How did you integrate the answering services into your company’s operations?
We have a 10-second period to answer the phone at our office, after which the call is directed to AnswerForce. They are our overflow service, including for evenings and weekends.
We needed ways in which to get the customer information back, so we've used Evernote for routing the call-answering information to our new requests folder. This gives us a centralized way for dealing with requests.
Google Calendar is typically used for scheduling our van fleet. AnswerForce also provided a calendaring system called SetMore, which provides a standard way for their team to make reservations for us. This way, if someone already has an estimate and is looking to schedule, they can do so.
The third issue was credit card payments. We need to process payments even when no one is in the office. We use USAePay as a provider and have given AnswerForce the login information for our account. As such, AnswerForce is not only answering phones and providing estimates, but they're also helping schedule customers and are taking payment information.
Why would you recommend this answering service over comparable companies?
When I first started looking for answering solutions in April 2016, I requested information from 10–15 companies. In the end, I was looking to accomplish a simple task and not pay a lot for it. Given my inexperience with call centers, I didn't want to become locked into a contract, and also didn't want to pay large setup fees.
AnswerForce provided free set up, no charge for the first 30 seconds in cases of people hanging up, as well as the ability to not work under a contract and to change the plan from month to month. Our busiest season will be from April to June, so I've appreciated AnswerForce's flexibility in terms of payment and setup.
We signed up with AnswerForce at the beginning of May 2016, just before Memorial Day. AnswerForce took four phone calls on that occasion and even scheduled an estimate.
It was also a requirement for the team to sound fluent in English. I'm located in the South, and many people here prefer to speak to fellow southerners.
On an annual or monthly basis, how much does your company spend to use this answering service?
We've spent between $300 and $400 per month on AnswerForce's services. I compared this to having a full-time administrator in the office, and $100 per week for full coverage, including nights and weekends, is great.