How often do you sign up for something for free and never use it, or use it once and forget about it? We were asking the same questions and wanted to identify what time is the best time for a business to take advantage of an answering service’s free trial. Truth be told, there’s a lot to consider when choosing the right answering service to partner with for your business, and a free trial is a really great tool to see if that service is right for your company.
Let’s say you’re in the market for a live answering service. You’ve done your homework, you’ve researched the best vendors out there, compared them on price and platform, and have a few providers you want to sample. Just remember that an answering service is more than just a tool to have your phones answered around the clock. It’s the voice of your business. It’s your reputation. So what do you do next? You try the service out before you buy!
Just like you would test drive cars before you made your final decision, you can do the same with answering services. Most answering services will offer some variety of free trial period. Maybe it’s a month, maybe it’s only a few weeks, maybe it’s for 7 days – but it’s going to allow you to test the service, get to know the virtual receptionists you’ll be dealing with, and decide if that answering service is right for your business. To help ease the process, we’ve put together a list of the 8 best times for your company to take advantage of an answering service’s free trial period.
One of the best times to sample an answering service via a free trial period is during the holidays. Instead of bah humbugging around your office, you can divert calls to an answering service and spread holiday cheer. Why hire and train seasonal employees when you can save some money (and time) by having your calls answered for free!
While there are many holidays throughout the year that could potentially increase your call volume, we typically see the most volume between the months of October through December. Even if you’re not an eCommerce company, a lot of people skip town during these three months, which usually means less people available to answer your phones. If you happen to be a medical insurance provider, then November and December will bring in hundreds of open enrollment calls. Yikes! Whatever the case may be, using an answering service for their free trial period during these times is a great way to get your calls answered at no extra cost.
Vacations are another great time to test out an answering service. Most answering services will give you at least 7 days free, but the trial period could last all the way up to a month – depending on the provider. So, whether you’re going on a quick getaway or a 3 week backpacking trip across Europe, you can rest easy knowing that your phones are being covered.
Before you go, though, you’ll want to make sure your answering service is up to speed with your business protocols. The last thing you’ll want is to go away and have your answering service still thinking you’re available. So, we recommend taking a few days prior to your trip to get acquainted with the service and the people handling your phones so that you can feel confident that your customers will be taken care of. Some things you can do beforehand include:
Seminars, conferences, or any business event are going to generate some call volume – and pull you out of your office and off of your phones. Some different ways you can use a trial would include:
Recalls happen in almost every industry. If one of your products has recently been recalled, your staff is not going to look forward to getting slammed with phone call after phone call. A great way to save money and help alleviate staff stress during a product recall is to utilize an answering service’s free trial.
From having 24/7 availability, to being able to handle high volumes of phone calls daily, answering services are huge assets to have in the face of a recall. They can answer questions, help customers through the return process and ultimately help save your brand at no extra cost.
If you run a non-profit organization, finding extra help can be tough, especially if you don’t have the funds to pay for it. However, using an answering service for their free trial is really cost effective, especially if you’re about to air a new pledge drive.
While answering services may have limits to their free trial (usually they’ll last for a certain amount of time or up until you hit a certain volume), you can still take advantage of their offering. Before you send your calls over, take some time to get your service up to speed with your charity. To help streamline the process, check out our tips when using an answering service to handle your charity telethon.
If you run a seasonal business, then you know when your volume typically starts to pick up and die down. For example, a lawn-care company will usually start getting slammed in the spring, while an oil delivery business will usually start getting hit in August. So, if you’re gearing up for your busy season, you can get a lot of use out of an answering service’s free trial.
Whether you run an HVAC company and need to schedule appointments and have someone field urgent calls, or a landscaping company in which you need to provide quotes, answering services can help make your busy season feel a little less crazed and may help you keep on top of your ever growing to-do list, like cleaning all the dust off of your equipment.
Office short staffed? Whether a handful of your employees are going on vacation at the same time or all suffering from a stomach bug, send all your calls to your answering service for free to help alleviate some of the pressure.
Since answering services can often do more than just take messages, to really get the most out of your trial period you’ll want to see what your answering service can do for you. Some examples could include: