Every business owner wants their customer service department to succeed. However, deciding whether to use an answering service or internal customer support staff can be challenging, as there’s pros and cons to both. In this post, we discuss those pros and cons so that you can figure out the best avenue for your business.
Pros to Employing an In-House Receptionist
An internal CSR can more quickly learn and absorb how your business operates.
Being that an in-house receptionist would be at your business’s physical location, he/she can more quickly figure out your company. Instead of e-mail threads and virtual tours, having someone in your building means they will more quickly understand pricing, products, expectations, and company culture.
Communication is more direct.
As a direct result of being in-house, communication comes with ease. There are no scheduled phone calls or having to make time to communicate about tasks and customers, as the closeness of the CSR to your business makes communication immediate.
An internal CSR can do more for your business than answer the phones.
A large part of being a customer service representative is answering the phones, handling those calls from frustrated customers and scheduling appointments. However, it doesn’t have to stop there. When your CSR is in-house, they can also do a myriad of other things for your company such as data entry, managing records, and keeping a log of customer service issues.
Cons to Employing an In-House Receptionist
You spend a ridiculous amount of money on salary and benefits.
It’s no secret that hiring and training new employees can be super expensive. It takes time to train and educate them on your business, and all the while, you’re paying their salary and benefits. With an answering service, you only pay for the minutes that they’re on the phone with your customers.
Call overflow can be overwhelming.
Call overflow can be difficult to manage, even if you have a team of five internal CSR’s. This becomes even more of a problem as your business experiences growth. As you receive more and more phone calls, your internal CSR’s will have a difficult time juggling them in addition to their other in-house tasks. It becomes more and more difficult to provide a quality experience to callers on the phone as the calls pile up.
You still miss calls when your business is closed and on the weekends.
With internal CSRs, they’re off the clock when your business is closed. However, this doesn’t mean the calls stop rolling in. When your business is closed, appointments that could have been for your business make their way to your competitors, and you miss the opportunity to capture leads.
Pros to Employing an Answering Service
Save money and increase your revenue.
As previously mentioned, an answering service only charges you for the minutes that they’re on the phone with your customers. On top of that, an answering service (more particularly one that operates on a twenty-four-hour basis) can book appointments for your business and capture leads for you around the clock.
Bypass the training phase with professional customer service representatives.
Answering services hire and train their own customer service representatives in a professional, consistent manner. When you employ an answering service, you don’t have to use your own time, money, or resources training an in-house CSR.
An answering service provides streamlined representation for your business.
Build your own customizable script and let it be heard by customers around the clock. Your callers will no longer be put on excessive holds, have to deal with an automated voice, or reach an answering machine and begrudgingly leave a voicemail.
Cons to Employing an Answering Service
You have to make communicating with your answering service a priority.
As an answering service learns your business, you must make it a priority to be in communication with them during that adjustment period. Depending on how busy you are, this could be an annoyance, as it becomes just one more item added to your to-do list.
It can sometimes be difficult to find an answering service that does your business right.
There is a plethora of answering services out there, and they all conduct business differently. Sometimes, when you take the route of using an answering service, there might be a trial-and-error phase until you find one whose values and notion of “quality” aligns with yours.
Whether you choose to use an answering service or a team of internal CSRs ultimately depends on what you prioritize in the workplace and how much time you have on your hands. You could also always use both—a team of CSRs in-house during office hours and an answering service for holidays, weekends, and after-hours. Be sure to consider what has and has not worked for you in the past when figuring out which direction to move in next!