Telephone answering services answer your phone calls when you’re not available to do it yourself. There are variations in what this looks like, with clients picking the coverage plan that best applies to their situation. However, circumstances change, and you might need a different level of coverage.
Make sure your answering service can quickly adjust to accommodate your changing needs whenever that occurs. Here are some common answering service coverage options.
When we think of a telephone answering service, our first consideration usually goes to afterhours answering service coverage. That is, when your office is closed, the answering service answers the phone for you. This includes evenings, weekends, and holidays. For many businesses, after hours coverage serves as the entry point for using an answering service. Some businesses remain in this mode for a long time, while others supplement after-hours coverage with other phone answering options.
Phone calls seldom arrive at a regular, easy-to-handle pace. Instead they seem to come in batches. You might go a half an hour with no phone calls, and then two come in at once, closely followed by a third. This need to juggle simultaneous calls keeps a single receptionist hopping—for a couple of minutes. Sometimes, if too many calls come in on top of each other, a lone receptionist can’t get them all, and some people hang up in frustration.
This is where an answering service can help. They can take those extra calls for you. Let’s say your receptionist can handle up to two calls at a time, but when there’s three or more, your answering service can get those. And since your answering service has multiple people working every shift, accommodating multiple simultaneous calls is much easier for them to deal with.
A third option is on-demand coverage. This means that your answering service isn’t regularly scheduled to answer your calls, but when you need them to, they’re available. This works great for entrepreneurs and small companies. For example, if you’re the only one in the office and need to step out, just forward your phone lines to your answering service. They’ll take care of your calls until you return and turn off call forwarding.
Some companies, however, want their answering service to answer every call for them, around-the-clock. This includes after office hours and during office hours. In these cases, the answering service answers their calls 24/7. This frees up your staff to focus on other things, without the interruption of a ringing telephone.
With these options, many answering services offer their clients scheduling flexibility, with afterhours answering service coverage, overflow coverage, as needed coverage, and 24/7 coverage. Choose the scenario that best fits your business, but make sure your answering service will allow you to switch to a different coverage option without hassle and without delay when you need to.
This is because someday, you will need to change your answering service coverage. Make sure your answering service can change with you.
With a decades-long record of offering telephone answering service to the northwest region and across the United States, Redding Answering Service is committed to providing advanced, first-rate telephone answering service to your company. Let us help you maximize your communication effectiveness—at a cost-effective price—to drive bottom-line results. Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer who covers the answering service industry.