What Is an Answering Service?

Phone Answering Services
What Is an Answering Service?
Article by Zarah Ariola
Last Updated: November 04, 2023

Exceptional customer service is crucial to a business's success, and that includes managing incoming phone calls, which can often prove challenging. This is where an answering service comes to the rescue.

In this article, we'll define what an answering service is, how it works, and what kinds of businesses can benefit from this service.

What Is an Answering Service?

Answering services take the pressure off staff and ensure that no call goes unanswered. Such service answers phone calls on behalf of another business so that entrepreneurs can spend more time focusing on their customers’ needs and less time fielding calls from people who are trying to reach them.

These provide inbound and outbound responses to customer inquiries as well as offer a comprehensive range of features such as appointment setting, emailing and faxing support, and desk assistance — all designed to create additional revenue through client retention.

Agency description goes here
Agency description goes here
Agency description goes here

Why You Need an Answering Service for Your Business

  1. 24/7 Customer Support
  2. Not Missing Appointments and Calls
  3. Saving Time for Important Tasks
  4. Improving Customer Satisfaction and Retention
  5. Better Business Reputation

Let's delve deeper into the benefits your business can get by getting an answering service. Here are the top five reasons you might consider trying it out.

1. 24/7 Customer Support

One of your main concerns as a business owner may be that you don’t have enough time to talk to your customers. If you work in a specific time zone, customers in other time zones may not be able to contact you.

Fortunately, professional answering services are available 24/7, so no matter what time zone your customers reside in, you can always speak with them at a convenient time for both parties. Additionally, answering services provide support beyond just phone calls—the best services offer email messaging and even website updating.

This kind of flexibility lets your business provide its customers with support when they need it most. With these benefits in mind, it’s important to understand how an answering service can help your business meet its goals.

2. Not Missing Appointments and Calls

Even worse, how much business would you lose if every time a customer called, they didn't receive a live answer? No business owner wants to lose customers to poor phone etiquette. One missed call could possibly cost your business up to $60,000 in a year.

With a professional answering service, you can ensure that your business will never miss an opportunity. A high-quality answering service guarantees callers will always reach a knowledgeable representative and all messages will be recorded so your team can follow up promptly.

This allows your organization to stay connected with all of its existing clients while constantly building connections with new ones.

3. Saving Time for Important Tasks

Time spent on phone calls represents time away from more important tasks. With an answering service, your business has more time to focus on other high-priority aspects to grow it.

Keeping up with calls from clients takes a lot of valuable work time. By outsourcing this to an answering service company, you can have more free time to concentrate on your other responsibilities as a business owner and as an individual.

With an answering service that can take care of client calls, you can finally focus on how to grow your business, maybe learn something new, and even have more time to spend with your loved ones. You can also dedicate your free time to doing your hobbies!

4. Improving Customer Satisfaction and Retention

When it comes to customer service, few things can negatively impact your business as much as one of your customers being unable to get in touch with you. Whether they're calling because they need help, have a complaint or just want to ask a question, answering service receptionists are specifically trained to provide answers and cater to your customers anytime.

And since they work at a call center throughout all hours of operation, you never have to worry about them being out of the office or not available when someone needs assistance. Providing exceptional customer service has never been easier.

A professional answering service will give you peace of mind, knowing that when customers call your business, they’ll get a prompt response. When customers reach an answering service instead of getting sent straight to voicemail, they can quickly determine whether or not your company can help them and whether or not you value their business enough to answer their call right away.

By using an answering service with professional operators who are trained in sales techniques and other relevant skills (like taking orders), your company will come across as more responsive and attentive than competitors who do not use one.

5. Better Business Reputation

Having an answering service not only improves customer satisfaction. When your customers are satisfied, it results in your business having a better reputation.

With today's technology, customers expect to be able to interact with businesses in real-time. However, very few businesses are able to provide that level of customer service on their own.

A high-quality answering service can boost your business' reputation and make customers feel better about doing business with you.

