If you’re going to do something, do it right. So why would you settle for an average answering service that isn’t going to go above and beyond to really enhance your customer service experience?
In general, the call center industry bases client service levels on a set of benchmarks. But for some reason, back when the bar was set, it wasn’t set as high as it should have been. So the standards that the industry works off of are what would be considered “acceptable” levels of service. That means that a live support provider that barely achieved the benchmark would simply be an average answering service. That doesn’t exactly inspire loads of confidence.
A few of the metrics that a business answering service will measure are:
Hold Times: Average answering services will try to keep average hold times below 30 seconds. That’s not a long time, but it sure can feel like a while if you’re the one on hold. So why do holds happen at all? Some answering services have to juggle calls and put one caller or more on hold while they deal with another. A good answering service doesn’t put your calls on hold at all! They dedicate one agent to each call and that agent doesn’t leave the call until it has been completed.
Average Time to Answer: 3 rings or less is a solid goal for any answering service. However, some providers use a benchmark of 5-7 rings, which just isn’t the kind of prompt customer experience that should be facilitated. Quickly answering the phone with a friendly agent each and every time, day or night is the proper way to brand your business phones with an answering service.
Overall Quality Score: Not every answering service will measure anything like this. In fact, most average ones won’t. But an answering service that makes a habit out of going above and beyond cooks up something like an Overall Quality Score that is backed by thorough call monitoring and great training programs that continually improve agent performance. It’s not just about if an agent answers quickly and is able to keep from putting the call on hold. Fundamentals are great, but an Overall Quality Score also ensures that each call is handled just the way you would do it with a friendly professionalism and a real customer service attitude.
When you are shopping for an answering service, make sure you are asking about how they measure their service levels. Know what benchmarks they are using and decide if they are going to be good enough to represent your business. And remember, you should never have to settle for an average answering service.