Before binding your practice to an answering service provider, it is important to look at the service from all possible angles. The abundant choices in terms of answering service providers makes choosing one most suitable for your practice a chilling experience. It demands you to comprehend what it is you are expecting and the questions you are required to ask to pinpoint what you require.
Below are elements vital when selecting an answering service:
Availability is an important requirement since your practice’s services will be available at all hours of the day throughout the year. Answering services provider’s primary goal is ensuring your practice is always open including weekends, nights, holidays. An answering service that is always open seizes leads and executes serious calls to you, despite the time or day.
Most answering service providers offer 24/7 availability at an extra fetch. Provisions to selecting an answering service that is available throughout include extra charges to respond to your calls past 9 p.m or on a holiday. Also, an answering service provider may at times only offer live support up till a determined time, after which they may switch to an automated system.
Answering service providers presenting 24/7 live support at no supplemental costs are the sort that genuinely look to help your practice scale to greater heights. We recommend that you choose such.
Contemplate Your Practice’s Financial Plan
Answering service providers scope from $0 to start on a free trial up to any cost conceivable. For the most part, answering service providers is based on in-line liveliness foregoing a flat rate structure. This way, the more intense the traffic pointed towards the answering service, the pricier the service becomes. This in turn helps you, based on your own practice and the variety of traffic it gets to budget competently.
Other answering services have contrasting pricing levels which present quotas in use. An obvious monthly call volume warrants the price makes sense and can be more economical as a consequence. Cognizance of your budget, how you scheme to utilize the service, and the call volume sanctions you to dominate the preeminent pricing representation for your practice.
Customary answering service billing systems include:
- Per-minute billing: Usually billed by the minute. As it is with a cell phone plan, the structure furnishes a share of minutes to utilize every month before being required to pay dregs. You want to select an answering service that extends a myriad of plans based on your practice’s call volume. It may even mechanically transform your proposal if you transcend delegated usage limits.
- Per-call billing: Bills per every call the answering service responds to. It does not appraise how long the calls get. There may however be extra charges for extra messages sent out and calls required to be made that are enumerated as discrete billable calls.
It is important to note that despite an answering service offering both billing structures, you are recommended to decide the structure most profitable for your practice. Great answering services should avail reports showing your standard monthly consumption that is utilitarian in determining a favored billing structure.
Operators Appear for your Practice
Your practice’s answering service is critical to the successfulness of your practice. Select answering service providers where operators accurately play for your practice. It is good information to understand that prominent operators ensure the straightforward running of your practice as they treat your callers with the same integrity you or your employees would have.
A greater number of trades are contingent on an answering service provider operator’s extent to meticulously speak for the business they are responding for. Underneath any personality requirements is the operator’s potential to be agile, to modify to the demand of the caller, being able to assess all situations and respond accordingly.
Your selection of an answering service provider should depend on the provider’s ability to adjust well to the uniqueness of each caller.
Customize Your Caller’s Experience
An answering service needs to be as distinctive as can be permitted to establish that you perpetuate progression between calls handled by you and those by the answering service provider. Generic call handling templates is not preferred as they make a potential client feel like they are not a priority. Personal call handling on the other hand has your potential clients and active clients feeling cared for.
An answering service provider that allows for their call scripting to be altered to the outlandish requirements of your practice is most preferred. You need to select a provider that handles every call individually for every business. Apart from collecting every callers’ information (name and phone number), an answering service provider has to meet every businesses’ disparate needs.
Seeing that the majority of businesses rely on client retention, a personal answering system should let callers know how notable their transaction is to you. A personalized experience assures callers how much they are valued. A detailed interaction with your provider guarantees you personalize the contact with them as much as possible to parade your practice accurately.
Evaluate Features before Buying
It is prime that you determine if the answering service provider extends a free trial period – an ideal way to understand how they work before having to pay for their services. Making full use of the trial period will require you to do the following:
- Test various features: answering services do way more than merely answering your calls. A trial period presents you with an occasion to acquaint yourself with their various features to see if they will be compatible with your practice. You can for example assess their meeting management software or discern how their emergency call management system works.
- Place test calls: Test calls bestow you with an understanding of the caller’s experience after placing a call. Doing so introduces you with a moment to recognize complications with the provider’s call handling, if any.
- Make updates: The free trial period gives you a chance to straighten out glitches, appealing imperative changes prior to going live with clients.
