Is an Answering Service the Right Call for You?

Is an Answering Service the Right Call for You?

Have you thought about outsourcing your calls to a Call Answering Service?

If you’re not, you may be missing calls when your lines are busy (call overflow) or when your office or call centre is closed (after hours calls). And you may be missing important messages if your caller is forwarded to voice mail. People are more likely to hang up when prompted to leave a message. (About 80 % of callers don’t bother to leave voicemails these days because they don’t think anyone will listen to the messages.)

Outsourcing your calls to a call answering service has all the benefits of having your own receptionist – a virtual receptionist.

Your callers get personal and professional service and you get to keep the money you would otherwise spend on salary, benefits, equipment and office real estate by outsourcing your call management.

Can you afford a call answering service?

Can you afford to miss calls?

It only takes one call from a potential client to be the difference between vacationing in your backyard or in the Bahamas.

One of the top reasons companies outsource their call answering services is the cost savings. Another is the ability to tap into a pool of highly trained virtual receptionists. In addition to what a typical receptionist does, a call answering service also manages

  • Emergency response
  • Off-site worker monitoring
  • Call overflow
  • Security monitoring including HVAC systems
  • Email contact forms

And serve all types of industries such as

  • Property Management
  • Building Services
  • Medical Services
  • Plumbing/Electrical
  • HVAC
  • Professional Services

And a virtual receptionist never calls in sick, late or takes holidays.

How do call answering services keep their costs down?

Call answering services can affordably do all this because they operate on a shared answering service model.

If you’re not sure of what a shared service is, think of it in context of a courier company.  Rather than purchasing your own delivery truck and hiring a dedicated driver, you use a delivery service.

Ok, we established it’s not expensive.  But is it good?

Call answering services are in the business of managing calls for their clients. Therefore they invest in the best communication technology and in the best training possible for their customer service representatives (call agents).

Their ear is to the ground when it comes to communication trends and customer satisfaction expectations.

What do people find frustrating when calling businesses?

For instance, surveys on customer experience, such as this recent one from  Clutch survey (above) are continuously monitored for trends in customer relations.  People value an efficient resolution to their issue when they call a business and are frustrated by long hold times, rude service, and automated phone menus.

Worse than being given a Road House menu list of options, is to be told to check out their website FAQ page – in other words, “Have you tried our self-serve service?”

“How many times will you contact a business and they’ll send you a link to their FAQ page, and you say, ‘I already checked that page, or otherwise, I wouldn’t be messaging you,’” said Nathan Strum, CEO of Abby Connect(link is external), a   virtual receptionist and telephone answering service provider. “It’s frustrating when people don’t think [their issue] falls into a certain category, even if in the end, it might. They want to feel heard.”

Did you know?

  • 85% of callers never call back if they can’t speak with a live person on their first call
  • Almost 90% of consumers stop working with a company after experiencing poor customer service.
  • Businesses using live telephone answering can increase their productivity by over 50%

If you’re a business offering twenty-four-hour service, it’s critical that you be reachable twenty-hours. If you can’t guarantee that, hiring an answering service is be your best call.

Graph - What do people value when calling businesses?

The person answering your phone is your client’s first contact with your business. You only have 7 seconds to make a positive first impression. By ensuring your caller engages with a person as opposed to an automated voice mail system, you will have gained an advantage over your competition.

Many companies are making the move to automated voicemail for reasons such as the increase in spam, unsolicited call and robocalls and the explosion of more communication options.

“Many businesses do everything they can to avoid picking up the phone. Of the 50 or so calls I received in the last month, I might have picked up four or five times…” – Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic.

A Call  Answering Service is an extension of your business and today’s business needs to be first and foremost a “human business.” (recommend Marketing Rebellion: The Most Human Company Wins, by Mark Schaefer)

Regardless of the type of service or goods that you provide, you all deal with people. People prefer to engage with people and not machines. In this age where immediate response is expected, you can’t risk losing a customer because they were stuck on hold, led through a maze of dial options or left unsure if their message would ever be responded to.  

Regardless of the type of business you lead or the size, outsourcing your call answering will give your clients the personal and professional welcome they deserve. You can’t be reachable by phone 24/7 but call answering agents can and are. They’re trained to represent your company and respond to calls as if they were sitting in your office.  

One of our basic human needs is to feel we matter. One of the best ways to show people they matter is to listen to them. This is best done human to human.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What exactly is an answering service?

A third-party answering service helps businesses manage incoming calls by taking messages, scheduling appointments, and addressing customer inquiries. They act as virtual receptionists.

Does using an answering service entail a high cost?

An answering service can save you money compared to running your own call center. The service cost will depend on factors like how many calls you receive and what level of service you need.

Is round-the-clock service a standard feature of answering services?

One of the main advantages of most answering services is their 24/7 support. This means that your customers’ calls will always be answered, no matter their time zone or what time of day it is.

Can an answering service cater to specialized business requirements?

Answering services can be tailored to meet various industries’ specific requirements (at least at i24). It’s crucial to choose a service provider that comprehends and can fulfill the distinct needs of your business or industry.

Do businesses risk losing personal touch with their clients by employing an answering service?

When choosing an answering service, it’s important to remember that the level of personal interaction may vary. The best services aim to build rapport and provide excellent customer service. At i24, we prioritize training our teams to understand our customers’ specific needs to maintain a personal touch and closeness.

Which is considered the best answering service?

Selecting the best-answering service for your business depends on your specific needs and industry, so there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. It would help if you considered factors such as reliability, professionalism, cost, range of services offered, and ability to handle specialized needs when choosing. Checking reviews and getting referrals can also aid in your decision-making process.

How do call centre services differ from answering services?

Call center and answering services may seem similar, but important distinctions exist. Call centers handle high volumes of calls and provide various services, such as customer support, telemarketing, and technical help desk assistance. Meanwhile, answering services mainly handle incoming calls, take messages, and manage appointments. When deciding between the two, businesses should consider the number and type of calls they receive.

What is live chat support and how does it compare to an answering service?

Live chat support is a customer service method that uses instant messaging to provide real-time customer assistance, typically via a business’s website. It differs from answering services primarily using phone calls, as it is text-based and done online. Live chat support is ideal for companies with a significant online presence, or those that handle many customer queries online since it can offer immediate responses. However, companies receiving a high volume of phone calls may find an answering service more appropriate.

What are virtual receptionist services and how do they compare to answering services?

You can hire a virtual receptionist service if you need help with administrative tasks like answering calls, scheduling appointments, and forwarding messages. They work remotely and provide comprehensive support, including calendar management, email handling, and customer relationship management. This differs from an answering service that mainly focuses on call answering and message taking. Choosing between the two depends on the various tasks a business needs help with.

i24 Call Management Solutions is a Canadian company that serves businesses of all sizes across Canada. The winner of 22 consecutive Award of Excellence awards, it’s mission is to be integral to your success – one call at a time.