65% of customers seriously consider switching brands after a negative customer service experience, suggests recent data. When it comes to calling a business, how many times have you had a positive experience? There might only be a few you can think of—possibly just a handful. Chances are, you’ve experienced some or all of the following frustrating interactions as a customer:
- Customer service representatives that don’t understand the problem you’re facing.
- Endless automated menus that never seem to have the option you actually need.
- Customer service lines that don’t connect outside of normal business hours.
- Waiting through transfers that take a tens of minutes—or even hours—or don’t connect you with the right person
As a leader in your business, what can you do to prevent your customers from dealing with these challenges? Fortunately, a solution exists. By working with live answering service agents, you can offer improved customer support while saving time and money.
What advantages do answering services have over answering machines, exactly? To begin, live agents can respond to each caller’s unique challenges and provide next steps quickly, which a machine just can’t. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg of the advantages you’ll find when hiring an answering services. In this blog, we explore some more benefits of answering services and explain why they’re beneficial for your business. If you’ve been searching for an “answering service near me,” we’ll also provide ways to choose the best provider.
What Is an Answering Service?
An answering service for business provides live agents to handle phone calls rather than have an in-house employee. In addition, live answering service agents can also provide customer support, schedule appointments, process payments, and much more.
Answering services are run by third-parties, which creates two significant distinctions between these services and in-house receptionists. So, what are the two advantages of an answering service? They are:
- Answering service agents work from a location that is not your office. Partnering with remote agents has a few advantages. First, as your needs grow, you can expand your team without needing to invest in a larger office. Second, you have access to a wider talent pool when searching for agents, which gives you more options for qualifications and price. Third, you can find answering services that are available 24/7 without needing to keep your doors open all day, every day. This increased availability can also come in handy during challenging events, such as a power outage at your office.
- Answering service agents are part of your team, but they are not full-time employees. With an answering service, you gain access to agents who put your interests first—giving your customers best-in-industry support. While providing high-quality service, these agents are also available at a fraction of the price of a full-time in-house receptionist (which is a monthly average of $2,585 for salary alone, according to ZipRecruiter). You can benefit from cost savings without sacrificing quality because answering services only charge you for the time you actually use.
What’s the Purpose of an Answering Service?
The main role of an answering service is to handle inbound and outbound calls, as well as help with your company-specific needs. This may include questions about products or services, scheduling, or general customer support—like resolving any issues that might arise. The goal is to make your answering service seem like an extension of your business.
Of course, there is a cost-savings aspect to hiring an answering service. In providing this kind of assistance, answering services help small and medium-sized businesses that don’t have the resources to recruit a staff member to handle their high call volumes. In fact, you can save thousands of dollars as a small or medium-sized business that hires a service rather than a dedicated salary employee. For example, Answering Service Care offers competitive pricing— for example, the best answering service for small business value packages, like our Pro offering, give you more minutes at an affordable price.
As an added bonus, outsourcing all telephone duties allows you as a business owner to devote more time and energy to serving your clientele. In the end, an important benefit of using an answering service is the ability to set your business apart from the competitors.
Are Answering Services and Call Centers Different?
Yes. When defining what answering services are, it’s also important to note the differences they have with call center services. Oftentimes, these terms are used interchangeably. However, answering services and call centers actually offer distinct levels of service and are best suited for different purposes.
- Live answering services prioritize industry-best customer support during each interaction. This level of individualized care makes answering services ideal for businesses that rely on building lasting relationships with their customers.
- Call centers are designed to prioritize call quantity over quality. As a result, these services are better suited to high volume cold-calling initiatives over individualized customer support. Often, call centers also do not offer cross-channel communication—like live chat—or other features like call forwarding.
Overall, answering services are a good option your business if you want to provide a more tailored and professional experience for your callers. This is especially true if you own a small or medium-sized business that might still be trying to establish a solid customer base and want to provide outstanding customer support. And while call centers can handle a large volume of calls, they’re usually not ideal for businesses trying to provide a personalized experience.
When choosing an answering service for your business, ensure that it offers the quality, personalized service your customers deserve. When partnering with Answering Service Care, excellent customer experience is part of the package, along with 24/7 availability, industry-specific expertise, and so much more.
Why Do You Need an Answering Service?
Your business should use an answering service if you want to either save time, reduce costs, or improve your reputation—or achieve all of these goals at once! Here’s how an answering service can benefit your business:
- Save Time: When done right, customer support can take up a lot of your time. If you operate in an industry with billable hours, such as legal, then the time you spend on the phone cuts into the time you could spend earning revenue. Answering service agents handle essential customer support tasks so you can focus on delivering excellent results.
- Reduce Costs: As we mentioned earlier, answering services are available for a fraction of the cost of hiring an in-house receptionist. You can also save more money by choosing a provider that integrates into your existing tech ecosystem, so you won’t have to invest in any new software to get started. At Answering Service Care, our agents fit into your business model seamlessly thanks to 5,000+ integrations.
- Improve Your Reputation: Recent research shows that 93% of consumers are more likely to become repeat customers for businesses that offer excellent customer service. Answering services connect your customers with agents who are knowledgeable, friendly, and professional. The agents share your goal of finding answers to your customers’ problems efficiently, which your customers will appreciate.
By outsourcing the handling of incoming calls, answering services enable you to reclaim valuable time, which enables you and your staff to concentrate on responsibilities like operations and development. Reclaiming this time not only helps your team focus on delivering quality services, but it also helps with budgeting. For example, when compared to hiring full-time employees, the costs of using an answering service are substantially lower—as low as $25 a month for small businesses.
Plus the service is available around the clock—which means representatives are always available, even outside of operational hours. This availability, along with other benefits, like bilingual support and industry-specific customer service, play a significant part in strengthening your reputation.
Ultimately, hiring an answering service can contribute to the success and growth of your business both in customer service and the budget. Don’t leave your time, money, and reputation on the table. Get started today with Answering Service Care, where your calls are answered by professionally trained and dedicated staff—so you can focus on the business.
Who Uses an Answering Service?
All industries can benefit from using an answering service, and specialized industries have an increased need for agents with specific training. For example, the following industries rely on agents who can support customers during complex calls:
- Home Services
- Real Estate
- Beauty and Wellness
The best medical answering service—or answering service for any specialized industry—is one that provides agents with specialized training so they can begin delivering high quality support immediately. These characteristics are important because research indicates that new hires only operate at 25% productivity during their first 30 days, and it can take up to 12 months to reach full bandwidth. When partnering with Answering Service Care, you get agents who are ready to represent your business from day one.
Put Customer Experience First with Answering Service Care
Completing a telephone call can be done by anyone, but you won’t find a more personalized experience than with an answering service. How do you choose the best answering service provider? It all comes down to the time and money it helps you save, as well as boosting your reputation and confidence among your customers. By outsourcing call handling to a professional team, your business can take advantage of improved customer service with 24/7 availability, greater professionalism, and reduced costs. To provide the best experience for your customers, Answering Service Care representatives offer several benefits for your business:
- Respond to calls at all times of day—even when the office is closed.
- Communicate with both English and Spanish speakers.
- Give knowledgeable, industry-specific support based on specialized training and transcripts.
- Increase productivity of your businesses—reduce missed calls and support your team.
- Take care of customer support—like help calls, taking messages, and scheduling—so you can focus on operations.
With Answering Service Care, you receive all these essentials and more. Get started today for as little as $25 per month.