Hiring an answering service can be a great way to streamline your communications and free up your own time from all those calls. These days, people tend to lean toward local services because they feel they’re more connected, more personable, and more trustworthy than large, multi-national chains or nationwide businesses. However, that isn’t the case at all. In fact, many larger companies are just as capable, if not more so, when it comes to delivering that personalized service.
If you’re in the market for an answering service and you’re thinking local, here’s what you need to know.
Local answering services are companies that provide solutions for answering phone calls and handling other communications and admin needs for your local business. They can provide an array of services and support, depending on the provider, and they can allow you to focus your time on other areas. These companies can act as an extension of your own so that you never miss an opportunity.
These companies can do so much more than answer phones and that’s something that businesses today need to take advantage of. You have a lot on your plate. You don’t need to be fielding calls, scheduling appointments and meetings, and trying to handle lead intake while also taking care of your customers and your business. That’s where an answering service comes in handy.
But should you go local or consider a nationwide service? That’s the big question. Consider the following pros and cons in your decision.
Choosing a local answering service means that you will have a team of people who live and work in your region or area. They will have the same accent, nuances in speech, and other elements of their personality based on where they live and do business. They offer a high quality of service in most cases—smaller companies have to work hard to deliver premium service to keep up with the big names.
Local answering services also have local expertise that may be valuable to your callers. If you have a business that’s locally based or relies on regional information, having people who know the area might benefit your callers in several ways. Of course, sometimes it’s just as good to choose a national company because they can always learn about local information, but they have more to offer.
Local answering services are often limited. This could be in their capacity to provide services, their knowledge and expertise, or even their ability to provide quality, reliable solutions. They have limited resources, limited staffing, and even limited pricing options. Sure, they may offer “custom” solutions, but if they only have a handful of services to choose from, are you really getting the solution that you need?
Local answering services may not have the capability to scale with your business and provide agile solutions. Flexibility comes standard when you choose a nationwide answering service. You can even scale up during busy times and scale back when things slow down, and the best nationwide answering services do one thing local providers often can’t:
Answer the phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with a live person.
It’s not that local answering services are of no use. Smaller businesses and local outfits may do well to work with them. However, for those who want the flexibility, expertise, and access to better resources that come from a nationwide company, there’s really no comparison.
Now that you know more about which types of providers you should be working with, you’ll want to take the time to consider which one is best for your needs. There are several factors to consider, including all the pros and cons that we listed above regarding local answering services.
First and foremost, check out their reputation and experience in the industry. You want an answering service that has a solid reputation and is viewed as an expert in their industry so that they can deliver the best possible solutions for your customers, leads, and others who reach out via phone or online.
You’ll want to check out all the features and services that they offer, too. Even if you’re not exactly sure of what you want, look for providers that have a long list of solutions to help you with your communications, admin, and even marketing efforts if you want to maximize your resources.
How do they treat you when you call them? This is a big one. After all, if you reach out and are automatically directed to an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system that is fully automated, you’re likely to assume that’s what your callers will get, too. And in today’s competitive world, you can’t leave people to fend for themselves. If nothing else, choosing an answering service with live people answering calls is absolutely critical.
Smith.ai has been in the industry for several years and we know what it takes to deliver the best communication solutions. Whether you’re looking for a national company with that small-town vibe or you just want to ensure that you get the widest selection of available services, we’ve got you covered. The virtual receptionists at Smith.ai can act as your 24/7 answering service, and that’s just the start.
We can also provide solutions for lead intake, appointment scheduling, outreach campaigns, payment collection, and even live website chat. Not in the chat space yet? Now’s the perfect time to change that!
Plus, everything that we do comes with a custom strategy to manage every detail. When you choose our dedicated virtual receptionists, you’ll never miss another opportunity or important call. And when you add onto that service with our other solutions, you’ll be able to focus on your business and know that all those little things are taken care of.
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