How Does a Business Answering Service Work?
If you’re not sure how a business answering service works, you may overlook it altogether. The right answering service will make your office life a lot easier.
Communication is key in business. If your customers can’t communicate with you easily and effectively, they’ll find another company who can.
Some businesses find it’s easier to communicate with their customers, patients, and clients by using a business answering service. But not all of them are built the same way.
To ensure you’re investing in the right services for your business needs, keep reading to learn how an answering service works.
Who Needs an Answering Service
Having a business answering service is useful to most industries. If you have a business providing local services, an answering service helps you take appointments after hours.
Medical professionals like doctors and dentists usually can’t afford to hire someone to sit in their office after hours to answer calls. Nor do they want to answer those calls themselves.
Instead, they hire a service that can answer questions, schedule appointments, and ease the minds of worried patients. They can also directly contact the medical professional in the event of an actual emergency.
But businesses like beauty salons, restaurants, and plumbers can also benefit from this service. Imagine waking up in the morning to find out you have two new appointments scheduled.
In many industries, if you don’t answer the phone, you don’t make the sale. For this reason, insurance and real estate professionals use this service so they don’t miss out on potential sales.
If you’re a solo entrepreneur, this service saves you money and helps you appear like a larger, more professional company to potential clients.
How a Business Answering Service Works
Using a business answering service is not new. They’ve been around longer than cell phones and answering machines.
An answering service takes any incoming calls for your business. They can answer basic questions, schedule appointments, and even take orders and provide product support.
You can choose a service that provides live answering services. This means a live human will always answer your phone, no matter what time of day or night it is. It’s as if you have a receptionist who works for you 24/7. Here’s what your answering service can do:
- Phone calls answered in your business name.
- The operator answers questions, set appointments, process orders.
- The call is dispatched or a message is taken and sent via email, text, or fax.
- A copy of each call is time-stamped, recorded, and saved for future review.
The other type of business answering service that’s commonly used is automated. Instead of reaching a live person, the caller will hear an automated greeting. They’ll then be prompted to choose from a call menu to handle their questions.
With an automated business answering service there tends to be more complaints given. That’s because the menu forces the caller to listen for a longer period of time before they find out which option and number they can use.
There’s also a higher chance of confusion and frustration from an automated service if the instructions are unclear. Also, no one cares as much if they’re yelling at a machine versus a live person.
When you choose a business answering service with a live human, the operator can provide a lot more support. Live services provide higher client satisfaction. It’s also more impressive to your customers.
The Types of Services Call Centers Provide
Using a live business answering service will cost you a little more than an automated service, but you’ll get a lot more in return.
Having a live person helps to take away unnecessary problems an automated service can create. There are fewer misunderstandings and you’re less likely to end up with an irate customer.
But having a live service also helps your brand. Every time a live person answers your business phone, your customers are getting their first impression of your company. An answering service provides these types of services:
- 24/7 Phone Answering
- Bilingual Agents
- Dispatching Services
- Order Processing
- Lead Capture
- 800 Numbers
- IVR (Interactive Voice Response)
A live person can add dimension to that branding message that an automated voice cannot. They can also answer questions more thoroughly and sense when a customer seems upset.
What a Live Answering Service Can Provide
A live person can take messages, dispatch calls, and schedule appointments. They can also process credit cards, answer frequently asked questions, and even provide you with live wake-up calling.
If you have a company with other employees, the answering service can handle internal staff telecommunications. They can also schedule and cancel appointments for you.
But you can get even more services to help your business.
If you need help with marketing or advertising overflow or someone to answer HIPPA compliance questions, a business answering service is a great solution.
Features to Look For
Not all business answer service companies are operated in the same way. They don’t always all provide the same services.
The best companies offer 30-day free trials. You’ll also be given a free local phone number for customers to reach you at.
They’ll also offer you such services as appointment booking and reminders, outbound calls, and general customer service. You can even get your messages delivered to you via text or e-mail and a customized greeting for all your callers.
Find a company that provides month-to-month services rather than getting into a long-term commitment. And make sure there’s no cancellation fee.
Check to see what additional fees or charges are part of the package you’re buying. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about your plan.
Questions like whether or not there’s a setup fee or a one-time activation charge. Ask if you have to sign a contract or some type of an agreement before you sign up for anything. Then ask what the total cost for your first month will be.
Some business answer service companies don’t provide services 24/7. Make sure the company you choose works when you need them to.
Work With Us
No matter what your needs are or what type of business you own, we can help you find the best price from a qualified answering service provider. You need a call center that’s open 24/7 because we know you are, too.
For customers in the medical field, get help answering questions about HIPPA compliance. If you’re a plumber, agents can answer those 4 am panic calls so you don’t have to. Operators will even add that client to your schedule.
It’s never been easier for your business to look larger than it is. Let our partners help add a layer of professionalism to your companies brand.
Help us help you. Contact us to learn more.
Author: Michael C
Michael has over 30 years of executive call center and answering service experience. He is a successful business owner and lead generation expert and shares tips to help other entrepreneurs build and grow their business through leads generation and lead capture solutions. His mission is to share carefully guarded marketing tips that will help small-medium business compete on a smaller budget.