This is part one in a two-part series. Read part two here.

Before getting started with an answering service, companies are understandably nervous about the costs that will be involved.

Answering services are surprisingly affordable, but the costs and benefits go beyond dollars and cents to bring a real value to your business. Unlike hiring an employee with a given set of skills, a small business answering service can provide you with a team of workers with different talents who help make your business run smoother 24/7/365.

The best answering services won’t offer a one-size-fits-all package and slap a price on it, instead they’ll build a custom bundle that matches your needs.

These are just a few of the flexible options you’ll have to choose between:

Basic answering service. With a basic answering service, you won’t have to worry about a phone call going unanswered. Your virtual assistants will answer your after-hours calls with a smile, and even reroute emergency calls to a designated party at your request.

Appointment scheduling. Why hire an appointment setter when a virtual receptionist can handle those calls on your behalf? They’ll only charge for the calls they take and you’ll save money by not having to hire a dedicated employee to do this duty. In addition, the software many companies use allows more than one operator to be logged in at one time, preventing embarrassing double-bookings.

Auto-attendants. If you don’t need a human operator, you can always opt for an auto-attendant system. You decide what information to provide your callers and whether they have the option to be transferred to a live operator.

Disaster recovery. Experts at disaster recovery keep your phone lines open even during hurricanes, tornadoes and other severe weather. Instead of your damaged building’s phone line ringing non-stop with no one to pick up, they’ll give callers the information they need and help you get back to business faster.

eCommerce fulfillment. Online businesses often need more than just a call center to help manage their time. When you’ve got orders to take, products to store and ship and returns to handle, eCommerce fulfillment can be your right hand. Forget expanding your own building for seasonal product surges, instead outsource the overflow to eCommerce warehouses so you can spend your time locating new products and expanding your company’s reach.

These are just a few of the services you can expect from better telephone answering services. There are several other factors beyond cost to consider before you choose a professional answering service, and we’ll address those in part two of this two-part blog. 

This is part one in a two-part series. Read part two here.