Customers will have a more positive experience if they are able to connect with a live person as soon as they call your business phone number. This creates a better impression than relying on an automated system that may not work correctly every time or may even lead to missed sales opportunities because potential customers cannot get through at all.

Looking for the best phone answering services companies?

How Does Answering Service Work?

Answering services work by using call forwarding. When activated, your phone traffic is automatically forwarded to another destination. This means that when you get phone calls, instead of calls ringing to your office, they will ring at the call center company for operators to pick up.

Depending on what type of answering service you use and your purpose for using it, answering service systems might also be able to:

  • Take messages
  • Sell to prospects (by collecting data on them over the phone)
  • Resolve customer issues (by handling complaints and other inquiries)
  • Collect customer feedback and/or personal data (for example, by asking questions about their experience)
  • And more.

When you use an answering service, you’re paying for someone else to represent your business over the phone, greet callers on your behalf, and attend to those callers’ needs.

They can also help with sales efforts by gathering information from customers that might not be available through other means—like email addresses or even phone numbers for follow-up calls later on down the road.

What Types of Answering Services Exist?

There are three main types of answering services: automated, live, and call center.

An automated answering service is the most basic type of answering service. It uses interactive voice response (IVR) through the form of robots to provide lists of self-service options customers can use to find a solution before choosing to connect to a service agent as a last resort.

For example, an automated answering service may instruct callers to dial 1 for hours and location, 2 for pricing, and so on.

A live answering service refers to dedicated individuals who address customer queries for remote clients. Customers would be talking to a real person, separate from the company’s own live agents.

A call center is a hub of trained customer service professionals specializing in sales, marketing, and other customer-facing roles. Call centers are often used to screen calls that are coming in at a high volume.

How Much Does an Answering Service Cost?

Generally, these services can range from $1 to $2 per minute spent on a call with clients. The method of billing largely influences this cost.

These are the most common pricing plans available for you:

  • Per Minute Billing. This charges for each additional minute spoken by your business and customer beyond those allotted in the plan.
  • Per Call Billing. It factors in expenses based on total handled calls or even accidental ones that last for a few seconds.
  • Per Unit Billing. This involves charging fees for text messages sent or received and other activities related to one's calling system at their provider's discretion.

What Industries Use an Answering Service?

Answering services are a great way to put your business’s best foot forward in the marketplace. Whether you're a small company or a large corporation, an answering service can be a valuable tool.

This is because every business needs to have an effective way of handling telephone calls.

Here are some industries that utilize this service:

  • Entrepreneurs and small business owners use answering services to offload the demand to pick up the phone themselves and to present their businesses as professionally as possible.
  • Construction companies and real estate agents use virtual answering services to ensure calls don’t go unanswered when team members are offsite.
  • Large national and multinational corporations use answering services as dedicated sales and customer service departments.
  • Dentists, doctor’s offices, and other medical providers use answering services to schedule patient appointments when in-house receptionists are busy.
  • Internet-based businesses use answering services to protect their privacy and create virtual front offices.
  • Law firms and other professional services firms use answering services to field calls from clients and prospects.

Answering Service Takeaways

The purpose of an Answering Service is simple—to answer your phones for you. It monitors the incoming calls, routes them to the correct agent and handles it all within a fraction of a second.

Any business owner can appreciate the value in outsourcing their call handling so that they can focus more time and attention on their customers.

Phone answering services help your business manage communication so that you can focus on the things that are important to you while providing a valuable service to your customers.

When used with other telephone and business communication technologies, telephone answering services can give you an edge over the competition.

Using the services of answering services agencies and especially call center companies can help you tackle and conquer everything mentioned in this article.

What is an Answering Service FAQs

1. What is the difference between an answering service and a call center?

An answering service acts as an intermediary between callers and a business, while a call center goes beyond relaying messages to include the use of scripts for more complex interactions. Call centers enable businesses to take orders remotely, qualify leads and manage other forms of customer interaction like web chat or email communication.

Get connected with the right phone answering services agency for your project.
Subscribe to Spotlight Newsletter
Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest industry news