5 Considerations For Hiring A Message-Taking Service

Whether your business is just starting up or you have a thriving company and need additional help, hiring an answering service may solve your personnel problems. An answering service can help your company save money and time when you’re needing help right away. Here are five considerations for hiring the best service for your needs.

Determine Needs

Before you start calling to get quotes from telephone answering services, determine what business needs a service can fulfil. Do you need someone to take messages and pass them on when you’re out of the office? Will they provide temporary services during an expansion? Or will the service help fill vacancies when your regular employees are on holiday, on maternity leaves, or out sick? Knowing exactly why you need a service will make it easier to find one to fulfil the company’s needs.

Some companies only act as a message-taking service when people are out of the office or busy on other calls. Other services can provide full-time assistance to startup businesses who need their telephones answered, messages taken, and some fulfilment work done. When you are searching for a message-taking service, determine how they can help you before scheduling a meeting with their sales departments.

How Messages Are Received

Many services will deliver messages in a variety of ways so you will need to decide how you want them sent to you or others on your staff. Most message-taking services provide at least three ways to send you or your staff messages from missed calls. While some calls will be transferred to your telephone so the caller can leave a voicemail message, messages can also be sent through email, SMS, or a fax machine.

Transferring callers to your phone extension to leave messages on voicemail should be discouraged. Statistics show that 80% of callers who are sent to voicemail do not leave messages, which means that you could miss important calls. Instead, a message-taking service can take a complete message and send it by fax, email or SMS, depending on how you want it prioritised.

Most callers would rather that their messages be sent via text as it is more convenient and the receiver can call back right away if the call is important. This method works well for small businesses in which the owner or sales staff is out of the office most of the day. Sending messages via email also works well as those with smartphones can view their emails and determine if the call should be returned right away or can wait until later in the day.

Fulfil Staffing Needs

Some companies may need to hire a message-taking service only during certain times of year when they find themselves short-staffed. Most of your employees may take their holidays during the summer months so they can go to the beach or travel to another country to unwind and relax from their busy lives. Also, if you have a seasonal business, then you may need to hire extra telephone staff to take rollover calls or help provide basic information to potential customers before the calls are transferred to the sales department.

For instance, if you have a landscaping service, then your call volume will usually increase during the early spring and early fall to prepare gardens for planting and for the upcoming winter. Instead of hiring staff and training them for only a few weeks, you can hire a message-taking service temporarily to provide your staffing needs. Most services will train their staff to handle calls for your business by answering basic questions and then transferring the calls or taking messages for the appropriate departments.

This service can save your company time and money as you won’t need to go through the hiring or training process for temporary employees. In addition, you can add more staff as needed or reduce the number of people answering calls as your business ramps down as the season passes. A good message-taking service can customise their services to your business needs.

Emergency Service Calls

If your company provides emergency services such as plumbing, glass replacement, or towing, then you may need your telephones answered 24 hours a day instead of just during normal business hours. Hiring someone to answer the telephone at night could be a waste of company resources as you may only get a few calls on some nights. Instead of hiring someone full-time to take calls after closing shop for the day, you could hire a message-taking service to fulfil that role.

While some small business owners may answer their own telephones at night, doing that could cause you to not get a good night’s rest if you get hang-up calls or people only asking basic questions. Instead of having your sleep interrupted, hire a service to answer late-night calls, screen them, and then send them to you if there are people who have an emergency. This can help save time and money since you won’t need to hire someone full-time to sit around waiting for telephone calls late at night.

Consider Budget

Although it shouldn’t be the primary reason for hiring a message-taking service, it is an important consideration. Some telephone services charge per call while others can save you money by charging by the minute instead. If you receive short telephone calls or get frequent hang-ups, then paying per call could be very expensive for your business.

Since the primary purpose of hiring a message-taking service is to answer calls to take messages, then paying per call can help your company save money. When you speak with the sales department of a telephone answering service, they can outline their services and charges so that you can select the best value for your company. Some services, such as Message-Direct also offer free trials, which you should take advantage of to see how well the company fulfils your business needs.

When you find a message-taking service that helps fulfil these considerations, then you should hire them to provide the services that your company needs.

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