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Answering Services

Some businesses don’t need a fully-staffed, dedicated call center. A doctor’s office or utility company, for instance, may need a live operator to simply take calls during off-peak hours and weekends, share general information, and take down messages for staffers. This is what is commonly known as an answering service or messaging service.

Answering services are affordable because the service doesn’t need to run in-house. Vendors can provide the service from their offices or use independent contractors who work out of their homes and use special software to manage the call volume and share information with the callers.

An answering service offers 24x7x365 live operators to handle incoming calls. If you get important calls after hours and during the weekends and don’t want to hire full-time staff, answering service operators can relay basic information, take down messages, and send the information over to you via fax or email.

They can also do call screening. If you simply want to pre-qualify callers before routing them to the appropriate agents, an answering service can help by providing basic information and taking down phone numbers for agents to call back.

You can choose a fully-attended or automated answering service, although it’s recommended to have live operators answering the phones. It gives the customer more confidence in your business and assures them that their calls will be returned. With a live operator, you can also have critical calls forwarded to you immediately.

A modern automatic answering service is still a viable (and less expensive) option. You can get set up with interactive voicemail that connects to a central computer which holds and distributes the information for you. This method can also give callers a clean menu of options to choose from to get additional information or reach the appropriate voicemail box to leave a message. However, if you experience a power outage or you lose your Internet connection, you risk losing the incoming and saved calls.

Keep in mind, answering services don’t have the same functionality as a standard call center. The operators that work for you are responsible for simply passing along general information and taking down contact information for people calling in after normal business hours. It’s a solution for companies that want customers to have a live person operating the phones, but can’t afford a full call center.

Also, if your organization is growing so much that you need an answering service just to supplement the volume, it may only be a short term fix before you need full call center solutions. If that time is now, let us help you with a free call center services request for quotes.