What Is an Answering Service?

Contents

To keep it simple, an answering service is a company that takes phone calls on behalf of another company.

Benefits of Having an Answering Service

Having an answering service is much more than just hiring someone else to take the call.

To improve your brand reputation, as well as customer experience and retention rates, a professional answering service can promote your company to the consumers. Furthermore, answering service companies make deep connections with each customer, guaranteeing that your company is genuine and dedicated.

Continue reading to learn about the different types of answering services available, how they work, the benefits and drawbacks of having an answering service, what a flat rate answering service is, as well as how to pick the best one for your company.

What Types of Answering Services Are Available?

There are three types of phone answering services:

Interactive Voice Response Systems

“Press ‘2’ to check your balance” or “press ‘5’ to speak with a live agent” are examples of call automation or “autoresponders” that can provide categories of basic self-service and transaction suggestions.

Benefits

Voice response systems and other automated programs are easy to scale because their interactive component is very simple.

Possible Challenges

Some IVR technologies attempt to handle the customer interaction entirely from beginning to end, including the following:

  • The autoresponders might say, “Please explain your concern in a few words.”

The automation may accomplish a task that the customers could have done on their own.

  • Reply with, “Sorry, I didn’t quite understand.”

On the commercial side of the conversation, interactive voice response systems (IVR) and other automated systems tend to hide personal interaction. Most automated answering systems can’t cope with queries or requests that aren’t usually created for them to react to since they don’t grasp the topic or tone.

An automated answering service is best for…

  • Businesses that get tons of calls every day
  • Enterprises that receive more calls than a single representative can manage at the same time
  • Firms whose customers usually require simple and immediate service

Important note: Rather than replacing customer representatives, an automated solution should be used to assist them.

Call Centers

Big corporations that focus on phone sales, advertising, and customer service are known as call centers.

Benefits

Call centers are designed to be extensive yet efficient. They’re employed by companies that need to manage many simple calls in a short time.

Possible Challenges

  • Call center workers, unlike online assistants, have scripts that have been pre-written and are customized to the needs of the consumer.
  • A team of call center agents is significantly bigger than a team of virtual representatives, and they tend to receive less intensive training.
  • Many call center agents are better at calling than responding, but they do a good job at both tasks.

Call centers are best for…

  • Big B2C organizations
  • Companies with a large number of customers
  • Businesses in high-density areas including commerce, insurance in the automotive sector, and telecommunications

Virtual Receptionists

For corporate clients, online receptionists can handle calls offsite or remotely.

Benefits

Receiving and redirecting calls, making new reservations, handling messages, gathering customer data, answering general FAQs, and so on are all things that traditional receptionists perform.

Note that a virtual receptionist is different from someone who works on the employer’s premises.

Challenges

Because there are so many ways to enhance the performance of virtual receptionists, your company will spend some time defining your preferences, policy proposals, and process from the beginning.

The virtual receptionist service provider should make these starting procedures simple. That might be more complicated than a typical call center’s onboarding procedure, but it’s a long-term commitment to operational efficiency and the enhancement of customer experience.

Virtual receptionists are best for…

  • Enterprises that are small and medium-sized
  • Organizations that deal with business-to-business clients
  • Healthcare, property investment, legal, and financial sectors
  • Businesses that receive phone calls at random times
  • Enterprises that want to stand out from the crowd in terms of customer service

How Do Answering Services Work?

Depending on the answering service you chose and the objective for which you use it, an answering service might include the following:

  • Accept messages
  • Bring in new customers
  • Address problems with customers
  • Collect personal data and/or their feedback
  • Redirect the calls to you or another employee in your organization
  • Send the customer’s message or voice record to you through email, text message, or a specified application

Incoming calls are smoothly sent to an agent who is prepared to greet them and handle their requests quickly, politely, and professionally.

You Can Use Your Current Phone Number With Answering Service

Some answering services will let you transfer your current phone number to the company, so you don’t have to get a new number.

Professional Phone Number for Answering Service

Some answering services can offer you a secondary, commercial number. You can make this number public and use it to make calls on your phone while maintaining your privacy. This is advisable to use if you want to have two contact numbers on one phone.

