If your employees are spending large chunks of their days answering phone calls, a phone answering service is one solution to free up their time and handle all your business’ incoming calls. When you use an answering service, that company’s staff answers calls for you and takes the appropriate action based on the caller and the time of day. While these services can be helpful, they also present some potential issues, and understanding the pros and cons can help you decide if this service is right for your business.
Benefits of a Phone Answering Service
The biggest selling point of an answering service is that your employees don’t need to worry about taking calls. This gives them more time to focus on more important job duties. Without an answering service, your employees need to take every call, whether it’s an important issue or a mundane task, such as setting up or rescheduling an appointment. Call answering staff can take care of the simple tasks that don’t require any specialized knowledge and route the more complex calls to the appropriate party.
The increased productivity you get from your employees can easily outweigh the cost of an answering service. Your other option is to hire a receptionist, and that costs much more.
Another perk of an answering service is that it can expand your availability. Instead of callers needing to leave a message if it’s after hours, your business could have staff available 24/7.
Drawbacks of a Phone Answering Service
While call answering staff members are friendly and professional, they obviously aren’t going to have the same level of knowledge or expertise as your employees. They can provide limited support, at best, which means that callers who need assistance are unlikely to get a one-call resolution. This can lead to frustration among your customers if they feel like the person on the phone can’t help them. It’s difficult enough to rebuild customer confidence in your company after an issue, and it’s harder when all that your call answering staff can do is take a message.
Due to the number of people at a typical phone answering service, you don’t know exactly who is talking to your customers or what information they’re providing. Your employee could tell a customer one thing, only for that customer to say that “Larry” or “Donald” from the answering service told them something different. Even though you can explain what you want staff to tell your customers, there’s always the possibility of someone going off-script. You’re giving up some control regarding what your customers hear from your business.
Deciding if an Answering Service Is the Right Call
To determine if a phone answering service could help your business, consider these factors:
- Your call load
- The complexity of those calls
- When you receive most of your calls
If you’re getting a small number of complicated calls during normal business hours, then a phone answering service may not do you much good, as your employees would end up talking to those callers anyway. For businesses with heavy call loads, a high number of easy-to-handle calls, or many after-hours calls, an answering service can make a big difference.
While a phone answering service doesn’t work for every business, if your business is the right fit, it could save you time and money.