In an ideal world, businesses would prefer to have every call that comes into their office answered immediately. However, for some businesses with limited staff and budgets, this is not always the case. If this is your current situation, it may be time for you to consider working with a live answering service. When making the decision to outsource your communication needs, there are several items you should address with your potential business partner before signing on the dotted line.

Here are four important questions to ask before selecting an answering service:

1. Do you have an on-site generator?

This is a vital question to ensure that your chosen contact center is actually able to provide 24-hour continued service should there be a power failure.  If they don’t have an on-site generator and there is a statewide emergency, it could likely take several hours or even several days before they could receive a generator from a contracted company. This would put you out of commission, and could leave you with upset customers and lost revenue. At AnswerNow, we have a battery backup system in place, as well as an onsite generator, to guarantee we are able to sustain our service 24/7.

2. Do you carry Errors and Omissions Insurance?

No company or person is perfect; human error will occur no matter how skilled and trained your employees are or how many prevention techniques you have in place. This is why they have Errors and Omissions insurance. Similar to malpractice insurance, answering services may choose to carry Errors and Omissions insurance, though it is not mandatory. At AnswerNow, we elect to carry this insurance to not only protect our company and employees but to also protect our clients. We are proud to say that even though we carry this insurance, we have never had to use it!

3. What is your average hold time?

Knowing the average hold time of your potential answering service plays a huge role in the experience they will offer your customers. Long hold times can increase your chances of abandoned calls. A survey of 1,100 customers found that 60% of customers feel that waiting on hold for just one minute is too long. Unfortunately, missed calls are missed opportunities and this could lead to a loss in revenue for your business. At AnswerNow, we understand that when customers or clients call in they are looking to receive help immediately. This is why we staff our contact center to have 80% of our calls answered within three rings or less, with a maximum threshold of 30 seconds.

4. Can you provide short notice coverage?

Sometimes it is hard to predict when you might need phone coverage. Your phone lines might go down unexpectedly, bad weather may prevent your staff from going into the office, or you may have a last minute office meeting that requires you to forward your lines. Regardless of the reason, some services may not be able to handle the additional and unexpected call volume. At AnswerNow, we understand the importance of being there for your customers when you aren’t able to be. This is why we run our business in a way where we are able to cover your calls and keep your company running even on short notice.

These are just a few of the questions you should ask your potential answering service before making any final decisions. For more information on how AnswerNow can assist you with your communication needs, contact us today!