What Is an Answering Service?

What Is an Answering Service?An answering service is a company that takes phone calls on behalf of another company. This can be a lifesaver for businesses that cannot afford or do not want to staff a full-time receptionist. Answering services can be used for customer service, emergency dispatch, appointment scheduling, and much more. The best part is that you can customize the services to fit your specific needs. Basically, an answering service is a company that offers telephone answering services to businesses and individuals for different use cases. The telephone answering services that the answering service provides include receiving and directing incoming telephone calls, transferring calls to the appropriate person or department, taking messages, and much more.

Simply put.. Answering service answers your income calls. Different answering service plans offer many different features, but let’s not get lost in the details for now.

Benefits of Having an Answering Service

An answering service can provide your business with a much-needed boost in customer service and satisfaction. By having someone else available to answer the phone, you can free up your time to focus on other tasks. Additionally, an answering service can help to screen calls, take messages, and even make appointments for you. This can help to save you time and hassle in the long run. In short, an answering service can be a valuable asset to your business. Also helping to improve your brand reputation, as well as customer experience and retention rates.

Some Benefits

  • Lower overall cost by eliminating in house staff
  • Create a predictable budget
  • Hand high call volume spikes
  • No need to hire temp workers in case of staff being on leave

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 many types of answering services, but let’s name a few to have a basic understanding of the main types of answering services, 

  • Interactive Response Systems

We all know these, these are those  “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. These are the ones customers find annoying, as quite often customers just want to speak to a person. However, there some use cases where this kind of system makes sense. 

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

Call centers are big corporations that focus on phone sales, advertising, and customer service. They usually have a large number of employees who work in shifts to cover the phones 24/7. These are warehouses of people who will manage all of your calls needs. Often the training involved is heavy and intense as the goal is to remove the management of handling a companies calls. Sometimes this works in conjunction with interactive response systems.

An call answering service is best for…

  • Large company that is willing to outsource their call management and customer service
  • Scaling customer service with an outside company
  • Doesn’t wish to manage more staff internally

 

Virtual Receptionists / Answering Service 

We have more details on what an answering service and what is an virtual receptionist as well as we explained it in the intro. When we ask the question “What is an answering service” this is typically what we’re referring too.

An answering service is different than an call center and interactive system mainly in the fact it doesn’t replace your customer service, but assistance you and your team in servicing customers. An typical answering service can either replace a receptionist, or support your current one.

Virtual receptionists are best for…

  • Enterprises that are small and medium-sized
  • Handling messages
  • gathering customer data
  • answering general FAQs
  • all things that traditional receptionists perform
  • making new reservations/appointments

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

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. Contractors answering service is useful or construction owners. 

  • Legal Firms

Legal 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. Chiropractic answering service  and dental answering service is an easy way to save on admin cost.

  • 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. Real estate answering service can help agents ensure someone is always answering the phone.

  • HVAC

Hvac answering service can be useful for as agents are always on new jobs. 

Answering services are used by businesses of all types and sizes. For example, small businesses may use answering services to manage after-hours calls. Large businesses may use answering services to manage calls during high-volume periods. Organizations may also use answering services to manage calls from customers in different time zones. Ultimately, answering services can help businesses better manage their customer communications.
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