What Is the Best Live Phone Answering Service?

Legal Answering Service Agent

In a world where every call is a potential opportunity, finding the best live phone answering service can be the difference between ringing success and missed connections. That’s why incorporating an answering service into your customer support strategy can significantly improve results with customer satisfaction and loyalty. But those aren’t the only results you’ll find using an answering service. In fact, most customers prefer to speak with a live person—rather than use an automated system—which means having an operator answer your calls drives higher engagement and can increase leads, among other things. 

However, all customer support options aren’t created equal—and it’s important to know the differences so you can make an educated decision. As your business grows, you might decide between live answering services, automated answering services, or call centers to help handle call volume. While these terms are often used interchangeably, there are key differences between each type of service. For example, automated versus live answering services give you the option to go through an automated system or speak with a live operator—but which one is best for your business? 

In this blog, we’re going to explore answering services and what you should expect from the best live phone answering services. We’ll tackle questions like, “What are my options for a phone answering and scheduling service?” and “What’s the best answering service for small business?” Let’s start with the basics: What exactly is an answering service and how can it help my business?

What Is a Virtual Answering Service?

A virtual answering service is a third-party company that answers calls on behalf of a business or a person, but is typically based in a different location than your business. Live answering services often feature skilled and knowledgeable operators who handle calls, messages, and other call-related responsibilities without requiring them to be physically at the customer’s office location. So what should you be looking for in these services? The best virtual answering service for a small business provides essential functions like:

  • Answering phone calls
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Connecting callers to relevant team members
  • Taking messages
  • Providing knowledgeable customer support
  • Processing payments
  • And much more

Live answering services often feature skilled and knowledgeable operators who handle calls, messages, and other call-related responsibilities without requiring them to be physically at the customer's office location.

With these features you’ll be able to help your customers with all of their needs—just as if you hired an in-house receptionist. These qualities give virtual answering services several advantages, such as:

  • Availability: Live answering service agents can be available independently from your operating hours. With 24/7 service, your agents can respond to customer concerns and emergencies no matter when they come up. Having operators available at all times not only gives your customers access to your business around the clock, but it really shows your customers you care about their needs. According to Hubspot, high-quality customer service also leads to more revenue and lifetime value from customers.
  • Cost: As your business scales, so will your call volume. However, hiring additional full-time in-house receptionists may be cost prohibitive—with training, a full-salary, and benefits. On the other hand, live answering services are available at a fraction of the cost without sacrificing quality. With Answering Service Care, your business has access to knowledgeable operators who know your industry—all based on a pay-per-minute structure, which means you only pay for what you need. That goes for after hours answering service costs as well—it’s only what you need! 
  • Experience: The best live answering service agents are already trained in the specifics of your industry when you sign up. That means they can provide high-quality service starting on their first day representing your business. Plus our operators have access to all of your computer systems to flawlessly help your customers with any questions or concerns they might have. With all of their experience, it will be like you’ve hired an in-house receptionist. 
  • Location: In general, searching for an “answering service near me” might be more fruitful if you look for a company that services many locations. For example, the owner of a business in Georgia uses a professional and highly-trained answering service based out of Florida—but still has a Georgia number. So you can take advantage of answering services no matter where you are.

What should you look for in an answering service? Availability, cost, experience, and location.

Virtual answering services are versatile solutions that encompass a range of features, from scheduling appointments to providing round-the-clock availability, all while maintaining cost-effectiveness for businesses seeking efficient call management. Explore our website to see what else live answering services can offer, from bilingual operators to custom on-hold music and more!

What Does It Mean When a Call Says “This Is the Answering Service”?

Any reputable answering service would not mention that they’re speaking with a customer as an operator, rather than an in-house employee. The reason businesses like yours use an answering service is to provide the personalized customer service that they would receive from someone in your office. For all intents and purposes, an answering service is just as much a part of your business as your employees. And each operator will approach customer interactions exactly the way you prefer.

Answering Service Care has been in business for nearly 50 years, so we understand why customer experience is important. Successful customer support means better customer retention and stronger loyalty. We want to make sure you succeed. That’s why we offer friendly operators who know how your industry works. We can provide the best service for both you and your customers—without you having to worry about professionalism or personalization. 

What Is the Difference Between a Call Center and an Answering Service?

Answering services and call centers are often used to describe the same solutions, but there are actually significant differences in quality and purpose between the two. Here’s what you need to know about each option to choose the right service for your business:

  • Answering Services: These services are tailored to individual customer experiences. Answering service agents are trained in specific industries to assist callers with unique, complex challenges while creating a friendly and professional atmosphere. Often, answering services offer message taking, appointment scheduling, and call screening, among other more personalized services. There is a dedicated team to make sure customer service is customized to each business—and offer in-depth help to customers.
  • Call Centers: These services focus on handling high volumes of both inbound and outbound calls. Because the primary goal of call centers is to process calls quickly, customers may experience less personal service, or they may not find answers to nuanced questions. Many call centers focus on converting leads, general customer support, or technical assistance to callers—but they lack the personal touch you will find in answering services.

When it comes down to it, the best answering service for a small business is an actual answering service—not a call center! With Answering Service Care, you can benefit from agents who specialize in individualized customer support specific to your industry. Not only that, but you don’t have to worry about cold operators whose biggest goal is to get customers off calls as soon as possible—we treat your customers like they’re our own, because your business’s success is our success.

What is the difference between an answering service and a call center?

How Much Does an Automated Phone Answering Service Cost?

Automated phone answering services tend to be cheaper than live answering services, but they can provide lower quality service if used incorrectly. Think about how frustrating it is to call customer service and be greeted by a lengthy robot introduction that leads to a menu, which goes to another menu, which goes to… you know the drill. While automated processes can fit into a successful answering services package, they shouldn’t be the only solution. According to Forbes, customers are fed up with fully automated answering services like chatbots that lack any human connection. Recent data shows that:

  • 78% of consumers could not find a solution through automated responses and still needed to speak to a live agent.
  • 72% of consumers felt that automated customer service processes wasted their time.
  • 80% of consumers reported that chatbots increased their frustration levels.

As a leader in your business, these are not the results you want to see. Automated services have their place (like for helping customers securely process payments over the phone), but they can’t replace the level of expertise and understanding that live agents bring to each and every call. 

The good news is that the live telephone answering service cost isn’t always prohibitive, even with high quality results! With Answering Service Care, you can get started for as little as $25 per month!

What Is the Point of an Answering Service?

Essentially, the point of an answering service is to provide your customers with the best customer service at all times—no matter their needs or the time they call. However, an answering service’s primary purpose is to provide customers with dependable call management and message taking services. Of course the benefits of dependably answering calls means you can rest assured that your calls will always be answered, no matter the time of day or night. On top of that, depending on the needs of your business, answering services may provide additional services such as appointment setting, call screening, and individualized call management.

Excellent Customer Service Is Just a Phone Call Away with Answering Service Care!

Elevate your customer experience with the help of an answering service – because top-notch service begins with the very first ring! The best answering service for your business will leave customers feeling satisfied after a phone call instead of frustrated. Unfortunately, many customers have negative experiences because of bad service or dealing with cumbersome automated systems. That’s why Answering Service Care is here to help: to always satisfy customers without the frustrations. Our agents ensure that your business can:

  • Be available 24/7.
  • Provide expert service for specialized industries.
  • Connect with English- and Spanish-speaking customers.
  • Fit seamlessly into your customer relationship management (CRM) system with 5,000+ integrations.

Your customers won’t wait for your customer service to improve, so neither should you. Get started today!

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