Virtual Answering Service

Discover how to make phone calls go from a frustrating experience to a helpful one.

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Virtual Answering Service

When’s the last time you’ve called a business and felt your blood pressure go down? If you’re like most people, feeling satisfied after a customer service call is a rare experience. According to Customer Service Manager Magazine, here’s what frustrates customers the most when calling a business (starting with the most aggravating):

Deliver Exceptional Support with Virtual Answering Services

The end result isn’t just grumpy customers—poor customer service can cause churn and lower revenue. Fortunately, partnering with a virtual answering service, like Answering Service Care, can help you provide the excellent support that your customers expect and deserve. Answering Service Care has been in business since 1974, and we deeply understand these frustrations. Our team has implemented an operator training program to make sure that your business can provide the best service in your industry.

At Answering Service Care, we tackle these problems head-on. You’ll no longer have to worry about frustrating your customers, because our operators will answer every call right away, and with empathetic and friendly service. There are no automated menus or endless transfers. You customers get a live person every time—not an answering machine with complicated options and slow response times. Plus, our operators are bilingual and can speak with any customers, no matter if it is in English or Spanish. 

Not only do we offer those benefits, but we’ve also created this guide to help you get started improving your customer experience. In it, you’ll find everything you need to know about answering services, like:

What Is an Answering Service?

A call answering service is a customer support option provided by a third party to handle phone calls for an organization. The services are staffed by knowledgeable individuals who are available at all hours to take messages, answer questions, and perform other tasks to meet a business’s needs. Telephone answering services ensure all calls are answered in a timely and professional manner, which boosts both customer satisfaction and business productivity. Answering services help businesses stay on top of customer calls by supporting some or all of an in-house receptionist team’s responsibilities, such as:

Taking Messages

Keep your customers engaged by hearing what they have to say, even if you can’t respond right away. Working with answering service agents expands your team so customers don’t feel ignored.

Scheduling Appointments

Keep your calendar full by being responsive to your customers. Live answering service agents are ready to balance customer needs and your schedule.

Offering Customer Support

Live answering service operators are committed to providing professional, helpful assistance for your customers—whether that’s hearing their concerns, troubleshooting, or performing any other essential service.

Providing Bilingual Operators

Meeting customers where they’re at includes speaking their language. With bilingual answering service operators, you can build stronger relationships with your customers.

Blocking Spam

Spam calls can clog your phone lines and make providing excellent service more challenging. Answering service equipment comes with spam blockers to keep agents’ focus on your customers—not robots.

Processing Payments

Make payments easy and secure with interactive voice response (IVR) technology. These automated prompts guide your customers through the payment process quickly and securely.

In other words, a virtual answering service acts as an extension of your business rather than a separate entity. And because answering services like Answering Service Care are a part of your team, we are invested in your business’s success—that’s why we provide the highest quality customer service, leading to a better ROI and boosting customer satisfaction.

Live Phone Answering Service Agent

What Is a Virtual Answering Service Agent?

A virtual answering service agent, also called an operator, answers phone calls on behalf of your business. But the role of an answering service operator extends beyond just taking messages. Like an in-house receptionist, an answering service operator will also provide industry-specific customer support, schedule appointments, and patch calls through to the right team members.

Unfortunately, missed calls lead to frustrated customers and lost opportunities for new and repeat business. With a specialty answering service, you can rest assured that your callers will always reach someone who can help, no matter what time of day or night your business takes a customer’s call. Ultimately, the purpose of a virtual answering service agent is to ensure that your business is ready and able to respond to your customers whenever they reach out.

Do People Still Use Answering Services?

Yes, because using a virtual answering service for a small business or a large company can yield benefits like increased revenue and decreased costs. Other reasons why businesses still use answering services include (but aren’t limited to) the following:

Better Customer Retention

According to Forbes, poor customer experience is one of the leading causes of churn. Virtual answering services provide your team with enough resources to respond immediately to customer calls. This gives you the opportunity to solve problems before your customers turn to your competition.

Lower Overhead Costs

As your business grows, so will your needs for customer support. Your costs for providing that support will go up, too. Hiring new employees can get pricey. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median yearly salary for receptionists is $33,960. On top of that, you need to factor in PTO and health benefits. Answering services are available at a fraction of the cost, so you can invest in other areas of your business—without sacrificing quality.

Increased Opportunities

When customers are shopping for a service, they’re not going to wait around until you call back. They’re going to keep reaching out to providers (your competitors) until someone picks up the phone. Virtual answering services increase connection rates, which means more appointments on your calendar and more money coming into your business.

Enhanced Productivity

Hiring new in-house receptionists isn’t just costly, it can take a long time. According to Indeed, most employees aren’t expected to be working at full bandwidth for at least 90 days. If you work in a specialized field, like law or medicine, this process can take even longer. Virtual answering services provide your team with agents who are ready to go from day one.

Specialized Team Members

Certain industries require extra steps during customer interactions. In the medical field, businesses need to comply with HIPAA regulations. Lawyers also have strict confidentiality requirements. No matter the industry, your representatives also need the knowledge to guide customers through the problem-solving process. Virtual answering agents, like those at Answering Service Care, are educated on what it takes to provide the best experience for your customers.

