Anyone have advice regarding an answering service for my business?

I am considering an answering service, but I am not sure what to do. As a contractor, I really like to answer all my own calls, so I don't miss any new potential customers. I don't want to hire an employee to just answer the phone, but it is sometimes difficult for me to get to every call, so I thought hiring an answering service might be a good solution. I know there are a lot of companies out there that do this type of stuff, but I really am more interested/concerned with the wisdom of getting a service in the first place. My main concern is that it will actually lower my close rate if the people answering the phone don't know what they are talking about, after all, they of course won't be as knowledgeable about my trade as I am. Has anybody had any good/bad experiences with answering services? How did it go with a non-contractor picking up your "precious" calls?

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  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    i had a answering service, they wont discuss any part of your busines they will answer with your business name and tell the potential customer that they will have a rep/ you call them back shortly. this will ofcourse bring your sales down because the costomer will move on and find somebody pretty quick depending on what type of business you have. it has its good points and bad but its a choice you have to make. good luck

  • jkc
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    This is really a tough one because you are right - people will continue on looking for someone if they don't get an immediate response.

    We were kind of in the same dilemma as you, but there are two of us. I can at least tell you what we did.....

    The business is run by my husband and I. I try to be there to always answer the phone, but it's not always possible. When I couldn't, it would go to voicemail with a nice message and then my husband would get a phone call letting him know we had a voicemail waiting. He could respond right away.

    The only problem was (is) is that sometimes people won't leave a message and it's a bummer to see a missed call but not have a message. The one advantage we have is that we are the only place in Colorado offering this service (exotic car rentals).

    The other day I set up forwarding on the phone so that if I have to step away, it automatically goes to my husband's or my cell. The person on the other end has no idea the call was forwarded, and I can get the call. That has worked out great.

    I realize your reason for missing calls might be that you are in the middle of something that can't be put down, so I don't know if this helps or not.....

  • 1 decade ago

    I used to work for a very large company... I'm now starting my own company in a related industry.

    The large company used an answering service located somewhere in the boonies. These people couldn't spell, could barely type and had no idea of what questions to ask. We always got our fax in with the info they collected and then had to pull out our Chickenscratch for Dummies book to figure out what they were saying. We ended-up having to ask our customers what the message was 20% of the time.

    Finally the large company had enough and hired three wonderful women to answer the phones. The women were trained with the field personnel in every aspect of the business. They were trained in accounts receivable, accounts payable and customer service. They can do 75% of whatever needs to be done at any time in any branch. Not only are customers more satisified, it reduced the workload on the rest of the entire company.

    If you can afford to hire someone to answer your phone for you, I say do that. If you cannot, make more money so you're just too busy to answer your own phone unless it's an emergency so you can afford to hire someone.

    If you don't like either of those, get a really good answering machine or use your computer to answer and receive faxes, especially if your phone calls contain very sensitive and secret information.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I would train a real live person about your business on pricing, arranging meetings,settling customer complaints,etc.. This may seem like a pain but I'm telling you,this will make you look sincere when dealing with a potential client and it will look as if the customer's needs were placed above your own. As a customer,I myself would rather deal with a real person than who knows the business than just some glorified"Message Taker".

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