How to Decide if You Need a 24/7 Answering Service: The Benefits and Considerations that Come with Outsourcing to Virtual Receptionists

Sean Lund-Brown

As a business owner, you’ve got a lot on your plate. Trying to manage everything while streamlining, adopting new technologies, and learning how to do business in this new post-pandemic world we live in can be daunting, to say the least. Then, you have to figure out how to juggle all your client communications and business calls—outbound marketing, inbound queries, customer service, appointment scheduling, and lead intake—it’s enough to make anyone’s head spin. 

Stop the spinning and start thinking about hiring a dedicated answering service to handle all of your calls and messaging needs. Whether you’re just tired of picking up the phone or you simply don’t have the people to handle the work, virtual receptionists can be the face of your brand, fielding all kinds of communication while you focus on the other things that need your attention. 

The chances are that if you’ve made it to this blog, you’re already well on your way to choosing this solution and just looking for a little more reassurance. You’re in luck because the team at Smith.ai has you covered. In this article, we’ll cover everything that you need to know and consider when it comes to deciding whether or not this is the right solution for your business. (Spoiler alert: It probably is! But, let us show you why our 24/7 virtual receptionists are your first choice.)

Are you available 24/7?

The average business is not equipped to handle 24-hour calls, emails, and online messages. After all, that’s what business hours are for, right? 

Wrong. 

In today’s connected world, people want quick answers, constant availability, and solutions that are there when they seek them, not on the next business day. If you’re not answering calls at 3 AM or providing 24/7 scheduling solutions for your clients, you’re already falling behind. Not to mention how much further you’ll fall as your competition continues to integrate new technology and take advantage of automation and AI—it's time to start thinking about the future, and the future of business communications is automated, integrated, and outsourced. 

When you choose to enlist the assistance of a 24-hour answering service, you don’t have to worry about when you’re available or when your customers and clients might need you. It allows you to offer total access to your business, across all channels and at any hour of the day. Unless you can afford a 24-hour staff, or you never want to sleep again, you can’t do that yourself. 

Websites are great. Chatbots and email are useful tools to keep in touch and give people ways to reach you at any time of day. However, what happens when they need to talk to a live person outside of normal business hours? 

If you’re not available, nothing happens—well, nothing except that you could risk losing valuable business to competitors that have invested in 24-hour communication solutions

Are you willing to take that risk? Schedule a consultation now to find out how we can help you circumvent it, and even take things to the next level by creating a comprehensive, integrated solution for all your phone, messaging, and other communication needs. 

Are You experiencing growing pains?

When you use a live answering service with a virtual receptionist, you’ll get the chance to resolve all of those aches and pains without having to bring on an entirely new staff or completely restructure your business. Perhaps you’ve started with a limited budget and are doing fairly well but need more help than you can afford to bring on. If you’re really in this for the long haul, you might want to think about what’s going to be best for your business. 

Adding a 24/7 answering service allows you to take advantage of a resource that will always be able to grow with your business and won’t continue to require additional capital or investments over time. You can customize the solutions to fit your exact needs, whether you just need after-hours answering services, live chat support, or even want a little assistance with appointment booking and lead intake. 

Perhaps you’ve got so much on your plate that you want to outsource it all, but you want to make sure that you choose a service that can act as the face of your brand and deliver the level of service and support that your clients or customers deserve. You don’t need your customers getting frustrated because they can’t understand the overseas agents you attempted to outsource on a shoestring budget, or worse just not being able to reach you at all. 

Even if you just need periodic or temporary help for overflow calls and higher-than-usual business times, we can help. Our virtual receptionists can handle anything and everything that you need, with scalable and customizable solutions that always grow with you, no matter how far or how fast you go. 

How much time are you losing in a day?

Keeping up with all the calls and messages that come into your business can be exhausting, and time-consuming. If you want a fun, but insightful, activity, download a time-tracking app. Use it to track all the time you spend on business communications—that means everything:

  • Calls
  • Emails
  • Listening to voicemails
  • Returning social media messages
  • Chatting with users via live chat
  • SMS/text campaigns and communications
  • Scheduling
  • Appointment booking
  • And the list goes on...

It can be exhausting, and it leaves you very little time to actually get anything done. Your resources should be focused on their jobs—and unless you’ve hired them all to handle phone calls and messages, they’re not. You’re uniquely qualified to choose the best way to resolve this, and when you do it with the assistance of an answering service, you are freeing up your team to drive your business further ahead of the competition. 

How’s that feedback?

Have your clients or others started complaining about your communication (or the lack thereof)? Are you starting to hear things like:

  • I’m glad I caught you!
  • It’s about time we connected.
  • Hopefully you’ll get this in time!
  • Oh good! You’re in!
  • Thanks for finally getting back to me!

