Alternatives to a telephone answering service
Some companies are hesitant to use a telephone answering service.
There are other options to consider. For instance, you could simply choose to keep your current employees hoping that all calls will be properly handled.
Another option is to use standard email forms to communicate with clients. These can be automated or created for each individual customer.
Another alternative is to employ live chat widgets that are built directly into a website. If a client has an enquiry, he or she can click on the widget and be placed in contact with a representative. However, there are some issues with each of these methods.
Of course, in-house receptionists may not be able to handle a heavy call volume. You must then consider training times, personality and their levels of expertise. As a representative is the virtual “face” of the company, anyone who is less than professional could cause your firm to lose out on business.
Emails tend to be rather impersonal and a growing number of consumers simply do not have the time to wait for a response. Generic emails are particularly damaging, as they could turn off a potential client before the sales process even begins.
There is no doubt that chat widgets can be a useful communication channel. However, lag times in communication and the difficulty of explaining complex questions via text input can be frustrating and even cause the client to give up entirely.
Put simply, these alternatives are not direct replacements for someone picking up the phone. This is not to say that they cannot be used in conjunction with a telephone answering service, but rather that they cannot be used alone to handle your communications needs.