A cellphone answering service is a company that answers the phones on behalf of other businesses. They are especially suited to small businesses who cannot afford the extra overhead of renting bigger office space, furnishing it, and hiring a receptionist. It is also called a virtual or mobile phone answering service
As such, using a cellphone answering service saves your business costs and helps improve customer relations. If you run a freelance operation, sometimes you are on the road or busy with technical details that make it inexpedient to take an incoming call. By using a cellphone answering service, your business does not have to miss any calls. A live person is always available, round the clock, to respond to your clients and customers.
It is much more than just getting your calls answers, though. A professional cellphone answering service goes over and beyond to serve as a solid PR tool for your business.
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How does a cellphone answering service work?
You are likely already familiar with the term, call forwarding. When you sign up with a cellphone answering service, your business mobile number is set up to forward your calls to the answering service when you are not available or after a number of rings.
Virtual answering services work seamlessly with not just your existing cell phone, but can also work with your landline or VoIP phone.
A dedicated business representative answers incoming calls on your behalf, responds to the customer or prospect, takes down notes of important messages and appointments, and then forwards them to you for action when you are available.
Because the service works via call forwarding, you can switch providers without your business number changing. In summary, a cellphone answering service is like a call centre, but customized to represent different businesses. The representatives are briefed about what your business does and how it operates, so they can respond as accurately as possible to enquiries.
Depending on the scale of operations, different cellphone answering services offer different levels of specialized operations. Most are suitable for enquiries and complaints, which will be forwarded to you, the professional to take care of and follow up on. A few, larger ones have more specialized teams that can handle more specialized operations.
What are the benefits of using a cellphone answering service?
One, your business never has to miss a call again, whether you are not reachable or whether it is outside office hours.
Two, you are able to run light and keep your overheads down, and save on hiring a receptionist, and renting and furnishing or equipping a reception. No electronic boxes or cabling to be done.
Three, you are able to concentrate on the core operations of the business, rather than get bogged down with calls. This improves your productivity and will boost your bottom line. Telephone calls are often distracting, whether you are a doctor, a graphics designer, software developer, or a web developer. Outsourcing that aspect of your business operations will boost your productivity immensely. Other benefits of using a cellphone answering service for your business include:
- Professional Image: An answering service provides a professional image for your business. Instead of callers reaching voicemail or hearing a busy signal, they are greeted by a live operator, giving the impression of a well-established and responsive organization.
- 24/7 Availability: Cellphone answering services operate around the clock, providing 24/7 availability. This is especially beneficial for businesses that have customers in different time zones or for emergency situations where immediate assistance is crucial.
- Improved Customer Service: A live answering service allows for immediate interaction with customers. Operators can answer questions, provide information, take messages, and assist with basic inquiries, enhancing the overall customer service experience.
- Appointment Scheduling: Answering services often offer appointment scheduling services. This can help businesses manage their appointments efficiently without the need for constant phone monitoring.
- Time Management: By outsourcing call answering tasks, individuals and businesses can save time. This allows employees to focus on core responsibilities, increasing overall productivity.
- Reduced Missed Opportunities: Calls are answered promptly, reducing the likelihood of missed opportunities or potential leads. This is critical for businesses that rely on incoming calls for sales or service inquiries.
- Cost-Effective: Employing a cellphone answering service is often more cost-effective than hiring a full-time receptionist. Businesses can pay for the services they need, whether it’s a few hours a day or 24/7 coverage.
- Message Taking and Delivery: Operators can take messages and deliver them promptly through various channels, such as email, text messages, or voicemail, ensuring that important information is communicated in a timely manner.
- Scalability: Answering services can scale their services based on your needs. Whether your call volume increases or decreases, the service can adjust accordingly, providing flexibility for your business.
- Emergency Handling: For businesses that may face emergencies or urgent situations, an answering service can be a crucial component in managing and responding to such incidents promptly.
Who can use a cell phone answering service?
Cellphone answering services are perfect for small businesses where the key staff are technical people and need someone to take care of customer enquiries and complaints, without the business incurring huge cost outlays.
But larger businesses also use cellphone answering services to outsource these departments for similar reasons. So, pretty much any kind of business can use an answering service.
How much do cell phone answering services cost?
Many such services provide a free trial period, so you can experience their service at no cost for a limited time to see if it fits your requirements.
After that, you can take up a pay-as-you-go subscription. This is good for your business cash flow, as it means you do not have to pay a huge amount upfront for a year’s service.
The specific pricing system and figures differ from one company to another. Some charge as much as $30 per month flat rate. Others bill per call, between $0.50 to $1.75 per call. It all depends on the scale of service they provide and how basic or specialized your needs are. So, shop around a little.
Some top cellphone answering services
- Specialty Answering Service (SS)
- Call Center Sales Pro (CCSP)
There are many other good cellphone answering services out there as well, and we encourage you to look around some more to see which best fits your needs and budget.