In 2016, it’s becoming common practice for companies to outsource some or even all of their inbound and outbound call requirements. Whether it’s offshore or locally-based, it is certainly a viable way of structuring an office and has a proven track record of working in most cases.
If you’re considering going down this path due to an increased volume of calls coming into your place of business, knowing the difference between your various options is a good idea. Should you go for an answering service or do you need a full call centre to handle things?
First, let’s take a look at the main differences between the two.
Telephone Answering Service
A telephone or call answering service is provided by a company, usually based locally, that takes on all your incoming calls and frees you and your staff up to take care of other parts of the business. They generally provide service for multiple other businesses and are trained to handle the calls for each specific one.
While they are smaller in size, they are more complex and often offer a more comprehensive service, beyond simply taking information and passing it on. Often they’ll be able to give advice and do exactly what a reception employee in your office would do, solving the problem or providing the information the incoming caller is after quickly and professionally.
Call Centre Service
Outsourced call centres are similar to answering service but on a much larger and more automated scale. Phone operators will often be following a script and providing complex information is beyond the scope of their job. The information they provide is simple and straightforward, is not urgent and there is little decision-making on the part of the phone operator involved. They tend to be dealing with significantly more calls that are similar - and therefore more simple.
Which Is The Better Option?
This depends on a number of factors including the size of your company, the industry that you’re operating in and what percentage of your business depends on incoming calls. Generally speaking, a telephone answering service is likely to provide better service to the customer because it's much more personalised. It also tends to suit smaller business and sole traders, whose call volume is manageable. For a large corporation with relatively simple requests and information, a call centre can be very effective. But answering service for small business is definitely a winner.