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Written by
Katy Ratican
30 Aug 2021
3 minutes

Are there any downfalls to a business telephone answering service?

Business answering services have their benefits, but business owners should understand their disadvantages too before employing their services
Business telephone answering service

While a business telephone answering service has its advantages and can improve the productivity of your office, it’s not necessarily the right answer for all businesses. To help you develop an objective view, here are the most common issues associated with business telephone answering services.

Lack of control

The person who answers your business calls is the first point of contact for a customer or a client. So, they’re expected to know about your business and its policies. With a business telephone answering service, you’re entrusting a stranger to do that.

Any piece of misinformation or incorrect advice will have serious consequences for your business. Also, you never know how well-trained the operators at the agency would be. If they sound incompetent to the caller, your company will sound incompetent.

Limited services

Some business telephone answering services aren’t available after-hours. As a business owner, you know that a client or customer can call up at any moment. It could be someone calling for an immediate repair of their electrical fittings or car maintenance.

The last thing they want is their call to go unanswered. Importantly, you probably wouldn’t even know that someone had tried getting in touch with you.

Risk of data breaches

If you’re a startup developing a unique product, you would naturally be guarded about it. But when you outsource your phone answering to an agency, you’ll have to share some information about what you do and the stage you’re at. This raises the risk of data breaches.

But you needn’t be a tech startup. You could be a makeup artist who doesn’t want to share your techniques or a freelance graphic artist who doesn’t want to quote prices upfront. With an answering service, however, you’ll have to share some of this information.

Internal misgivings

When you outsource your phone answering, at least some of your employees might feel uneasy. They may wonder whether you also plan to replace them. This is especially true for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Loss of identity

As an independent business owner or solo contractor, you’re the brand face of your business. Customers who may have been dealing with you for years associate your voice and tone with your business.

The way you engage in casual conversations, how you empathise with them and ask about their lives are all part of your business identity. When you outsource, your customers will have to talk to a stranger.

Decontextualised information

Your agency will give you bundled information about who had called and what they expected. But the delay means that you lose the context. Since you couldn’t get back to callers immediately, your solutions later may not be relevant to them.

A smarter alternative

Small business owners and solo entrepreneurs now have a smarter, practical and cost-effective alternative to business telephone answering services in the form of second-line apps. With a virtual number app, you would still be in charge of your communication, ensuring its quality.

With its auto-reply text feature, your callers will get a customised message informing them who they can get in touch with and when you’re able to receive calls. Plus, you also won’t have to pay for a new device as you only have to download the app.

In short

As a small business owner, it would be natural to compare business telephone answering services to find the one that suits you. But if you’re considering outsourcing your phone answering, you also need to be aware of its pitfalls.

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