Answers to the Top 10 Questions You Have About Hiring a Telephone Messaging Service
Everyday our telephone messaging service receives questions about what we do and how we do it. We handle millions of caller transactions every year and are proud of our award-winning services. If you’re a business owner that wants to ask a few questions before outsourcing your business telephone calls, take a look at the top 10 questions received and how we answer each inquiry.
1. How Does an Answering Service Work?
To use an answering service, all you have to do is follow these easy steps:
- 1.) Forward Your Business Calls When You Need Them Answered.
- 2.) Access Your Messages and Virtual Receptionist Team 24/7.
- 3.) Step 3: Unforward Your Business Lines Anytime You Would Like to Answer Your Calls.
An answering service will handle all of your incoming phone calls; take and deliver messages in real-time; schedule, confirm and cancel your appointments; and provide elite customer service to your callers.
2. Who Much Does an Answering Service Cost?
Depending on the type of telecommunication services your business needs, the rates and packages vary greatly. We have a highly detailed article dedicated to this question: How Much Does an Answering Service Cost?
If your business receives low call volumes, you could take advantage of our super value package that starts at just $20 per month. If you’re in the medical industry and are in need of a medical answering service that is HIPAA compliant, our rates start at just $59 each month.
When researching various answering services, be on the lookout for these common hidden fees:
- • One-Time Setup Fees
- • Standard Monthly Fees
- • Rental Fees for 1-800 and Local Telephone Numbers
- • Phone Message Delivery Fees
- • Charges for Updates and Changes to Account
- • Cost Per Minute vs Cost Per Call Fee Differences
Check out the article referenced above to take a deeper look into the fees associated with virtual receptionists.
3. Who Will Answer My Business Phone Lines?
Unless you specifically select an auto attendant service, your lines will be answered by REAL HUMAN BEINGS. Our highly skilled virtual receptionist team is provided custom training to answer your business’s lines according to your exact specifications. Our main office is located in Orlando, Florida and our doors are always open to our customers.
To give you an in-depth, behind the scenes look at our call center, check out our article: 10 Rules Our Virtual Receptionists Must Follow. In the article, we discuss the following rules our team abides by to ensure excellent customer service:
- 1.) No cellphones permitted at workstations.
- 2.) No food or drink allowed when answering phone lines.
- 3.) Gum and candy is prohibited while working.
- 4.) Strict adherence to break and lunch schedules.
- 5.) Always confirming vital information of caller.
- 6.) We’re never “just” the answering service when it comes to your customers.
- 7.) “I don’t know,” is not in our vocabulary.
- 8.) We always encourage all callers to take action.
- 9.) Our business answering service is constantly under surveillance.
- 10.) Always striving for courteous, friendly and helpful customer service.
When you hire A Courteous Communications, rest assured knowing that professional receptionists are providing your callers with award-winning customer service; all day every day.
4. Do I Get Charged for Overtime or Weekend Work?
One of the greatest benefits of having virtual receptionists answer your business calls is that you never pay for overtime, weekend and holiday work. As the employer, we retain the responsibility to provide employee benefits and packages.
All of our virtual receptionists enjoy the perks of working at A Courteous Communications:
- • Great vacation, sick and holiday PTO benefits;
- • Affordable health and dental insurance packages;
- • Anniversary, birthday, bridal and baby shower parties;
- • Holiday parties, staff potlucks and special treats throughout the year;
- • Flextime and late shift incentives.
5. How Do You Know What to Say to My Callers?
Hiring a telephone messaging service is a big step for many business owners that feel weary about outsourcing their telephone lines. As the client, you have complete control of the greeting, script and disposition of each call your business receives.
Make sure the digital call center you end up going with gives you 100% customization options for your account. Just to name a few, here are some ways you can lay out your preferences:
- • The specific, uniform greeting all of your callers will receive.
- • Standard answers to your customers’ FAQs.
- • What constitutes an emergency and which callers get forwarded to you after-hours.
- • The days and times you would like appointments scheduled on your calendar.
- • An employee list with direct extensions to streamline call forwarding.
6. What Information Do You Take Down in a Message?
Again, we can be as detailed as you prefer when customizing your account. Our standard message intake form includes:
- • Name and correct spelling of each caller.
- • Confirmed contact telephone number of caller.
- • Detailed message regarding the reason for the call.
Our virtual receptionists will then email, text, fax or call you with the phone message upon completion of the call. If you need the email address of your caller, we can take that information down as well.
Basically, we can take down whatever information you’d like to gather from each of your callers.
7. How Do I Know When I Miss a Call?
The moment a phone message is taken on your business’s account, you will be forwarded the message in real-time. Depending on your preference, you can have the phone message delivered via:
- • SMS Text Message
- • Email Message
- • Facsimile Transmission
- • Pager or Beeper Message
- • Personal Phone Call
Our state of the art technology and equipment ensures that your business information is secure and protected. A Courteous Communications is a digital call center that is HIPAA compliant and treats all messages as sensitive and confidential.
To further protect our client accounts, all virtual receptionists are required to sign a confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement upon being hired.
8. What Happens When I Get an Emergency Call?
There’s a reason most business owners eat, sleep and live with their work cellphones nearby. We’ve spent the last three decades teaching our clients that a missed phone call equates to a missed opportunity. Does that mean we should wake you up at 3am on a Sunday with a mundane, administrative call? Of course not.
An experienced, structured and well-trained business answering service will be able to detect what constitutes an emergency and requires immediate action. When you first setup your account with us, we will discuss the types of emergencies your business receives.
When a caller does meet the qualifications of an emergency, we will then follow your exact procedures. This can look like:
- • A virtual receptionist will ask a series of questions to determine if the call is an emergency.
- • After the call is prescreened, the emergency caller is placed on a brief hold.
- • The virtual receptionist will immediately call the person on-call for such an emergency.
- • After discussing the type of emergency call, the virtual receptionist will patch the caller through to the on-call employee. Or, follow your instructions to a T.
9. Can You Field Answers to Caller’s FAQs?
We have many articles that detail why a business owner should not answer their own business lines. As the CEO, you have more pressing matters at hand than informing a caller of your business hours. Stop trying to do it all yourself and hire a virtual telephone support staff.
- • How to Manage Your Time at Work by Outsourcing and Delegating
- • How a Technical Support Answering Service Can Help Field Your Calls
- • 10 Facts About Hiring a Virtual Live Receptionist Service
- • 3 Ways a Virtual Office Receptionist Can Help With Non-Revenue Generating Distractions
Take a look around our blog and you’ll find many other articles that focus on how we can act as an extension of your in-house team.
10. What if I Want to Cancel My Answering Services?
We can only speak for how we do business; so keep that in mind. But here at A Courteous Communications, there are no long-term annual commitments. We offer month-to-month services and only ask that our clients give us a 30-day notice of their intent to cancel services.
Be sure to ask the business answering services you’re researching what their personal cancellation policy is before signing up.
Our Telephone Messaging Service is here to answer all of your questions!
There you have it, the answers to the top 10 questions our telephone messaging service receives on a daily basis. We hope this helps you better understand the basics of a digital call center.
If you have a specific question that wasn’t addressed in this article, please don’t hesitate to reach out and start the conversation. We can be reached via telephone at 1-800-785-6161 or you can submit your question here and we’ll get back to you with an answer.