What Does a Live Answering Service Do?
We love giving behind the scenes and detailed looks into our field of expertise. For those of you not in the telecommunication’s industry, we want to help you understand and locate the best answering service solution for your needs.
In this article we feature the various answering services available, but give you an insider look into what a live answering service (in particular) can do for your business.
Benefits of a Live Answering Service
Types of Answering Services
An answering service is a third-party business that answers the incoming telephone calls for businesses and professionals. While this is a broad definition of what an answering service is, it’s important to note that there are primarily four different categories an answering service can fall into.
This type of answering service gives your customers and clients the ability to speak with a real person when they call into your business. Live virtual receptionists greet and assist your callers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. This is the most popular specialty category and is often what you picture when thinking of a business answering service.
An automated answering service intercepts a business’s incoming phone calls and then provides a series of menu options for the caller to choose from. The automated answering attendant provides a greeting for your callers and guides them through a selection of prompts to assist them in finding the department or person they’re trying to reach.
A call center is large-scale answering service that focuses on handling heavier call volumes for larger organizations. Call center agents answer a high number of calls and provide assistance to the caller or transfer the caller to the appropriate department. Call centers are used to alleviate long wait times; operate product and/or technical support desks; make outgoing telemarketing calls; and can act as the organization’s customer service department.
An internet answering service handles your online correspondence and communication with your customers. Sometimes referred to as an eCommerce answering service or online answering service, this specialty service focuses on providing web-based assistance. These communication experts will perform live chats; respond to customer emails and inquiries; monitor social media activity; and process orders or service tickets online.
While our robust answering service can provide assistance in all of these categories, for the purpose of this article, we’ll focus on what a live virtual receptionist team does for your business.
Answering All Incoming Calls
A live person will answer your business lines according to your specifications. You can choose a standard answering greeting such as, “Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening, thank you for calling ABC Company. This is Sara, how may I help you?” Or you can go with a more customized greeting that fits your business’s needs such as relaying important announcements or even daily menu specials.
The virtual receptionist will actively listen to the caller to find out the nature and purpose of their call. With this answering service option, you can even customize prequalifying questions for the agent to ask before proceeding.
Based on the conversation, the virtual receptionist will then do one of the following actions:
- • Transfer the caller to their desired department or employee;
- • Take a detailed message if no one is available to take their call;
- • Dispatch any service requests to a technician or employee;
- • In emergency situations, patch the caller through to the on-call personnel.
All actions are followed by an email, text or facsimile notification of the phone call for your review and advisement.
Takes Detailed Phone Messages
When a virtual receptionist at our live answering service takes a message, there are certain protocols they must always follow. All agents are required to confirm the spelling of your caller’s name and contact information. We will also repeat the message back to the caller and advise what we will do with the message.
After the call has been concluded, the virtual receptionist will forward the message according to your exact specifications. You can choose to receive your messages in real-time via sms text, email, pager/beeper or facsimile.
At the end of each month you will receive a monthly call log of all incoming and outgoing phone transactions taken on your behalf.
Transfers VIP Calls in Real-Time
When opening your account with us, you may give special instructions on how to handle VIP calls or real emergency situations. Your new virtual receptionist team is trained specifically on your account and is able to follow your exact specifications and requested procedures.
With very important or emergency calls, we have the ability to track you down or an on-call employee anywhere in the world immediately. This feature ensures that you never miss an important phone call again. After contacting you about the special call, you’ll have the option to call the person back or be directly patched through to the caller.
Dispatches Service Orders
If you’re a service provider, we offer live receptionist services that can handle your phone orders from start to finish. Again, with complete customization capabilities, we’re able to act just like one of your in-house employees would when speaking with your customers.
We have the capabilities in assisting service professionals with the following actions:
- • Quote your standard and after-hour rates to callers 24/7.
- • Contact your on-call technician that is near the requested service location.
- • Confirm and provide an ETA to your caller of when they can expect service.
- • Process a credit card payment for the service over the telephone.
- • Dispatch the complete service order to your technician via text, email or voice.
- • Follow up with your customer and technician upon the completion of the service.
- • Forward you an intake sheet, payment receipt and all other pertinent information.
There is a special dispatch unit within our business answering service that is 100% devoted to just dispatching calls. With our team, you can trust that nothing and no one will slip through the cracks again.
Custom Services Offered
Depending on your specific needs, a live receptionist service can offer a variety of custom services unique to your business. Since there is an infinite amount of ways you can creatively use this type of answering service, we’ll just focus on some of the more popular customizations.
- • Providing answers to your callers frequently asked questions.
- • Scheduling, confirming and canceling your work schedule in real-time.
- • Assisting callers in their native language with multilingual customer service.
- • Processing secure payments over the telephone for products or services.
- • Advising of your service hourly rates and/or standard retainer fees.
- • Asking qualifying questions to provide hot leads to your sales team.
- • Handling your reservation or booking calendar for businesses in the tourism industry.
- • Providing a robust customer service department, hotline or support desk.
- • You can even schedule wakeup calls while you’re away on business.
Call Our Live Answering Service Today!
We sincerely hope that this featured article has answered any questions you have as to what a live answering service is and what it can do you for your business.
If you have a specific customization or general inquiry that isn’t listed above, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Give us a call, day or night, at 1-800-785-6161 to speak with an account specialist to discuss your business’s needs.