What Is an Answering Service and Why Do You Need One?
At Davinci Virtual, we get a lot of questions regarding answering services. What is an answering service? What services does an answering service provide? What are the pros and cons of using an answering service? Is an answering service worth it?
We want to answer all of these FAQs and more so you can fully understand if hiring an answering service is the right call for your business.
What Is an Answering Service?
An answering service (also called telephone answering services) is a contracted resource for businesses that need help with some or all of the following tasks:
• Handling incoming calls
• Answering customer questions
• Scheduling appointments
• Processing orders
• Resolving customer issues
• Collecting customer feedback
• Performing administrative tasks
• And more
Watch a Video: How a Virtual Receptionist Answering Service Works
The purpose of an answering service is to improve customer service. However, another significant reason for companies to use this service is to lower the costs spent on hiring a full-time employee to do the job. We’ll go over the pros and cons later!
Types of Answering Services
There are various types of answering service agencies, so every business is sure to find the right fit for their needs and budget.
• Automated Telephone Answering Service: This service doesn’t have live agents to answer calls. It uses a machine and numbered prompts to guide callers through a menu of options for getting their questions answered. Automated telephone answering services are not appreciated by customers. No one likes listening or talking to a machine.
• Business Plan Virtual Receptionist Service: A business plan virtual receptionist service uses live call answering to screen and forward calls and other basic call requirements.
• Premium Plan Virtual Receptionist Service: This service works closely with a business to perform the same customized tasks as an in-office receptionist without hiring and paying a salary and benefits for one.
What Services Do Answering Services Provide?
Virtual receptionist answering services have many features available to businesses.
Under a Davinci Virtual Business Plan, a virtual receptionist provides the following services:
• Free local or toll-free business number
• Unlimited long-distance calls
• Live call answering or auto-receptionist
• Call screening and forwarding
• Advanced call routing and conferencing
• Responding to emails, texts, and live web chats
• Voicemail management
• Online faxing
A virtual receptionist with the Davinci Virtual Premium Plan provides these additional services:
• Appointment and meeting scheduling
• Order processing
• Customer care
• Administrative tasks
• Special FAQs
• Complex call flows
• Outbound service and sales
• Bilingual receptionists
• And more
Who Uses an Answering Service?
From small LLCs to mid-sized businesses and large corporations, many companies in every industry, from healthcare to accounting rely on an answering service. Why? To provide high-level customer service for their customers and significantly increase their own efficiencies without adding undue costs to their budget.
If you’re a contractor working out of your garage, you can use an answering service just as much as the CEO of a large law firm. There are no minimum-call requirements or long-term commitments, so every business can benefit from using an answering service.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Using an Answering Service?
Among many other benefits of a virtual receptionist, there are plenty of pros to using an answering service. We’ve listed them here, along with a few cons.
Pros for Customers:
• Gets to speak with a live person rather than to a machine
• Reduces or eliminates wait/hold times
• Provides more specific, accurate, and timely information
• Gives a more pleasant interaction
Pros for Businesses:
• Replaces the need to hire and pay an employee to take calls and perform administrative tasks
• Handles high volumes of calls without relying on long wait times
• Provides after-hours call answering
• Raises customer satisfaction rates
• Keeps customers from calling your competitors
• Provides marketing and sales support
• Cuts office expenses for on-site square footage and technical equipment
• Records calls for documentation purposes
• Sends follow-up communications (email, text, etc.) to callers
• Increases productivity by freeing up employee time for other important duties
• Improves professionalism
• Gives a better work/life balance to business owners and employees
Cons for Customers:
Cons for Businesses:
• Takes one business hour of set-up time
• Is a monthly business expense
How Much Does It Cost to Have an Answering Service?
Davinci Virtual offers two business plans and two premium plans for our virtual receptionist answering service. The pricing varies based on the live answer minutes.
• 50 live answer minutes = $129/mo
• 100 live answer minutes = $239/mo
• 50 live answer minutes = $249/mo
• 100 live answer minutes = $319/mo
Is an Answering Service Worth It?
The short answer is: Yes! Compare the low monthly price for contracting a live virtual receptionist versus the cost of hiring, training, and paying for an in-house receptionist. You can quickly see there’s no doubt that using an answering service and taking advantage of all its benefits is well worth it.
At Davinci Virtual, we know that some of your business’s biggest problems can be solved by a virtual receptionist.