The differences between an answering service and Abby Connect are many and important. Some prospective clients have said to me, "I am not sure that I need Abby Connect because Abby Connect seems to be the Mercedes of answering services. My company is small and my budget is limited."
This statement always peaks my interest as it gives me an opportunity to explain that Abby Connect is not a luxury answering service. So what is Abby Connect? What is the difference between an answering service and Abby Connect?
#1. An answering service is a 3rd party "service." Abby Connect is like an employee that you hire, someone that works for you, is trained by you, takes an interest in your business and sounds as if she is in the same office as you. When someone calls your telephone number they want to speak to someone in your company. The worse thing you can do for your first impression is to have your callers get a voicemail or auto attendant answering the phone. Nothing frustrates a caller more than a voicemail. With the amount of choices consumers have, they would rather hang up the phone and dial your competitors phone number. Just as bad would be a caller calling in and getting an answering service. The answering service is not who they want to speak with. The caller wants to speak with the company they are calling. They want answers and the want answers now.
When the caller calls in and a Abby Connect answers the phone, it's as if an employee that you hired answers the phone.
There are a few subtle yet very important clues that will give away an answering service.
A. Call forwarding types. There are several different call forwarding methods. In most answering services, when you call in you can hear a short delay before they answer. This is due to the call forwarding that they are using. With Abby Connect we use a remote call forward where the call is answered seamless with absolutely no delay.
B. Phone line quality. Many answering services cut corners by using VOIP phone lines. VOIP sometimes has a delay but most always has a feature where when one person is talking the other person cannot. This is similar to a walkie-talkie where one person speaks at a time. The reason you get this effect with some VOIP systems is because the bits of data that carry your voice are compressed. This is a way to minimize the bandwidth and therefore minimize the cost to the answering service.
Abby Connect uses regular telephone lines. Your calls are always answered with a crystal clear phone line.
#2. 50 operators vs. 5 receptionists. An answering service is a big call center with 50+ operators answering the phone lines for thousands of businesses. Abby Connect assigns a small team of 5 receptionists to each account. This means you work directly with all of the receptionists that answer your phone.
This is the most critical difference. A small team of 5 receptionists are only responsible for a few number of clients. How can 50 operators in an answering service truly know the intimate details of thousands of companies? They cannot. They simply answer the phone and take a message. OK, maybe they can answer simple questions about your business, but they must read a computer screen and this is a dead give away over the phone. If I am a caller and I call your company and ask "your" receptionist what the cross street is near your office, "your" receptionist should be able to answer without reading through a computer screen. These are dead give-aways of an answering service.
#3. Employee Quality. Abby Connect receptionists are executive level receptionists. Many of our Abby Connect have owned their own business or worked at the executive level.
#4. In-sourcing, not out-sourcing and certainly not home-sourcing. An Abby Connect receptionist is a competitively paid executive level receptionist working in a class 'A' facility in the United States. Many answering services are located in India or the Philippines. And, we do not home-source. Home-sourcing means the operator is sitting in her home. This can be very unprofessional as there are always distractions at home.
So, to go back to the original analogy, why is Abby Connect not just a high class (Mercedes) answering service?
This statement implies that a traditional answering service is a Honda. But a Honda has value. An answering service does not have value for most businesses. An answering service has value for the medical field during the night hours. The answering service operators can answer a Doctor's phone in the middle of the night and page the on-call physician depending on the severity of the callers problem. There is a value there to these Doctors.
To the company that spends valuable dollars marketing their services and has countless competitors ready to take their business, an answering service can only hurt your bottom line.
A Abby Connect however can provide an economical way to hire a full time team of employees to answer your phones, answer questions about your company, screen calls, announce callers to you and seamlessly patch calls to you no matter where you are. Even if we do not patch the call to you, your callers will experience a friendly, knowledgeable representative of your company and will have started a dialogue with your company and not a "service" that barely knows you.