You may have heard of a business answering service before, but what do they actually do?
Simply put, a business answering service takes messages from customers and forwards those messages to the appropriate party as dictated by the business. In doing so, they reduce the number of missed calls and abandoned messages that would otherwise harm your business’s relationship with potential or existing customers.
But this is just a small part of what modern answering services are capable of. In this post, we’ll examine some other duties commonly performed by an answering service.
What Can Answering Services Do?
Answering services can do a variety of things, depending on the service that you choose. Answering services provide a vital link between businesses and their customers. By using an answering service, businesses can focus on their core competencies while still providing quality customer support.
Some answering services offer after-hours support, while others offer call dispatching services or crisis response during emergencies. Other popular features include appointment scheduling and routine receptionist duties.
Essentially, whatever routine calls your business may encounter, an answering service can help you by fielding those calls on your behalf. But let’s explore some of these use cases in more detail.
Answering Calls When You’re Unavailable
What if you’re too busy to answer the phone and a customer calls? An answering service can take messages and pass them along to you as necessary.
If your answering service is equipped with email notifications, the answering service can also forward those messages directly to your inbox once they’ve been properly logged into that answering service’s database. This way, you can respond to customers without ever answering the phone.
Taking Messages and Providing Customer Support
When answering services take messages for you, they forward all incoming calls to you via text or email. They can also give callers accurate information about when you’ll be available to return the call.
If your business has a service-heavy answering service, you may find that answering services are able to handle even some of your more complicated inbound calls.
Businesses typically use answering services because they are cost-effective, efficient, and provide customers with a better experience. Answering services enable businesses to focus on what they do best while still providing top-notch customer service. But answering services are not limited to big businesses—they can be used by companies of all sizes.
An answering service can also schedule appointments for people calling into your business. Call answering services often integrate directly with your scheduling system and use the same software as your staff.
Crisis Response & Emergency Services
When you’re unable to answer the phone, an answering service can step in and handle all incoming calls. Answering services have been known to provide emergency crisis response when nature strikes, such as heavy storms and hurricanes.
If your business is unable to operate due to a service outage or emergency, an answering service can help by fielding calls and explaining the situation to customers and clients.
Dispatching Service Calls
One of the most popular reasons to use an answering service is for call dispatching. Dispatching takes the stress off of you and your employees so that they can focus on servicing customers or building the business.
You don’t have to be a large company with dozens of staff members at your disposal in order to benefit from using an answering service for call dispatching. Many answering services can offer a virtual dispatcher service in order to ensure that your business has 24/7 capabilities without the expense of investing in additional staff or technology.
Answering Services Do More Than Just Take Messages
Aside from answering calls and performing routine receptionist duties, answering services can help your business in other ways as well. Here are some other common answering service features and use cases:
- Call screening – With call screening, calls are answered by an answering service and messages are relayed to you, but certain callers can be transferred directly to your voicemail. This is done by answering calls with a pre-recorded message that asks the caller for his or her name and phone number. Once that information has been provided, calls can then be routed either to answering services or directly into your voicemail box depending on your answering service’s settings.
- Call forwarding – Some answering services allow callers to be routed directly to the appropriate department within your business instead of having your calls answered by answering services. This is done with a series of custom pre-recorded prompts that guide the caller through the transfer process. For example, answering services may follow these prompts: “For sales, press one.” “For service, press two.”
- After-hours answering – You may choose to use answering services for after-hours telephone support, answering your own calls during office hours but switching over to the service after regular business hours.
- Call recording – From time to time, answering services may be required to record calls for quality assurance purposes. If your answering service is equipped with this type of feature, you can review these recordings at a later date.
- Auto-attendant – An auto attendant is a feature included with some answering services that allow you to set up custom menus for callers who are not familiar with answering services. It makes answering service use much easier for your customers and reduces confusion.
Answering services provide convenience and flexibility that enable businesses to serve their customer base more effectively. If you’re thinking about adding an answering service to your business, don’t hesitate to contact us. We would be more than happy to chat with you and discuss what we can do for both your business and your customers.