In the business communication field, call centers have earned a somewhat unpleasant reputation compared to answering services. At first glance, they may seem to be functionally similar aside from the difference in the name. However, there are multiple differences between the two call handling services that more than justify the different opinions.
Answering services and call centers are far from being the same business model. While both can help you manage your business phone calls more effectively, an answering service offers several distinct advantages that a call center simply can’t provide. Those differences could significantly alter your experience with the answering service and with your customers.
Number of Active Employees
A call center may have nearly a hundred active employees on any given day. Meanwhile, a self-described answering service is more likely to have significantly fewer employees. While this doesn’t sound like an advantage at first, it can actually provide the caller with a better experience. For instance, perhaps a caller has to follow up on an earlier question or problem and would prefer to speak to the same person. In a smaller work environment, the chances of finding that same person are higher and facilitate a more personal feel.
Customer Service vs. Information Gathering
Answering services tend to have very different types of information gathering techniques from call centers. In a call center, employees ask a set of predetermined questions and fill out a form with the answers, generating a very formulaic approach to information.
On the other hand, an answering service focuses more on customer service. When the call is answered, it’s as though you called an extension of the company the answering service is working for. The employee will answer your questions and direct you to the right place, rather than trying to fit your problem into a predetermined box.
Sensitive Handling of Emergencies
Finally, answering services hold themselves to a high standard of sensitivity and confidentiality. This is especially true for an answering service that takes calls meant for a doctor. A HIPPA-compliant answering service is an invaluable resource for anyone in the medical field.
Pro Tip: An answering service can provide after-hours help and answers to basic questions, but no healthcare provider should consider them a substitute for calling 911 in an emergency.
Answering Services vs. Call Centers
Your business needs a reliable, professional way to handle daily phone calls and help customers at all hours of the day or night. Hiring an answering service not only provides the efficiency and help you need, but it also adds a touch of humanity to the unpleasant process of sitting on a phone waiting for help. For a professional, trustworthy business, an answering service is definitely the superior choice.
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