Answering Service vs Call Center: What’s the Difference?

Most people think that answering service and contact centers are the same things because both services involve using the phone and communicating with customers.

However, these two services come with numerous differences, so you have to know which type is the best for your needs.

As soon as you enter a building and you notice that people are using the phone to communicate with others, you might think that you are in a call center. However, you are only slightly right.

Even though these two services appear similar, and they have functions that may interconnect, have in mind that they are profoundly different in approach and result. We decided to present you ways these two services differentiate one from the.

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What Do They Represent?

In both cases, you will have someone who works for you that will answer the phone and communicate with your customers and clientele. However, before we start talking about differences, it is vital to learn what each of them represents in general.

Businesses tend to have receptionists and secretaries that handle outgoing and incoming phone calls. However, in case that business receives a large volume of phone calls, it is challenging to keep an in-house staff that will handle everything.

In other cases, a company might not have anyone who works by answering phone calls, so they end up with a giant pile of voicemails that may seem overwhelming after a while. As soon as it happens, it feels like there is no point in calling, which will drive customers from your business.

That is the main reason why business owners decide to hire contact centers and answering services. You will be able to utilize these services to handle business phone calls and to reduce the burden of managing everything by yourself.

However, everything depends on the level of your organization as well as needs, which means that services may differ in general.

The Differences

1.    Call Routing

The most crucial difference between a contact center and answering service is in the way the calls are handled. An answering service can help route the requests so that customers can reach proper location of the business.

For instance, an answering service for medical business will not answer patients about specific illnesses and issues, but they will instruct the caller out to the proper medical professional who will help them get the right answer.

On the other hand, you can also hire call service employees that will provide you a wide array of customer services that will represent your company.

For instance, they need to have proper knowledge of your industry and will be able to answer questions over the phone and send email and text confirmation, taking orders, looking up for information, and handling customer requests by themselves.

Therefore, we can conclude that contact centers will refer customers outward only if they cannot answer particular questions or if they cannot provide the service, the customers want in the first place.

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2.    Call Duration

If you understand the first difference, you will get why the durations tend to differ between contact centers and answering services.

When it comes to call center, a typical one tend to last approximately five minutes, but it may take longer depending on the reasons and type of request.

This tends to happen because call center employees can receive and provide more information when compared with answering services.

The call center employees tend to follow a specific script, which means that if you call an IT call center, they will provide you a list of troubleshooting questions based on the customer concerns.

In case customer calls because PC is making a funny noise, the employee will have prepared set of questions that will address and help customer find a solution. However, answering services will only direct customers to proper places where they can get their issues resolved.

That is the main reason why these calls are typically shorter than call center calls.

3.    Information Gathering

Have in mind that both services have the ability to gather information from the customer who calls them such as number, name, email address, and other things based on the situation.

However, answering service does not require additional information because they are only going to refer the customer to someone else who will help them along the way. Therefore, they need to identify customer requirements and address them appropriately.

On the other hand, a call center will require more data so that they can help anyone because they will attempt to handle and fix an issue over the phone before doing anything else.

Finding telephone answering service is great for property management while call centers are perfect for IT companies.

Therefore, call centers may ask you additional questions such as:

  • List of symptoms
  • Diagnostic information
  • Desired products to purchase
  • Understanding the relevant problem

Generally, call centers provide more in-depth service, while answering services are here to assist customers in finding the proper professionals that will help them along the way.