Answering services and call centers may seem the same, and yet each provides services that meet different needs. Knowing the difference between the two will help you get the most out of these remote services.
We’ll start by talking about what an answering service does. Then we will discuss more about call center services. We’ll go over their different types and services, so you can see which one is best for your business.
As a business grows, more people and more services are needed. After all, it adds new departments, products, and services that will require all of these. Getting an answering service or a call center will make it easier to run your ever-expanding business.
What is an answering machine?
As the name suggests, it is speaking to callers for someone else. We say “someone” because professional answering services back then focused on personal use.
They were often used by doctors, lawyers and other busy people. If you don’t see why it was important, imagine being in their situation. Let’s say you only have one phone.
You didn’t have smart devices and no one else would answer your calls. You will probably spend too much time processing each phone call. Even then, you will not be able to address all of them.
Fortunately, answering services had live operators answering these people’s phone calls. They would ask you what you needed and then refer them to the appropriate departments.
That is why large companies also needed answering services. These days, they perform other tasks including answering text messages, cold calling, and managing emails.
Plus, you often hear them as a robotic voice on the phone, and it tells you to press a button that matches your concern. Call centers are more common these days.
What are the types of answering services?
There are different types of answering services depending on who or what handles the calls. Check if any of them are right for your business:
- Live response service – These are the ones who have real people who redirect the calls. Some industries still prefer this, and examples include real estate brokerage houses and some others despite having automated options.
- Virtual receptionist service – It performs the same tasks that a human receptionist would do in an office. In addition to making calls, he transfers clients to the appropriate contacts. It can also provide information that the caller may need, such as phone number or company address.
- Automated telephone answering services – You can hear a voice prompt instead of a real person when you call a business. It will tell you to press certain buttons based on your concerns.
What is a call center service?
Call centers are probably easier to remember than answering services, and that’s because we see the former more often these days. So what does it do?
A call center does what an answering service can do and more. That is why they are useful in more than one way than the latter. Here is a list of those other tasks:
- Ordering and shipping – When your package is late, you can call an agent to track your order. While most sites have real-time tracking, many people still prefer to talk to customer service representatives.
- Overflow calls – Sometimes the call volume may be too large for 24 hour response services, and this is when call centers can reduce the workload.
- Need a virtual receptionist – Take as an example a sick person who calls a large hospital. They may not know what their illness is called or what kind of doctor they need. You cannot list all possibilities through the voice prompt. It is best to have an agent listening to determine what the person needs.
- Technical support – Technical service operators are the ones you talk to when your cable or Internet has problems. They are the ones who provide the steps for you to fix it on your own. If that doesn’t work, they are the ones who send someone to fix it.
- Bilingual support – Let’s say your business has customers in other countries, and you will have a hard time serving them if they don’t speak English. This is when you need bilingual staff.
- Loyalty / renewal programs – Have you ever received an offer to renew your credit card? How about a promo for an online subscription? These also have call center tasks.
What are the types of call center services?
Call centers today use a variety of software, and the software they use will determine its quality and cost. Find out below what type of call center you need:
- Equipment – These have huge computers in their offices, and some may have to devote an entire floor to these machines. He also needs the right tools to maintain them.
- Cloud based – Have you ever used Google Drive? It is a free service that allows you to store files on the Internet. This is similar to how a cloud-based call center works, and using this type of server makes it more accessible.
- Hosted – This is an agency that handles calls from another company. This could be a great choice if you want to spend less on this service.
- Virtual – The call center agents work from home while offering the same services. It’s generally more affordable than hosted ones. After all, agents will provide the necessary tools for their job.
How to choose between them?
Should you get an answering service or a call center? It depends on the needs of your business. Let’s start with the first one. You need an answering service if you need a way to:
- Relay messages to a few customers
- Connect or transfer calls
- Provide basic company information when requested
It is a good choice if you have a specialized service with fewer clients. A 24 hour response service could meet their specific needs at any time of the day.
Meanwhile, call centers are great if your staff have too much work on their hands. Instead of taking calls, they could focus on more important issues. Here are other uses of call centers:
- Data gathering – Agents could get information from your customers. In addition to personal details, you can get information about their behaviors and preferences. You will find them really useful for lead generation.
- Sell products and services – Call center agents can educate people about what your brand has to offer.
- Complaints handling – Call centers can listen to customer concerns and they can help resolve them as well. When that doesn’t work, he sends someone to help customers.
- Take your brand to the next level – Having a 24 hour call center allows you to serve customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It shows that you want to provide the best service at all times, and it helps a small business. also have without spending much.
The right choice between an answering machine and a call center will depend on the needs of your business. Be clear on these before choosing between them.
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Learn more about answering services and call center services
Are response services still available?
Some companies still use answering services, although most now use call centers. It is a better choice if your business has specific needs. For the rest, a call center is a much better choice. Besides answering calls, he does more things like selling products and handling customer issues.
What services can an answering service provide?
It does everything you would expect from a receptionist. A 24-hour answering service can transmit messages, and in addition, it can transfer and connect calls or share basic company information when requested. However, it is a better choice if you have a specialized department with only a few clients.
What is a call center for?
It can sell your goods and services to more people. Call center agents can also speak with customers about their concerns. Plus, having 24 hour customer service lets people know you want to provide good service all the time. In addition, the call center can collect useful information for your marketing strategy.