When operating a small business, it becomes empirical to not have extravagant expenditures at the start; especially when the generation of revenue isn’t much and budgets are tight. In situations like these, although one would ideally want to have everything accomplished in-house, statistics have suggested that outsourcing tasks like call answering can save both money and time. Using professional businesses that provide call answering service have been a boon to organisations. These services help a company not only make profits, but to grow as well.
Although a receptionist can offer the same phone answering services, there’s just so much that can be expected from a person serving in that capacity. For starters, a receptionist will not be able to work twenty four hours a day. With a receptionist, one cannot have someone attending a call on weekends and public holidays. Moreover, like any other employee, receptionists are entitled to annual and sick leaves – so who does an organisation find to cover up for them and provide call answering services?
During unfortunate situations like these, the customer care that an organisation provides can experience a setback. With a phone answering service – a virtual receptionist, for instance – one can remove the overhead of not being able to receive calls outside office hours. A virtual receptionist will provide call answering services every hour of every day.
Several industries have deployed call answering services for uninterrupted operation of their business. Doctors have designated office hours, but due to the nature of their job they need to be available at times of emergencies; contractors and field workers have schedules that are susceptible to change with each day, and so need a round-the-clock answering service; call centers run by corporations require a service that can take orders, and provide technical assistance and information regarding products; and companies based at sites or locations that experience regular snowstorms or power cuts need call answering services to continue their businesses without interruptions.
Some of the advantages of utilising call answering services including the assurance of having nonstop services. Able to provide an after-hours service, they cover inbound call center services and order entries. Organisations use state-or-the-art and cutting edge technology to offer uninterrupted services to their customers. Backup systems prevent loss of data in case of power outages. Certain organisations use customised phone answering services to meet the needs of their customers; once the service has determined the requirements of its customers, it then charts a solution that caters to their needs.
The technique used in the deployment of phone answering services is simple: a service – a virtual receptionist, for example – is hired by an organisation for purposes of receiving and screening calls, supplying basic information to the caller and passing calls to the particular agent or executive. A more advanced service will also be capable of providing information about products and taking orders. Although call answering services have remained an integral part of organisations since long, their capabilities have evolved with time.
A twenty four hour answering service helps an organisation immensely. However, instead of deploying every service in the market, one can be selective and choose according to their requirements and needs.
Phone answering services can be classified into an array of divisions; most important of them include call centers, live answering service, automated answering service and internet answering service.
Automated answering services will acquire information from callers based on their responses to prompts, and then guide them accordingly. Since automated answering services mostly find their use with customers or clients seeking only general information, they cost significantly lesser than live answering services. However, they also suffer a drawback of not providing the customer with either the flexibility or personal touch that its counterpart can.
Live answering services, on the other hand, are one where a customer or a client is able to talk to an agent or executive who can resolve their queries or complaints; thereby having an edge over automated answering services. This service is most apt for solo entrepreneurs or telecommuters, who aspire for a more professional appearance.
However, a phone answering service doesn’t necessarily have to rely on technology to make its ends meet. One can use call answering as an after-hours service. While the receptionist would handle calls during working hours, the task could be handed over to the phone answering service after the office has been closed in for the night. This will remove the overhead of employing a round-the-clock receptionist that will cost an organisation a salary each month, and will also provide continued service.
As an extension, one can deploy the call answering facility as an overflow answering service too. When the number of calls received is not much, the receptionist can attend them; but, on a busy day, if the number becomes unmanageable, one can let the phone answering service take over.