Websters dictionary defines an answering service as: a commercial service that answers telephone calls for its clients. What! That’s it? I propose a new definition.
Contact One Call Center defines an answering service as: A specialized call center that is focused primarily on the needs of small business and medical offices. This may include answering important calls on the clients behalf, collecting information from callers and relaying that information to on-call staff. Answering services also help business by reducing labor cost. They also assist clients at increasing sales by answering the phone 24 hours a day giving businesses a competitive advantage in the market.
I think that is more suitable definition.
We can take orders for small e-commerce companies. We can take appointments for counselors when hiring a full time receptionist would be to costly. We can even triage high priority calls for trades like plumbing and air conditioning companies. Answering services never call out sick and they are never late to work. If you have the right answering service they will be like a trusted employee that stays with you for years. Answering services convey an message to your customers that your business is important enough to have real person answer the call.