What’s the difference between an answering service and a virtual assistant?

Call centre services can help your business increase productivity and grow. By streamlining your inbound calls and administrative tasks, your employees can focus on their core competencies. Two effective call centre services are call answering and virtual assistant services.

What’s the difference between the two, and which is best for your business? Because everyone has unique needs, it’s essential to know what these services can offer. Then you can choose the one that will provide an effective solution for your challenges.

What can call answering services do for my business?

Call answering services can help you better manage your inbound calls. When a customer calls your business, the call is answered by a trained and professional call centre agent. They are equipped with the information they need to provide seamless customer service to your callers. This information might include answers to frequently asked questions, company information, and specific scripts.

Not only can call answering services take and transfer calls, but they can also answer questions, take and give messages, and dispatch on-call employees. You can have call answering services to pick up your after-hours calls, or to help out during peak call times when your in-house staff is usually overwhelmed on the phone lines. Your call answering service package can be customized to meet your needs.

What can a virtual assistant do?

A virtual assistant is similar to a regular assistant you’d employ, except they don’t work in your office. An experienced, trained, and professional call centre agent will be available to support your business. They’ll take calls and dispatch messages, but they can also offer administrative duties that go beyond a regular call answering services.

For example, a virtual assistant might have access to your appointment scheduling software to they can make live changes to your calendar. Their tasks could include scheduling appointments and canceling appointments. They might also have a more personal interaction with your clients. A virtual assistant could have more extensive knowledge of your business to provide an in-depth level of customer service. As they learn about your business, they will no longer need to rely on a script as a call answering service would.

Like call answering, virtual assistant services can be customized to your unique needs. You might require someone to manage emails, check your voicemail, dispatch staff on-call, and assist with live chat support. A virtual assistant can also be used to monitor for and respond to notifications on your social media channels.

Which is best for my organization?

If your team is overwhelmed with calls, and it’s having a negative impact on your organization, you will benefit from call answering services. If you find they are having a hard time doing their work, or that people are spending too much time on hold, this cost-effective solution can help.

Call answering services are also ideal for companies that offer after-hours emergency services, like plumbers or HVAC technicians. Instead of paying an employee to be on call, have your emergency calls directed to the call centre. Then when a customer in need calls, a trained agent is there to get the call and dispatch your technician.

If you need more than just help with the phone lines, a virtual assistant might be your best option. For a fraction of what it would cost to hire a full-time employee, virtual assistant services can take some of the tedious tasks off your employee’s plates so they can focus on doing their job. Virtual assistant services are also a cost-effective solution for businesses getting back on their feet after the COVID-19 closures and lockdowns.

Everyone’s situation and needs are different. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.