How cost effective is an answering service? How much is it compared to a staff person?
This is a difficult comparison, almost like apples to oranges, but here are some things to consider:
In many companies, the secretarial position has gone by the wayside and the phone is managed by whoever is available or the answering machine. Callers are often frustrated by having to leave a message and will instead call to the next company on google. Staff are often frustrated by the interruption of answering the phone, not just the time spent with the caller, but the time and energy needed to refocus back to the task at hand.
Hiring an answering service can make your staffing dollars go a lot further. Outsourcing routine tasks such as answering the phone, taking messages, giving basic information, routing to the appropriate person or division, appointment scheduling, and many other tasks (see other options at end of article) can free your staff to concentrate on the questions and responsibilities that require more in-depth company and industry knowledge and skills.
Hiring an answering service is a great way to limit the interruptions during the day for your staff and to provide a live answer to your callers around the clock. A 24/7 reception provides an answer to your callers anytime, regardless of day of the week or time zone, expanding your availability and decreasing customer drift.
A short list of Optional tasks for outsourcing to an Answering Service
Some tasks should be outsourced if the information must be gathered in a consistent way; employee absence reporting is a great example of this. An absence reporting line provides a neutral third party to answer calls and gather information about the nature of the absence. This information is gathered, verified, and sent to the HR Department or Supervisor.
Appointment scheduling can be a time-consuming task, using an online calendar and an answering service can free up a professional’s time for billable hours. Clients are able to call 24/7 to make or change appointment times, reminder calls can also be made to decrease no shows.
Your after hours on call staff can be assisted by a dispatch service. Calls can be screened for urgency, your callers can be informed of the fee for after hours service, appointments can be scheduled for non-urgent service that can wait for regular business hours and can help organize your on-call staff. A report of the events will be sent to your office for next day follow up.
There are many other tasks and services that are available, please call us to discuss your unique needs!