If you are the owner of a small business or the business manager in charge of overseeing your answering service, does it sometimes seem as if your answering service is more hassle then they’re worth? Here are two common pain points many small businesses have when they hire the wrong telephone answering service:
If your staff is continually tattling about the mistakes your answering service made, perhaps it’s time to make a change. The telltale indication is an employee waiting to ambush you when you come in each morning. It starts with “You won’t believe what the answering service did last night…” And if you don’t have an open door policy or your staff is afraid to tell you these tales of woe, they will tell each other. So you may need to do some investigation to find out if this is happening.
Caution: Sometimes an answering service does exactly what they were told to do. It’s just that your processes have changed, are subject to interpretation, or aren’t to your employees’ liking. Make sure your answering service is not receiving undo blame before making a switch. If the problem resides in poor instructions or staff that has different ideas on how calls should be handled, you will merely take these same problems to your new answering service.
Another worrisome source of criticism comes from customers. They may claim they left a message with the answering service, and no one called them back. Or they say they called with an emergency, but it took two hours for them to receive a response. This is not the high degree of customer service you expect from your answering service. While you can handle employee criticism internally, customer complaints present a more frustrating challenge. When customer complaints happen repeatedly, changing answering services is in order.
Caution: Sometimes the answering service is a convenient scapegoat. Perhaps the customer never actually left a message or maybe they exaggerated when they said they called. All professional answering services today record all their calls and have extensive reporting capabilities to find out what really happened. Ask them to check before you overreact and fire them.
Once you’ve determined you need to switch answering services, don’t delay. Take proactive action. The problems you are encountering won’t magically fix themselves. But before you change services, correct any procedural problems or miscommunication issues first. Then switch. And if you use a broker to help you find and move to your new answering service, they can help you in analyzing the situation and achieving the best results.
Janet Livingston is the president of Call Center Sales Pro, a premier sales and marketing service provider for the call center and telephone answering service industry—and who provides a call center matchmaking service, covering both onshore and offshore call centers and answering services. Contact Janet at email@example.com or call 800-901-7706.
Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer from Southwest Michigan.