There may be no truer saying in business than “your first impression is your last impression.” Everything you do from that point will be measured by the customer’s first interaction with you. And the first point of customer communication is often with whomever answers your phones. For this reason, many businesses partner with answering services to ensure they are keeping up with their call volume and customer requests. The best answering service to answer your business’ calls is going to depend on your unique needs. In this article we will discuss and answer the following questions:
What’s the difference between live answering services and VoIP (automated services)?
Once you’ve determined that your business can benefit from working with a telephone answering service, you’ll need to select the best answering service for you. The two main options when selecting a type of answering service are:
- Live answering services provide trained live agents who work remotely to answer a business’ incoming calls and assist customers.
- A VoIP automated phone answering service, also known as a Voice Internet Protocol automated service or attendant, will have a mix of pre-recorded professional greetings and live agents that will answer your calls. They are powered through the internet and a fully automated system that prompts your customers to a result through a voice menu of offerings.
What’s the difference between virtual receptionist services and live answering services?
There are several differences between virtual receptionist services and live answering services. It is crucial to understand these differences so you can choose which option is the best fit for your business.
The main difference is that virtual receptionists offer a higher level of service. You can rest assured that your calls will be answered by a virtual receptionist who has received training about your specific business, industry, and customers. From there, your virtual receptionist will transfer the call to the appropriate team member. If the person the caller needs to speak with is not available, your virtual receptionist will take a detailed message and send it to you at your convenience in your preferred method.
Live telephone answering services offer a more basic level of service than virtual receptionist services, but they are still a great way to service your customers. The first thing your callers will hear is a custom greeting and from there a live agent will assist them. Unlike with a virtual receptionist, callers may be temporarily placed on hold if the call queue is high.
How to make your answering service more efficient and cost-effective?
The best way to get the most out of your answering service is to create a custom package that uses all the features that benefit your business most (and none of the ones that don’t)! This way, you’re paying only for exactly what you need. For example, Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and Follow Me are considered automated services, but when combined with live answering services they can be very powerful add-ons.
When IVR is utilized, callers will be greeted by a computer and given options such as “Press ‘1’ for appointments, press ‘2’ to speak with a doctor,” and so on. If the caller presses “1,” they can be transferred to one of our live agents who can help them schedule an appointment.
When Follow Me is utilized, it can follow a few numbers determined by the client and if they are not available, a live agent can answer the call and take a message.