Call Handling... What are your options?

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Call HandlerIf your business cannot justify a full time receptionist, then you're not alone. It’s very common. Professionals and small business owners alike need to work to generate income, and they can’t afford to have staff sitting around waiting for the phone to ring.

What happens when you are busy? A phone ringing out gives a poor impression to customers, and new customers may simply go elsewhere. If you have voicemail then you may get a message, but many people dislike company voicemail - it’s not the same as personal voicemail - when you call a business you expect someone to answer.

The solution could be to use a Call Handling Service, and many do. There are plenty of options around and deciding on the right one can be difficult so, here are a few consider that might help.

Telephone Answering Services

This type of service is also referred to as a Messaging Service or Virtual Receptionist, and some companies refer to the Call Handler as “your PA”. Whatever their title they essentially answer your calls, take messages and pass them on. Some are starting to offer additional services, such as, booking appointments which might be useful.

The market is dominated by a small number of specialist companies with systems designed to handle high call volumes, employing large numbers of call handlers. Call Handlers may work from a central office or from home, connected via sophisticated telephony and IT systems. They will answer calls in your name and deliver messages to you via email or text message. It’s simple, efficient and works well.

The downside is it lacks the personal touch. Callers rarely get the same person twice and customers soon realise that these people don’t know you or your business. It’s a common complaint. Also, they tend not to advertise the prices and the charges can be complex so you may end up paying more than expected – something to watch out for.

Serviced Office Receptionists

If you occupy a serviced office then an in-house Telephone Answering Service may be provided by the Reception staff. This should be convenient and more personal - the Receptionist is likely to know you already, and may have a system to track your movements too.
The service is likely to be restricted to office hours, with after-hours calls going to voicemail. It may also work out more expensive than a specialist Call Answering Service, but it will be more personal. Some serviced offices offer this as part of a range of business support services, which might be an added benefit, although our research has shown these service packages to vary greatly and have declined in recent years as virtual services become more popular.


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