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A Better Answer Blog

The Difference Between a Call Center and Answering Service


Sometimes, people and companies use the terms "answering service" and "call center" interchangeably. In reality, they are very different. In order to help you decide which service is right for you, allow us to expand upon the differences between an answering service and a call center.

Answering Service

An answering service is typically appropriate for industries where a caller is requesting or uses a service (aka service industries). These markets include, but are not limited to:

  • Heath and medical services such as doctors, dentists, veterinarians, etc.
  • HVAC companies, lawn service, plumbing or any other home maintenance services
  • Restaurants and food service businesses
  • Law firms, attorneys and other businesses in the legal industry

The service provided to these companies goes beyond answering the phone and taking a message. There is also the possibility of escalating the call in case of an emergency. The call handler must be privy to the subtleties of the industry and have some training to understand when the call needs to be escalated. The call handler must also be empathetic to the caller and handle the needs of the emergency call gracefully.

Call Center

A call center is generally appropriate when each call is nearly the same. In this case, the call handler's answers are likely scripted and follow a general order. Call centers can be used for: 

  • Order taking
  • Help desk
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Registration 

The needs of the caller are more straightforward and the call handler needs little-to-no training.

Choosing the Right One for Your Business

Whether your needs are simple or complex will determine whether you require an answering service or a call center. Answering service calls are more complex and can be escalated. Call center calls require less training for the call representative and no escalation is needed.

Whatever you require, A Better Answer has the skills and experience to make your callers feel that your business is in great hands. We handle calls for a wide variety of industries and are always adding more. 

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in July 2015 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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Topics: Better Service