Ask yourself: why don’t you use telephone answering services?! After asking that question for more than ten years, I hear variations on the same five responses used time and again. I’ve called them the ‘rule of five’.

The really sad thing is that by not using telephone answering services, organisations are missing out on the sales enquiries they have invested significant time, money and effort to generate.

The roll call for the ‘rule of five’ is:

  • ‘We never miss any calls’
  • ‘We have an answerphone’
  • ‘I don’t want my customers to know I use a telephone answering service (TAS)’
  • ‘All you do is take messages’
  • ‘It’s too expensive’

‘We never miss any calls’

Telephone Answering Services

Really! No, really!?

Everyone misses calls. From the sole trader to the multinational. Organisations with no receptionist through to businesses with five receptionists: there is always that sixth call!

We work with some really great businesses that are genuinely committed to customer service and capturing that sale. They typically have one or more receptionists. In the absence of the receptionist they may use a hunt group or similar to get the call answered. When that fails the call comes through to Paperclip. The customers’ voice is heard.

The truth is we all miss calls, particularly on our mobile phones. The question is not whether calls are missed, it is what is the cost to your business of not capturing that call?

‘We have an answerphone’

Oh dear!

There has been a lot of research on voicemail and answerphones. Depending on the type of business, it is generally recognised that 75% or more of callers that get through to an answerphone don’t leave a message. The figure is even higher for callers aged under 30. My children never leave a voicemail and, frustratingly, never listen to mine! In five years the answerphone will follow the fax into obscurity.

John Brandon, writing on* summed up the problem with voicemails:

‘It’s (voicemail) a false premise. I want to communicate information to you. It (the death of voicemail)…is not a technology shift. It’s a light-bulb moment on a grand scale.’

For those that do leave voicemails, here’s a chastening statistic from 90% of first time voicemails are never returned!

The truth is answerphones are not only dying, they are a liability. They shout, ‘we don’t care about our customers.’

I don’t want customers to know I use a telephone answering service

Neither do I!

As Managing Director of Paperclip, a successful telephone answering service provider, one of my key selling messages is that Paperclip becomes part of your team. Here’s how we do it:

  • Every client signing up for TAS is provided with a number to which they divert incoming calls. The divert can either be immediate, or delayed in order to give the client’s team the opportunity to capture the call.
  • When a call is diverted the Paperclip operator’s screen ‘pops’ (displays) with the details of that client. Paperclip’s team members are therefore able to introduce themselves as ‘Good morning, Smiths Estate Agents’ or similar.
  • The Paperclip operator deals with the content of the call in line with protocols agreed with the client during set-up.
  • Specialist microphones are used to pick-up the voice of the Paperclip operator and not ambient noise.
  • All staff are trained before being allowed to answer ‘real calls’.

Your customers will never know you use a telephone answering service, but they will know that their call really is important to you because it has been answered – and not left interminably on hold!

All you do is take messages

Oh so very, very wrong!!

Although, to be fair, its largely our fault for using the term ‘telephone answering services’.

Answering your customer’s call is simply the start of a journey. The journey can simply be taking a message and passing it on: we do this, we do it well and it works for certain clients. However, alternative destinations can include answering FAQs, taking an order, diary management, or making a booking, reservation or appointment – directly into your back-office system if your systems will allow. You can read our blog about booking and reservation services here.

We excel in bookings, reservations and appointments. Here’s a quote from a recent client review on Google:

Paperclip has changed my life. My work-life balance is now fantastic. They take the majority of my calls and bookings allowing me to concentrate on the more productive parts of my business. I don’t miss any customer calls…!

The reality is that the service we provide is determined by each client’s specific requirements.

It’s too expensive

Telephone Answering Services

It’s important to know the difference between cost and value.

TAS is not free. There is an investment. However, analysing Paperclip’s call data for the past twelve months showed that the average cost per sales lead – i.e. a caller wanting to buy a product, book an appointment, make a reservation – was £6. This figure was calculated by taking the monthly invoice value for each client and dividing it by the number of incoming calls that resulted in a ‘sale’. How much would you be willing to pay for a sales lead? That’s value.

For many of our clients, the value of telephone answering lies in customer retention – showing your customers you care – rather than customer acquisition. It really depends on the maturity of your business, the product or service you provide, and the sector you are in. You can read our blog on the importance of customer experience here.

Don’t just take my word for it!


what our customers say about telephone answering services


Paperclip provides TAS for a huge variety of businesses: estate agents, solicitors, health professionals, dog kennels, tradespeople and more.

You can watch their testimonials here

How to avoid the ‘rule of five’

Telephone answering services may not be right for your organisation. However, you’ll never know until you look into it in more detail. Don’t blindly follow the ‘rule of five’, call Paperclip today on 01246 418181 and get your questions answered. We’re ready for your call.

*Voicemail is now officially dead. Here’s what killed it. John Brandon, 12/01/18

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