Businesses Struggle to Settle on Single Answering Service Provider


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Non-Distinct Options in the Market Limit Customer Loyalty

Businesses lack a sense of loyalty to their answering service providers, new research from Clutch reveals.

Despite exhibiting overwhelming satisfaction with the features, quality, and value experienced from their answering services, over 40% of the 300+ companies Clutch surveyed indicated that they were likely to change providers within the next six months, a frequency which far exceeded the 28% of companies that plan on remaining with their current provider over that same period.

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The survey also indicates that despite broader societal transition to more digitally advanced services, automated answering services–i.e voicemail systems, automated attendants, or interactive voice systems–are still the most popular form of answering service used today, with over half of companies employing some form for business use.

Eric Schurke, Director of Operation for VoiceNation, pointed to the continued use of automated services as a potential reason for the high level of volatility in the market for answering services, particularly on a technological level. He shoulders part of the blame on the limited number of softwares available for answering services to operate from, which he says has created barriers for innovation, limited the scalability of individual providers, and ultimately flooded the market with non-distinct services–all of which provide customers with little diversity to choose from when selecting a provider.

“If you did a poll of answering services out there most likely they’re using one, two, or three softwares. They’re all running the same business and features,” said Schurke. “It’s a 6 figure startup cost, so you’ve got these answering services that are financially committed and have a mortgage to these companies for their licenses. The scalability for these answering services, because it’s licensed based, is limited.”

Because of this lack of distinction, companies are unlikely to find anything extraordinary about any their provider, and are therefore unlikely to discover any tangible incentive to remain with their current provider.

Another cause put forth to explain the frequent shifting among providers is customer service issues. Given the common application of answering services as a customer service mechanism, there is more than a little irony here.

“A lot of times I hear [businesses] saying [they are leaving their current answering service provider] is because they’re having a hard time getting in touch with the company they’re working with,” said Alicia Timoftica, Senior Sales Representative for VoiceNation. “The calls aren’t being handled the way [businesses] instructed [their answering services] to. So it’s more of a customer service problem.”

However, customer service problems were only identified by about 10% of companies as a issue with their answerings service. Instead, ‘technical malfunctions’ and ‘call quality issues’ were the most commonly reported issues, with around two-thirds experiencing one of the two with their service.

Ultimately, Clutch’s research suggests that providers seek out ways to overcome the similarity in operational software by investing in a proprietary platform or specific features that will differentiate them from the rest of the pack. By doing so, answering services can create a unique service which provides real incentive for companies to stay with their current provider, increasing their abilities to market themselves as distinct and increase their chances of capturing customer loyalty.

Grayson Kemper
Grayson Kemper is a Content Developer and Marketer at Clutch, a B2B research and reviews platform based in Washington, DC. He focuses on telecom and enterprise mobility segments.


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