What is the Best Answering Service?

Live answering service for lawyers talking on the phone

When customers or prospective customers call your business, their experience is critical to building the client relationship, ensuring excellent service, and ultimately maintaining revenue streams. But, what do you do when you’re unable to answer the phone? For savvy businesses, the solution lies in an answering service provider. 

In fact, many companies now utilize answering services since they can manage not just incoming and outgoing phone calls, but also solutions like setting appointments, taking messages, and live chat—all available 24/7. Your company’s reputation, as well as your customer satisfaction and retention rates, can benefit from the use of a professional answering service. That’s because reputable answering services staff only professional, friendly operators to handle your calls. And the leading answering service providers build genuine relationships with each caller to set your company apart amongst competitors.

An answering service for a small business (or a business of any size), ensures your customers can get a hold of you when they need to—and it frees up you and your team. Not only does that mean you have time to focus on building a great business, but you know your customers are always taken care of—no matter if it’s during or after hours. Plus, with a professional answering service, you’ll get trained professionals who know about your industry and can help with all kinds of questions your customers might have.

But with so many answering service providers out there, how do you find the right solution? In this article we’re exploring how to choose an answering service and what features and capabilities to look out for.

Do Answering Services Still Exist?

Yes, answering services do still exist. In fact, they’re more accessible now more than ever. Many businesses continue to use answering services to handle phone calls and other forms of communication for their clients. As a third-party service provider, they act as an extension of the businesses they work for, taking phone calls and managing customer inquiries as they come in. And that’s invaluable for a lot of small businesses. 

For many businesses, answering services are an excellent solution to meeting the demands of your customers and prospects—this is especially true for small- to mid-sized businesses who may be unable to get to the phone every time it rings or pay for one or more full-time receptionists. Without the budget to hire a full-time employee or the time to answer calls in-house, an answering service can help your business connect with customers so you never miss their business. 

We live in a world where roughly 80% of callers who get sent to voicemail don’t leave messages. Those unanswered calls are potential lost revenue, and it’s not a leap to assume that if you don’t answer, they might just ring one of your competitors. Answering services ensure that your customers can get to you whenever they need to.

For example, some companies, like Answering Service Care, are a 24/7 answering service, even providing coverage after hours and on the weekends. That means your business can not only take advantage of professional operators to give your customers a great experience, but your customers can get help at any time. This availability makes sure your customers never get to voicemail—and provides your business a big advantage against your competitors.

Who Uses Answering Services?

Answering services are utilized by a wide range of industries and businesses to manage their incoming calls and provide exceptional customer service:

  • Medical Practices: Improving patient care and accessibility is essential in healthcare. That’s why many medical practices and hospitals employ answering services so that patients can reach them in case of an emergency or to set up an appointment. 
  • Law Firms: To ensure that their clients and potential clients’ questions are answered promptly and professionally—while also providing a way to stay focused on paid work—many law firms use answering services as a way to take messages and keep a schedule.
  • Real Estate: Real estate is in high demand and agents and agencies use answering services keep up by answering questions about property listings, capturing leads, and maintaining a schedule—without having to sacrifice time showing houses and meeting clients.
  • Small Businesses: Answering services are useful for small businesses in a wide range of industries since they offer low-cost alternatives to in-house call center staff while still ensuring high-quality customer care.

Ultimately, answering services are a versatile solution that businesses of all sizes—and in a variety of industries—use to improve efficiency, increase customer satisfaction, and uphold a trustworthy public reputation. These services are essential for successful call handling and first-rate customer service in any industry, from healthcare to law and real estate to small businesses.

How Do I Choose an Answering Service?

The first step in choosing an answering service is thinking through what features and functionalities are most important to your business. Use the following questions to understand what kinds of services are most necessary to your business model.

  • What exactly are you looking to outsource? Business needs vary from company to company. Often, 24-hour support is essential for businesses to keep their customers happy. If you’re looking to outsource your inbound and outbound calls, you should aim to hire an answering service offers 24/7 assistance.  But what other duties are important for your business needs?

    For example, do you simply need someone to take calls, or are you looking for live chat support as well? According to TechJury, 52% of customers prefer to do business with a company that offers live chat assistance, so expanding into this area could be beneficial to your business.

    Being aware of what your business needs are—whether that’s inbound calls, customer service, or simply taking messages—will help you narrow down an answering service that can fill the role without having to hire a full-time employee.

  • Why do your customers or prospects reach out to you? It can be helpful to develop a list of reasons why your customers or prospects call. Are they looking to schedule an appointment or confirm an existing appointment? Do they ask technical questions about your services? Understanding why you receive calls can help ensure you choose a service that meets those needs.

