Telephone Call Answering


Whether youíre running a small and growing business, managing property or seeing patients, there are many reasons to investigate telephone call answering services. A call answering service can be as simple as a voicemail system, but the term is usually used to describe a system in which calls are answered by human operators, an interactive voice response system, (IVRS,) or both. These days, most businesses use the latter option, in which an IVRS directs callers to the appropriate department, where the call is answered by a person. Which system you choose depends entirely on the use to which you will put it. Here are a few situations and the best methods of telephone call answering for each.

Telephone Call Answering and Property Management

If you manage or maintain apartments or condominiums, youíll more than likely need some sort of telephone call answering service. It doesnít need to be complicated. In fact, a voice mail system tied to a pager will be adequate for most circumstances.

When the call is answered, the caller can select a certain option to specify that itís an emergency. Then, if necessary, they can select their apartment or condo complex from a list. Finally, they can leave a message, immediately after which the pager will ring to indicate you have a new message. This is a simple but effective system for those who donít have many properties. For larger management companies with more people, youíll need a more elaborate IVRS.

Telephone Call Answering at a Typical Small Business

First and foremost, there really is no typical small business. However, letís say you have a product or service that you sell and maintain. That is, you have callers who are interested in purchasing the product or service, and you have those who have already done so and require assistance with the product or have a question about the service.

Telephone call answering in this situation can be handled by an IVRS linked to either your business or a separate telephone call answering service. Thereís no substitute for hearing things directly from the source, so itís always good if you can afford to hire your own sales reps and support specialists. In this case, a simple IVRS can route each call to its destination, where it is answered by a member of your staff.

But what happens after hours? Many businesses need to keep support lines open longer than their sales department but donít have the resources to hire appropriate personnel. This is where a third-party telephone call answering service can be helpful. Incoming calls are routed to this service, and the operators help callers find solutions using material you provide. Alternatively, if the material required to support the product or service is relatively small, you can configure an IVRS to ask callerís necessary questions and read the corresponding answers, though this can quickly get out of hand and frustrate callers to no end. IVRSí are most useful for reading a few small bits of information. However, text-to-speech systems can be added to your telephone call answering service, which can allow you to give callers much more information in an automated way.

Telephone Call Answering and Patient Care

Most medical answering services have gone by the wayside, but some small, independent physicians still employ them. In this case, telephone call answering is accomplished by hiring one individual to work each period while the office is closed. Alternatively, a telephone call answering system can be employed that will route the call to the home or cell phone of the person designated as ďon callĒ that night.

There are several ways to utilize telephone call answering services. This is just the tip of the iceberg. But with voice recognition systems improving and text-to-speech software becoming more prevalent, the days when calls are answered by humans may be limited.

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