Though many people have a basic idea of what an answering service does, they may wonder about the specifics. They may ask, “What services can an answering service provide?”
In general, answering services handle phone calls by taking messages, giving out information, and relaying communication to their clients as appropriate and when needed. If you have a need that involves telephone calls, it’s likely that an answering service can help.
Here are some common services that an answering service can provide:
Standard Answering Service
The most common application is that an answering service will handle your calls when you’re unavailable. This could be when you’re in a meeting, out of the office working, or after office hours. Just forward your telephone to your answering service, and they’ll take it from there. They’ll answer each phone call that comes in.
They will handle your calls in the way that you prescribe, taking messages and giving out information as needed. For urgent calls they’ll get you the information fast according to your preferences. For routine calls, they’ll batch the information and send it to you whenever you want them to.
This is the most typical service that an answering service provides
Telephone Reception Service
Another option, which isn’t so well-known but is just as viable is that an answering service can function as your receptionist. Since they’re not sitting in your office, but in theirs, we sometimes call this a virtual receptionist service.
In this scenario, your answering service will answer every call that comes in, just as an in-house receptionist would. They’ll route messages directly to the appropriate person or department as requested by the caller. If that person is busy or unavailable, they’ll take a message from the caller and your employee can call them back later.
After Hours Emergency Service
Few businesses are open twenty-four hours a day or able to answer their own phone calls around the clock. But most every business has urgent needs that arise when they’re closed.
Your answering service can handle these emergency calls for you. Then they’ll reach the appropriate person to handle each urgent request that can’t wait until your office reopens. And if a caller decides the message can indeed wait, your after-hours emergency answering service will take a message for your office staff to handle the next business day.
After hours emergency service is a third common offering that an answering service provides.
English/Spanish Telephone Support
A unique option comes from bilingual English/Spanish staffed telephone answering services. They can provide telephone coverage in the specific language if you don’t have the staff available at that time for that language.
For example, how often have you called the business and heard a recording that said something like, “For English, press one. For Spanish press two.”?
With the support of a bilingual answering service, callers who press one can go to your staff, while callers who press two will go to a Spanish-speaking specialist at your answering service. Of course, if you have a primarily Spanish-speaking staff, it can work just the opposite, with you taking Spanish callers and your answering service, the English ones.
This is a creative way to provide comprehensive support to a bilingual clientele if your staff isn’t fully bilingual. All you need is a full-service bilingual answering service. This is another creative use that an answering service provides
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