Managing phone calls can be daunting for a small business owner. Your phone constantly rings, taking time away from other essential duties. What’s more, missing calls can result in lost revenue. This is where call centers or answering services come into play. But do you really need one?

This article will help you determine if your business could benefit from outsourcing your calls to a third-party service.

Handling Your Customers’ Calls

Traditionally, businesses are tasked with handling all their incoming calls. This can be time-consuming and costly, particularly if you receive a high volume of calls.

Several options for handling calls in-house are available, including hiring a receptionist or designating someone within your business to answer calls. However, this can be quite expensive and may not be feasible for small businesses or those with limited resources.

Another option is to use voicemail, but this approach can lead to missed calls and frustrated customers who prefer to speak with a live operator. Additionally, voicemail systems may not be able to handle large volumes of calls efficiently.

You could try an automated system, but it will likely lack the personal touch of a live operator and may not be capable of addressing complex customer inquiries.

That’s where a call center or answering service can help.

Business person handling customer call at desk

What Are Call Centers?

Call centers are centralized facilities specifically designed to handle a large volume of inbound and outbound calls on behalf of businesses. These centers can be either internal departments within a company or third-party outsourced service providers.

The primary function of a call center is to manage customer interactions, providing various services such as customer support, technical assistance, order processing, and sales. They often use advanced telephony and computer systems to manage incoming calls, prioritize them based on urgency and importance, and route them to the appropriate agent or department for resolution.

Call center services can be divided into different types based on their function, such as inbound, outbound, or blended. Inbound call centers receive calls from customers seeking assistance or information, while outbound call centers initiate customer calls for sales or marketing purposes. Blended call centers combine both inbound and outbound services to offer a complete customer service solution.

On the other hand, answering services are typically smaller operations that offer receptionist services such as answering and transferring calls, taking messages, and providing general information. They may be used by small businesses or solo entrepreneurs who don’t have the resources or need for a full-scale call center.

In summary, call centers and answering services differ in the scope and complexity of their services, with call centers typically handling larger volumes of calls.

Call center agents taking calls

The Benefits of Call Centers and Answering Services for Businesses

Using an answering service or call center can offer several benefits to your business, including:

  • Saving time: By letting the answering service handle incoming calls, you and your employees can focus on other essential tasks without interruption.
  • Receiving professional service: The answering service employs trained operators who can provide your customers with courteous service, ensuring that they are treated with respect while enhancing your business’s reputation.
  • Improving customer satisfaction: Dedicated to a quick and effective resolution, the answering service can improve customer satisfaction, increasing loyalty and repeat business.
  • Handling calls after hours or during peak times: An answering service can handle calls outside your regular business hours, ensuring your customers can always reach you. This is especially helpful during peak times when your business may be overwhelmed with calls.
  • Accessing bilingual operators: Many answering services provide bilingual operators, enabling you to serve a broader range of customers and improve communication with non-English speakers.
  • Reducing costs: An answering service can be more cost-effective than hiring additional staff to handle incoming calls, especially for small businesses or those with limited resources.

Busy business owner surrounded by post it notes

When Is It Valuable to Outsource to a Call Center?

When should you consider outsourcing your calls to a call center or answering service? One example is when your business requires 24/7 support. An answering service ensures your business is always available to customers, even outside regular office hours. This can be particularly important if your customers are in different time zones or you offer emergency services.

Another example is if your business experiences a high call volume that your employees can’t handle. This can occur due to a marketing campaign that generates a large number of inquiries, seasonal spikes in business, or even unexpected events like a natural disaster. In these scenarios, outsourcing your calls can provide additional support and allow you to handle more calls.

Additionally, outsourcing can be a practical solution if you are experiencing difficulty hiring and training employees. Finding qualified staff members who can provide exceptional customer service or perform specialized business processes can be tough and time-consuming. Outsourcing calls to a reputable answering service can alleviate these issues, minimize risk, and ensure your customers receive high-quality support.

Call center supervisor standing next to call center agents

Criteria for Determining Whether You Need a Call Center

If you’re still unsure if your business would benefit from outsourcing your calls, here are some criteria to consider:

  • Call volume: If your business receives more calls than your employees can handle, outsourcing to a call center or answering service may be necessary.
  • Budget: If you can’t afford to hire a full-time receptionist, outsourcing to an answering service can provide a cost-effective solution.
  • Missed calls: If you consistently miss calls or cannot respond to voicemails on time, consider outsourcing your calls.
  • After-hours support: If your business requires after-hours support, outsourcing to a call center or answering service can ensure that your customers can always reach your business—even outside usual business hours.
  • Language needs: If you serve customers who speak different languages, outsourcing to a call center that offers bilingual operators can be a valuable solution.
  • Scalability: If your business experiences seasonal fluctuations in call volume or is growing rapidly, outsourcing your calls can provide the scalability you need to handle increased call volume without hiring additional employees.

Ready to Outsource to a Call Center?

If you’re struggling to keep up with a high call volume or need to provide 24/7 support, outsourcing your calls to a call center or answering service can be a valuable solution. By utilizing the expertise of professionals at a call center, you can ensure your customers can always reach your business and receive the support they need.

If you want to learn more about call center outsourcing, CMS is a leading provider of answering services and call center solutions. We deliver customizable services to meet your business’s needs—whatever your industry.

Contact our team today to learn more about how we can help streamline your business operations and improve customer satisfaction.

By Last Updated: May 22, 2023Categories: Blog5.7 min read