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Local vs. National Answering Service Provider

Is it better to go with a local or national answering service? A lot just depends on your personal preference, but there is an ideal choice when it comes down to the local vs national answering service provider debate.

this is a picture of four Sound Telecom employees who are working at a national answering service

 

I have personally discussed the local vs. national answering service provider question at least 1,000 times! When shopping for an answering service, most folks want to get a company that is local. Someone that is right in their neighborhood. Why?

Here are several  reasons why people want to choose a local answering service over a national answering service:

  • So I can go down there to the call center and meet with them if I have to
  • So I can provide personal training for the service reps on my account
  • I like to look at people I do business with and shake their hands
  • I am in the service business and I need answering service agents that are familiar with the local streets and communities, are knowledgeable of the local weather, understand the local news and events, etc.
  • I feel more comfortable spending my money in my local community

I could probably add about 10 more “local only” reasons to this list, but I really don’t need to. You get the point. Some of these have merit, others, not as much (I’ll explain). So which is better? A local or national answering service? Someone down the street or someone located  elsewhere in the United States?

First, sure, being able to walk across the street or drive over to your local answering service provider is a nice thought. Spending your dollars with local businesses is generally a good thing. And doing business face to face sometimes feels like a lost art form. So chalk up a couple points for local answering services.

When it comes to a few of the other reasons people have for trying to stay local, there are some things people need to understand about call centers: A lot of agents don’t sit next to windows, so you cannot be certain they know what the weather is like outside at a particular moment. Many call center agents take the bus to work and don’t even drive. These agents may have a good understanding of the streets in their neighborhood, but they are by no means a “walking MapQuest” that knows every back road in town. And a lot of call center agents are transitory. Some of them may have just moved into town about 6 months ago and they are still getting to know the local area.

So why might it be better to choose a national answering service? Well for starters, there are no guarantees that the local provider is any good at what they do. The best answering service partner for you may be physically located all the way across the country, but they’ll still do an amazing job for your business.

Also, what happens when a natural disaster (hurricane, wild fire, snowstorm, tornado, etc.) visits your community? It derails businesses. If your business is impacted by anything as common as a local power outage, do you really want your answering service (your business’ lifeline) to be down too??? Absolutely not. If your company can’t operate, you better hope your call center is located somewhere else that is not impacted by natural disasters.

You’re best off choosing a national answering service that has multiple call center locations across the country that can back each other up in the event a disaster strikes at one location. Sure, normally it’d be great if one of those call centers was local to your area, but it would be ideal if they also had other locations that were spread out in the name of redundancy and backup so your business will always be up and running.

When it comes down to it, whether you use a local or national answering service isn’t the most important factor. What is important is their ability to process your calls promptly, courteously, and accurately at all times no matter what. Great telephone answering services focus on training and quality processes. Their goal is to make an incredible impression on your callers every time they dial your business. So don’t get stuck in the “It’s got to be local and I don’t want a national answering service” trap. Just go find a great  provider that will take care of your business whether it is a local or national answering service.

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About Brian Gabriel

As the Call Center Manager for Sound Telecom, Brian is responsible for overseeing the daily operations and long term success of the company while managing a variety of inbound customer support programs. He also has a hand in taking care of the Solaxis services division. Prior to joining Sound Telecom, Mr. Gabriel held management positions with several prominent Internet Services companies including XpenseWise.com and Greatfood.com. Brian started his career in advertising and sales before moving to Washington State. He joined AEI Music in 1995 and supervised their international customer service department and technical support call centers. Brian received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism with a minor in Spanish languages from San Diego State University. Brian teaches adult education at his church and actively supports Christian ministries.