What Is an Answering Service and Why Your Business Needs One Now
In 2021, there were over 31.7 million small businesses in the U.S. alone. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, small businesses saw a 24% growth rate. If you’re one of these small businesses wondering how you can expand your business, we have the ‘answer’ for you.
An answering service. No, not one of those tape-recorder machine units from the 1980s. We’re talking about an after-hours answering service.
It’s hard to believe something once so antiquated is such an essential business tool today. But the truth is, answering services have come a long way since then. In today’s modern world, people are busier than ever and businesses need to be able to keep up with the growing needs of their customers.
Answering services are more relevant than you think in meeting customer demands. These days, everyone wants to be heard and have instant gratification. When you’re not around, an answering service can help fill this gap between you and your customers.
What Is an Answering Service?
A professional answering service is a tool small businesses can use to grow their customer base. A business essentially outsources its customer service to call centers during off-hours or call overflow periods.
This way small businesses can extend their customer service abilities. Using an after-hours answering service allows a business to enhance its reach by expanding customer engagement outside of normal business hours.
A customer’s call is routed to a live one-on-one customer service representative, not an automated message system or recording. This helps a small business improve customer satisfaction and build a better rapport with customers who feel their questions and calls are being responded to in a timely manner.
What Business Industries Can Benefit From an Answering Service?
A better question may be “Who Can’t Benefit From An Answering Service?” Because nearly every industry and size of small business can utilize an answering service to their benefit. This is especially true for questions and concerns that may happen outside of the usual set business hours.
A 24×7 answering service can be on the other end of the line when it matters the most.
The benefits of having a dedicated medical answering service for medical offices are vast and may include:
- Telehealth Access
- Time and Date Stamping
- Call Transferring/Recording
- Nurse Triage Services for Non-Emergent Cases
- Appointment Scheduling
- Toll-Free Numbers
Medical answering services are secure for sensitive medical information storing and carry HIPAA compliance. They may also be used as a hotline to provide meal delivery and transportation resources for Medicaid beneficiaries.
Also under HIPAA compliance are our dental office customer support call centers. When your patient has a dental emergency after hours, trained specialists can assess the nature of the emergency. They can offer basic medical advice, schedule appointments, or transfer them to the on-call dentist.
Doesn’t it always seem to be that the off-hours are when major malfunctions and repairs are needed the most? When customers are dealing with a plumbing emergency, weekends and holidays can feel like an eternity. They need to know that a plumbing business will respond to and expedite a repair on a clogged or burst pipe.
With an answering service, customers won’t get directed to a voice message box or an automated call menu that disconnects their call. They can be quickly routed to a customer support representative who will answer any concerns they may have, schedule a fast appointment, and address any other issues.
When a customer’s HVAC system goes out, time is of the essence. Don’t leave them out in the cold or at the mercy of blistering heat when their unit breaks down. Prompt service at any time for an inquiry or service call is crucial.
An answering service can help to answer questions, prioritize service calls, schedule appointments after-hours, and let your customers know you’re there for them.
For lawyers, an after-hours answering service is a must. A legal answering service can provide intake on criminal cases, personal injury, DUIs, bankruptcy, and more. Out-of-office call forwarding can be used to make sure you don’t miss a single detail, even if you are in court.
For no extra fees, a Spanish language translation and answering service is available.
For funeral homes, having someone there who cares is what sets you apart from other businesses. A trained call center worker is available to comfort and reassure a grieving client, day and night, with 24-hour call support.
They can provide burial and funeral planning information, body transport services, and religious burial considerations. They can even provide grief counseling if requested.
Is an Answering Service Expensive?
Sure, it all sounds great, but it’s probably really expensive, right? You might be surprised at how affordable a small business answering service is and how efficiently it can handle your customer support needs. This is just another level of advertising and customer service.
Answering service companies offer a flat-rate plan, so they can create a customized business plan for any budget and business size. Many even offer a free trial period where you can test it for yourself and see the difference it can make for your business firsthand.
A study showed that customers who called a business only to get a voicemail message refused to leave a message and 80% of customers just hung up. And even worse are those automated menu service prompts. Is that really how you want your business represented?
Don’t underestimate answering services. What you may spend on a monthly answering service will almost certainly come back to you in repeat business, positive customer reviews, and increased revenue. It’s an investment in your business.
The overall cost is much cheaper compared to an in-office assistant who still does not have 24-hour call support capabilities.
An answering service is there for you and your customers. Whether you are a doctor, a lawyer, plumber, or other small business, your customers will thank you for having the foresight to put them first.
Additional Benefits of an Answering Service
Don’t rely on customer inquiry emails that get buried under other messages or orders clogging up your inbox. When you utilize a professional answering service, phone inquiries go directly to a trained call center for precise responses and answers. For restaurants, an answering service can take orders clearly over the phone with no loud background noise or interruptions.
You can count on a 24×7 answering service for your small business to answer all calls, even if your line is busy. Rather than a frustrating and time-consuming automated service or a seemingly endless hold pattern, calls will be forwarded to a bilingual human agent who is trained to handle specific inquiries relating to your small business.
We’re Here to Help You Answer the Call
If you want to improve customer satisfaction and customer support, you need Best Answering Service. Best Answering Service takes the guesswork out of finding the right answering service for your business needs.
With one easy-to-use form, we’ll provide quotes for up to 5 different answering services in as little as 1 business day. There’s no obligation and no credit card required. And best of all, it’s absolutely free!
With over 20,000 businesses that have already gotten their quotes, Best Answering Service can help you too. Check out Best Answering Service today.
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.