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How Long Does it Take to Get My Answering Service Started?
Peter DeHaan

By: Peter DeHaan on May 6th, 2024

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How Long Does it Take to Get My Answering Service Started?

How Answering Services Work

This blog was originally published on 7/10/16 and has been updated for relevance.

When a business decides they need to hire a phone answering service or virtual receptionist, they are often anxious to start right away. 

Sometimes people base their selection on how fast their business can get an answering service up and running. So, many companies promise an instant activation or some similar concept. 

While this is an impressive achievement, it may come at loss in terms of quality and forcing your business into a one-size-fits-all approach. As an answering service that’s been around for nearly 100 years, we’ve had many businesses turn to us after a failed “instant activation” set up.

While it’s not a “bad” concept, you deserve to know why it takes time to set up an answering service, so you get the best value for your money.

But before we get into the why, you might just be wondering, “how long does set up take?”. Well, it usually takes between 3 to 5 business days to set up an answering service.

Now, let’s look at the factors that increase the setup time for an answering service.

  1. Customizing Your Call Center Experience Requires Close Attention
  2. Call Center Agents Need Training For Your Business’ Account
  3. Working With A Call Center Representative Requires Close Communication


Why Do Answering Services Take Time to Set Up?

1. Customizing Your Call Center Experience Requires Close Attention

So, let's dive a bit deeper into why customization is so important when it comes to setting up your answering service. 

Imagine you’re looking to hire a babysitter for date night. You find one that’s highly reviewed and think to yourself, “Great!”. They show up and you get ready to brief them. But, just as you’re about to give them a rundown of things, they look at you and say “Don’t worry, I’ve got it. I’ve done this before!”. 

Now, even if they’re highly recommended, would you still head out and leave your kids with this person?

We’re going to guess you say “No!” to that like we would. And, most people would too! Now, replace “kid” with “business” and “babysitter” with “answering service”. Do you see the connection now?

Taking the time to customize your answering service is important because not every business is the same.

How answering services (should) set up your call center service doesn’t just involve slapping their logo on something and calling it a day. It requires an innate knowledge of your company and how you and your staff operate.

If you’re getting an employee call-off hotline, they should know who on your team to reach in case of an emergency. If you’re getting a virtual receptionist, you may want them to know your appointment scheduling preferences - do you prefer a note for you to key in on your computer or would you want it on a platform like Acuity which seamlessly integrates to your schedule?

These are some of many ways the detail an answering service provides during set up benefits you during your time with that service.

2. Call Center Agents Need Training For Your Business’ Account

Now let's talk about call center agents - the ones who will be answering your calls and representing your business to the world. 

If you’re going to be hiring an in-house receptionist, you’d want to make sure that they were competent, right? Like a virtual receptionist, you would probably want your call center agents to be good speakers, helpful, and kind - the good traits to have as a call center agent.

But, the training required to make them good representatives of your company and brand takes time!

Call center agents don’t just work for the answering service; they're the face of your brand.

When you sign up with the answering service, they inform their operations staff about the details of your account, or business, who pass it down below. Dispatchers (who agents report to) are familiar with your account, and would be able to train the call center agents about your business.

That way, your customers calling in don’t get a stunned or surprised agent who doesn’t know what to do or how to direct them. 

3. Working With A Call Center Representative Requires Close Communication

When you fill out an online form to automatically set up your account, what happens if you don’t understand a certain field? What do you do when you can’t fit all your critical information into their online questionnaire?

Filling it out can feel like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. And your business is anything but a square.


If your business does not have clearly defined processes, you may want to consult a call center representative. 

So, when you set up an answering service, yes, it technically can be reduced to a form fill. But, having a call center representative work with you through any doubts, questions, or concerns ensures that your call center experience is a good one.

Instead of throwing your information into the void and hoping for the best, why not give it to someone who knows how to handle it with care? 


Do You Need A Custom or Instant Answering Service Set Up?

If you need service now, then the “instant activation” solutions are your only option. Just know that you will sacrifice customization, adequate agent training, and a personalized set up of the process.

If you are going the “instant activation” route we recommend ensuring your answering service doesn’t lock you into a contract for too long a period. That way, if you decide the personalization is needed for your business, you can always move to a better answering service.

Now, you might be wondering “what are the best answering services out there?” or “how much does an answering service cost?”.

We hope these resources help you! If you have further questions or need to speak to someone about which answering service is right for you, fill out the short form below and one of our call center experts will reach out. We prioritize you getting the best service for your business, whether it be with us or not. So, fill out the form to learn more!



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