More Options

You can outsource calls when you really need to and take the ones you’d want to respond to personally. You could even set up an availability status with more advanced answering services, providing you with more freedom and personalization.

What Type of Companies Use Answering Services?

Answering services are used by businesses of all types and sizes. These are a few examples of organizations that use answering services to make things easier:

  • Entrepreneurs

Answering services are used by entrepreneurs to alleviate the need to answer the phone and to promote their enterprises effectively.

  • Micro Internet-Based Enterprises

To preserve their privacy and construct digital corporate headquarters, micro internet-based enterprises use answering services.

  • Legal Firms

Answering services are used by legal firms and other formal companies to take calls from customers and prospects.

  • Doctors

When in-house customer service representatives are preoccupied, doctors use answering services to book customer visits for them.

  • Real Estate Companies

When members of the team are off-site, organizations in the construction industry use online answering services to ensure that calls don’t go unacknowledged.

  • Large Corporations

Answering services are used by large national and multinational organizations to increase direct sales and to address the consumers’ needs.

Business Benefits of Answering Services

A competent answering service has a lot of great offers in terms of caller engagement and fulfillment such as placing customers on human relationships.

Why try to handle every phone call on your own when a professional can do it for you and guarantee that every customer has a great experience?

Answering services are particularly beneficial to small and expanding enterprises. Here are a few of the reasons:

When you’re not available, answering services can manage your calls.

Don’t let messages and calls interrupt your and your team’s progress. When you’re not working, you can use an answering service to communicate with clients, address customer concerns and follow-ups, and gather important data.

Answering services manage your calls even beyond your operating hours.

Not every call comes through during typical business hours. Utilize the flexibility that answering services offer rather than letting possible sales opportunities go to voicemail or trying to extend your team’s working hours.

Your company can save money by using an answering service.

To provide exceptional customer service, you don’t need to recruit full-time employees. At a quarter of the price of employing and training employees, an answering service can perform the same task.

Your customer satisfaction percentages can be improved by using an answering service.

Consumer trust is strengthened by human interactions. A study has shown that after a successful phone encounter, 80% of customers are likely to become regular customers.

What to Consider When Choosing an Answering Service

It’s important for any company owner considering hiring an answering service to evaluate the following disadvantages and uncertainties:

Trained And Professional Representatives

Even if they’re special to your company, employees should be ready for the frequent demands and difficulties that callers may have. If you run a very sophisticated or specialized business, not every answering service will be able to match your requirements. Call center agents, for example, are frequently unfamiliar with your business or consumer base.

Expertise In Technology

Prepare to spend some time setting everything up and testing if all procedures work properly. There are a variety of potential problems to consider, including call forwarding difficulties, unsuccessful transfers, poor-quality phone devices, poorly configured automated systems, and much more. This is something that a good answering service will be able to protect you from.

Agent’s Language Proficiency

You want representatives that can maintain a consistent brand voice, not only in terms of professional jargon but also in a manner that is suitable for your company. Pay close attention to their competence, technical knowledge, and industry expertise.

Fair Pricing System

It’s obviously not worth employing somebody to answer your phone if you don’t get enough calls. The expenses may outweigh the advantages. Incoming calls can be delighted by an answering service, but they can’t make calls if there are already a lot of them in the queue.

Possible Service Rate

For small to medium-sized companies, a flat rate live answering service is advisable. Some companies might not offer it will try to make you upgrade your plan that is suitable for large companies.

The amount you give at the start of the month is the rate you’ll pay at the end of the month if you avail of a flat rate live answering service. With this, you’ll never be surprised by anything unexpected.

There is a variety of answering services that charge companies by the minute rather than by phone call.  As a result, companies who utilize these answering services are charged the same amount for very brief calls as they are for very long conversations.

Most of the time, representatives for answering services are advised to finish the calls quickly since the more calls they assist, the more profit they raise.

What Makes Flat Rate Live Answering Service Special?

Usually, the flat rate is calculated on a per-minute approach, which means you only spend the time a call consumes your allocated contact number.  Flat rate live answering services ensure that you will only be charged for the duration that the representative spends talking to your customers, without rushing every phone call they received.

 

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