How exactly does a telephone answering service work?

Telephone answering services use call forwarding, and when activated, a business’ incoming calls are automatically sent to a live agent that works remotely. This way, instead of your office or cell phone ringing constantly, your business’ callers are forwarded to trained live agents who can assist them in an efficient, professional manner.

When people reach out to your business, the type of customer service that they receive can make or break their experience. If they’re stuck on hold for too long, or forced to leave a voicemail, it becomes much more difficult to make a great impression. With most callers preferring to hang up rather than leave a message, business owners of all types, from medical practices, to real estate brokerages, to service providers, have recognized the value of partnering with a telephone answering service.

Although they’re based outside of your office, the live agents from a telephone answering service receive specialized training before they ever pick up a call on behalf of your business. During this training they will learn about your company, your industry, the types of callers that they will be servicing, and any other relevant information. For example, if you run a healthcare practice and outsource to a HIPAA-compliant medical answering service, you will be paired with live agents who are up to date on all HIPAA requirements and privacy procedures.  

When a business partners with a leading telephone answering service, they can customize the type of support that they receive to best fit their needs. For example, it’s possible to choose when you want your incoming calls to be answered by a live agent, and when you wish to answer them yourself. If you only want the answering service to manage your call volume while you’re out to lunch, in a meeting, or during non-business hours, you can set your phone lines to automatically forward at a designated time.

Another customizable option is how the live agents of an answering service communicate with your customers and prospects. In addition to speaking with callers on the phone, live agents can assist them via email and text messaging.

Why do businesses partner with telephone answering services?

Here are a few reasons that businesses choose to partner with telephone answering services: 

  • A telephone answering service ensures that even if you are busy doing something else, your callers can speak to a trained representative of your business and receive excellent customer service. And by not having to listen to a constantly ringing phone and feeling the need to answer it, you and your employees will have more free time to complete other tasks to help you grow your business.
  • Telephone answering services can be used to service your business’ callers regardless of the time that they call. They can be set up to include regular business hours, as well as nights, weekends and holidays.
  • Many leading telephone answering services offer bilingual virtual receptionists, which provide businesses with the opportunity to better serve their Spanish-speaking callers.