features to create a total solution for your admin and communications needs. 

The more your answering service can do, the less you have to. That means more time to spend doing actual work, fielding your own support and service tickets, and a chance to appear more professional than if you were letting all the calls go to voicemail. 

4. Customization 

In addition to the features available, you’ll also want to make sure that you can customize the plans and choose services as you need them. Custom-tailored answering service plans are almost standard procedure these days. Some companies do offer typical plans and package deals, while others may offer these as a starting point with customization available to those who want it. 

Ideally, you’ll choose an answering service that can provide a custom solution for your MSP or IT services firm so that it feels like an extension of your business and delivers on every single one of your unique needs. In addition, you’ll want to ask about how they handle growth. Will they be able to scale and grow with your business over time, or will you be forced into finding another provider? It’s best to find a partner you can stick with for the long haul. 

5. Transparent pricing 

Gone are the days when people will accept that they have to call for pricing. You probably know this as an MSP/IT company, but do you know what the right solution is? It’s for companies to provide transparent pricing structures and up-front information about costs so that no one is caught off guard. Even when you need a custom quote, they should have some type of “starting prices” or plans that help you get an idea of what to expect. 

Make sure that you’re also getting a good value for the money. A proper answering service should deliver all the solutions you need for one low cost, and they should customize it as much as you need, as mentioned in the previous section. Make sure that you check on this before choosing your answering service provider. 

Speaking of exactly what you need, consider a partnership with Smith.ai

At Smith.ai, we know that you are busy handling customer issues and fielding support calls, scrolling through networks and applications to ensure that everything is in order, and securing the infrastructure for your clients, one by one. That’s why we offer to do the same for you—a partnership with Smith.ai means a dedicated 24/7 answering service that includes a team of virtual receptionists. Plus, in addition to answering the phone, we can also assist with lead intake, appointment scheduling, and support services like live website chat

It also comes with a customized plan tailored to the needs of your MSP/IT firm, to ensure that we never miss a thing and your business never misses a beat. To learn more, schedule a consultation or reach out to hello@smith.ai

Business Education
IT and Managed Services
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.

Take the faster path to growth.
Get Smith.ai today.

Affordable plans for every budget.

Take the faster path to growth.
Get Smith.ai today.

Affordable plans for every budget.