When you think about answering services, you probably think about people sitting around answering phones, taking messages and sending them along.

That’s what most people picture, but that’s not even the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what a modern answering service company offers its clients. There’s so much more to answering services than message-taking!

Expanding Technology, Expanding Possibilities

Although much of what an answering service does focuses on answering the telephone, there’s a variety of services that can be offered under that umbrella.

For example, medical offices often need medical answering services to relay messages using HIPAA- and HITECH-compliant systems that require special training and technology. Another specialized service many answering services offer is a queue of bilingual operators to help callers with their inquiries, complaints or messages.

These are other offerings an answering service might provide:

Appointment setting. An incredible number of callers are picking up the phone just to set, change or cancel their appointments. That’s why answering services are offering appointment setting for businesses of all types. Using software that works with your existing systems, an answering service can take over all or part of your appointment setting, booking your telephone callers at the same time you’re booking patients or clients in the office. If they’re using systems that constantly update, there’s no risk of double booking.

Customer service. Using instructions left by you or a company representative, an answering service can provide your customers with a great deal of service. Whether you want to enable your call service to be able to answer common, basic questions about your business or to help your callers troubleshoot their problems before sending one of your technicians out for a service call, the level of customer service your answering service offers is completely up to you.

Disaster recovery. It may be sunny and 75 today, but there’s no telling when disaster will strike out of those blue skies. Answering services often offer disaster recovery services for their clients, especially if they’re not local to one another. Disaster recovery support will keep your phone lines ringing while you’re trying to get your business back on its feet and your answering service will be able to provide updates to your worried customers as you make progress.

Follow Me. Certain types of businesses absolutely must be reached no matter what, and that’s where the Follow Me service really shines. When the types of calls you designate as emergency or high-priority come through your answering service, your Follow Me program rings your numbers in an attempt to reach you. You can specify several numbers, as well as a backup contact, so you’ll never need worry that your emergency callers won’t be able to reach you in a crisis.

As technology makes more possible with virtual offices, answering services are also expanding their capabilities. The possibilities are almost endless with modern answering services.