This is part one in a part-two series. Read part one here.

In part one of this two-part series, we explained that there’s a lot more to an answering service than taking phone calls. Even if you don’t need a bunch of extra services, choosing a reputable answering service can have other benefits that the bargain-basement services can’t offer.

Before you choose the virtual receptionist that is the best value for your business, consider these important factors:

Scalability. There are plenty of answering services that can handle a small amount of call volume from a few clients, but if you’re hoping to grow your business or turn more of your calls over to the professionals, you’ll need a larger company that can scale upward. By ensuring that your new call service can handle whatever amount of call volume you can generate, you’ll be able to build a long-term relationship with a single company as you grow.

English-speaking operators. Too many companies outsource their call centers to foreign countries, leading to confusion and frustration for your callers. Some customers will even refuse to do business with anyone using heavily accented operators. Keep your callers happy and eliminate messages that get lost in translation by using virtual assistants 100% based in the United States.

Bilingual operators. If you work with a large non-English speaking population, you can’t hire just any call service — you need one that can speak their language and yours. English/Spanish bilingual operators help ensure accuracy for your customers and your staff because of their fluency in the native languages of both groups.

Local phone numbers. Callers like dealing with a local company, but you may not have an answering service nearby. Set the worried minds of your customers at ease with a local phone number for after hours calls answered by your service.

Follow Me. When it’s hard to know exactly where you’ll be at any given time, customers can still reach you with Follow Me, a product offered by many answering services. This neat service allows you to be out of the office on home calls or even handling personal emergencies without missing a beat in customer service.

As you can see, choosing an answering service is about a lot more than just price. Between custom answering options, scalability and providing operators that your customers can identify with, sometimes the best answering service isn’t the least expensive. Consider the value — not just the cost — of what you get with your next answering service and you’ll find it may pay for itself and more in happy customers and referrals.