Answering services are valuable for many different types of businesses. When you need to be available outside of your regular office hours, an answering service may be the way to go. Here’s how an answering service works.
Answering services make it possible to call your doctor, dentist or other professionals any time of the day. This means you can get in for an emergency or get the technical support you need, when you need it. Some of the types of companies that often use answering services include:
- Plumbers – Emergencies happen all the time and plumbers may have to be ready to take care of clients after regular business hours.
- Doctors and Dentists – Medical emergencies don’t always happen during office hours. Doctors and dentists often need to be on call for any type of emergency.
- Sales Professionals – As a sales professional you may need to be in meetings, and you don’t want to miss a call.
- Solo Entrepreneurs – Instead of a receptionist, many solo entrepreneurs will choose an answering service.
Many other types of companies and organizations use answering services to handle after hours calls, as well.
What do Answering Services Offer?
Answering services are not a new concept. In fact, they have been around for many years. They will screen any incoming calls for you, answer basic questions, take messages, take orders, schedule appointments and even provide product support.
There are two basic types of answering services:
- Automated – This type of answering service is similar to a voicemail.
- Live answering service – With this type of service, a live person will always answer the phone.
If you don’t mind having your callers press a number for directions, a specific staff member, business hours or to leave a message, then an automated answering service is what you want. However, if you prefer an actual operator answering the phone, a live answering service is the right choice.
What to Look for When Hiring an Answering Service
Hiring an answering service can certainly provide plenty of benefits. However, if you hire the wrong type of answering service, you may not get what you really want.
Make sure the operators are well trained, positive, helpful and cheerful. You want happy operators answering your phones because it will help to keep your callers happy. They should also have a strong understanding of your business.
Along with finding a company capable of providing good operators, you need to make sure the service will fit your budget. The cheapest isn’t always the best, but you don’t want to overpay. The best answering services will charge between $0.70 and $1 per minute. The price may be on the lower side if you buy a larger package compared to a starter package.
An answering service can be very helpful for your business. Make sure you hire a good one, and you won’t have to worry about missing calls after hours, while you’re in meetings or while your regular receptionist is on vacation.