Side view of line of call centre employees are smiling and working on computers.

Difference Between Phone Answering Service and Call Center

It is not that easy as it seems to tell the difference between a phone answering service and a call centre. Although in some ways, they look similar but to be honest, they are not. In reality, they are pretty different.

So, what differentiates them?

Read on this article to know about more about their differences and to clear your confusion between these two:

What is a phone answering service and call centre service?

In simpler words, phone answering service is a third party company who works on behalf of a business for receiving and conveying messages to the customers.

Alternatively, a call centre service is an off-site office that is designed for handling business communication needs. It is more like a direct channel for customers for any large corporation allowing customers to ask questions and get the answer promptly. A call centre service also termed as a service centre and sales centre.

Difference between phone answering service and call centre:

Following are some of the significant differences between phone answering services and call centres:

1. Scripting:

Scripting is one of the key differences between a phone answering service and a call centre. Call centre services are operated in a scripted environment indicating that the customer service representative sometimes follows complex making their sound scripted.

On the contrary, phone answering services create simple scripts so that it becomes easier for their agents to follow by ensuring natural-sounding conversation with the customers.

2. Gathering information:

In terms of gathering information, both of the services collect essential information from the caller like their name, phone number, and issue at hand and ask probably some questions based on the situation.

For a call centre, customer service representatives generally gather a large amount of data on the customer as it is necessary for them for attempting to fix the issue over the phone right here and now. As the call centres work for delivering a more comprehensive and in-depth service, they tend to gather more information from the caller.

3. The service coverage:

Phone answering services cover almost everything from taking an essential message to handling emergency call situations. Most importantly, they can serve thousands of different clients across several industries. In contrast, call centres can support complex calls. And through focusing details to the clients’ problems with giving plenty of attention, they attempt to solve the issues at utmost.

4. Call routing:

Concerning call routing, there is some key difference between phone answering service and call centre as typical calls are handled in different ways. For an answering service, the calls are routed outwards to the right person. Instead of answering your questions, they will refer the correct person so that your issues can be solved.

For instance, a phone answering company for an event business will not typically answer event-related questions themselves; instead, they will transfer you to the correct event specialist to reply to all of your inquiries.

Quite the opposite, the customer service representatives of call services are not only capable of answering questions of the customers over the phone but also handling their requests of themselves. They will only refer their customer outward if they are unable to solve the issue or cannot provide the service that the client is asking for.

5. Duration of the call:

For the call centre, the call durations are usually longer about 4-5 minutes minimum sometimes even as long as 15 minutes. That means with this calls of duration; a customer service representative is allowed to attend a single call at a time and stay with the caller until the issues are resolved.

Call centres work best when handling complex calls that are required plenty of attention with focusing on a large number of details. On the other hand, in telephone answering service, operators are trained in a way so that they can handle a high volume of calls. They are capable of attending up to three calls simultaneously. The call duration is short in answering service; 1-2 minutes long on average.

Are there any similarities between call centres and phone answering services?

Yes, indeed they have!

One of the main similarities between call centres and phone answering services is that they both focus on communication and locate in office buildings filled with computers, cubicle and lots of phones. Both of these services employ off site-staffs to accept inbound calls and to make outbound calls for their existing and new customers and work to help them with their problems.

Phone answering service or call centre: Which one is better?

For small businesses, independent professionals, entrepreneurs or startups, phone answering service could be a great solution, particularly for those who are looking cost-efficient alternative to call centres. The answering service uses a simple script for initial greetings but speaks like a professional with a warm tone to engage with the customers. If you are worried about the cost of hiring additional staff and the complications of the call centre, then phone answering service is an excellent option for you which will work 24 hours a day, seven days a week and even in holidays. Thus, it allows you and your employees to focus on the tasks.

A call centre is best suitable for large companies as it can benefit from a high volume of calls. Additionally, it gives the platform to enhance the business image, resolve problems and most significantly create a stronger customer base.

Now you know the differences between a phone answering services and a call centre. Decide on what is best for you.


What do you think?


Written by Zane Todd

Years Of Membership

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