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Call Answering

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Most businesses that employ a call answering service do so for the purposes of live call answering. That is, they need an actual human being to answer incoming calls. It may be after hours, or it may be customer service calls that can be answered by looking at quick reference information, but the practice of a call answering service answering incoming calls with human operators is called live call answering.

Live call answering is used by thousands of businesses around the world to support their customer base and handle routine matters quickly and relatively inexpensively. As you might expect, the key element in live call answering is the people who actually answer the calls. They need to be easy for their customers to understand, clear in their explanations and generally friendly to callers. These may sound like three relatively straightforward requirements, but many of us can attest to the fact that they are not always met. If youíre looking for a live call answering service, these basic requirements should serve you well in your search.

Most reputable call answering services boast about the quality of the people at their facilities. If they donít, you may want to steer clear, or at least check for yourself as to the service you receive when calling into a business which this call center is serving.

Of course, those live call answering centers that do highlight their employees are probably more expensive than those that do not; usually because call centers which steak their reputations on their people have more stringent quality and customer service standards. Outsourcing also comes into play here. Most centers outsource to some extent, but some do so more than others. Outsourcing is not a bad thing by default. After all, itís the only reason these centers are affordable in the first place. But outsourcing live call answering is like everything else; it can be done poorly or well, depending on the systems and procedures of the company in question.

So is a live call answering service right for your business? With the advent of 24-hour live chat via the web, businesses whose customers are likely to have easy access to a computer now have a far less expensive option which may satisfy more customers in the end. However, if your business is such that phone contact after hours is necessary, youíll need to do the math to decide whether a live call answering service is something your business can afford to use, or maybe whether itís something it can afford not to. If the competition is doing it, you may be forced to do so as well. But before you do, take a close look at all the options out there. There may be other solutions that cost less than a live call answering service and would yield the same or higher customer satisfaction rates.

If you do decide to use a live call answering service, be aware that retaining customers is more important than saving a few pennies here or there. With a choice between a cheaper service employing people who are more difficult to understand and a slightly more expensive service where the people are cheerful and clearly answer questions, the more expensive one will likely be better for your business in the long run.

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