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Call Answering

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Call answering can mean many things to many people. Is it a simple voicemail system? The practice of having a third party answer your calls? Having your phone answered by an automated system? Call answering is a term that has grown to encompass all of these areas and more.

Call Answering and Voicemail

Hundreds of millions of people around the world use one form of call answering. If you have a mobile phone that links to voicemail when youíre not available, youíre already using a call answering service. Granted, itís very basic; all it does is record a message and allow the caller to tag it as urgent or private. However, this is merely a basic voicemail system.

Other voicemail systems, primarily used by businesses, allow for the sending of faxes, transferring between extensions, multiple greetings, distribution lists and more. Even though these are fancier, theyíre still essentially call answering services.

Third-Party Call Answering Services

These days, when someone says they have a call answering service, they generally mean a third-party service that answers calls for them by routing them to another person. Answering services separate themselves from automated systems in that they use actual humans to answer calls. These services can be used by any number of people, from doctors to lawyers to contractors.

Contractors who repair refrigeration, air conditioning and heating systems are always on call in case of a catastrophe. There are a number of ways they can allow their clients to contact them, but one of them is by using an answering service. The same goes for doctors and lawyers. If one of their clients' needs to either get a hold of them or leave an urgent message, an answering service will make sure the message gets to its intended recipient. These users of answering services will most likely require their service be available 24 hours per day. Although this adds considerably to the cost, the peace of mind of knowing that anyone trying to reach you need only remember one number can outweigh the prohibitive cost. And if a deal is struck or a proposal is accepted or life is saved because of this service, it will pay for itself in no time.

Call Answering and Interactive Voice Response Systems

An Interactive Voice Response System, or IVRS, is an automated system that guides callers to their desired destination, whether thatís talking to an operator or retrieving information. When you call your local utility or phone company, youíre more than likely dealing with an IVRS.

These systems used to require the user to push a touch-tone key corresponding to their desired selection. Lately, however, some of these systems have added voice recognition, so the user simply speaks the desired option and it is executed. These systems have proven to be somewhat unreliable, so some companies that added these have thought better of it and gone back to a standard IVRS.

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