The Different Types of Answering Services for Businesses

Every business can benefit from a telephone answering service. The trick is picking the type of phone answering that would best address your business’ needs and is the most cost-effective.

PBX/Auto Attendant Services

PBX (Private Branch Exchange) or an auto attendant call Pricing for this service is what you often encounter when you call a large corporate office. With an auto attendant service, a computer program asks you to push numbers until you finally reach the individual with whom you wish to speak, or until you reach a voicemail prompt. Callers who push the wrong button while using this type of service may need to hang up the phone, redial the number, and start the process all over again. At other times, callers may patiently listen to every menu option, only to discover that their request is not listed.

Businesses often choose PBX services for the assumed efficiency they provide, in addition to their economical service rates. However, auto attendant call answering may not be the best option for businesses that rely on receiving calls from new business prospects, as up to 60% of callers hang up upon hearing an automated voice. Also, keep in mind that, as with any computer system, there is a chance that you may need to purchase special hardware and software for the service to work in your office. Additionally, if the PBX equipment malfunctions, there is a chance that you may not be able to receive any phone calls until it is fixed.

Virtual Reception Services

A live virtual receptionist service provides a team of highly trained receptionists who work off-site. These virtual receptionists personally handle your business’ incoming calls; they may even answer incoming calls with your company’ name. Like a receptionist that might work in your office, virtual receptionists can forward live calls, take messages, and provide basic information about your company to callers. If needed, a virtual live answering service can even call clients on your behalf to seek information you may need.

There are many benefits to this form of live answering service. Your business will appear larger, as customers will probably not be able to detect that the virtual receptionist is off-site. Moreover, when you contract a team of virtual receptionists, you do not have to worry about anyone calling in sick or taking a vacation. A virtual reception service can provide your clients with the personalized customer service they expect without the need for you to be stuck in your office all day, or to hire a new employee. The best live virtual reception services have low employee turnover rates and cheerful virtual receptionists who can prove to be an asset to your business and its clients.

Traditional Answering Services

Traditional call answering services also give customers the opportunity to speak with a live person in lieu of interacting with an automated computer program. However, employees at traditional answering services are very rarely able to answer questions about your business – they are simply there to answer the phone (using a script, typically) and take messages. Moreover, receptionists at such organizations are usually unable to transfer live calls. Finally, because many traditional call answering services have call centers located overseas, you never know if your customers will be able to understand the person on the other end of the line.

If all you’re looking for is a service to answer calls and take messages, a traditional call answering service may suit you just fine. However, it’s probably not the way to go if you need good customer service along with the ability to transfer live calls.

Specialized Answering Services

Specialized call answering services are common in medical fields. Such services may incorporate the use of PBX attendant services and/or live receptionists. Some offer live service representatives, such as registered nurses, to answer callers’ questions. Other technical reception services need callers to leave a message, then wait for an agent to return the call. Specialized services generally use trained professionals who display calls, to ensure the most urgent needs are addressed. When appropriate, a representative from a technical answering service will page an on-call professional (like a physician ), so they can address client needs directly. As is the case with most niche services, these technical reception providers are typically more expensive than other phone answering service choices.

If it comes to telephone answering solutions, the best option is dependent upon your requirements and budget. But when analyzing each service, take into consideration how each service will serve the needs of your clients and affect your business’s growth.