At first, people will be nice about your busy schedule and limited availability—almost apologetic, as if not to bother you. However, as time goes on, people will eventually get frustrated and if you don’t step up to the plate, they’ll go find someone who will. 

Pay attention to what people are saying. If you’re still on the fence, ASK

Put out a poll—ask your clients, customers, vendors, and employees what they think about your current communication tools and availability. Ask them what they would like to see improved, if anything. You can even just ask people if they would find 24-hour receptionists, messaging services, or live chat to be a useful feature. 

You’ll generally get a resounding “Yes!” When you do, drop us a line and we’ll take care of everything for you. 

Are your leads converting?

Another sign of poor communication or the need for a better solution is when you notice leads aren’t converting as they should. It happens all too often. Businesses are in a good place. They are set up to continue to grow, but for some reason, the growth just doesn’t come. It might be because you lack the appropriate resources. Are your team members capable of doing their jobs and chasing down leads? 

Unless they’re superhuman, the odds are unlikely. 

Rather than taking it out on your team, why not give them the support and assistance that they need? Your team is trained to handle leads for the long haul—they're the closers. Why not outsource your lead intake and screening services to a virtual receptionist team that can weed out the time-wasters and ensures that only the best leads get to your desks. 

If you notice that your leads aren’t coming in, or that you’re losing what seems like “slam dunk” conversions, it could be a sign that there’s a kink in the communication chain. This is often one of the first signs, and yet one of the most ignored because poor leads could have so many other causes. It couldn’t possibly be because you aren’t able to juggle all of your calls or don’t offer a live chat service, could it?

42% of customers prefer live chat to other means of communication when dealing with a business. 

So, yes, it absolutely could be due to a lack of proper communication channels, availability, or other areas where you may be lacking. 

The benefits of a 24/7 answering service 

So, now that we’ve covered most of the issues that are probably plaguing most of you reading this, let’s talk about what you get, specifically, when you enlist the assistance of virtual receptionists. Regardless of the reasons that you’ve come to consider an answering service, there are several perks to be had. Namely, the sheer list of services that are available to add to your custom plan is sure to impress. If you still need just a little more of a push, here are some of the highlights:

Overflow call services

Sure, it might sound like a great concept to have the phones ringing off the hook, the email inbox overflowing, and social media notifications blowing up every smart device that you own, but in reality, that’s a LOT of people to get back to—when will you ever find the time? You have a business to run and when communication becomes a full-time job, you can depend on an answering service to deliver the assistance that you need. As an ongoing service or even just for a specific event or period, virtual receptionists can take care of all your overflow calls. 

Appointment scheduling solutions

How can you make your schedule more efficient when you can’t handle your scheduling? It's a vicious cycle that can cost you big time, but an answering service can help you get it under control. You can enlist the assistance of a robust scheduling app and leave it in the hands of capable receptionists that will handle appointment booking, scheduling, intake, and more. Plus, this can all work with your existing tech stack so that you’re not forced to change systems just to get the help that you need. 

Lead screening and intake 

Lead generation is a full-time job. It's not something that you should leave at the hands of people who already have a full agenda of duties and responsibilities. Something is going to get left behind, and most of the time, that ends up being the leads. With a team of virtual receptionists, you can trust that your leads are properly cultivated, screened, and brought into your business while your team is taking care of the rest of the work. 

Cloud-based, scalable solutions

Forget having to invest in a specific, limited platform or solution. Don’t worry about having to choose one solution now and replace it later. When you work with virtual receptionists, you can ensure that you’ll get the ideal custom solution that can be scaled to your needs, and that can scale with you when you grow. Because so many companies work in the cloud, it’s easier than ever to create an affordable solution that fits your business exactly. 

Custom everything

When you work with the right answering service, you’ll enjoy the opportunity to customize greetings, messages, branding, and colors on widgets and tools, placements, and so much more. The best services will even provide the resources to help you build a custom knowledge base for people so that they can find their own answers if they don’t want to have to reach out to you.


And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s almost nothing you can’t do when you work with a 24/7 answering service to streamline your communications and save time. 

If it’s crossed your mind, it’s time

Ultimately, you could hem and haw about this decision for as long as you’d like, but the answer is already clear. If you are even considering virtual receptionists, your subconscious is telling you to give it a try. To learn more about what a 24-hour answering service can do for your business or how much time you can save with our dedicated virtual receptionists, book your Live Chat consultation today.

Sean Lund-Brown

Sean Lund-Brown is a current Marketing Assistant for Smith.ai. A graduate from Metropolitan State University of Denver, Sean graduated with a BA in Music and an individualized degree in Teaching Vocal Pedagogy.

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