Top 3 Questions to Ask When Looking for a New Answering Service

01/27/2023 | Telecommunications

Your answering service is the face of your business to your patients after hours, so choosing the right one is a pivotal decision. This decision has been discussed, so we wanted to share some of the criteria that our members consider as they evaluate various answering services for their OMS practices.

How Easy is Implementation and Customization

Getting started with a new vendor can either be an eye-opening experience… or it can be a relief. Talk to other OMS practice administrators who use the top 2 to 3 answering services you are considering and find out how the implementation process went for them. Did their rep guide them through the onboarding process or was it more of a “do it yourself” project? And which of those is a better fit for your practice?

Maybe you have a motivated team member who can take on a DIY project right now, so the cost savings balances out for you. Or maybe what your practice needs most is time savings, and the personalized training from a dedicated trainer is what you’re looking for. Find out what the services offer, and balance that against what you need. How much the company guides you as you set up the service and how much it can be customized to fit the unique needs of your OMS practice are both major considerations.
Your OMS practice is unique. Of course, there are many questions we all need our answering service to respond to in similar ways. But your practice will have specific needs, and you won’t want your answering service to sound like every other practice. Find out how customizable the answering services you are considering are. The more they can fit your practice, the better they will represent you to your patients.

Is the Online Portal Intuitive or Finicky?

How easy is the answering service to use? This one is a big deal. How intuitive the user interface is directly impacts how much time you spend learning and relearning how to interact with the customer portal, fighting with the menus, and trying to remember where that one report is that you like or where to find messages or the billing portal.

As you are evaluating answering services, make sure to ask for a live demo. Consider what data you can see in each view and what you need to be able to access most frequently. Does it easily give you what you need?

Does It Offer Integrations You Need or Want?

Stand-alone answering services may be perfect for your OMS practice. But if your practice uses other programs, like Slack, SolutionReach, ConstantContact, or Google Sheets, and your answering service integrates with those services too, your workflows will be streamlined, saving your team valuable time. Find out what integrations the answering services you are considering offers. Talk to SOMSA practice managers to see how well those integrations function and what their reliability is like.

Switching vendors or hiring a new service provider is always a process to be done with care, but this isn’t a decision that you need to make alone. Turn to the SOMSA forum! Start with a search to see what’s already been said on the service you’re researching, then post a question. Getting feedback from current users is second to none!