Live Answer vs Automated Services for Small Businesses

automated answering services for small businessesBoth live and automated answering services for small businesses have their benefits. Find out which one has the most to offer you, here.

How do 80% of people who reach voicemail respond? They don’t leave a message.

What does that mean for a small business owner?

Missed calls result in missed opportunities.

If you’re receiving more calls than you can handle, you’re not alone, but you are missing out on new business.

The good news is there are solutions for business owners who struggle with the day-to-day demands of their business.

Two popular choices are live phone answering services and automated answering services for small businesses.

Do you need help choosing which one is the best solution? In this helpful guide, we list the pros and cons of each.

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Automated Answering Services for Small Businesses

Automated answering services don’t require a live person to operate. Small businesses often use them when they’re at full capacity, or need calls answered outside of regular business hours.


Your calls never go unanswered. Callers have the option to make selections by speaking or pressing a number on the keypad.

If you don’t want to miss urgent calls, you can provide important callers with the option to reach you after hours. You can also provide general callers with the information they need.

Automated answering services are cost-effective and easy to set up.


There are several disadvantages for businesses that rely on an automated answering system to answer calls.

Here’s an example of a worst-case scenario.

Let’s say it’s after hours. Your receptionist has already left for the evening. The automated answering service activates.

Calls are coming in left and right. The automated director is set-up to provide callers with general information. They also have the option to leave a voice message.

A little later in the evening, your automated answering system goes offline. Nobody notified you. Unfortunately, you found out after realizing your customers decided to take their business elsewhere.

Live Phone Answering Service

Small businesses use live phone answering services after hours, or to route calls during periods when call volume is very high. Instead of an automated recording, the caller connects to a live person.


According to a phone study conducted by Consumer Reports National Research Center, 75% of adults surveyed indicated that they’re very annoyed if unable to reach a live person.

If you want to appear more professional to your customers, give them the opportunity to speak with a trained specialist in real-time. Unlike automated answering services, live answering services can save time as well as provide dedicated customer support.


In some cases, employing a live phone answering system might be none other than a costly excess.

What if your after-hours callers only need access to general information? They might not appreciate having to wait on the line for someone to answer.

Alternatively, what if your business receives a lot of calls about services or products that require detailed knowledge?

In this instance, a trained employee might be better suited to field calls of this nature.

If you don’t have a solid understanding of your customers’ needs, a live phone answering service might not be the appropriate solution.

Making a Choice Doesn’t Have to Be Difficult

Now that you know the pros and cons of each phone answering system, are you ready to make a choice?

Depending on your budget, call volume, and customers’ needs, choosing a live answering service might be a better long-term investment than automated answering services for small businesses.

If you would like to receive a free quote or speak with someone about your unique business needs, contact us. We’re available to help 24 hours a day.

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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.

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