Benefits of an Answering Service

Businesses are increasingly seeing the benefits of call answering services.

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For businesses, an answering service is more than a way to deal with incoming phone calls. In addition to the telephone duties they fulfill, the benefits of an answering service give businesses a chance to improve their customer service, expand their marketing outreach, provide better products and services, and—last but not least—save time and money on operations.

If you’re a business owner that’s wondering “What is the point of answering service?” In this article, we’ll deep dive into some basic information about answering services, what they provide, and why using an answering service is great for companies of all sizes. Many benefits come with working with an answering service—provided it’s the right one. With this information, you’ll be able to picture what the role of an answering service could be for your organization.

What Is a Professional Answering Service?

Answering services are companies that provide customer-facing services to businesses. They are usually thought of for their namesake role—handling phone calls—but an answering service can also:

  • Answer complex customer questions that relate to specific industries, such as medicine or law
  • Make outbound calls on behalf of the business, supplementing core growth functions
  • Gather key information from customers for organizational feedback or data purposes
  • Provide 24/7 coverage of communications, so a customer’s call never goes unanswered

Essentially, an answering service lets businesses offload critical operations tasks, so the rest of the staff can focus on growing and improving the business. What’s more, as answering services work for clients, they perform all their duties as if they were a part of that company. This means if an agent answers the phone for a medical office, they answer as if they’re in that office. Answering services are an extension of the companies they work for—literally and figuratively. That’s why Answering Service Care treats your business’s success as a top priority when helping your customers.

What Are the Telephone Duties in the Office Handled by an Answering Service?

Some of the telephone duties in the office answering services provide include (but are not limited to):

  • Handling customer calls, messages, and outbound calling
  • Transferring any emergency calls to the appropriate staff
  • Relaying information and messages to the business’s staff
  • Filtering out spam, robocalls, and other unwanted solicitation
  • Troubleshooting with customers while they’re on the line

What Are 4 Advantages of an Answering Service?

Here are some of the positives of working with an answering service:

  • You create a more consistent, high-quality customer experience. When you have a trained staff of agents that’s strictly dedicated to customer service, your customers can always expect the same people answering their questions, with the same level of service and attentiveness that they want every time they call your business or organization. As receptionist jobs tend to have a revolving door, this is pretty difficult to achieve—unless you work with an answering service.
  • Your organization has more time and resources to dedicate to growth and improvement. Customer service is a critical part of any organization, but that doesn’t mean you personally should always have to focus on it. For example, lawyers need time to deal with their caseload, and doctors need time to see their patients. In businesses like these, professionals often end up splitting their time and ultimately struggling to do either as well as they could. Answering services let you focus on other critical functions, knowing that your customers are taken care of.
  • Answering services save you money on hiring receptionists—without compromising quality. Many companies know the challenge of keeping a consistent receptionist. That challenge becomes even more prevalent when your company is specialized in a particular industry, meaning your receptionist needs more training and onboarding before they can even do their job. A construction company, for example, needs someone on their phones who knows how to handle not just customer calls but orders for materials, job site complications, and more. Thankfully, there are answering services who can provide quality agents for specific industries.
  • Hiring an answering service helps you increase your marketing and outreach efforts. Some businesses spend so much time making the business run as is, that they have hardly any time left for attracting new customers. In industries like law, this is a particularly big problem because not everything they do for their job is billable to customers, making marketing efforts feel like a financial loss. Not only can answering services offload key customer-facing roles, they can also help you bring in new business, collect feedback from existing clients, and so much more.

In short, answering services offload customer service roles, save you time, and help you attract more customers—all at a lower cost than a full-time receptionist. What’s not to like about any of that?

What Are the Disadvantages of Automated Phone Systems?

Using fully-automated services instead of a team of real operators might seem like a good idea, but it’s rarely the best solution—especially if you care about customer service or brand image. Ultimately, just setting up an IVR menu and calling it “done” will cost your business more than you may realize. Having machines to do your customer experience work will likely result in alienating, confusing, or losing clients altogether. Of course, technology is certainly helpful when it’s used properly, but strictly relying on it for phone services may yield less-than-ideal outcomes, such as…

  • …poor customer experiences. A recent study by SurveyMonkey found that, even with the advances in technology around automated phone service, 90% of people still want their problems addressed by another human when calling an organization. Additionally, 61% also agreed that human customer service understands their needs better than a machine.
  • …less overall business success. What you may save in time and money from a cheap automated service, you will lose not only in worse customer service, but less opportunity for growth. Remember, phones aren’t just about handling inbound calls; they also give you another opportunity for customer outreach, customer retention, and even feedback collection.
  • …reduced efficiency in customer service. Automated phone systems can often be difficult for customers to navigate—or worse, they may not find what they are looking for at all. This not only creates a bad experience for customers, but it ties up your phone line for even longer. In the end, your callers will be waiting longer, and ultimately, for an overall worse customer experience.

