What does the old adage, “you get what you pay for” really mean to us as consumers and as business owners? It may most simply be explained by Warren Buffet when he said “price is what you pay, value is what you get”. Many of us charge a little more in order to provide better service or value to our clients. That is, they are getting what they are paying for…better service than a competitor provides.

While many disaster restoration businesses can relate to this “you get what you pay for” outlook, it is also an important thing to keep in mind when looking at services for your own business. Case in point, can you get more value from answering services that may cost a little more than some others? The short answer, yes! One answering service’s rates may be more than another but this can directly impact the quality of call handling for your clients.

To provide the lowest rates and the highest quality of service is simply impossible, no business in any industry can do this. When you employ a service, you expect it to work as advertised and you want it to be reliable. In the case of answering services, first-time operators being paid a low rate of pay will almost always cost more in the end, although the measurement of that loss is difficult. How many of prospective clients have you lost because they had a critical issue or emergency that was not handled properly? Hard to say. Therefore, what you should look for is the “quality” piece of the equation, before the price.

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

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

The telephone answering service you use reflects directly upon you. As a business owner you and your staff provide your clients with great customer service, your answering service should do the same. 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.

In conclusion, what is the unanticipated consequence of hiring a quality answering service that may cost a little more than some other services out there? Quite simply, your bottom line goes up and the frustration level of you, your staff and your tenants will ultimately go down. Price is what you pay, value is what you get.

Centratel is an elite national telephone answering service located in Bend, Oregon. Centratel’s Disaster Restoration Service assists hundreds of water, fire, and mold restoration businesses during both daytime and after-hours throughout the United States and is, by a variety of statistics, the highest quality answering service available among the approximately 1,500 services nationwide.

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