An answering service is a phone-based support solution that is available to businesses 24/7 to answer calls and provide other services, such as customer service, appointment setting, emergency recovery, and virtual office assistant. They are especially useful for companies that want to improve the customer experience but don’t need a full-time receptionist.
A live operator answers each call, taking note of the details of the request and the contact information to hand out to the person calling. Depending on the client, this information might include date and time of appointment, availability for consultations, instructions to follow during a specific project, and any other important information necessary to process the call.
The answering service will also follow a script provided by the company that is specific to the type of business, so the agent is ready to handle each request as needed, whether it be to make an appointment, give out information on how to reach a certain department, or send the request to someone who can help. In some cases, this is done through a chat option where the caller can leave a message and receive a response via text or email in real-time.
Many answering services offer different pricing models, from pay-per-call to a monthly rate, with the latter being more beneficial for larger organizations. Pay-per-communication unit is another option, where the answering service will charge a price for each call or other communication (such as chat messaging or email updates) they have with a customer or client. This can be anywhere from $1 to $10 per unit.