The new industry-standard choice for Telephone Operations management in today’s business economy is to outsource all or most of the answering, direction, and messaging responsibilities to an outside TO specialist. Today’s market, however, is saturated with options, and unfortunately many of them are fly-by-night operations that have recently jumped aboard the bandwagon of a growing industry. It is imperative that when a company chooses a call center, answering service, or virtual receptionist that they do the requisite research and consider these significant factors to ensure that they select a professional, experienced, and reputable contractor. It’s foolish to pay extra for services that are unnecessary, but it can affect operations if you do not have the appropriate functionality, so the first step for any business looking into paying for any kind of service is to understand exactly what their company’s own unique needs and resources are.

After carefully analyzing your own requirements, thoroughly research every company that you consider. Hiring outside communications managers is not only a major expenditure, it also has ramifications on your brand identity, and as such the most important factor for assessing an answering service’s success is how they interact with your customers. The point of contact is significant in how your organization is perceived, and a courteous, professional reception and efficient navigation through a telephone interaction are critical factors in a customer’s lasting impressions of your business. Examine each potential contractor’s hiring credentials, training programs, and management structure, but one good way to judge the type of service your business will be getting is to look at the service you receive when you contact them. Chances are how they run their own phone systems will be indicative of the service that they provide for others.

Also research the company by checking reviews, both online and person-to-person, if possible. Have they won any awards of note or been recommended by any trade associations? How long have they been in business? This should go without saying, but also check to make sure they have all required licenses and certifications to operate legally in your area. With so many new organizations popping up a surprising amount of them lack the necessary credentials, so make sure you ask rather than assume.

Depending on your company, you may also require additional security measures, operators with specific knowledge bases, appointment and alarm services, or other specialized skills, and there are organizations out there that can fulfill those needs if you look in the right places. If an organization does their due diligence to find the right company, they can reduce overhead while increasing efficiency and simultaneously providing a reliable, professional level of customer interface.