24/7 Availability

Customers’ problems don’t follow a convenient schedule, so your team should be available whenever an issue pops up. LinkedIn reports that delayed response times contribute to customer churn. With a virtual answering service, you don’t have to worry about a customer being frustrated too early or too late in the day. Your team will be there to support them.

Beyond their basic capabilities, live operator answering services also provide the adaptability to manage different call volumes, which makes them a useful option for companies with shifting needs or, in some cases, those that have a higher seasonal volume. Additionally, businesses with diverse customers need to be able to offer multilingual help in order to ensure effective communication with customers who speak different languages. Simply put, answering services are an essential channel that connects companies and their customers by providing a dependable and professional point of contact in situations when hiring an in-house employee may not be possible.

Is an Answering Service Worth It for Businesses?

Yes! An answering service is one of the best ways to make sure your business is helping all of your customers without overloading your in-house staff. Because there are no long wait times, answering machines, or complicated menus to navigate through, you’ll be available for more customers—and be able to help them right away. One thing is for sure, with a dedicated team of virtual answering service operators, your customers will receive the highest-quality customer service by trained professionals. Plus, with a 24/7 answering service like Answering Service Care, you’ll get bilingual and industry-specific support. Not to mention the cost savings when compared to a full-time receptionist, which can make quite a difference with your business’s budget.

Image: Business man working
Live Support

How Does a Virtual Answering Service Work?

A remote answering service functions much like having an in-house team, except your call agents are working from a separate location. Some other key differences are that a remote answering service can be available 24/7, and you only need to pay for the services that you need. They can also help you avoid answering machines and fully automated answering services for small business that make it difficult to reach a live person, and instead send your customers through endless and confusing menus.

Because of these advantages, working with a virtual answering service team can save your business money while improving the customer experience. If your business doesn’t have the resources for a full-time receptionist, or if your company is scaling beyond the capabilities of your current team, then a virtual answering service could be the right solution for you.

Is an Answering Service the Same as a Call Center?

Answering services and call centers are often referred to interchangeably, but they’re actually two distinct industries with several key differences. See how they compare to make sure you’re choosing the best solution for your organization:

  • Answering services use virtual agents (or operators) to offer personalized service for your customers. The primary goal of these services is to give your customers the best experience with your business as possible.
  • Call centers answer and make a high volume of calls that a business can’t handle with internal resources. Unfortunately, volume comes first with most call centers. While prioritizing volume can be helpful for cold calling and payment processing, many customers wind up frustrated.

The best virtual office call answering services seek to provide more positive experiences for your customers by training operators on industry-specific knowledge. This specialized training enables answering service agents to solve more problems during each call. With a virtual answering service, high call volume is an advantage, not a challenge.

What Is the Difference Between an Auto Attendant and IVR?

An auto attendant is an automated answering service that uses a menu system to process calls while interactive voice response (IVR) technology allows callers to input information. Here’s an example of how each of these services function:

These tools are great for automating conversations that follow clear paths, which saves time for your team to handle more complex calls. However, they cannot replace the experience customers have with live operators taking their calls—and oftentimes they’re more frustrating than helpful.  

What Does Answering Service Software Do?

Answering service software provides call operators with the tools they need to efficiently and thoroughly serve customers. With a provider like Answering Service Care, you can count on the following functionality to improve customer experience:

Ready to get started offering best-in-industry customer support? It’s as easy as scheduling a meeting.

How To Set Up an Answering Service?

The easiest way to set up an answering service is to work with a provider. Typically, getting started requires filling out a simple form. At Answering Service Care, this form includes questions like:

Question Examples

What industry are you in, and what does your company do for your customers?

When do you want to get started?

Do you want access to call recordings?

Does our standard greeting work for you, or would you prefer a custom greeting?

What information should we collect from your callers?

Does our standard closing work for you, or would you prefer a custom closing?

Which additional features do you want included in your answering service?

Once you complete the form, our team will get in touch with you to finish setting up your account and payment system. All you have to do when your account is set up is forward your phones to our answering service line. There’s no expensive equipment required to use a professional answering service like Answering Service Care. If you’d like to have more in-depth service beyond handling your calls, you can also integrate applications you already use, like a CRM or marketing software.  

Then, you’ll benefit from excellent customer service provided by operators who understand the unique challenges, regulations, and advantages of your industry and services.

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What’s the Best Virtual Answering Service?

The best answering service for a small business, medium-sized business, or a large company, is one that meets your unique needs. A good place to start your search is to evaluate how your customer service could improve. Ask yourself (and your team):

These tools are great for automating conversations that follow clear paths, which saves time for your team to handle more complex calls.

If you’re struggling to keep up with call volume while providing the quality of service that customers require, then it’s worth seeing if Answering Service Care is the right solution for your business. We work with companies in every industry to create customer experiences that draw in new business and encourage repeat business. In particular, we’ve found that the following industries can benefit from a virtual answering service:

  • Legal
  • Medical
  • Home Services
  • Real Estate
  • Beauty and Wellness
  • Finance
  • Insurance
  • Business Services
  • Consulting
  • Deathcare
  • Education

See how you can benefit from having our team as an extension of yours.

Get started for as little as $25 per month.