Small businesses looking for help managing phone calls and appointment scheduling may be considering using an answering service to handle those tasks for them.
Many business owners who have never used an answering service before have questions about the general uses of an answering service and want to learn about scenarios where an answering service would be needed.
That’s what we’ll share with you in this post: Several scenarios where a small business will need an answering service and what an answering service does.
When does a small business need an answering service?
As a 5-star reviewed answering service with a legion of satisfied clients, we wanted to share some information about the ways a small business can discover whether it might need an answering service like Conversational. First, we’ll talk about the basics of answering services and what they do.
What is an answering service?
An answering service refers to a third party who answers inbound calls on a company or individual’s behalf, takes messages, and delivers messages to the recipient. These are the basic offerings of an answering service, but some answering services provide additional features, like appointment scheduling and management, basic customer service, and custom greetings and promotion advertisement.
Why would a company need an answering service?
A business might need an answering service for a variety of reasons, but some reasons we’ve heard from clients are:
- Unpredictable, low, or high call volume
- Lack of business landline
- Unreliable cell reception (if using cell for business calls)
- Vacation time
- Sick days
- Employee time off
- Cost of in-house receptionist too high
- Having someone else answer your phone appears more professional
- Hate talking on the phone
- Want to screen a number of calls
- Work from home and no office space to hire receptionist
- Not enough office space to hire receptionist
As you can see, there are a number of reasons that a company might need an answering service to handle their calls and messages for them. While there are lots of answering services out there that market to small businesses and startups, there’s an important feature many of them are lacking: Customization to business’ needs.
Consistent, branded customer phone interactions
One of the main reasons a small business can benefit from the right answering service is that a good answering service will act and appear as another arm or continuation of your business. With an answering service that allows you to make personalizations to your service, you can ensure your company has consistent, branded customer phone interactions.
Being able to instruct an answering service to use a certain greeting, talk about a current promotion or deal, play specific on-hold music or messages, etc. is so valuable to a small business. It makes an answering service seem more like an in-house receptionist than a company in a remote office.
Always available when you need them
When you select your answering service, you can ensure that they’re always available when you need them. Some answering services let you set your own hours that you’ll need your answering service operating, and some offer pre-designed packages that set regular phone hours for you. Make sure you’re covered when you need it, whether it’s full-time during the day, overnight, just during the holidays or your vacation, etc.
Some answering services are available 24/7, but unless your office needs this type of coverage (say, for urgent calls at a vet’s office), you’ll be paying a high premium for the 24/7 availability and chances are, you’ll never receive a call that far outside of regular business hours, anyway.
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