Cost vs. Quality: What to Look For In a Phone Answering Service
There are several different types of phone answering services, and what you get with each one varies wildly. Because there are so many options, it’s easy to choose the wrong type of service for your business.
So, before you choose a provider, make sure you understand the key differences between the different types of phone answering services.
What is a phone answering service?
Phone answering services have become a popular alternative to hiring in-house receptionist and administrative help.
Here are some examples of how they work:
- You can have all calls answered. This means you’ll never be interrupted by an unexpected call, but every caller still receives support.
- Choose to have only overflow calls answered. With this option, the provider only answers when your internal lines are busy.
- Opt into after-hours support, which is an affordable way to provide 24-hour customer service.
- Use phone answering services on an as-needed basis, only utilizing the service during busy periods.
Now that you understand the real-world applications, let’s take a look at the different types of phone answering services that are available to small business owners and entrepreneurs.
Automated answering services
If you don’t necessarily need a live person answering the phone, automated answering services can be a good fit. Automated services are also affordable and easy to get started with because you don’t have to train someone.
This is how it works: When someone calls, they receive a pre-recorded list of options. They can press one for the business’s operating hours or press two to leave a voicemail, for example.
If you receive a large number of calls requesting basic information, an automated answering service might be sufficient. If your callers expect to speak with a live person, however, this type of phone answering service will generally do more harm than good.
Virtual receptionist answering services
Virtual receptionists do so much more than answer and transfer calls. The name is misleading, but these professionals are real-life people with training on the ins and outs of customer service. In fact, they can take over all of the same responsibilities as an in-person receptionist.
Virtual receptionists need to know your business and how it functions, because they deliver a level of service that far exceeds that of an automated answering service or a call center. Some virtual receptionists even have industry-specific training.
Because a virtual receptionist is tuned into your business, they develop a keen understanding of how to best handle questions and concerns.
This is why the Intelligent Office team says that our virtual receptionists provide so much more than just phone answering. Callers won’t even realize they’re speaking with someone who isn’t a full-time member of your team, and the level of service that’s provided is unmatched.
A virtual receptionist will be more expensive than an automated service, but the cost is still incredibly affordable because you only pay for what you need.
Call center answering services
Call centers are an option most often used by companies that need to handle a large volume of incoming calls. Like virtual receptionist answering services, these services aim to act as an extension of your internal team.
In reality, the call center experience can come across as cold and impersonal. You never know which one of the call center’s employees will pick up the call, so it’s difficult to get to know your support team on a more personal level.
Phone answering services ensure you never miss a call again
Each type of phone answering service will provide you with a varying degree of quality, but it’s important to remember that a lower-priced service often equates to a lower level of service.
And before you sign on with a new service provider, be sure to review these 4 Things to Look For When Choosing a Phone Answering Service.