Should You Automate Or Answer Your Calls?

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While the concept behind answering services is not new, the technology and capabilities are continually evolving as business demand change and technology improves. Today’s answering services have a variety of options for how to manage your calls.

Incoming calls can be automated, meaning they auto-matically go to a voice mail prompt system, or they can be answered by a live agent. There’s also the option of having a combination of both automated and live answering services. The path you choose depends on your company’s unique needs on any given time of the day or night. Let’s break it down.


When customers all a business that has chosen an automated answering service, they have the option to leave voice messages or receive information based on their responses to recorded prompts. For example, they might be asked to press 1 for business hours, 2 for employee extensions, 3 for directions, and so on.

Automated systems can satisfy customers who are only looking for general information, and they may cost less than live answering services. However, automated answering services lack the personal touch and flexibility that live answering services provide.

Live Answering

When customers’ calls are answered by a live agent, they have the opportunity to interact with someone who can provide more guidance than merely a company’s hours of operation. A distinct advantage is that the operator also can decide whether the call is urgent enough to send through immediately, including if an after-hours on-call staff member needs to be alerted.

Another major advantage is that with professional, live answering, customers aren’t usually even aware that they’re speaking with someone outside of the business. Live receptionists answer with the name of the business and are equipped with scripts or appropriate information to act as an extension of that business. For many businesses, including solo entrepreneurs, independent contractors, or small businesses, a live answering service gives their business a more professional appearance.

While automation can be efficient, the resulting impersonal tone can be risky—more than a third of callers will hang up if they receive voice mail when they’re calling for something more than office hours or directions. The bottom line is that a business that only offers automated call answering is missing opportunities to connect with current and prospective clients.

If you’d like to learn more about how our virtual receptionists can make your customers feel heard and valued, contact Voice Link of Columbus, Inc. Customized communication solutions, secure HIPAA/HiTech messaging, and appointment scheduling can also save you time and money while optimizing customer care. We offer month-to-month service agreements to meet the needs of any business regardless of size. Our excellent reputation, expert staff, and state-of-the-art technology will exceed your expectations. Request information online or call us at (800) 262-2799 for a free consultation.

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