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Call answering service vs call centres vs answering machines
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Call answering service vs call centres vs answering machines

As a business owner, you’ll know it can be difficult to answer all your calls and deal with customer queries effectively.

Outsourcing call answering to a professional service is one idea to solve the problem. There are three main options with these services: 

Let’s take a look at each in more detail, and which option is the best for your business.

Call answering service

With a professional call answering service, you get a team of PAs who answer your calls and deal with customer enquiries. This is an entirely bespoke service.

PAs work as an extension of your team (as far as the caller is concerned, they’re talking to your business).

Your PAs can either handle all your calls, any overflow, or be a temporary resource during peak periods.

As well as taking detailed messages, a call answering service can transfer calls to the right member of your team, and even deal with some basic customer enquiries directly.

Here’s why a professional telephone answering service is the way to go:

Adaptation

A call answering service works as part of your business, which means PAs take the time to learn who your business is, what you do, how you do it, what types of calls and customers you deal with and how they should present themselves on the phone.

This is in contrast to the automated nature of answering machines, or impersonal call centre answering services.

Personalisation

Real customer service is about more than just answering calls. It’s about making an emotional connection with the customer and understanding their needs or worries.

40% of customers said they’d stop doing business with a company due to poor customer service, according to figures from Statista, so it pays to employ the services of PAs with solid customer service skills.

Good call handlers are trained to make customers feel like their issues are being handled with effort and care, creating a positive impression any business could be proud of.

Flexible hours

Unless you plan to work every hour of the day to make sure calls are answered, you’ll have times out of normal business hours when your phone will go unanswered.

A telephone answering service continues to provide a professional, personalised service to customers outside of the usual 9-5.

As an example, we can provide call cover between 8am – 8pm on weekdays and provide some weekend cover too.

Quick answer times

No customer wants to feel they’ve been left out in the cold, but that’s exactly how they feel when their calls go unanswered for a long time.

Call answering services are there to make sure all calls are answered as quickly as possible, cutting wait times and missed calls.

Professional call handlers

Your business may rely on employees that aren’t very phone-savvy to answer your calls. But PAs who work with call answering services are professionally trained and experienced in handling all types of calls for all types of businesses. 

When it comes to customer calls, there’s rarely a situation they haven’t faced before or can’t handle, meaning your business’ calls will be in the very best of hands. 

You should look for a call answering service with industry-specific experience if this is something that’s a concern for you.

Cut costs

Call answering services could be a real money saver for your business, too.

You won’t need to pay one or more employees a full-time salary to handle calls.

By outsourcing your call management to professionals, all you’ll have to pay is a monthly fee that’s catered to your business’s specific needs.

More time to focus on the business

Busy employees don’t want to be spending their time answering calls when it could be spent in other areas of the business where they’ll be more productive.

Professional call handlers could take all your calls, so you can focus on what’s important and drive the business forward.

No hiring or training issues

The process of hiring new employees and training them can be a time-consuming and costly one. This is why using a call answering service, instead of hiring in-house call handlers, is a smart move. 

All our call handlers are already fully trained and experienced in their roles. You’ll be getting an efficient and reliable service right off the bat, with no teething issues you could expect with a new starter.

Uphold a professional image

When your employees are rushed they might not always sound the most professional on the phone.

It can be easy for them to sound harried or annoyed that they’ve had to take time away to talk to your caller.

Professional call handlers always use a knowledgeable yet friendly and conversational tone that’s designed to present a professional image for your business.

This tone also presents a pleasant and happy personality on the part of the call handler – something customers expect as part of exceptional customer service.

Call recording

Need to refer back to customer calls at a later date? Call handling services can record all customer calls for you, so you never lose an essential nugget of information again.

Hassle-free booking

Booking your professional call handlers is a pain-free process. It’s as simple as relaying the times and dates when your call handler can take over calls for you. 

Then, the service will work with your business to ensure all calls are diverted to the call handler efficiently every time, at the right time.

Answering machines

From a business perspective, answering machines have their value. But in the world of modern communications, they’re more of a hindrance than an advantage.

Only 20% of people will leave a message if their call goes unanswered, according to e2save.

And while customers whose calls aren’t picked up can leave a message for a business, it creates an incredibly poor impression.

Firstly, it leaves a customer questioning their perceived value in the eyes of the business…

“Surely if my call was important to them, they’d have picked up, right?”

But it also makes a business appear understaffed and unreliable, which will likely lead to the customer going elsewhere.

Also, the single-message format is incredibly restrictive when compared to speaking with an actual human. 

Customers may struggle to convey in-depth queries if they’re expected to do so in a single recording, with no live feedback from an experienced representative.

Answering machines also open the floodgates to technical issues. If a line isn’t clear, or if the voice being received comes through quiet due to a defective phone, the very act of leaving a message is useless.

Plus, language barrier issues make the act of leaving a message redundant. Whereas if the customer was able to speak with a representative, at least they would have a chance of being able to relay their message more effectively.

In short, answering machines worked for a time. But they’ve become a relic of a previous age and don’t serve modern businesses well.

Call centres

If a business receives a lot of inbound queries, it’ll likely use a call centre to manage its calls.

When a customer contacts one of these businesses, they’ll normally reach an automated service before being put through to someone in a call centre that deals with their request.

The sheer size of many call centres makes them appear to be efficient call management machines, sometimes with hundreds of calls coming in every hour.

But just because there are a lot of people working on calls doesn’t mean those calls are being dealt with in the best way, or giving the best impression to the customer.

For starters, anyone who’s been put through to a call centre knows they can be made to feel like a small fish in a very large pond, with little personalisation to speak of.

This feeling is a result of long wait times and overly-scripted responses – something which most call centres heavily rely on.

Depending on what you say, the call centre operative will respond to you or direct you in certain ways. This can often feel like a very robotic, uncaring process and doesn’t bode well in creating repeat business.

Yes, scripts are sometimes important. But when scripted responses are pushed to the extreme, there’s no better way to make a customer feel alienated. Especially if the tone from the call centre operative is emotionless or void of interest.

Plus, we’ve all been put through to a call centre where the background noise from other call centre workers wasn’t just loud, it was loud to the point we couldn’t even process what our operative was saying. Never a good look.

The very setup of large call centres means you’ll be a needle in a haystack of other customer requests, with barely any effort to genuinely empathise with your needs or issues.

Choose Face for Business for your call answering services

At Face for Business, we’re experts in the call answering service space and have helped all kinds of businesses make the most of their calls.

With over 240 years of combined experience amongst our employees and almost 3 million total calls answered, you know you can rely on us when the phone starts to ring.

Plus, with over 99% of calls answered in 3 rings or less, your customers won’t need to wait for long before their needs are met.

Get in touch with Face for Business today to find out more about how we can help.

13th November, 2023

Posted by Face For Business

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