Almost every business can benefit from using an answering service.
These services keep customers happy by providing communication and customer support.
When businesses don’t have someone to pick up the phone, calls slip through the cracks, and customers lose respect, trust, and even brand loyalty. However, not every company has the means for an in-house team.
In those cases, hiring an outside answering service provides quality customer care while relieving you of HR requirements and expensive overhead.
Still, there are numerous types of answering services to choose from, including virtual receptionist services, automated and internet answering services, virtual office services, and call centers. To find out which answering service is right for you, keep reading.
A virtual receptionist does the job of a typical receptionist—virtually. They:
- Answer phone calls
- Give information such as office hours and service rates to customers
- Answer any questions on your company’s behalf
- Screen and direct your calls to the proper recipients
Virtual receptionist services offer the least amount of services compared to other answering services.
Many small companies rely heavily on virtual receptionists to provide the proper amount of customer care. Either these companies don’t have a large enough budget to afford extensive services, or they’re just looking for limited assistance during the few times they’re away from the phone.
Automated Answering Services
Automated answering services differ from virtual receptionists because they don’t involve a real person answering the phone. Instead, they use a series of questions offered by a machine to get customers the information they desire.
Customers use voice response or dial pads, pressing the appropriate numbers to answer questions with an automated answering service. These preset questions ask the customer their choice of language, what issues they’re having, and what services they need in response.
Although businesses and customers prefer a live receptionist, automated answering services offer the same assistance for less money. They attempt to solve the customer’s issue before turning them over to a live business team member, which frees up employees to focus on more complex calls. Customers can also leave a message, knowing a responsible team member will return a call or email as soon as possible.
Answering services, even automated ones, enhance your company’s efficiency with a series of services, including:
- Cold calling: Outbound calls advertise your company and its services
- Appointment reminders: Alerts customers of important dates
- Customer verification: Confirms that account activity is genuine and not fraudulent
Internet Answering Services
Similar to automated answering services, internet answering services use chatbots or web chats to answer customer questions before transferring them to live agents. The automatic system, like an automated phone call, asks predetermined questions to provide the customer with the correct information.
Internet answering services use live chat support to enable customers to communicate with real people via email, social media, and online support on the company’s web pages.
- Email services: Rather than using a cell phone or landline to make a call, a customer can use their email account to start a conversation with an agent.
Text message services: SMS responses tend to be faster than email responses. Customers can communicate with a virtual receptionist or reach a call center through this web-based messaging system.
- Social media services: Many companies use Twitter, Facebook, or other social media platforms to respond to customers. Whether customers communicate through instant messages or comments, social media representatives answer questions and improve the company’s online presence accordingly.
Internet answering services are a convenient option for customers who want to save their conversation for future reference or who cannot get away from a noisy area to make a call. Unlike phone calls, Internet services can link customers directly to the right page or online information.
Virtual Office Services
Virtual office services incorporate virtual receptionist services like answering phones and transferring customers to the right department. However, virtual office services go a step further, giving a company a physical space to meet with customers if the company doesn’t have a space of its own.
A physical space gives customers peace of mind, knowing they can meet with company teammates in person to discuss important business they don’t feel comfortable discussing over the phone or via email. A mailing address allows remote companies to have a temporary space whenever necessary without paying rent regularly on permanent office space.
Inbound Call Center
Call centers are popular among larger industries with a huge influx of callers daily. These centers consist of multiple live operators who:
- Answer phones
- Direct customers to who they need to speak with
- Conduct cold calls to increase traffic to the company.
Most importantly, call centers offer technical support, taking many customer inquiries off the company’s hands.
This large room of virtual receptionists is ideal for larger companies, ensuring that they miss an important call or an opportunity. Operators on standby build a company’s reputation by always providing quality customer service, no matter the level of demand. Operators answer each call, even ones made outside the company’s set business hours, always guaranteeing increased revenue and more loyal customers.
AnswerFirst – Your Flexible, Reliable Answering Service Provider
Finding a quality answering service means finding representatives with people skills, company know-how, and technology who can handle multiple customers simultaneously. For many, the number one answering service is AnswerFirst.
AnswerFirst, located in Tampa, FL, 33605, provides 24/7 live support every day of the year. Whether you’re worried about missing calls after hours or during weekends or holidays, partnering with AnswerFirst will ease your mind. Whether you need one receptionist or a call center full of agents, our operators are on standby and never miss a call.
We’re a US-based corporation that has assisted hundreds of top companies for over 20 years. Some notable partners include Heinz, Terminix, and Cushman & Wakefield. No company is too big or small for our team.
If you’re considering using an AnswerFirst answering service, visit our website for more information on our services and our client testimonials. You can also contact us to find out which of our services is right for the size of your company and the frequency or level of your needs.
Call AnswerFirst at (800) 645-2616 to find out what an answering service can do for you!