What Is an Answering Service?

In an era where many customers expect the best customer service, some companies still find it essential to have someone available to answer calls during the times that they are open. This is particularly true for businesses that specialize in service or support, such as doctors and dentists, who may have patients calling outside of normal office hours. Additionally, some companies prefer to use an answering service to field a portion of their incoming calls in place of or in addition to an on-site receptionist, such as electronics and computer manufacturers and solo entrepreneurs who work out of their home.

The type of answering services varies widely, with some focusing on providing customer service, while others focus solely on answering business calls. Regardless of the type of service, it is important for each answering service provider to provide a professional, friendly experience for the callers they serve. Using an answering service is a great way to improve the first-contact impression that your company makes on potential customers, and it can also help reduce employee stress by eliminating some of the pressure that comes with handling customer phone calls.

What Is an Answering Service?
An answering service is a third-party phone service that provides live phone answering for people who call your business. This can be a valuable resource for small and medium-sized businesses that may not have the budget to hire a full-time receptionist on their own. The services offered by answering services vary from one provider to the next, but they all typically include a number that callers can dial to reach your business, a virtual receptionist who answers client questions or requests, and the ability to connect clients with the correct person on your team or send messages to you for follow-up.

Some answering services charge per minute of time that the operator spends on the phone with a client or customer, while others offer packages of minutes to be used as needed. If you opt for a per-minute answering service, make sure that the provider you choose is clear about how each call, email, or text message is counted and what their minimum monthly fee is. Some services also have a setup fee that can be anywhere from $50 to $100, so it is important to factor this into your overall budget.

When choosing an answering service, be sure to ask how long they have been in business and for a list of references that you can contact. Look for a service that has a history of success and low operator turnover to ensure the quality of their work. Lastly, it is always helpful to work with an answering service that understands your industry and the types of customers you most often serve. This can help them answer questions quickly and accurately, which will ultimately increase your caller satisfaction.

Whether you are looking for an answering service to handle your entire incoming call volume or just a few calls per week, there is sure to be a solution that fits your needs. With today’s premium placed on good customer service, it is worth the investment to have a high-quality answering service handle your calls when you can’t be there yourself.