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

Samir Sampat

When you’re running a solo business, getting help in the right places can make a big difference in your success. Just because you’re working in the business by yourself doesn’t mean that you have to do everything alone. There are several ways to get assistance in your various business efforts, including support for things like answering the phone. 

You might think that your business is small enough that it doesn’t warrant having a full-time receptionist or team of call agents to pick up at all times of day and night. However, you couldn’t be further from the truth. The Internet has given people the comfort that things will always be available. Investing in the right answering service will help ensure that your business is one of those “things” that will be ready when the customer needs it. 

Of course, not all answering services are created equally. Nor are the needs of your business compared to another. The good news is that there are tons of answering services out there today that can assist you with your business communications and admin needs. The caveat is that you’ve got to be able to sift through them and find the one that fits your business demands. From simple phone answering to assisting with things like outreach campaigns and more, answering services can do a lot more than you think. 

Take advantage of that by taking the time to compare the best features and criteria, including the five items listed below. 

Before we get into the details, though, let’s take a look at what you get when you choose the right answering service:

  • 24/7 support
  • Professional expertise
  • Assistance with tons of admin and communication solutions
  • Customized solutions 
  • A chance to never miss an opportunity again

Plus, when you combine phone answering with all the other services that these companies can provide, you can create an impressive plan that covers a lot of your daily communications and admin needs. 

Speaking of which, let’s dig into the top 5 criteria that should be on your list. 

1. Flexible solutions 

You’re a solo business and as you know, things can change for you very quickly. That’s why it helps to have a flexible answering service that can deliver what you need, when you need it. Check out the different options that you have for plans and features (more on that in a minute) and make sure that they can deliver solutions that will help you in the future as much as they do now. 

Flexibility is key. What you need today might be different than what you need tomorrow. As such, you’ll want to work with an answering service that’s ready to deliver it all in a way that works for you. 

2. 24/7/365 availability 

You might not think that you’ve got a business that’s worthy of 24/7 solutions. However, it’s not always about those 2 AM inquiries. Sometimes it’s as simple as being available in the evening or early morning before “normal” business hours begin. It might mean offering weekend answering services so that your customers can always reach you, even if you’re not actually the one picking up the phone. The Internet has gotten people used to services being readily available, so your business needs to deliver on that. 

3. Professional receptionists or agents

Professionalism and training go a long way when it comes to choosing the best answering service. No matter what your solo business is, you should be able to find a team that can work as an extension of your business and deliver that level of professionalism that your callers deserve. They should be well-trained and authentic, not scripted and static. Check reviews and testimonials to find out how different companies rank when it comes to their professional expertise. 

4. Features available 

What kind of features does the answering service have? These providers can do so much more than just answer calls and you need to capitalize on that. You should explore all the features and solutions to see what’s out there. Even if you’re just starting out and not sure of what you need, this is a good way to figure it out. See how providers can help with more than just phone calls. 

While you’re looking at features, consider what kind of plans and packages they have, or if they let you choose a la carte services. We’ll talk more about customization in a minute, but this is more about making sure that the provider has all the features that you need. 

5. Customization and scalability 

Finally, you’ll want to make sure that you find an answering service that helps you create a customized plan that fits the needs of your business. Can you pick and choose which features you need? Are there pre-created plans that include certain services but can be modified as needed? Find out how they make sure that you get the services that your business needs and take advantage of that. 

You should choose an answering service that can grow with your company, too. Whether it’s scaling up to add agents when your business grows or even scaling back during a lull in business, the best answering services will fit your business in every way, including the scale at which services are offered. That means you won’t have to change providers each time your business grows. 

Start (and stick with) Smith.ai for your answering service needs and more

Our dedicated virtual receptionists are ready and waiting to answer the call, even when you can’t get to the phone. We offer solutions for businesses of all sizes, including solo businesses and small businesses. From 24/7 answering service support to live website chat, lead intake, and even appointment scheduling, we’ve got you covered. 

We’ll even help you craft a custom strategy to manage every last detail. To learn more about how Smith.ai can be your answering service solution, schedule a consultation or reach out to hello@smith.ai

Samir Sampat

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

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