A telephone answering service can skyrocket a business's growth. There are several reasons why business owners should use a telephone answering service instead of hiring someone to manage phone calls, answering phone calls by themselves, or giving this responsibility to employees that have other (and more important) roles and tasks.
Before analysing the most important benefits of a call answering service, business owners should have a complete understanding of the main types of call answering services and the types of businesses that they fit best.
IVRs - IVR stands for Interactive Voice Response and it refers to a technology that allows customers to interact with a computer-operating phone system through the use of pre-recorded voice. IVRs systems are more suitable for large companies and corporations that have a high number of customers.
Call centres - Call centres are departments where phone calls are handled by a medium or large team of agents. This is the main reason why they are the best choice, especially for mid-size and large companies. Usually, they ensure better communication with customers than IVRs do. This is because most of the time, customers prefer to interact with human beings and not with an automated phone.
Virtual receptionists - Virtual receptionists are real agents that work for an outsourcing provider and manage phone calls for a company. Typically, they work in small teams and are trained to ensure a personalised customer service experience. Getting a professional virtual receptionist is a perfect solution for start-ups and small businesses (but sometimes, even mid-size businesses can use them).
However, the purpose of this article is not to highlight the differences between these types of phone answering services and their pros and cons, but making a list of the most important benefits of a call answering service as an alternative to a traditional receptionist (or, for small businesses, as an alternative to not using any receptionist at all).
5 Benefits Of A Call Answering Service
- Cost-saving benefits
Using a call answering service can help a business save a lot of money on labour costs. An IVR requires only a set-up cost and a small fee per month to keep it operational. Also, recruiting, hiring, and training a receptionist is expensive, while telephone answering services that provide call centre agents or virtual receptionists train them on behalf of a business. In addition, telephone answering services provide pay-per-use services. In other words, outsourcing means converting fixed labour costs into variable costs. Also, small businesses that do not use a receptionist at all can actually save money by getting a virtual receptionist, because managers and employees will have more time to focus on important activities that can increase business productivity.
- Knowledge and expertise
Call answering service providers are experts in the field and provide high-quality services. For example, call centres and virtual receptionist providers come with specialist knowledge, expertise, and experience that most business owners cannot afford to hire on their own. This is the main reason why a call answering service can ensure more professional communication with customers and, as a result, the company will sound more established and have a more professional image for customers and clients.
- 24/7 services
Only a call answering service can ensure 24/7 services, unless the company has operations all around the world to cover every timezone. Being available anytime is extremely important for a company that wants to build and maintain a strong relationship with customers and clients. An in-house team can never work 24/7, unless they have global teams, meaning that once the office hours are over, no one will take care of the customers. In other words, 24/7 services are important for customer satisfaction and loyalty as well as for increasing sales and the company’s reputation.
- Saving time
For businesses that have traditional receptionists, hiring and training employees can be time-consuming. Moreover, companies always invest time in order to improve an employee’s skills. This is why telephone answering services help a business save time. Also, start-up and small company owners that answer phone calls by themselves can save a lot of time with a virtual receptionist and focus on more important activities. Or, they can free their in-house team members that will have more time to handle other activities.
- Additional services
A call answering service provider can offer important additional services that some companies cannot afford to implement. For example, they can offer a call recording service, which is extremely important to understand what customers want and the strategies to apply in order to increase customer satisfaction. Or, some call answering services providers have an emergency back-up plan so that they can re-route calls to another location during an emergency.
In conclusion, telephone answering services can bring a wide range of benefits to a company. However, business owners should choose carefully the type of answering service that is most suitable for their companies.