A call answering service is a specialized solution for businesses that either don’t want or can’t afford to hire more receptionists or customer support staff. The concept is simple: you forward your business phone line to a third party that can handle calls, take messages, schedule appointments, provide product support, and more. There are many different types of services available, and the right one depends on your particular business’s needs.
The most common type of answering service involves a live agent who answers the phone and speaks with the caller. This is more personal than a traditional virtual receptionist, and can give a company an image of being larger and more established. It also helps to make customers feel at ease with calling a business that they might otherwise think is too small or not professional enough.
Other answering services use automated options that filter and route calls through a series of preprogrammed steps. These include auto-attendants, which are voice-activated and ask the caller to press a button to be directed to X department or say a specific word to move forward in the process. These systems have their place if they are designed to streamline calls as efficiently as possible, and if the automated voice is well trained to understand context and tone to answer questions about products and services.
Finally, there are answering services that charge a flat rate for each call handled by an operator. This is ideal for businesses that know their call volume will fluctuate from week to week and need a flexible option that can quickly scale up capacity for busy periods and down during slow times without the overhead of hiring additional employees.