    Most businesses need a fully-trained customer support specialist or someone who can set schedules and take messages. A professional answering service will not only use highly-trained professional operators, but they’ll be able to help with all types of customer needs, whether that’s answering a question or making sure they get an appointment. 

  • What features or capabilities are most important to your business? Every company will have different capabilities that are critical to their operations. For example, if you work with a large Spanish-speaking population, it may be essential to find a solution that has Spanish-speaking agents.

    Or, if you work in a highly technical field, you may want a live phone answering service that trains their agents to work within that specific industry niche.

    An answering service should provide you with the dedicated support your business needs—whether you’re in need of bilingual support or solving detailed customer service requests. 

  • What functions would be “nice to have” if they were available? For example, if you operate with business applications related to calendars, CRMs, messaging, payment processing, marketing, or financing, you may want to go with an answering service that can integrate with your tools to streamline operations.

Once you’ve created a detailed list of what kinds of capabilities and features you’re looking for, you can begin to find the right solution that’ll fit your company’s needs. The best answering service for small businesses, medical practices, law firms, and real estate, will meet all of your needs—not just answer your phones. That’s why Answering Service Care offers fully-trained, bilingual operators to provide support to your customers, so you can always connect with them with personalized interactions. Plus, we integrate with over 5000 applications, so you can ensure your systems are updated and organized the right way.   

How Do I Choose an Answering Service?

What Features Do the Best Answering Service Companies Offer?

The best live, virtual answering service companies include the features and functionality you need, in addition to top-tier customer service and support. Essentially, excellent answering services recognize that your success is critical to their success. Here is a list of features and capabilities you should look for when comparing potential solutions.

  • An Established Reputation: Because answering services are an extension of your business, it’s important to find a solution that understands how to deliver excellent service to you and your callers. In order to build consumer trust and loyalty, it’s important to communicate with them in a consistent and dependable manner. And customer loyalty is essential to building your reputation. At Answering Service Care, we’ve been in business for nearly 50 years, so we understand why providing the best customer service is indispensable for businesses like yours. As a leader in the industry, we serve over 4,000 customers—and we take their success seriously.
  • 24/7 Coverage: Especially in industries like home services, legal, medical, and real estate, calls don’t stick to a normal 9-5 schedule. When your business uses an answering service, you can rest assured that all calls from customers will be handled immediately, no matter the time, lending credibility and a reputation of friendly service to your brand. With 24/7 support, your customers can reach you whenever they need to, improving both customer experience and satisfaction. Our team of agents at Answering Service Care is here for your business—and your callers—24/7/365.
  • Quality Agents: The best answering services recognize that their agents act as the voice of your business. Because skilled agents can quickly handle requests, troubleshoot issues, and provide information reliably every time, an answering service can help you serve your business customers while representing you and your company values. Their knowledge and skills allow them to resolve issues more quickly, which will satisfy all of your customers. At Answering Service Care, not only do our agents receive industry specific training, but we work with you to understand your specific needs and workflows to deliver seamless customer service.
  • Bilingual Services: Roughly 13% of people living in the United States speak Spanish in their homes, according to a recent Forbes article. Offering bilingual customer support through an answering service is a great way to expand your business and attract more customers. Trained bilingual agents can deliver a more personalized and culturally sensitive service, enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty. That’s why, to better access this market, you should seek out a solution like Answering Service Care that employs Spanish-speaking agents.
  • Automated Features: While most people think of live answering services and live chat, the best solutions also offer automated features to streamline operations and improve the customer experience. Wait times are cut significantly, and customers receive more streamlined, personalized service—which should be a top priority as a customer-focused business—thanks to features like Interactive Voice Response (IVR) to intelligent call routing, spam blocking, call recording, and more. And because they facilitate data collection and analysis, you can discover more about your customers’ preferences and routines, which can then be used to improve your customer service.

As you can see, there are a number of important considerations that should go into choosing an answering service for your business. For example, it’s always important to maintain an excellent track record—which speaks volumes about a company’s reliability and dedication to its customers. With an answering service, you’ll always be available to customers regardless of their location. That reliability will lead to customer loyalty and satisfaction. So will having trained expert operators that understand your business inside and out. 

What features do the best answering services offer?

Each feature you’re looking for should be a priority for any answering service you choose. That’s why Answering Service Care offers a number of features that create an efficient and reputable operation for your business.

Find the Best Live Answering Service For Your Small Business with Answering Service Care

For nearly five decades, Answering Service Care has been a leader in providing answering services for small and mid-sized businesses across a variety of industries. Our team of industry-trained agents offer unmatched professionalism and friendliness, ensuring that your customers receive the support and care they deserve. 

When you’re seeking the best answering service to support your business, turn to Answering Service Care. Schedule a call today to learn how our solution can support your business operations or simply get started for as little as $25 per-month.

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