Answering services can be extremely beneficial to your company. Do you and your employees dread the phone? It can be tricky to balance in-person customer service, important tasks, and a constantly ringing phone. An answering service may be your solution. You can provide customers quick, professional phone etiquette while allowing your staff to focus their time on the projects you hired them for. An overview of how answering services work can help you decide if they are the right choice for your business.
What Does an Answering Service Do?
A phone answering service is hired by a company to handle their client communications. Historically, this was limited to receiving incoming calls and making outgoing calls. Today, some answering services act more like virtual assistants who can also respond to emails, answer text messages, set appointments, and more.
What Is an Automated Service?
An automated service provides help to customers without speaking to a live operator. Customers are greeted with a pre-recorded message. Often it is presented as a numbered list of options like press 1 for store hours, press 2 locations, or press 3 to speak to a representative. The benefit of automated services is that they screen calls.
What Is a Live Service?
A live service is exactly what it sounds like. The answering service will provide an agent to work as your receptionist. The agent works remotely to care for your customers. Live services are generally preferred. They provide a more personal feel and quicker answers. Callers usually have a better customer service experience when directly connected to an agent.
What Are the Benefits of Answering Services?
There are numerous benefits to using an answering service for your business.
Never Miss a Call
Answering services let no calls go unanswered. No matter how great your employees are, sometimes it is impossible to get to the phone on time. They may be interacting with other customers, using the restroom, on break, or working away from the phone.
Free Up Employees
Your employees likely have other tasks to work out. Chances are they have a skill set beyond answering phones. It may be a waste of quality resources to have your employees devote time to the telephone. Constantly stepping away from projects for calls can be stressful and distracting.
Having an answering service can make your company look more professional. A friendly, prompt voice on a phone call is exactly what customers want. Ringing phones are distracting to customers in the workplace and frustrating to customers waiting on the line. You can avoid both by routing calls elsewhere.
Host Longer Hours
You can use an answering service outside of your regular business hours. Customers calling in don’t have to talk to an answering machine just because you aren’t open, and you don’t have to come back to a flashing machine. It can be time consumer to listen to and return all answering machine messages.
Hiring an answering service can be a smart financial move. It is more affordable than a designated in-house receptionist’s hourly pay. You may see better output from other employees as well once they can put full focus on their jobs instead of the phone.
How Much Do Answering Services Cost?
There are several variables when it comes to prices. Cost depends on how much you use the service. You can expect to pay per call or minute. An average cost is around $1.12 per minute. Live and more full-service companies will have a higher price tag. The costs should be less than hiring a full-time receptionist. You can even find a phone answering service that provides a free trial to help you make your decision.
What Companies Use Answering Services?
There are no restrictions on what companies can use answering services. Whether you’re a one-person operation or a Fortune 500 company, they may be the right choice for you. Using an answering service in the medical field is quite popular because the representatives can help prevent HIPAA violations. From real estate agents to plumbers and religious organizations to government organizations, every industry may recognize the benefits.
Automated or live answering services can improve customer communications for your company. They can create a trickle-down effect of benefits for any type of industry while fitting your budget.