Emergency Dispatching System
A personal injury practice’s eminence greatly relies on the caller’s capacity to reach a live representative. Personal injury practices require a compelling dispatch. An answering service provider that closely verifies with your in-company team goes along with your schedule (s).
While selecting an answering service provider, you should look for the following in their dispatch system:
- 24/7 availability: Acknowledging that personal injuries can occur at any time of the day necessitates the need for your firm’s availability around the clock to guarantee the client that you are there for them. An answering service that is unavailable when you really need them is not good for your practice.
- Capacity to upload a veritable schedule to the answering service’s system: This feature saves you a lot of time, eliminating the possibility of conducting the job twice.
- HIPAA agreement: HIPAA compliant answering service providers do not leave any patient information on your voicemail, or via any messages sent. Salvaging the messages will require you to contact your service back or utilize their secure online portal.
- Do updates have to be relented or can they be made personally? Answering service providers that give customers access to web portals or applications that enable one to make transformations in the flesh saves you the inconvenience that comes with reaching out to customer service. At times, in-call technicians may face emergencies that do not allow them to cover their shift. Such a scenario may occur after-hours, deeming the answering service’s customer support team unobtainable for instantaneous changes. Being required to wait to submit changes is damaging if you are in a dilemma.
Make Things Easy
You need to select an answering service provider that is easy to use and update. Making script changes and elementary updates such as modification of a text number or the email address and updating on-call schedule will obstruct the smooth running of your practice with the answering service provider.
An answering service should assist the well founded operations of your practice and control the habitual communication tasks. Free trial periods should be utilized to spend time testing. Live demos help you discern if the answering service provider in consideration is comprehensible enough for your practice and your employees.
Select an answering service that does not require you to install extra equipment, hence you will not need to hire additional employees. An answering service that works remotely abolishes the need for expensive instruments or rather the inconvenience of stationing it and conserving it. Choose an answering service that institutes a toll-free phone number for potential clients and established clients to reach out to. They should also oversee inbound and outgoing calls right from their offices. A perfect answering service will have you decrease staffing and coaching damages for managerial crew.
Taking into account the above factors ensures that you do not consider your answering service hectic to use.
Check Third-Party Application Compatibility
Selecting an answering service provider requires you to establish that the system is compatible with any software in use at your practice. Calendars capture meetings, appointments, phone calls among others. Some software and calendars do not play well with others. For example, an API (Application Programming Interface), which is a program go-between that enables two programs to communicate with each other and operators may be required to log in to report updates.
Critically think and analyze the importance of your answering service provider to use an integration that you may think is important to your business. Cases where you lack an answering service provider that works with software you already use, integrations send information collected by operators immediately through to your software, refurbishing it right away and coincidentally, minimizing the bulk in effort your practice has to tackle as you will not be required to log into several systems to pull data.
Most instances have the answering service keep delicate information or passing information hither and thither between systems already in use at your practice. For the sake of your practice, you are obliged to select an answering service provider compliant with either PCI or HIPAA. Lacking to do so may have the practice being held responsible for any infringements that may amass to thousands of dollars in fines, loss of client confidence in the practice, and at times even jail time.
It is therefore crucial to establish whether the answering service provider you chose is secure. What does it allude to being both PCI and HIPAA compliant? How can answering service providers get along with these requirements? Below is a comprehensive breakdown:
- PCI compliant: The Payment Card Industry and the Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) were configured to strive against the surge in security data violations. PCI compliance is maintained when companies complete a yearly self-assessment and succeed in a quarterly security scan. Such companies are like those that accept credit card information. Requiring employees to work in paperless conditions and switching off call recordings while gathering payment information ensures PCI compliance.
- HIPAA compliant: The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act - formed to assist in the management and security of private health information of patients. Patient information should never get sent via text, email or even voicemail. Calls and messages are kept in a binded online portal that requires user authentication. HIPAA compliant answering service providers should sign a BAA (Business Associate Agreement) with your practice to actively divulge private information.
Consider Hiring an Answering Service for Your Law Firm
High-end answering services take calls, respond to questions, receive messages, gather client information, and book appointments as if they were an in-company receptionist who works closely with your firm’s attorney (s). A good answering service provider makes your customer service more vibrant, your day more fruitful and callers can easily be reached afterwards, unlike the case with voicemails. Now that you are well equipped with all the necessities to look for in an answering service provider, you should apply them in your next search for one that will adequately suit your practice’s requirements.