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3 surprising benefits of a small business answering service

If you’re wondering what these new, comprehensive formulations of the good old professional answering subscription can do for your company, consider these extra benefits.

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For most of the 20th century, a telephone answering service was a mainstay of customer service for regional and national businesses. Even some small businesses and professional practitioners found them indispensable.

In fact, for a long time, it was a given that medical, dental, and other healthcare practices would have after-hours answering to take appointment cancellations and field messages from patients with urgent medical issues.

Lawyers also frequently used these services to make sure there was a personal touch to leaving a message, and before automated answering machines, they were the only path to having convenient access to delayed messaging you could check when you wanted.

Today’s answering service options use a combination of automation with up to date, accessibly interactive computer systems, and call center professionals who continue to take personal messages from customers and clients.

They’re a lot less expensive than they used to be in the switchboard days, so more small businesses can afford them as well. On top of that, they give you a lot of options for extended reception support and customer service, so you can outsource more operations and focus on your core business.

If you’re wondering what these new, comprehensive formulations of the good old professional answering subscription can do for your company, consider these extra benefits.

1. Manage Reception Whenever You Need It

If your regular receptionist calls in and you need phone coverage so you can meet with clients who have appointments, today’s answering companies have options. Just call your vendor and discuss how you can switch on answering when you need it, even during regular business hours when it would normally be dormant.

This covers you in a pinch, but for smaller companies it can also provide you with a cost-effective way to handle incoming calls, funneling them to the right extension so your staff can deal with each customer’s inquiries efficiently. The flexibility of the service model allows you to scale coverage with your needs, too.

With the right live telephone services contract, you can choose when you have someone in the office taking calls and messages and when you want to keep the phones quiet so you can focus, which makes it ideal for professionals who take on large projects requiring focus and diligence, like those who work in design or architecture.

For retail companies, they offer you a chance to manage inquiries about orders with a business number, without having to answer live. Just check the messages and call back customers when you’ve had time to look up answers.

2. Upgrade as Your Business Scales

Most small companies don’t need a 24-hour customer service line with a full support bank, they just need someone to provide friendly messaging with context and clarity so they can respond to after-hours calls when they reopen. Companies don’t stay small forever, though.

As your business grows, your need for communication professionals who can provide support for your goods and services will also grow. Many live answering providers like Voicenation have a wide menu of additional reception support and customer service options, so you can add what you need as you need it.

Investing in an in-house call center is expensive, but live phone service providers itemize their services and scale them to make it easy for you to calibrate them for your needs at any given moment.

3. The Benefits of a Business Number, With No Hassles

There’s no overemphasizing the value of a business number when it comes to communicating your ethos as a reliable company that can meet your customers’ needs, but many small businesses forego phone service until months or even years after operations start. Sometimes it’s because the entrepreneur is using a personal line like a business line, which comes with its own issues. Other times, it’s because there’s limited coverage for customer contact, so it seems like funneling that contact through email and other asynchronous forms of communication is easier.

From the customer’s point of view, though, a business number shows a company is stable, with its own base of operations and solid customer service practices. You can’t just replace that in the name of efficiency, plus there are always customers who will only be willing to interact via phone. Professional live answering allows you to invest in a business number and a customer service-friendly answering plan without having to make yourself or your employees available for live calling. Return messages as you are able, via the channels that work best for you and your clients.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Chris has been blogging since the early days of the internet. He primarily focuses on topics related to tech, business, marketing, and pretty much anything else that revolves around tech. When he's not writing, you can find him noodling around on a guitar or cooking up a mean storm for friends and family.

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