When a head-splitting toothache awakens you at 2 a.m., you want to talk to someone about instant relief. When the instructions for setting up your new PC don't make sense, you want to talk to someone who understands them. And when a marketing push has calls pouring into your business, you want callers to get information. But when you're attending your daughter's wedding, you don't want to talk to anyone unless it's an emergency.
In all of these cases, an answering service can suit your needs. With answering services, you can contact doctors and dentists 24 hours a day. A call center for an electronics company can give you needed technical support. And you can make sure clients have information when you're not available -- and can reach you when it's really important. With an Internet answering service, you can even receive messages on your smartphone wherever you are.
Plenty of industries rely on answering services:
- Doctors work office hours but still need to be available for emergencies at other times.
- Plumbers, contractors and other field workers need to be aware of job additions and other schedule changes.
- Sales reps don't want to miss sales leads but also don't want to be interrupted during a client meeting.
- Solo entrepreneurs need professional communications staff for their virtual offices.
- Large corporations need call centers to take product orders, explain how to use products or provide more information about them.
- Service organizations, like insurance companies, need staff to handle routine inquiries about premium deadlines and coverage limits.
- Companies that have experienced a serious snowstorm or power outage need an immediate way to handle communications.
But what services are available, who provides them, and what are the potential problems? Keep reading to find out, starting with a look at the different services offered by answering service providers.