Whether you’re a small business owner with other priorities or a large business that just doesn’t have the resources to manage your telephone lines, telephone answering services may be just what you need.
Before making the decision to hire a telephone answering service, however, it’s always helpful to know what other kinds of businesses use them and why. If you’re wondering who uses a telephone answering service, it’s likely that you’ll be surprised to find that many businesses you know use them already.
Typical Businesses Using Telephone Answering Services
There’s no shortage of businesses - from large, nationwide companies to local SMEs - currently using answering services. Some common examples include:
- Solicitors and legal professionals;
- Financial service providers;
- Marketing agencies;
- Construction contractors;
- Transport (e.g. taxi, chartered coach buses);
- Healthcare professionals (e.g. walk-in clinics, GPs);
- Property management;
- Real estate services;
This is just a small sample of the types of industries with which telephone answering services can help businesses. In practice, personal assistants (PAs) working for reputable answering services have the knowledge and training to understand the needs of clients in many industries.
Can’t I Just Answer the Phone Myself?
Of course, you’re always free to hire your own receptionist or call centre staff, or handle incoming calls yourself. In fact, many calls you’d rather handle yourself anyway, so why bother with an answering service?
Well unfortunately for most businesses, this isn’t the best use of their valuable time and isn’t always cost-effective. For example, plumbers often have their hands dirty whilst performing their services for customers and just don’t have the time or means to always be on the phone.
Furthermore, there are many calls you’d much rather avoid, such as telemarketers and scammers. PAs can handle these for you so you don’t have to.
Should I Use an Answering Service?
Depending on the needs of your business, an answering service could be an ideal solution. As in all business matters, you should consider factors such as cost and quality in the decision-making process. Moreover, consider what value an answering service can provide to your business and your competitiveness within your industry.
For example, have a look at your competitors’ track record with handling telephone enquiries. Are their customers satisfied with the quality of responses given over the phone? Or perhaps they use an automated answering machine or invite them to send an email instead? If reliability and a friendly human voice are important to your business - as they should be - then you’ll stand to benefit from the use of an answering service.
Ideal Use Cases for Telephone Answering Services
Now that you’ve got a better understanding of the types of industries that make great use of telephone answering services and how prevalent they are, think about how you can best make use of it to leverage your business’ value creation activities.
For small and medium-sized businesses the service will reduce the typical labour expenses associated with hiring an in-office receptionist and free up time for key staff. If you don’t have an office or you work remotely, the advantages should be obvious.
Large companies and corporations can benefit from an external telephone answering service by using it for call overflow. If your existing team of receptionists or call centre staff are unable to answer all of your customer’s calls – perhaps during a busy or short-staffed period - you can ensure none will be missed by forwarding the overflow calls on to an answering service. Customers will be greeted by a friendly, helpful PA who will handle the enquiry with expertise.