Call Center vs Answering Service – Which is Right for Your Business?
There are many people out there who haven’t yet ventured into the world of contracting out the handling of their telephone calls. When they first start exploring the industry, there is often some confusion about the differences between call centers and answering services, as well as which service would best fit with the needs of their business. Frankly, unless you’ve worked with these types of companies before, you would be unlikely to be familiar with the difference. We’re here today to shed some light on the key differences between the two, hopefully making it easier for you to understand how the needs of your company can best be met.
Key Features of Call Centers
- Often handle calls that last longer than 3 minutes
- With a base level script to work with, agents are trained to be flexible and deal with a wide range of questions, concerns or requests
- The end-goal is to resolve the caller’s reason for calling within the call, without the need to involve a third party
The complexity of a comparing call centers is much greater than that seen in an answering service. Agents are fully trained customer support agents, often trained in specific types of technical support. This requires a degree of specialization and much longer training periods than what is seen in answering services. For that reason, a call center agent typically works exclusively for one client, sometimes even only in a specialized department for that client.
Key Features of Answering Services
- Calls are typically under two minutes
- Critical contact information and reason for calling are obtained
- Messages are passed along promptly to the proper internal authority at the client company
When reviewing an answering service, most agents are working for a wide variety of clients. Their goal is to take down all critical information and then communicate that to the right party within the client organization as efficiently as possible. By working for multiple clients throughout the shift, workers are able to be more productive, helping to keep the costs down for all clients of the answering service. Each client provides a short answering script, with the agent reading it to ensure a consistent and branded experience for each caller to a specific company.
There are also companies that offer a hybrid between these two models. This can be ideal for organizations with needs that don’t fit fully into either the services provided by a call center or an answering service. This involves having agents who are highly trained in the workings of a given company, able to give more in depth-responses to caller queries, but who are trained in working for multiple clients, helping to keep them occupied at all times during their shifts.