Small Business Brief


How to Choose an Answering Service (And Why You Need One)

How to Choose an Answering Service

To be successful at managing your small business, you need to make the best use of your time. Here’s how an answering service can help you do that.

When you are an entrepreneur, time should be your most valuable asset. Every second count. You don’t want to waste any minute on less important things.

So, why not hire an answering service?

These are reasons why you should have at least one and we will show you how to choose a good answering service.

What Is an Answering Service?

An answering service is a virtual receptionist that takes or makes phone calls, or reads and sends emails on your behalf. He operates as your assistant, doing the work while you are doing your own thing.

Most online business hires answering service to deal with their clients. They can be someone from anywhere in the world. In fact, there are many of them who are just waiting for someone like you to contact.

The good news is, you don’t have to hire an answering service full-time. He can work part-time or just as much as you want. You don’t need to stress about their insurance or any employee-related costs besides the wage you agree on.

You have to delegate the task your answering service should do in order for him to know what you exactly require of him. You cannot expect him to do all tasks in your business. But you can expect him to partially help or give you advice. He can only work under your direction, the tools, and contents that you are giving him.

For some entrepreneurs, it is hard for them to trust someone with their business. However, as entrepreneurs, entrusting certain tasks is a huge part of their daily lives. This is the moment for such a practice. You should learn how to do it if you have the same issue.

When Should You Hire an Answering Service?

You don’t have to have a big company or a well-established business before you can hire an answering service. You can start while you are still small. All you have to do is to make sure that you are able to manage the task before you hand it out to a virtual assistant. This way, you can give him full direction on the job.

You may want to ask these questions to yourself before you decide to hire one.

1) Do I have enough knowledge about the process within my business that will allow me to teach it to someone else more efficiently?

2) Am I really occupied by this task while I can do something more important?

3) Do I generate enough income to pay an answering service?

4) Do I find the job draining and an answering service may do it easily?

5) Is my time worth paying an answering service?

If the answers to these questions are Yes, you may go for an answering service.

How Can You Find the Best Answering Service for Your Business?

When you are decided that you should hire an answering service, the quickest way to find the best person for your business is to go online. You can search for the one who responds most to your criteria.

These are platforms where you can go check and see profiles of virtual assistants worldwide and you can choose your favorite.

Fancy Hands: A platform where can go for a virtual assistant that you will occasionally need. It is for a one-time task. For instance, if you want him to set up meetings or negotiate your phone bills for you, or parts of a project rather than an entire process as you may not get the same person every time.

Zirtual: The virtual assistants here have skills and experiences. So, they cost a little higher than others. They know many aspects of running a business. Their monthly wage starts from $398.

Upwork: The virtual assistants in here can handle many aspects of your business, especially e-commerce.

There are a lot of other agencies and independent virtual receptionists that you can contact outside these platforms mentioned above. The only issue is that you have to deal with them on your, so you must be careful about whom you’re picking.

What Are the Steps to Take When You Want to Hire Your First Answering Service?

You cannot expect your answering service to do everything just perfectly right. There will be a few errors that they will make, especially at the start of their job. You should document the entire process before handing it out to him.

For example, you can go through your past responses from your customers and draft a script that your answering service can use when the same scenario comes back. You anticipate common obstacles and provide him with possible solutions that he can give to your clients.

This is your first filter for finding the right person. You have to give a full description of the kind of person you are looking for. Give the scale of your business, the skills and experiences you are looking for, language proficiency, the platform the assistant is going to use and so on.

How Should You Manage Your Answering Service?

When you have found your answering service, you are now going to delegate tasks. You will have to hand out information and documents. Make sure you only give a limited access to your social accounts, store and whatever he may need while he does his duty.

For instance, if you use Shopify, you can actually add a virtual assistant as a Staff Account with specific information based on the tasks he needs to do.

Final Thoughts

If you want to have more time spent on your business, families, and anything that is more important to you, hire an answering service. He will do the job just the way you want it if you give him a full description of the task.

However, you should always be careful while choosing the right person and while he works for you. You don’t want to hire someone then terminate him shortly after. There is much software that you can use to keep track of the time spent and of the tasks done so that you don’t waste your money on a lazy assistant.

A huge part of our job is to give small businesses tips on how they can succeed. Feel free to contact us or check out our blog.