Phone Answering Options for Businesses: In-House vs. Outsourced

Whether you’re looking for reliable appointment setting or to grow brand loyalty through exceptional customer service, establishing a phone answering system is a must for any flourishing business. Customers and clients expect to be able to reach your company when they need to and if that expectation is met, they may choose to take their business elsewhere. Thankfully, there are several options available to businesses to help them most effectively manage their phone calls.

If your company has reached the level of success at which a call center has become a necessity, there are two popular answering service options to choose from. A business can either create its own in-house call center or they can outsource the work to a separate company that specializes in the area. Each option has its own set of benefits and individual businesses will need to weigh the pros and cons of each to determine which is best suited for their needs.

Why your Business Needs a Call Center

Before deciding whether an in-house or outsourced call center is the best phone answering option for your business, it helps to understand exactly what it is a call center does and why it matters.

The importance of providing a quality customer service experience can’t be overstated. Potential or returning patrons of your business can be heavily influenced by personal feelings towards your business’ culture and values, and your answering service operators can have a drastic impact on that perception. After all, it’s a safe bet that your answering service operators will have to deal with disgruntled clients or customers on occasion and it’s up to them to make things right.

As important as customer service is, it’s not the only aspect of a company a call center is responsible for. Call centers handle and facilitate many of the day-to-day operations that occur in any business and are a valuable asset to the growth of any company.

Common call center tasks include:

  • Placing outgoing calls for product sales and services
  • Taking incoming calls for customer service, appointment setting, etc.
  • Message taking
  • Call patching
  • Virtual receptionist services

In-House Call Centers

When evaluating answering service options, many businesses may choose to create their own in-house call center to handle the demanding load. There are several upsides to keeping your call center within the business, but it isn’t without a few daunting downsides as well.

In-House Call Center Advantages

  • The company has full control over the call center. Everything from staffing to operations in the call center is handled by your company.
  • In-house call centers offer more security. While outsourced call centers often offer robust security guarantees, an in-house call center is inherently the most secure option. This is due to the fact that no personal data is being exchanged between companies.

In-House Call Center Disadvantages

  • In-house call centers are more expensive. Between employee salaries, training, benefits, and creating the infrastructure for a functional call center, the cost to create one from the ground up can add up very quickly.
  • There are recurring maintenance costs. In addition to purchasing everything you need to create the call center in the first place, you also have to consider the cost of replacing any broken equipment.
  • In-house call centers need to pay operators for non-productive time. Even when the phones aren’t ringing, your company will still need to be paying those working in an in-house call center.
  • In-house call centers use up valuable business resources. While quality customer service should be a priority, setting up the infrastructure to do so can require minimizing focus or efforts in other areas of your company.

Outsourced Call Centers

The second choice for any business considering their phone answering options is to outsource the work to another company. These companies, like VoiceNation, specialize in the area of answering service options and have the necessary infrastructure in place to meet a company’s needs.

Outsourced Call Center Advantages

  • Outsourced call centers are more cost-effective. They offer a variety of payment plans for companies to choose from and they all cost significantly less than constructing an in-house call center. These plans are often determined by the amount of time spent taking calls, so you can be assured your money is being spent on productivity and not wasted downtime.
  • Outsourced call centers have specially trained staff. Unlike an in-house call center, you won’t have to wait for employees to be properly trained to start taking calls. Outsourced call centers have operators on hand who have received comprehensive training.
  • Outsourced call centers are less risky. Creating an in-house call center is an inherent financial risk that may also include a learning curve. With an outsourced call center, however, you can rely on an established business that knows the ins and outs of the operation.
  • Outsourced call centers allow your business to focus on other areas. When you implement an in-house call center, you’ll naturally need to shift some of your focus to its operation. With an outsourced call center, though, you can relax and let someone else handle the responsibility.
  • Outsourced call centers allow for faster scalability. As your business continues to grow, so too will the number of calls you receive. An in-house call center would require your company to hire and train more employees to handle the increased demand but an outsourced call center will already have the necessary resources and staff ready to go.

Outsourced Call Center Disadvantages

  • Companies have less control over the call center. While outsourced call centers will often provide their clients with a wealth of customization and control options, a business using an outsourced call center won’t have control over every facet of the operation.
  • There’s a minimal but still potential chance for information leaks. When you transfer your customers’ personal information to another company, there’s always a chance that information could be exposed. Outsourced call centers, however, take many steps to minimize this risk as much as possible.
  • Outsourced call centers may not be local. This could make it challenging to visit the call center, but reasons for businesses to physically be present at the call center are often few and far between.

Try VoiceNation’s Answering Service for Free!

You can find out whether an outsourced phone answering service is right for your business with a 7-day free trial from VoiceNation. Every free trial includes 24/7 live answering, instant activation, basic message taking, and requires no contract to get started.

Sign up today and discover what VoiceNation can do for you!