Call Answering Service vs Virtual Assistant

Wondering what the difference is between a call answering service vs virtual assistant? Making the distinction between the two types of services is much easier to do when you understand the functions and duties of each. Conversational offers both call answering services and virtual assistants. Below, we’ll compare the roles of a call answering service vs. virtual assistant.

Call Answering Service vs Virtual Assistant

call answering service vs. virtual assistantBefore we talk about what makes call answering services different from virtual assistants, let’s cover what these services do have in common and why it’s easy to confuse the two.

Both call answering services and virtual assistants work with businesses from a remote location. Both work as though they are employed by your business without requiring you to pay a full-time salary or dedicate space in your office to them.

Additionally, call answering services and virtual assistants are both methods of buying back your time as a business owner, as they handle tasks and duties that allow you to focus on your priorities.

However, even with several shared features and functions, when comparing a call answering service vs virtual assistant, there are more differences than commonalities.

What call answering services do

Call answering services are a cost-effective alternative to hiring traditional in-house receptionists. The tasks a traditional receptionist would normally complete can be handled by a call answering service instead. A call answering service typically provides the following services:

  • Answering phone calls
  • Taking & delivering messages
  • Transferring calls to appropriate person
  • Delivering limited customer service
  • Managing appointments and cancellations
  • Sending out appointment reminders

Conversational offers call answering services that are designed for the cost-conscious business owner in three tiered packages:

  1. Starter plan (100 minutes/month)
  2. Professional plan (200 minutes/month)
  3. Enterprise plan (500 minutes/month)

When using a call answering service to handle your incoming calls and appointments, you only pay for the minutes the call answering specialists actually spend on the phone.

Hiring a traditional receptionist costs more than using a call answering service across the board. As long as a friendly, human voice is greeting your callers, your customers and clients never have to know you’re using a call answering service instead of a traditional receptionist. Working with a reputable, North American call answering service is always more cost-effective than hiring a traditional receptionist full-time.

Find more information about call answering services and how to get started here in our FAQ.

Who uses call answering services?

The benefits of using a call answering service are strongest for startups, solopreneurs, and small businesses–anyone who doesn’t have a gigantic hiring budget. Here are some examples of the types of businesses that commonly use call answering services:

  • Companies that take a lot of phone orders
  • Businesses that manage daily, weekly, or monthly appointments
  • Entrepreneurs, speakers, solopreneurs with busy calendars
  • Businesses that receive low, medium, or high call volume
  • Growing companies that can’t afford to hire full-time yet
  • Entrepreneurs who work from home and don’t have an office

What virtual assistants do

call answering service vs. virtual assistantVirtual assistants, sometimes referred to as VAs, handle a variety of tasks that business owners typically don’t have time for. Virtual assistants are similar to personal or executive assistants, with the distinction being that they work remotely instead of in-house and don’t have to be hired full-time.

While you focus on your top priorities, you can delegate a diverse range of time-consuming tasks to your virtual assistant, including but not limited to:

  • Calendar and schedule reminders
  • Answering phone calls
  • Taking & delivering messages
  • Event, travel, & project planning
  • Making reservations & appointments
  • Providing customer service
  • Managing your blog
  • Keeping up with bills and payments
  • Managing social media accounts
  • Reply to/sending approved emails
  • Placing phone or online orders
  • Researching specific topics

Conversational allows you to choose from three tiered virtual assistant plan options, based on the amount of time you need your assistant to be available:

  1. Flex time virtual assistant plan (10 hours/week)
  2. Half time virtual assistant plan (20 hours/week)
  3. Full time virtual assistant plan (40 hours/week)

Other virtual assistant providers charge up to $39/hour for the same services. When broken down by the hour, Conversational’s plans range from $17.50/hour to $19.00/hour, making it a much more cost-effective option for growing businesses.

Find more information about getting started with a virtual assistant here.

Who uses virtual assistants?

call answering service vs. virtual assistantVirtual assistants offer measurable benefits for business owners in all industries, at every stage of business.

Owners that find they’re unable to finish high-priority tasks due to dealing with day-to-day tasks can achieve a better ROI for their time by delegating those duties to a virtual assistant.

Virtual assistants are a fitting option for businesses that have unpredictable cash flow or seasonal fluctuations. There are no contracts or plan obligations when you choose a virtual assistant plan from Conversational – you’re free to cancel, downgrade, or upgrade your plan at any time.

Companies that enjoy working one-on-one with the same person day in and day out are also a great match for our virtual assistant services. Once you select your plan and enter your information, we assign a dedicated virtual assistant to you immediately. There’s no lengthy onboarding process or waiting period.

Deciding between a call answering service vs. virtual assistant

Now that you have a better idea of the functions and duties each role carries out, let’s identify some scenarios when a business owner might use a call answering service vs. virtual assistant (or vice versa).

Businesses that simply want a low-cost alternative to an in-house receptionist are well-suited for working with a call answering service like Conversational. Answering every incoming call with a friendly greeting, taking detailed messages and emailing them to you promptly, and managing appointments, reminders, and cancellations, call answering services are the most cost-effective way to handle your company’s reception without hiring a full-time employee.

If you’ve ever said to yourself, “I wish I had the money to hire a receptionist,” our call answering services are just what you need. Click here for call answering service pricing information.

Business owners that need additional help with a variety of tasks beyond call answering, like social media, blogging, calendar management, and planning, would benefit from working with a virtual assistant. Skilled at handling administrative tasks and those that business owners just don’t want to bother with, virtual assistants quickly become  invaluable to the companies they work with.

If you’ve ever said to yourself, “I wish I had a personal assistant to take care of this,” a virtual assistant from Conversational is the answer. Click here for virtual assistant pricing information.

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