Weighing the Pros & Cons of a Live Answering Service

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At Voice Link of Columbus, we understand that managing phone calls is an essential aspect of any successful medical practice or business. When handling the daily or after-hours calls becomes too taxing on your staff, you may want to consider hiring an answering service. The most pressing question at that point is which choice you should make — an automated or a live answering service? Let’s consider the pros and cons of each.


Automated answering services, also known as IVR, use a cloud-based computer system to answer and potentially redirect your calls.

Pro: Potentially lower cost

This may appear true on the surface, but be sure to look for hidden fees. For example, you may be charged extra if you go over your allotted number of calls one month, or may be charged a fee for email communication.

Con: Technology glitches

While some business owners think technology may be more reliable than the potential for human error, the catch with this is that technology isn’t always reliable, as we all know. If your answering system goes down, there will be no one to notify you of the problem. And if a caller isn’t clear in their request they may be routed to the wrong doctor or staff member, resulting in frustration for all parties involved.

Con: No personal touch, more hang ups

Studies show that customers prefer to talk to live people rather than answer a series of automated questions that may or may not address their concern. Elderly customers, in particular, may have a hard time hearing the prompts or navigating the system. Some people hang up the minute they realize they’ve reached an automated answering service.


Pro: Hears your customers

Hearing a real person answer a call in a professional, courteous manner give customers reassurance that their question or concern will be heard and answered. In the case of an emergency, the caller will most likely feel more confident in a live person contacting the appropriate staff member as quickly as possible.

Pro: Saves you time

A quality live answering service will know your business well enough to discern if a call is of an urgent nature or not. For example, a live answering service will know to notify the on-call physicians when a call comes in with a patient in distress, but won’t forward calls about directions to your office.

Pro: Better customer service

Better customer service equals better customer acquisition and retention and is an investment in the growth of your business. When you customer feels you value them enough to place them in the best hands, they’ll be more likely remain committed to placing their needs in your hands.

How your calls are handled reflects on the reputation of your business, and using the right call center can make the difference between losing and keeping a customer. Specializing in the healthcare and medical industry, Voice Link provides live answering services that exceed your expectations. Request information online or call us at (800) 262-2799 for a free consultation.