Frequently Asked Questions About an Answering Service Answered!

Frequently Asked Questions and Concerns Businesses Have About Hiring an Answering Service

Our Sales Manager Linda Murphy-Kreimes shares the most common questions and concerns she hears fromAlliance-Wireless-Answering-Service-FAQs potential clients seeking an answering service.

What are the questions that people and businesses ask you when they’re thinking about hiring an answering service?

Cost is a big factor. Time billing is the norm in the [telephone answering] industry but some potential clients aren’t used to time billing. They are used to the per-call basis so the concept of time billing confuses them and makes them somewhat concerned about the cost at the end of the month.

If people are concerned about price, I generally (based on what they’re telling me) steer them toward the lower rate plans and I’ll monitor it every week for the first while and send them their calls versus their minutes. So if they’re concerned about price and they say they get 10 calls a day, I start them on the 50 minute plan and I’ll monitor it and give them their stats and at the end of the month if they’ve used 100 minutes I’ll give them the option of changing to the 100 minute plan if they want. We always work with them to make sure they’re on the appropriate rate plan.

With our per-second billing, if a caller only uses 15 seconds our client still has the 45 seconds remaining and the minute to utilize. It can be an advantage to have time billing on a per-second basis. Some companies calculate on a per-minute basis but with our per-second billing it can be a definite advantage.

What are their concerns beyond billing?

It depends because some people use us as a Virtual Receptionist, some people use us for order entry, there’s so many different applications.

Someone that wants us as a Virtual Receptionist for example, they have a lot of questions because they want to know how we’re going to represent them seamlessly like we’re sitting at their front office. That’s our biggest potential client are those looking for a Virtual Receptionist. They just have to know that we act like someone sitting at the front desk. We’re as educated as possible by having all the information at our finger tips so if someone just simply called and said: “What’s John’s email address?” and providing John said it’s ok to release it then we’ll give them John’s email. If they just want to know the fax number then we’ll give them the fax number. We have to have as much information as possible so we can assist the callers and then we have to know everyone that works for the company so that if someone calls and asks for John Smith then we would know who John Smith is and then we would just tell them whatever we’ve been instructed to say. During business hours for a Virtual Receptionist we have to give [the business] the option of having our Operators say: “They’re currently on the other line, they’re with a client, they’re in a meeting, they’ll call back as soon as possible” and then we take those details as outlined by them on their message form and then send them an immediate email with the details of the call. So we’re just like someone sitting at the front desk. If a caller needs to speak to John right away and he says it’s ok and he gives us a list of clients and says: “If A-B-C company calls then always patch them through to me” so then our Operators would say “If you could please remain on the line we’ll connect you with John right now” and then we call out on one of those other lines into that toll-free number because they have between 9-12 trunk lines on every toll-free number that we give for call forwarding purposes. We place that caller on hold, we call out on another line and tell John that “Mr. Smith is on the phone, we’re going to connect you right now”. Then we go back on the line to the caller and say “We’re connecting you with Mr. Smith please go ahead.”

What are the solutions you provide to the concerns you mentioned?

We have so much with the system that we have for answering, we can put an abundance of information in there. If there’s someone that wants order entry we list all the FAQ’s of the business so if someone calls and they’re ready to place an order but they want to know how long shipping is because they need this order at a certain time. So if it’s generally 3 business day’s standard shipping then we can tell them that so that they can proceed with their order and we can get them while they’re hot so we don’t lose that potential order for our clients.

How does customization work for businesses?

The customization is so detailed that we can represent them seamlessly from off site and we can put as much information as they want to relay to the callers. Their form is customized so we only ask for information on their form, nothing less nothing more. We go through that form, we ask the questions, fill in the blanks and send an immediate email or text.

The fact that the calls are recorded, they can pay monthly for this feature so they can listen to every single call and this gives them the chance to make changes if they need to. Other than that, if it’s a particular call that they want from a few days ago then they can just call and ask: “Can I have that call from Mr. Smith on May 10th at 2 o’clock?” We can email it to them so they can listen to it.

All calls are backed up with recordings so our customers can listen to both sides of the conversation so they know exactly how it all transpired between their potential client and our Operator.

How can you represent a business seamlessly?

The big thing is, as much information as they give us we’re going to have. That information is going to be readily available to the Operators so they can assist the callers fully just like someone sitting at the front desk.

There’s so much we can do for potential clients at Alliance. We do Technical Support Level 1 for some of our clients. Where we basically read the script and if we can’t walk the caller through then we get in touch with the on-call after hours.

Some people use the answering service 24/7, some just use it after hours for emergency calls. If it’s for a property-rental person then we qualify the caller and get in touch with the on-call if it’s urgent.

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