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


The solar industry is exploding, which means your business probably is, as well. What can you do when you’ve got client jobs to handle and calls coming in left and right? You could hire a receptionist, but even they would only offer so much support. Fortunately, the advances in technology have completely reinvented the “answering service” of old and created an entirely new business model that almost every business can benefit from. 

The modern answering service offers a host of solutions beyond just answering calls and taking messages, too. You can completely change the communications and admin strategies that you use and give people more access to your business than ever before. Of course, part of that comes in choosing the right answering service for the job. 

Do you need a provider that specializes in solar, or energy businesses in general? Not necessarily. What you need most is a professional, reliable answering service that has years of expertise to back up its promise of quality solutions. It sounds like a tall order, but thanks to the solutions available today, it may be easier than you think. 

In order to ensure that you get the right answering service, here are five criteria that you’ll want to keep in mind. 

1. Professional experience

There are all kinds of companies out there claiming to offer the best answering services. How can you know which ones are telling the truth? Simple: do your homework. Get to know the companies that you are considering for your solar business before you choose. See what kind of training they require for their agents, how much experience they have working in the energy sector, and other factors. 

Remember, you don’t have to find a company that can absorb all of the industry information related to solar energy. You just have to find a professional team that can relay some information and rely on you for the rest. No answering service is perfect, but their experience is definitely a factor that will put them in the running as a top choice for several businesses. 

2. Features and services

Besides answering the phones, what can your answering service do? Take the time to look at the different features that are available, from things like live website chat support to after-hours call answering. Compare the different companies and their offerings to see what your best investment will be. If you’re not familiar with the services available from an answering service, this is also a good way to learn as you go and become more informed about how your outsourced communications are doing. 

Companies today are competing for an ever-shrinking market of potential customers. Therefore, they will typically offer more features for your money, a better investment, and a total explanation of everything that you are paying for to ensure there are no hidden charges (but more on pricing and costs later). 

3. 24/7 availability 

When was the last time your solar business got a phone call in the evening or overnight when you weren’t available? As a business owner, you have to figure out how to be available and that’s exactly what answering services offer. The best companies offer around-the-clock support for any number of needs related to solar purchases, information about the solar energy industry, and so forth. 

You aren’t the one who has to stay late or stay up until all hours of the night, either. When you reach out to your partner, they will take care of things promptly, and that they have a team ready and waiting to field the calls and customers while you are sleeping, spending time with the family, or otherwise enjoying life. 

4. Transparent pricing

Nothing is worse than getting to a website’s pricing page only to see a huge list of plans, features, and those dreaded three words: “call for pricing.” While there are certainly some instances where people will be able to get information about pricing right away, there are just as many companies that still make it impossible to find the facts. Make sure that you partner with a virtual receptionist or answering service that offers transparent, up-front information and support. 

You should also ask about discounts and other deals at this time so that you can guarantee that you are paying the absolute lowest bottom dollar. And transparent pricing is about more than just money, too. It’s proof that the answering service stands behind its products and believes in every dollar that is being spent towards those products (or services). 

5. Customization and scalability

Having a partnership with a company that can scale and grow with you over the years is essential. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself changing services every time that your business grows, and that can be a lot of wasted time and effort. Embrace a company that offers solutions for now and strategies for the future that include total customization so that you can get exactly what you need and nothing else. 

You should also choose a company that can scale up as you hit the busy season and then dial back when things slow down. They should be agile and ready to move with the changing needs of your solar business, no matter what those might be. Today’s answering services are far more agile than those of decades past, but they’re still not all created equally. 

Speaking of agile, available solutions, consider a partnership with Smith.ai

Smith.ai has a team of capable, dedicated virtual receptionists that are available to help with all of your incoming calls and leads, starting with our 24/7 answering service solutions. Along with that, you’ll also find support for appointment scheduling, lead intake, and even assistance with outreach campaigns when you need it most. 

Plus, we’ll do it all with a custom, flexible strategy that hits the mark in every way, and we’ll ensure that you never miss a single opportunity. 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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