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What Is The Difference Between Answering Services And Inbound Call Centers?

While phone answering service companies and inbound call centers receive and answer customer calls on behalf of your business, they are separate businesses with distinct factors that set them apart.

What Services Does An Answering Service Provide?

An answering service handles a company’s communications, usually with its customers, but could also be used to handle employee calls. Answering service representatives take inbound calls from existing and potential customers using branded welcoming messages and scripts to carry out the main services of:

  • Call screening and live transfer to the appropriate contact
  • Dispatching service workers to a job site or appointment
  • Take and forward messages to the appropriate contact
  • Record tenant issues and service requests
  • Providing general information such as business hours
  • Record and forward employee callouts to your HR department
  • Managing simple customer issues such as tracking/order updates

An answering service works similar to a virtual or in-person receptionist—fielding easier communications and forwarding the more complex issues to the appropriate business contact, so your employees are not overburdened by simple requests and have more time to dedicate to more serious inquiries or other job tasks. Answering services can also serve as the first line of customer support, fielding calls and escalating when necessary.

 Answering services are a business-to-business service, offering an outsourced service for answering a company’s phone calls.  

What Services Does An Answering Service Provide

Industries That Typically Use Answering Services

Answering services are popular in certain industries, providing the right level of service the business needs. Answering services are commonly employed by:

  • Law Firms
  • HVAC, Plumbing, and Other Trades
  • Roofing & Home Renovation
  • Medical Offices
  • Property Management
  • Home Remediation
  • Veterinary Offices
  • Real Estate

What Services Does A Call Center Provide?

An inbound call center typically provides more in-depth call handling services with a greater range of responsibilities and permissions to take actions on behalf of the business. Call center agents will typically use scripts to help them through the steps of managing a call or customer need—most frequently, these calls can entail:

  • Taking and processing customer orders or payments
  • Qualifying sales leads and processing new client contracts
  • Providing IT support
  • Accessing customers’ personal information
  • Credit or debit card transactions or refunds
  • De-escalating and providing resolutions to customer complaints
  • Enroll employees in benefits or assist in making changes
  • Manage multiple points of contact: phones, emails, texts, and web chats

Call centers generally replace—or provide a significant addition to—a company’s customer service, sales, IT support, human resources, or financial departments. Call center services go beyond answering and directing phone calls by being empowered to take specific actions as directed by the employing company.

Call centers can also be a business-to-business service, although some major companies may own their own call center to manage the high level of calls and more intensive customer or employee support.

Industries That Typically Use Call Centers

Some businesses require more hands-on handling of customer or employee calls, so a call center better suits their needs. These businesses aren’t necessarily categorized by their industry but rather by their size. Larger companies, conglomerates, organizations, corporations, and businesses that span the nation (or are even global) are more likely to employ the services of a call center.

Industries That Typically Use Call Centers
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Speak to CallStar® About Answering Services and Call Centers

Call centers and answering services have their own benefits for outsourcing your inbound calls to. Speak with a CallStar® representative to discuss your business needs for communication handling and the services we have to best meet those needs.

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