What is an answering service? Everything you need to know.

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At VoiceNation, we hear this question a lot. If you haven’t worked with an answering service before, it’s understandable that you wouldn’t know just what an answering service does. We’ll tackle that question in this blog post.

So what is a professional answering service?

To get technical, answering services are third-party organizations that perform inbound and outbound business communications for clients. In more simpler terms, an answering service answers phone calls for their clients. Depending on the need, operators will do several things with the calls, such as:

Inbound and outbound call patching. Think of an in-house receptionist who answers a call, and then “patches” the call through to the intended recipient.
Simple order processing. Some answering services can train receptionists to work as order specialists – serving both orders online and over the phone.
Office scheduling. Operators can assist in calendar and schedule coordination, including placing outbound calls to make or check appointments, bookings, events and more.

What do professional virtual receptionists do?

Virtual receptionists perform the same inbound and outbound communications as a traditional, in-house receptionist. Businesses turn to professional receptionists for the following every day services:

Warmly greet callers. Using custom scripts approved by you, your business is represented the way you want.
Call forwarding. Virtual receptionists serve as your call directory, connecting callers to the right people.
Connect to voicemail. When the recipient of a call isn’t available, the virtual receptionist will connect them to voicemail.
Take and send messages. When a call can’t be answered, a virtual receptionist can take a message and send it to the recipient instantly.
Coordinate calendars. This could be confirming appointments, setting up meetings or booking event spaces.
Text and email response. Some answering services offer many ways to contact and interact with your receptionist –  through phone, email, text and/or a mobile app.

What are the benefits of hiring an answering service?

Aside from freeing you up from administrative tasks and saving you the cost of hiring an in-house receptionist, there are several other benefits. Here are a few:

Enhanced customer service. Any time an individual interacts with your business, they’ll form an impression. By having a friendly, professional receptionist on the line, you’ll be making a great impression.
Enhanced regulatory compliance. Specific industries such as health care, law and finance have regulations that pertain to safe and secure communications. Virtual receptionists are trained regularly ion compliant customer interactions, including HIPAA, disclosure statements and more.
Increased professionalism. Having a virtual receptionist shows your business is professional, organized and prioritizes customer experience.
Faster responses. Doctors, dentists, HVAC specialists, service technicians, IT support professionals will always be accessible when you choose a 24/7 live answering service.
Dedicated customer service. Consumers today wanted to be treated well and to have their questions answered or issues resolved without feeling like another just another person rushed through the customer-service queue.

Try virtual answering services for yourself

Sound like something you need? VoiceNation is one of today’s leading live answering and virtual receptionist agencies in the industry. Try us out! We offer a no-cost, no-obligation free trial to see if live answering is right for you.