Companies will sometimes turn to automated phones as a solution for replacing receptionists. Again, this makes sense on the surface, as receptionists tend to be a high-turnover role… but before you decide that AI is best for your business operations, consider using a quality answering service. Answering services will give a human touch to your business that is consistent, round-the-clock, and adaptable to your industry’s specific needs. On top of all that, answering services are far cheaper than a receptionist.

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What Is the Purpose of an Answering Service?

Answering services help organizations give a reliable, consistent, high-quality experience to their customers. They also take a massive responsibility off the hands of businesses, making it easier to focus on other key operations. To answer the question “Why should I use an answering service?” let’s use a fictional example of a medical practice—and how it specifically benefits from answering services.

Dr. Allison Dawn runs a small pediatric clinic with about two dozen other medical professional team members. Their staff works hard and cares about their patients, but even so, it’s often difficult for them to stay on top of their phones. While her staff does have a dedicated receptionist role, that position has a relatively high turnover rate and it takes a long time to train even the most skilled receptionists for the job. At any point, her office may have patients calling in to not just schedule appointments but ask questions about their medical file, perform telehealth routines, or request new prescriptions for medication. Additionally, with telehealth becoming increasingly important for medicine, the office finds themselves struggling to keep up with the phones while also serving the patients who are in the office.

The challenges Dr. Dawn’s office faces are exactly why answering services exist. For many specialized industries like healthcare, receptionists must understand not just the language but the practices—for example, HIPAA compliance and patient confidentiality in medicine. And because of how hectic the healthcare industry can be, it’s challenging to provide consistent, high-quality customer service. Healthcare professionals, then, are stuck between the rock and hard place of doing two critical tasks their job requires: quality customer service and expert medical care. Answering services take care of that first part, so medical professionals can focus on the rest.

With this, keep in mind that not all answering services are created equally. Only the best answering services employ agents who are trained to work in specific industries like healthcare, law, real estate, and others. If this office worked with an answering service, they’d free up many of their staff to handle more patient care tasks, only needing to pick up the phone in emergencies or when they are specifically needed to answer a call. Answering services could even help this office with patient outreach and retention, further improving their touch points with the people they serve. It’s also worth noting that with an answering service, this office would have the same people always answering the phones, providing more consistency—a trait that is perhaps most critical in healthcare.

In medicine, the office telephone is an important source of communication between the medical office and their patients—or in some cases, from other healthcare providers. For example, an office may receive calls for prescription refills from a physician if they’re a pharmacy, or they may need to transfer sensitive patient information from a primary care provider to a referred specialist. This—combined with the busy nature of healthcare, long hours, and a dwindling workforce—makes an answering service very valuable to the medical field.

What Are the Benefits of Answering Services You Need?

Before signing a contract with an answering service it is important to ask for a few critical benefits. Below you will find a checklist of key things to consider ask you look for the right answering service:

Who currently answers your phones: real people or machines?

Do you offer 24/7 coverage by live agents?

Does your answering service use modern features such as…

…appointment scheduling? …email monitoring? …live chat messaging? …interactive voice response (IVR) menus? …call recording?

Are any of your agents trained to work with specific industries?

Can your agents speak more than one language?

How much experience does your answering service have?

What is your pricing plan and refund policy?

Providers like us at Answering Service Care easily fit the bill for a checklist like this—and at a price that is very affordable. At the time of this article’s publication, our pricing plans start at just $25/month. Even our most popular option, the Pro Plan, is only $289/month—a fraction of paying a single receptionist’s monthly salary for the same job. You cut out the worry of providing a good customer experience, all while saving money and giving your business more time to do what it does best.

Answering Service Care: Taking Routine Calls with Expert Care

All organizations want quality staff handling their customer service. At Answering Service Care, we make that possible for your organization—no matter its size, industry, or workflow. Our agents are available 24/7 to provide your customers with quality service through a variety of platforms. And when we answer your customers’ requests, we do it as if we’re a part of your organization, so there’s no disconnect—literally and figuratively. 

We’ve got decades of experience in a wide range of industries, including healthcare, law, real estate, construction, home services, small business, and many more. We do the heavy lifting of quality customer service so you don’t have to. And while you’re saving money on receptionist salaries and training, you’ll have more time, improved customer service, and more outreach. 

Finally, on the small off-chance that you aren’t satisfied with our services, we provide a 21-day money back guarantee—though, we seriously doubt it’ll come to that.

Ready to see what an answering service could look like for your organization? Get started today with one of our monthly plans, or schedule a meeting with us if you have questions. Trust us, we’ll answer your call.