It’s no secret that customer engagement can make or break a business. Without the proper channels of communication, you could miss customer’s calls and possibly lose their business—even a loyal customer might reconsider if they’re sticking with your product or service. An answering service works as a virtual extension of your business and will help you maintain your customer satisfaction. That’s why a telephone answering service stands out as one of the most vital tools for businesses wanting to help all of their customers, not just those that are able to call during business hours.
In general, telephone answering services offer several advantages to businesses—and they’re pretty important, especially if you’re growing and need to scale your customer service operations. Here are three of the main advantages you’ll find with an answering service:
- Enhanced Customer Service
- 24/7 Availability
- Improved Productivity
We’ll dive into this later on, but ultimately, when clients call your business phone number, these services professionally handle the calls on your behalf, assuring timely responses, message-taking, and call routing as needed.
So, what does an answering service actually do? What is the best phone answering service for small business? And what does an answering service cost per month? We’ll answer all of these questions in more detail below!
How Does a Telephone Answering Service Work?
When it comes to handling customer inquiries, a business using a live phone answering service can make all the difference in the world. Overall, businesses of all sizes—and in all industries, like medical, legal, and real estate—can take advantage of these services and provide the best assistance to their customers. But how do answering services actually work?
A call answering service for small business redirects any calls from customers to a forwarded customer service line rather than your business’s direct line to the office. Once the call is made, trained operators from the answering service handle taking messages, setting appointments, addressing concerns, and so much more—all on your company’s behalf. In most cases, these operators work around the clock to make sure no calls go unanswered even while the business is closed.
Because of their adaptability, answering services are a great asset to any company that wants to provide better service to customers or improve its internal operations. In order to give individualized service to your callers—and integrate seamlessly with business operations—answering services often have access to your business’s database or customer relationship management (CRM) system. In fact, the best answering service for small businesses integrate with all of your systems. For example, Answering Service Care offers over 5,000 integrations—like Salesforce, Hubspot, and Google Suite—to businesses looking for answering services that can manage all of their phone-based customer service.
What Are 5 Advantages of an Answering Service?
There are the five distinct advantages that make answering services an indispensable tool for modern businesses—from enhancing customer service and ensuring 24/7 availability to boosting productivity, achieving cost efficiency, and adapting to the changing needs of your business. Let’s look at these five benefits of answering services further:
- Improved Customer Service: In order to deliver a positive and attentive experience for your customers, answer service companies provide professional and courteous call handling. That means you customers all receive friendly and empathetic service to make sure each caller knows your business cares about them. In addition, your callers will value the explanation of all of the latest details about your products, services, price, location, and more. This, in turn, can lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.
- 24/7 Availability: With answering services, your business can provide continuous availability to customers, even during weekends, holidays, or outside regular office hours. That means 24/7/365 your customers will be able to reach your business’s service line—so even if it’s outside of business hours, no customer is left behind. This availability helps your business capture leads, build customer loyalty, and address any urgent issues immediately.
- Boosted Productivity: Constantly fielding phone calls can lead to stress and burnout among employees. By outsourcing call management to professionals, your business can maintain high levels of productivity without interruptions from constant phone calls. This enables your team to stay focused on important projects and daily operations. For instance, sales representatives can focus on selling, customer support teams can address complex issues, and administrative staff can complete essential tasks without the distraction of managing phones.
- Cost Efficiency: There’s no question, outsourcing call handling to a live answering service for small business is more cost-effective compared to hiring full-time receptionists or customer support staff. In fact, an in-house receptionist salary alone is, on average, $40,000 a year. That doesn’t include benefits, training, and any turnover. With an answering service, you only pay for the services you use, which reduces the overhead costs associated with hiring and training in-house staff.
- Increased Scalability: Answering services are adaptable to your needs and can shift to meet the evolving demands of your business. An answering service can scale in either direction to meet your needs—which offers a seamless solution, regardless of whether your call volume is seasonal or grows steadily over time.
The best virtual answering service offers the most comprehensive solutions for small, medium, and enterprise businesses in every industry, with personalized services specifically tailored for your company. With Answering Service Care, you’ll be able to save money while providing exceptional service to your customers, boost your team’s productivity, and scale your plan according to your business’s needs. Answering Service Care offers you all of these advantages, plus many more—like bilingual operators trained specifically in your industry.
What Are the Disadvantages of Answering Services?
Unfortunately, despite their best efforts, some answering service operators may occasionally misinterpret or mishandle calls—leading to misunderstandings or errors in message-taking. Language barriers, accent differences, or cultural nuances between the answering service operators and your customers can sometimes contribute to these communication challenges. These barriers might also result in difficulties in explaining complex information, potentially impacting customer satisfaction for those that rely on consistent and accurate communication.
Another disadvantage is the lack of familiarity with your business and a lower ability to connect with your customers. By contracting with a third-party answering service, your business is essentially outsourcing its customer service operations. While technological advancements can improve efficiency and make services available 24/7, they may also remove the personal touch from business communications. When you’re attempting to build strong relationships with customers, a subpar answering service isn’t much help because they don’t know enough about your business to genuinely assist them.
With companies like Answering Service Care, you don’t have to worry about these disadvantages, as we tackle them head-on. Our operators are not only bilingual—to help with any miscommunication—but they’re also trained specifically in your industry. This helps build connections with customers—providing them with the best personalized service. That’s why we are the best virtual answering service for businesses of all sizes—to be an extension of your team and treat your customers like our own.
How Do I Start an Answering Service? Do I Need Any Equipment?
In most cases, you won’t need any costly equipment to use an answering service. The first step in setting up an answering service for your phone system is call forwarding from your company’s phone system to the answering service’s number. By doing so, you can rest assured that the answering service will receive all calls to your company and will manage them professionally—always in accordance with the requirements you provide.
In addition to call forwarding, you’ll also need to work out a service agreement with the answering service provider. That includes specifying call handling procedures and making sure they have access to important business data, such as any contact details, personalized scripts, and FAQs. Most importantly, in order to guarantee seamless call handling for your company, it’s essential to select a reputable and trustworthy answering service provider like Answering Service Care. We’ve been helping businesses provide the best service to their customers since 1974—with a great track record of friendly and professional service.
What Does an Answering Service Cost for Businesses?
If you’re wondering what the daytime and after hours answering service cost comes out to when you sign up, it ultimately depends on your needs. At Answering Service Care, we offer many different options for your business based on how many minutes you’d like, as well as other features like call transfers, 24/7 service, or software integration.
Are you a medium-sized business with a high call volume? You might do best with the Pro plan, which offers 250 minutes, a spam blocker, call recording, and the option for $5 per live chat—so your customers can reach you in any way that is convenient for them. The pro plan is $289/month, just a fraction of the cost of hiring a full-time receptionist. However, if you’re a smaller business that doesn’t get many calls or you’d just like the service after hours, our plans start as low as $25/month.
Always Be Available for Your Customers with Answering Service Care
While you might be looking for a “24/7 answering service near me,” or even a “flat rate answering service,” there’s only one option that gives you the most comprehensive packages with highly-trained, empathetic, and professional operators: Answering Service Care. The advantages are clear: enhanced customer service, 24/7 accessibility, and a boost in productivity await businesses who choose to partner with us—and our 50 year track record proves our dedication to our customers’ success.
Take the first step to optimizing your operations and give your customers outstanding service with no interruptions—get started with Answering Service Care today.