#CheatSheet for Business Owners: 10 Tasks to Give Your Answering Service

Are you shopping around for the best answering service to bulk up your business’s customer service? If you’re wanting a quick and straight-to-the-point resource to learn more about the available answering services for small business owners, read on.

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Since you’re not a telecommunication’s expert, you may not know what a virtual receptionist can and can’t do. To make your research easier, here are 10 tasks that you can easily outsource to a business answering service.

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What tasks can I outsource to an answering service for small business?


1.) “Take a Message.”

An off-site receptionist will intercept all incoming business calls and greet your callers. If you’re unavailable to receive the call, your virtual receptionist will take a detailed message for a callback at your convenience. You can receive your phone messages via email, sms text, facsimile or voice.

This is the most basic task that an answering service can help you with. As such, it’s also the cheapest task available; costing only $0.45 per call.

2.) “Find me immediately.”

There are certain emergencies and important calls that need to be immediately transferred to you or a specific employee. In the telecommunications’ industry, we call this task “Call Patching” and it can run you around $0.50 per patch.

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You customize what you consider an emergency and your virtual receptionist will track you down if that situation arises. You can also provide a VIP client list and if a person on that list calls in, your virtual receptionist will find you immediately and transfer the call.

3.) “Answer their question.”

Did you know that a virtual receptionist can be trained on answering your business’s FAQs? If your incoming callers are wanting to know basic information about your business, you can outsource these calls to a virtual team.

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Select an answering service that allows you to fully customize your account. With this feature, you can get highly detailed with the questions your virtual receptionist will answer on your behalf. Sure, we can provide your hours of operation and physical address, but we can also answer:

  • What is your hourly rate?
  • Where can I buy your product?
  • What is your dining room’s dress code?
  • How can I put a rush delivery on my order?
  • What guarantees do you offer?

4.) “Fill out an intake sheet.”

Many attorneys, accountants, doctors and other professionals make the mistake of answering their own phonelines. When this happens, they’ll inevitably end up spending a lot of time on callers they can’t help. If you offer professional services, it’s important to better manage your time and only speak with qualified leads.

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A virtual receptionist can walk your callers through an intake sheet by asking specific and customized pre-qualifying questions. All intake sheets will be emailed to you for your review and callbacks. Outsourcing this task gives you the benefit of always having prep time before speaking with a new lead.

5.) “Set an appointment.”

This is where lesser known answering services for small businesses, like appointment setting, make an appearance. Forget about the old image of an answering service; an operator taking down a hand-written message for you to review when you’re back in the office. The benefit of having a virtual receptionist is gaining complete mobility when it comes to your schedule as well.

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A virtual receptionist can schedule an appointment on your calendar that’ll appear in real-time. If your caller correctly answers your prequalifying questions, you can opt to have that lead put on your calendar immediately. All your meetings, consultations and appointments can be scheduled just as easily. You provide your preferred timeslots and your support team handles the rest.

6.) “Confirm my schedule.”

Speaking of your appointment book, a virtual receptionist can also confirm your schedule daily. If you’re in an industry that experiences high volume no-shows or last minute cancellations, this task will save you each day. Medical professionals, attorneys and service technicians love this answering service feature because it ensures that your agenda is 100% accurate.

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The day before an appointment, consultation, service call or reservation, your virtual receptionist can call the attendee(s) to remind them of the meeting(s). If someone forgets about their appointment, we can move forward with rescheduling them to another timeslot. At the end of each day you’ll receive a complete update on your agenda for the following day.

7.) “Process a purchase.”

A modern business answering service has the capabilities to process credit card payments and finalize purchase orders over the telephone. If your website users are finding an internet purchase difficult, you can offer them 24-hour, human to human customer service options. If you require a consultation or service order fee, a virtual receptionist can secure payment before scheduling an appointment on your calendar.

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A telephone support team can also process, log and track support tickets for your business. This service allows your engineers and highly specialized in-house employees to focus on solving problems, rather than performing routine customer service tasks.

8.) “Be on call this weekend.”

Being available to your customers 24/7 brings a competitive edge to your business. No longer will you direct after-hour callers to a voicemail or turn away business because your office is closed during a national holiday. All of your calls will be handled in the same manner; no matter if the call is received at 5:00 am on a Monday or 5:00 pm on a Saturday.

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A virtual receptionist will take detailed messages from your callers that reach out after normal business hours, over the weekend and during holidays. All messages will be delivered to you in real-time via email, sms text, facsimile or voice. This system gives you the freedom to enjoy your time outside of the office without the risk of missing an important phone call.

9.) “Dispatch the technician.”

If you’re an electrician, plumber, repairman or other service technician, you can outsource your calls to an affordable customer service hotline. Reputable business answering services will have a team of dispatch operators available to you 24-hours a day. Your new dispatchers will be responsible for:

  • Obtaining information surrounding the caller’s need for a service professional.
  • Providing general rates for specific services as well as after-hour or emergency fees.
  • Confirming you have service technicians available in the customer’s area.
  • Processing any required payments before sending out a technician.
  • Dispatching service orders to on-call technicians and confirming completion of job.
  • Forwarding a service report to the appropriate person or department.

10.) “Wake me up at 7:00 am.”

Just when you think that a virtual receptionist couldn’t be of any more assistance, we hit you with one of the most unique answering services for small business owners. Since we have our virtual receptionists ready to receive calls 24-hours a day, we are also prepared to provide wake-up call services 24/7.

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If you’re away on important business and don’t trust the hotel’s front desk operator to wake you, have your trusted assistant make a wake-up call to you. Or, your virtual receptionist can call you at home each morning with a positive quote to get your day going.

Looking for a thoughtful and unique present to gift this holiday season? Give your client, employee or associate the gift of punctuality with daily wake-up calls they can customize.

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Wondering what else a small business answering service can do for you?

If you have any questions about other tasks that a business answering service can take on or want to discuss your specific needs, give us a call today at 1-800-785-6161 or shoot us a message

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