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18 Office Jobs That Could be Replaced With an Answering Service

Posted in Answering Service 101 and tagged

Working In An Office

If you work in an office, then you’re familiar with the daily grind. Your 9-5 is mostly responding to emails, talking up Netflix by the coffee machine, and going to the third floor to use the lavatory.  With the exception of the bathroom bit, did you know that most of the jobs you’re tasked with every day can be replaced by an answering service leaving you more time to focus on more important things? Below is a list of 18 every day office tasks and whether or not an answering service can be used as a replacement instead of hiring more employees.

#1. Answer phones

Can an answering service do it? Yes!

It’s no surprise that “answer phones” would be on the top of our list. Not only do businesses deal with ringing phones on the daily, but answering those phone calls is what answering services excel at! As long as your company has people calling, you need people answering. An answering service can help take some of the load off by answering calls that might otherwise reach a voicemail or sit on hold, and help convert them into more business.

#2. Transfer calls

Can an answering service do it? Yes!

In addition to answering calls, answering services can take messages or transfer calls as needed, just as your regular in-house receptionist would. Usually services will be able to set up specific protocols depending on the type of call which would help determine how that call is handled. For example, a call from a new client might result in a warm transfer to your sales team, whereas a call from an existing client might just result in a message.

#3. Make outbound calls

Can an answering service do it? Yes!

Making calls is just as important as taking calls, and answering services can help with this, too. Depending on the type of outbound calling you need, from telemarketing and market research to simple follow up calls and reminders, doing this in house may be cost prohibitive. However, answering services use smart call center technology like predictive dialing, which helps reduce time in between phone calls and increases agent productivity. So, having someone tasked with this will be worthwhile!

#4. Greet visitors

Can an answering service do it? No

Virtual receptionists are great at greeting people on the phone, but not so good at doing it in person. While a regular receptionist would be able to greet visitors all day long, virtual receptionists at an answering service would not be able to greet visitors who may come into your establishment. If your business has a lot of foot traffic,  you may want to keep an in-house receptionist on staff to make sure your customers are greeted with a friendly face each time they visit.

#5. Generate reports

Can an answering service do it? Maybe

Unless your answering service agents can access your internal system and are trained on how to generate specific reports, they most likely won’t be able to help you with this. However, many answering services offer dedicated agents that are specifically trained on your account and your account only. Taking advantage of a dedicated agent could be a more cost effective alternative than hiring more staff.

#6. File paperwork

Can an answering service do it? Maybe

Your answering service would not be able to file paperwork for you. However, if your business uses a CRM (customer relationship management) platform like Salesforce to manage customer data, an answering service could potentially update records through a simple integration each time they take a new call.

#7. Respond to emails

Can an answering service do it? Maybe

Depending on their capabilities, it’s possible that your answering service could help you respond to emails. Typically this would be done through the use of a dedicated agent service, where operators would be handling your account only, and would therefore be able to access your specific software and learn your protocols. Other services may be able to receive incoming emails and then dispatch calls accordingly based on the service request or need.

#8. Make sales

Can an answering service do it? Yes!

Hot tip – virtual receptionists can be a great addition to your sales team! Agents that are trained in sales are able to use up-sell and cross-sell techniques at the time of check out which will help drive up your numbers and save you some green in the office budget.

#9. Handle bookkeeping duties

Can an answering service do it? Maybe

Unless your answering service has access to your billing systems and are trained directly on your particular policies and procedures, then they probably won’t be able to help handle accounting duties like creating and processing invoices. However, they could help triage billing calls, create support tickets, process payments and transfer urgent calls on your behalf.

#10. Provide IT support

Can an answering service do it? Yes!

While an answering service won’t be able to fix computers or re-wire routers, they can definitely act as your tier 1 help desk on behalf of your IT team. By following a scripted workflow, they can troubleshoot basic issues and escalate any errors that are out of their realm of expertise. By having your answering service triage calls first, your IT team won’t be bogged down with calls that aren’t priority.

#11. Manage social media platforms

Can an answering service do it? Maybe

Keeping up with the latest trends on Twitter is not always as easy as it sounds, especially for busy employees. Unless you have a marketing or public relations team specifically designated to stay on top of your social media pages every day, it’s possible you could be missing out on what’s hot. In our current day in age where being present on social media is crucial for a business to prosper among their competition, an answering service with a dedicated team of agents designated to your account would be a great way to stay on top of your social platforms while keeping your employees focused on other tasks.

#12. Handle live chats

Can an answering service do it? Maybe

Many businesses have live chat as an additional channel to funnel customer support and sales requests. Through a dedicated agent service level, an answering service should be able to help you manage this channel as well. As long as they are able to work with the software you are already using and are trained on your specific procedures, outsourcing your live chat support to your answering service is another great way to alleviate the work load on your in-house staff and keep great customer service at the forefront of your operations.

#13. Schedule, cancel, and reschedule appointments

Can an answering service do it? Yes!

As long as you’re not scheduling with a desk calendar and with a pencil, answering services can usually help you schedule, reschedule and cancel appointments. Through web-based software like Google Calendar, answering services can usually integrate with systems you are already using to create a seamless transition. Some services may even offer advanced features like appointment confirmation emails, appointment reminders, and payment processing.

#14. Provide customer support

Can an answering service do it? Yes!

Answering services are great at providing additional customer support to your patrons, since they can usually be available 24/7. Whether you’re using your answering service during business hours alongside your own staff, after hours when you close up shop for the day or both, your virtual agents can help your callers by answering questions, dispatching urgent messages, scheduling appointments and creating support tickets around the clock. Do your customers a favor and ditch your voicemail and opt for live support instead!

#15. Meet with clients

Can an answering service do it? No

While an answering service can help get new customers through your doors, they won’t be able to meet with them personally.

#16. Process orders

Can an answering service do it? Maybe

As long as your answering service is PCI compliant and have the correct systems in place, then they would be able to help your business process orders. By implementing custom FAQs catered to your product catalog, they should also be able to answer questions to assist customers who may be on the fence about buying that new lawn mower.

#17. Water plants

Can an answering service do it? No

Taking care of the office foliage is always someone’s job, but unfortunately it’s one you won’t be able to pass off to your answering service. Unless your operators are located in the same building you are, Nancy from accounting is just going to have to suck it up and keep watering those plants!

#18. Perform HR duties

Can an answering service do it? Yes!

For anyone not familiar with office lingo, HR stands for Human Resources, which is the department that handles hiring, firing, and office complaints, among other tasks. While your answering service won’t be able to hire or fire anyone, they can certainly serve as various hotlines. For example, you could have one line designated as a whistleblower hotline and another line designated as an absence reporting line for employees to use when they need to call out for the day.

 

 

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Specialty Answering Service is a leading call center company, helping fast-growing businesses close sales and deliver amazing live customer support 24 hours a day. SAS' friendly virtual receptionists and customized call handling create an outstanding virtual office experience. There are thousands of small businesses already using our services. Try SAS for free today.

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