The saying: “you get what you pay for” is common knowledge and can easily be applied to telephone answering services. An answering service’s rates can directly impact the quality of your call handling. It is important to know what to look for when evaluating phone answering service costs.

Lowest rates plus highest quality is simply an impossible concept

An answering service cannot provide the highest quality phone answering service and have the lowest rates. When you buy a service, you expect it to work as advertised and you want it to be reliable. The cheapest option will almost always cost more in the end: money to fix it or money to replace the service. Therefore, what you should look for is the “quality” piece of the equation, instead of the price.

Processing incoming answering service calls is tough work

People calling an answering service must be handled with compassion and empathy by a Telephone Service Representative (TSR). Answering calls is demanding work needing operators with a rare combination of brains, finesse, tenacity, mastery of the English language as well as an engaging and resilient comportment. The TSR must understand the subtleties of the particular industry. The interaction with the caller must be professional and accurate with zero-defects. In addition, a TSR must be responsible for accurate decision-making under pressure and, of course, deliver the information quickly and correctly.

Why we employ good people, pay them well and then keep them long-term

A phone answering service which charges a low price for their services cannot possibly pay the employees much more than minimum wage. In any business, minimum wage employees equals less qualified people and chronic staff turnover preventing a long term relationship. High quality simply can’t happen when the employees who take the calls and deliver the messages don’t stay in the same position long-term. It all has to do with staffing, training and quality. An answering service who charges rates much lower than industry leaders probably doesn’t have many operators available to answer your calls. That means your callers can expect an average wait of 1–5 minutes before their call is handled.

Independent quality control and customer service departments in addition to documented system protocols

Often times you will find that cheap answering services do not offer great customer service. At Centratel, we have a designated independent Customer Service department focusing on answering questions from clients, handling the rare problem that might arise, and routinely contacting clients to update their account information. Centratel also has a separate and independent Quality Control department ensuring that our TSRs are doing the best job they can for our clients and their callers. Each week our TSRs meet with the Quality Control department to review sampled messages, one-on-one. The review is tough, thorough and complex, in turn, keeping our TSRs performing their job at the highest level of quality possible. As with the rest of Centratel’s operation, key commonalities of these two departments are independence, documentation and point-of-sale responsive (in which any issue is handled NOW).

Your clients deserve the highest quality answering service in the US

The telephone answering service you use reflects directly upon your business. As a business owner you and your staff most likely try to provide your clients with good customer service and your answering service should be an extension of this. Choosing a high quality answering service will ensure that your callers receive the same professionalism and empathy that you provide. At the same time, you will have peace of mind that your instructions are being followed by trained TSRs and your messages will be delivered quickly and with zero defect accuracy.

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