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What’s The Best Option For Your Estate Agency: Telephone Answering Services vs. Employing Additional Staff

Telephone Answering Services For Your Estate Agency

In the competitive world of estate agency, how calls and enquiries are handled can significantly influence client satisfaction and business efficiency.

Missed calls can lead to missed opportunities, unhappy customers and an increased workload making return calls.

Perhaps you’re concerned about missing too many calls and are trying to weigh up whether you should employ a dedicated staff member to manage your calls or opt for a telephone answering service. This article explores the pros and cons of each option, offering a balanced view to help estate agency owners make an informed choice.

Pros of Using a Telephone Answering Service


Telephone answering services can be a more budget-friendly option compared to hiring full-time staff. There are no additional costs such as national insurance, pension contributions, or other employee benefits.

You’ll also benefit from flexibility that can’t be achieved with an employee. Generally, you’ll have a simple month-by-month contract that can help you cover short-term absences or seasonal changes in call volume.

This can translate into substantial savings, especially for smaller agencies or those looking to minimise overheads.

Professional Handling of Calls: 

If you choose a telephone answering service with experience in your sector, then they’ll be able to provide you with specialised support tailored for estate agencies, ensuring that all calls are handled with a high level of professionalism.

This can enhance your agency's image and improve client relations, as calls are always answered promptly and courteously.

Flexibility and Scalability: 

A major advantage of telephone answering services is their flexibility. They can handle call overflows during peak times answering multiple calls at the same time. This scalability ensures that customer service is maintained without the logistical challenges of managing extra staff.

Specialised Industry Knowledge: 

Providers that cater specifically to the property industry will often be able to provide additional services such as appointment bookings, qualify callers, and capture accurate details for every enquiry.

Consistent Availability: 

With a telephone answering service, there's no need to worry about managing staff absences due to sickness/ maternity/ holiday time etc. The right level of cover is always available, ensuring that client communications are handled consistently without interruption.

Cons of Using a Telephone Answering Service

Lack of Face-to-Face Interaction: 

One of the main drawbacks is the absence of face-to-face interactions. For some clients, especially in the high-touch real estate market, personal connection forms a significant part of the service experience. Not having someone on-site to greet and interact with clients can sometimes detract from the personal touch that many buyers and sellers appreciate.

Limited Training: 

While telephone answering services are proficient in handling general queries and managing communications, they may not retain in-depth knowledge specific to an individual estate agency’s portfolio as effectively as a dedicated employee would. This could lead to less detailed customer service or the need for callers to be redirected to in-house staff for complex inquiries.

Remote Relationship:

The nature of a remote service could impact the depth of the relationship between the service and the agency. Without regular, face-to-face interactions, it can be challenging to cultivate a strong, personal bond that often helps in-house teams anticipate needs and tailor services more precisely.

Lack of Local Knowledge: 

Remote staff may not be based locally and therefore may not have the same detailed knowledge of the local area, which can be critical in real estate transactions. This could potentially limit their ability to provide information or advice specific to the locality.

Inability to Attend In-Person: 

Virtual receptionists cannot represent the estate agency at physical meetings or inspections. They can’t provide cover for manning the office, opening/locking up (if you have premises) or making the tea!


Deciding between a telephone answering service and hiring an additional member of staff depends on various factors including budget and the job role that you need to be fulfilled.

For many estate agencies, the flexibility and cost efficiency of telephone answering services makes them an attractive option. The service can work alongside you and your team, complementing your service.

However, agencies that are looking to fulfil a role that requires face-to-face interactions may benefit more from having dedicated staff on site.

Ultimately, the choice should align with the agency’s operational priorities and customer service philosophy, ensuring that whichever route is chosen enhances the client experience and supports business growth effectively.


Further Information:

For further information on how a telephone answering service could support your business, take a look at the links below and the FAQ’s below:



Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What are the main advantages of using a telephone answering service for estate agencies?

Telephone answering services offer several benefits, including cost-effectiveness, professional handling of calls, flexibility, scalability, and less commitment than an employee. They ensure that all client interactions are managed with professionalism, helping to enhance your agency's image and improve client relations.

Q2. How can a telephone answering service save costs for my estate agency?

Opting for a telephone answering service can be more budget-friendly than hiring full-time staff. With a service, you avoid additional costs such as national insurance, pension contributions, and other employee benefits. Moreover, the flexible contracts allow you to adjust for seasonal variations in call volume without the overhead associated with permanent staff.

Q3. Are there any disadvantages to using a telephone answering service?

Yes, the main disadvantages include the lack of face-to-face interaction, which can be crucial in the real estate business where personal connections are valued. Additionally, virtual receptionists may not possess detailed local knowledge or the ability to manage complex inquiries specific to your agency's portfolio, which could necessitate redirection to in-house staff. Think carefully about what the role looks like.

If you need cover to help meet and greet and other face-to-face jobs, then this service may not be for you. You may wish to consider using a telephone answering service to support you and your in-house team and free them from being interrupted by the phone.

Q4. What should I consider when choosing between a telephone answering service and hiring additional staff?

Consider factors such as budget, the level of personal interaction required, and the specific roles you need to be fulfilled. If your agency values face-to-face customer service or needs staff for tasks that require physical presence, hiring additional staff might be beneficial. However, if cost efficiency and handling high call volumes are your priorities, a telephone answering service could be the ideal solution.

Q5. Can a telephone answering service handle all types of calls?

Yes, most telephone answering services are equipped to handle a wide range of calls, including answering queries, booking appointments, and capturing accurate details for every enquiry. They can also manage call overflows during peak times, ensuring that customer service is consistent and efficient.

Q6. How can a telephone answering service help improve client relations?

A telephone answering service ensures that every call is answered promptly and courteously, which is crucial for maintaining professional client relations. By providing reliable and consistent communication, these services can significantly improve the overall customer experience and contribute to a positive image of your estate agency.

Q7. What if I need more personalised service for certain clients?

While telephone answering services provide general support, for more personalised interactions, especially with high-value clients, you might consider combining the service with in-house staff who can offer the personal touch needed for building strong client relationships.

Q8. Is there flexibility in the services offered by telephone answering providers?

Yes, most providers offer flexible services that can be tailored to the specific needs of your estate agency. This includes managing seasonal fluctuations and integrating with your diary or booking system.

For more FAQ’s and information follow the link here:


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About the author

Sarah Basey

Sarah Basey

Sarah founded Your Office & PA in 2007 and has 17 years of experience working with businesses offering telephone answering and virtual reception services.

Sarah works full-time in the business, alongside her co-directors Chris and Andy, giving the business a unique, owner-managed feel which enables a fully flexible approach to the services provided.

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