There are 4 basic types of telephone answering services out there to help support your business. Some of the different types you will find include live telephone answering services, automated answering services, industry-based answering services and general call centers.
Each type of answering service provides different benefits for businesses – and some offer steep consequences. That’s why choosing the right type of answering service is important, and knowing the difference between the different types is essential in starting your search.
Here’s a look at 4 different types of telephone answering services and the scenarios in which they will be useful.
4 Different Types of Telephone Answering Services
Live telephone answering service
The first and most highly rated by consumers are live telephone answering services. These services come in a few different formats. Some provide a staff of at-home workers taking care of your calls, while others employ receptionists in a call center that act as your virtual receptionist from their location. Both of these options provide a professionally trained live person to handle your incoming calls.
Additionally, some live services provide 24/7 service, while others will cover until around 7:00pm. If you don’t need full 24/7 coverage, don’t use a 24/7 provider – you will pay a higher premium for the all-hours availability, even if you’re not using it.
The goal of a live telephone answering service is to make the caller feel as though they reached your actual office. The live person will answer the phone and act as if you have employed them. It’s great for small companies that want to appear larger and anyone who wants to ensure a human being answers their calls, not a machine. Click here to view our live answering service prices and plans.
Call centers are a bit different than a live answering service, but are still one of the types of telephone answering services. This type of service caters more to larger businesses with a very high volume of calls than to smaller businesses. They almost always provide 24/7 service, and may even be able to provide technical or product support.
Using a call center to answer your incoming calls is quite expensive because the staff at a call center is much larger and works around the clock. Some companies will actually use a call center as a part of their business, while others will outsource to a call center.
Automated telephone answering services (IVR)
Not every type of telephone answering service provides a live person to answer the phone. Some are automated, which is quite different than having a live person answering your calls.
Automated answering services provide an automated voice that gives callers options that they can choose with their key pad or yes or no answers. You may need to press 1 to hear directions or hours or a different number to leave a message. This is a much less expensive type of answering service, but it also takes away the personal touch and is known for frustrating callers to the point of hanging up.
For this reason, it is very similar to a recorded voice message or voicemail. Don’t waste your time with an automated answering service – if you’re considering it, save your money and send callers directly to voicemail for the same effect.
Industry-specific answering service
Along with the basic types of answering services, there are some industry-specific answering services out there for niche and popular industries. These services may help with one thing, such as technical support for your website or medical support for a doctor’s office. If you work in an industry (medical, beauty, legal, etc.) that requires an answering service to have a certain specialization, look for an industry-specific answering service like Conversational.
Conversational specializes in call answering and customer service in a number of different industries:
- Medical answering services
- Legal answering services
- Health and beauty answering services
- Real estate answering services
- Marketing firm answering services
- Small business answering services
- And more!
Some of the live answering services will also provide a better choice for small businesses than for larger businesses. These services focus on your business to help you grow faster and easier. The services catering to small businesses can actually help replace the receptionist.
There are several types of telephone answering services out there to help you get the most out of your business. Whether you need an answering service full time or just occasionally, your business can certainly benefit from at last one of these types of telephone answering services.