What is call handling?

A call handling service is any service or software that manages your inbound calls, whether from prospects, existing customers or suppliers. It ranges from a basic, automated answering and redirection service all the way to a virtual receptionist who answers calls, collects information, books meetings or appointments and transfers calls to the appropriate team member. This short blog should help you understand what exactly is a call handling service and the benefits it will bring your business.

Who needs call handling services?

Literally any business who deals with people. Hospitality - to manage bookings, beauty - to take appointments, engineers and tradesmen - to book callouts, charities - to handle donations and requests for assistance… The list is endless. Unless you operate in a vacuum and don’t need to speak to any people to grow a successful business, you could do with a virtual receptionist and a call answering service.

To understand a bit more about the importance of customer care, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, read our blog here to learn how crucial it is for business survival to put the customer first.

UK SMEs lose £90m worth of business annually in missed calls. To be sure you are maximising your pipeline, make sure you choose a customer service provider or call handling team that offers the following features and benefits to your business:

Benefits of using a call handling service

24/7 service

Whatever your opening hours, you need a call handling service that can match them. Make sure your chosen provider can keep up and provide a consistent, high level of service, whatever the time of day.

Locally based

Depending on where you are in the world, it is often a customer’s preference to speak to someone with a similar accent or who speaks their native language. A good virtual receptionist service will be able to provision localised support to be sure your customers enjoy the best possible experience.


You often might not need your phones answered all the time. Perhaps you have peak periods, or you only need cover for overflow or training days. Having an answering service on standby means a flawless transition and a team who are fully prepped and ready to take over at a moment’s notice.

CRM integration

To save doubling up efforts, a good call handling service will be trained and prepared to utilise your existing CRM software and ensure incoming calls are logged appropriately. You have database processes for a reason, so make sure your chosen service provider is both GDPR trained and ready to manage your data accurately.

Personal service

While automations and bots seem to be on the rise, there is never any substitute for the personal touch. Even if it is your preference to start with a message service, having a human on hand to deal with customers personally can make all the difference between a positive experience and a lost client.

Bespoke responses

You want any answering service or receptionist to feel like an extension of your business. Ensure that your chosen partner is fully versed on how you like the phone to be answered and the tone of voice you want your customers to hear. Your brand is precious, so make sure it is respected.

Free trial

If you’re new to call handling, then perhaps a free trial is the right way to start. Often you might not know exactly how many calls to expect, or you aren’t sure how it will work in practice. A good trial will last a working week and will end with a clear report on usage and call volumes. Then you are in an informed position and can make a decision on how crucial the service really is.

Download our free webinar on the benefits of outsourcing when your in-house receptionist is on sick leave.

We believe in going the extra mile for our customers and their customers in turn. One of our clients supports housebound individuals, which means our team needs to be sure to offer consistent care to any of their calls, as well as being sure to go the extra mile to ensure they receive the care required. Watch this short video to hear how a member of our telephony team, Moira, did everything in her power to help the individual in question.

So there you have it. Call handling, virtual receptionist, customer service; whatever you choose to call it, this kind of support is crucial to providing a seamless client experience and will mean you have more time freed up to focus on your business and the people who make it what it is. To hear more about our call handling packages, enquire below.

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