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Live Call Answering Services vs. In-House Receptionists

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Every successful business leader knows how big of an impact a rockstar administrative staff can have. However, putting the right team together can be tricky, especially for small and medium businesses on a budget. In order to offer 24/7 customer service while also lowering overhead, many businesses partner with live call answering services.

In this blog we will look at the differences between hiring an in-house receptionist and partnering with a live call answering service.

  • What’s the difference between remote live agents and in-house receptionists?
  • What does an answering service offer that an in-house receptionist cannot?
  • How can an answering service help me save money?

What’s the difference between remote live agents and in-house receptionists?

If you’ve decided that it’s time to expand your call support team but are unsure of whether to go the in-house or remote route, here are some factors to consider.

In-house receptionists offer a physical presence in your lobby or waiting room, which can be valuable for businesses with high foot traffic. However, they typically come at a higher cost and require recruitment, training, and equipment. And if your office is especially busy, it may not be possible for just one person to simultaneously handle in-person visitors and callers.

The remote live agents of a call answering service are real people who can perform many of the same tasks as an in-house receptionist. These educated, trained individuals can greet callers, answer general questions, reply to text messages, schedule appointments, take messages, and much more. Like an in-house receptionist, they too are committed to listening to your customers, resolving their issues, and making sure they feel valued and heard. The only difference is that they’re working from a quiet remote location instead of inside your office.

What does an answering service offer that an in-house receptionist cannot?

Aside from time and cost savings, here are some other things that an answering service offers that an in-house receptionist cannot:

  • 24/7 coverage. Unless you’re hiring at least three full-time receptionists, it wouldn’t be possible to offer around-the-clock customer service. With a 24/7 answering service, it’s possible!
  • Bilingual live agents. No need to search for a receptionist who speaks perfect English and Spanish when you partner with a bilingual answering service.
  • Disaster recovery. In the event of a hurricane, blizzard, or other natural disaster, phone lines might be cut off in your area, making it hard for you or an in-house receptionist to answer calls. An answering service’s agents work remotely, ensuring that your business is always reachable.

How can an answering service help me save money?

Hiring one or more in-house receptionists can be costly in several ways. Here’s how partnering with an answering service (versus hiring an in-house receptionist) can help you save:

  • Recruiting: Going through resumes and interviewing candidates is time consuming, and time is money. Answering services employ a team of qualified and experienced live agents who receive specialized training before ever answering a call on your behalf.
  • Training: Training a new receptionist so they can serve as a valuable business ambassador also costs time and money. Then once they’re trained, you or your other employees would need to supervise them in the beginning, which can hurt productivity.
  • Equipment: When you work with an answering service, you’ll save on everything from office space and desks to computers and phones.
  • Turnover: After spending all this time and money hiring and training an in-house receptionist, there’s always the chance that they will leave—sometimes without any notice. You’ll be back to square one and will be required to repeat the hiring and training process.
  • Other costs: There’s no need to pay for overtime, holiday pay, or sick days when you work with an answering service.
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