Answering services, sometimes called virtual receptionists, are crucial to many businesses. They handle a much narrower scope of tasks than other types of call centers, but they also sometimes have a closer relationship with the business itself than an outsourced call center might. At its core, an answering service exists to be a presence for customers when the business itself is unavailable. Here are four businesses that use telephone answering services the most and the tasks they most commonly handle.



If you’ve only ever interacted with an answering service once, chances are it was the answering service for a doctor’s office or hospital. Emergencies happen in healthcare at a very high rate and when they do happen people need to be able to get in touch with someone qualified to advise them on how to handle the situation. But even in non-emergency situations, people need to know that they can reach their healthcare provider when they need to. Doctor’s offices and hospitals frequently use answering services to cover lunch breaks, early morning, evening, and overnight hours that are outside of their normal business hours, employing people who can offer information on scheduling, take messages for providers, or offer medical advice depending on the practice and the answering service used.




For many people, the health of their pets is as important (if not more important) than their own. That’s why veterinary practices typically employ answering services in a similar way to healthcare providers. The agents will cover the phones outside of the vet’s normal business hours to answer emergency calls, offer advice, and/or direct animal owners to 24/7 emergency rooms or other places that can provide care to their pets.


Small Businesses


As mentioned above, answering services sometimes serve as virtual receptionists, which is their primary role when working with small businesses. Small businesses, especially start-ups, often have a barebones workforce and may not have the budget to employ a full-time receptionist to handle things like appointment scheduling and the like. In these cases, a virtual receptionist, even a part-time one, can come in handy. Answering services are also helpful for other types of small businesses, such as those in the service industry like plumbers and contractors. In cases like these, the entire business may be one person who is constantly on the road or working at people’s homes. An answering service will provide a person for new customers to get in touch with or with whom existing customers can coordinate future visits while the plumber or contractor is on a job site.


Essential Home Services


Utility companies like gas, electricity, and oil need to have people on hand 24/7 who customers can get in touch with in case of an emergency. If a gas line is cut or the power goes out, it can be an incredibly stressful experience for customers. They need to have a way to get in touch with the company to get more information on the scope of the situation and what they can expect in terms of timelines and requirements for repairs, and this is where the answering service comes in.

Even though answering services sometimes provide fewer services than a full-blown call center, they still need reliable and easy-to-use software for use on the job. To schedule a demo, contact us today.