Answering Service vs Virtual Assistant - What's the Difference?

Answering Service vs Virtual Assistant – What’s the Difference?

As your business grows, having someone to answer the phone, take messages, and forward calls to the proper person becomes a necessity. Having your key personnel constantly interrupted by the phone ringing can reduce productivity. However, rather than hiring someone to handle that responsibility in-house, many business owners are outsourcing their receptionist duties. Sounds simple enough, but it can be a bit confusing when trying to decide between an answering service and a virtual assistant. If trying to figure out the difference between the two has you scratching your head, we may be able to help.

Answering Service

An answering service is typically used to answer incoming calls, take messages, and route calls to the appropriate person when needed. Answering service agencies don’t offer additional services such as scheduling appointments or making outbound calls on behalf of the business.

Virtual Assistant

A virtual assistant (VA) offers many more services than an answering service. For example, virtual assistants can provide customer service support by taking orders, answering inquiries, scheduling appointments, providing information regarding products and services, and handling other administrative tasks.

virtual receptionist

Which is Best?

Both provide valuable services but which one is best depends on the services your business requires. If all you want is someone to answer the phone and take messages, an answering service might be the best choice for you. However, a virtual assistant works more like a receptionist, only remotely. They learn the specifics of your business, allowing them to not only answer the phone but also answer inquiries while presenting a professional appearance for your business. However, those aren’t the only benefits.

Cost Effective

Both answering services and virtual assistants are more affordable options than hiring an in-house receptionist. By outsourcing these duties, you can avoid all the extra payroll expenses and skip paying for vacation, sick time, and health care benefits. You can even save on office furniture and equipment as there will be no need to set up a receptionist workstation.

Increased Productivity

As we mentioned earlier, fielding phone calls can interrupt the workflow for business owners and their employees. Outsourcing your receptionist duties to a virtual assistant will reduce the distraction. Instead of letting incoming calls and emails pile up and distract you, a virtual assistant can streamline the process for you. They take the time to become familiar with your business, allowing them to determine who calls should be directed to or if a call or email requires immediate attention. That way, nothing slips through the cracks, and you stay on top of more important matters!

Flexible Schedules

Not every business operates solely from 9 to 5, Monday through Friday. If your business is open on the weekends or has extended hours during peak business seasons, you need your receptionist to be available. An in-house receptionist would require overtime pay for those extra hours. However, with a virtual assistant service, multiple individuals are trained for your business, ensuring they are always available when you need them, and you only pay for the services you use.

virtual receptionist services

Virtual Assistant Services from RAC Consulting

While an answering service may be enough for some businesses, others need more. That’s where virtual assistants come in.

RAC Consulting offers cost-effective, professional virtual assistant services that provide your customers with the attention and assistance they deserve while allowing you and your staff to work with little or no interruptions.

With our virtual assistant services, you will have a dedicated assistant, so you can be confident that your calls are answered with customized professional services that reflect your brand. Contact us today and let our virtual assistants start taking your calls.