The Best Answering Service of 2020

Our answering service reviews are the result of over 40 hours of research on 140+ answering service companies from across the web. These reviews and our answering services guide help small businesses and startups find the best answering service for their business.

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How We Chose the Best Answering Service

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There are a lot of answering services offering a variety of unique features to businesses. We compiled this summary of some of the best answering services using a methodology that focused on the client’s needs. These methodologies are the service lines offered, the size of the firm and the industry focus of the firm.

Multiple Service Lines

Because each business has unique needs, we picked answering firms that offer multiple service lines ranging from answering service voice lines to non-voice BPO/back office solutions as well as CRM consulting services.

Size of Firm

Working with a large or small firm offers advantages and disadvantages in regard to the number of customer service agents available to manage calls, as well as the costs associated with services. We included businesses of varying sizes to accommodate the needs of more small businesses.

Industry Focus

The types of industries an answering service specializes in may be of interest to you if your industry includes specialized knowledge or terminology, such as health care. In order to cover the needs of a wide variety of small companies, we selected answering services with different industry focuses.

The 15 Best Answering Services of 2020

CompanyPriceService LinesMore
Ambs Call Center<$25 / hrVoice ServicesVisit Ambs Call Center
Ameridial<$25 / hrVoice Services and Non-Voice BPO/Back Office ServicesVisit Ameridial
Ansafone Contact Centers$25-$49 / hrVoice Services and Non-Voice BPO/Back Office ServicesVisit Ansafone Contact Centers
Answer 365<$25 / hrVoice ServicesVisit Answer 365
AnswerFirstCustom quoteVoice Services and Non-Voice BPO/Back Office ServicesVisit AnswerFirst
Answering 365Custom quoteMedical Answering Service, Legal Answering Service, Dispatch, Telemessaging, Urgent Dispatch, Inbound Calls, Small Business Answering Service, Appointment Setting, Secure Lead Capture, and Bilingual Answering ServiceVisit Answering 365
Conectys$25-$49 / hrVoice Services, CRM Consulting and SI, and Market ResearchVisit Conectsys
Connections Call CenterCustom quoteCustomer Service, Emergency On-Call Procedures, Real Estate Communications, Game or Event Registrations, Appointment Booking, Telephone Answering Service, Live Operator Answering 24/7, Personalized Scripted Messaging, Custom Greeting and Answer Phrases, Logistics Planning, and MultilingualVisit Connections Call Center
MoneypennyCustom quoteVoice ServicesVisit Moneypenny
NICE inContactCustom quoteCloud Contact Center Solutions, Customer Interaction Cloud, Workforce Optimization, and Customer ServiceVisit NICE inContact
Ruby ReceptionistsCustom quoteVoice ServicesVisit Ruby Receptionists
Smith.aiCustom quoteVoice Services, Conversion Optimization, and Artificial IntelligenceVisit Smith.ai
Unity Communications<$25 / hrVoice Services, Non-Voice BPO/Back Office Services, and IT Staff AugmentationVisit Unity Communications
VoiceNation<$25 / hrVoice ServicesVisit VoiceNation
Westpark CommunicationsCustom quoteVoice Services and Non-Voice BPO/Back Office ServicesVisit Westpark Communications

Ambs Call Center

Ambs-Call-Center Logo
Ambs Call Center operates through three locations in the US, one in Jackson, Michigan, one in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and a third in Tampa, Florida. The company’s industry focuses are specialized to three main industries: business services, health care and medical services, and utilities.

Some clients of Ambs Call Service include Cadillac Federal, Mogul, Michigan State University, and Henry Ford Health System. The prices at Ambs Call Center are under $25 per hour, and the company offers a variety of voice services.

Voice services offered by this company include a 24/7 answering service that address the needs of your customers and a virtual receptionist to help customers reach the correct person when calling your company. There are also call center services and an automated attendant. Secure text messaging allows for HIPAA-compliant communications between your facility and the service, and there is also a web portal and dashboard system to help business owners stay on top of all corporate-to-client communications.

PriceService LinesFeatures
<$25 / hrVoice Services>Number of Employees: 50-249
>Industry Focus: Business Services, Health Care & Medical, Utilities
>Notable Clients: Cadillac Federal Mogul Michigan State University Henry Ford Health System
>More features at Ambs Call Center

What Customers Are Saying
Customers appreciate the professional 24-hour-a-day, seven-day a week service provided by this company. One customer mentioned that “The team at Michigan CAT has relied on Ambs Call Center for years to provide our customers with the best-in-class answering service 24/7. We have been extremely satisfied with Ambs Call Center’s service.”

Ameridial

Ameridial Logo
Ameridial offers answering services for customers in a number of industries, such as consumer products & services, health care & medical services, and nonprofit agencies. The company has three locations, one in North Canton, Ohio, one in Greenville, South Carolina, and one in Bangor, Maine.

Some specific services offered by Ameridial are voice services where calls are answered by employees, non-voice BPO services (also called back office services) and a call center that manages either inbound or outbound calls for clients. Ameridial also offers solutions for working from home and contact tracing services.

With a large staff of between 1,000 and 9,999 workers and relatively low prices, averaging under $25 per hour, Ameridial provides a relatively inexpensive answering service solution for companies. The company also shares call records and recorded conversations with customers, which helps business owners see and confirm whether using the Ameridial answering service is working for them.

PriceService LinesFeatures
<$25 / hrVoice Services, Non-Voice BPO/Back Office Services>Number of Employees:  1,000-9,999
>Industry Focus: Consumer Products & Services, Health Care & Medical, Nonprofit
>More features at Ameridial

What Customers Are Saying
Customers appreciate the personal service, the professionalism, and the commitment Ameridial staff shows when serving clients, even during unusually stressful times. One satisfied customer described this by saying, “We truly appreciate Ameridial’s commitment to continue to provide services in these unusual times of COVID-19 outbreak.”

Ansafone Contact Centers

Ansafone-Contact-Centers Logo
Ansafone operates two offices in the US, one in Ocala, Florida, and another in Santa Ana, California. Services offered include voice services such as inbound and outbound call management and non-voice BPO/back office services. Specialties at Ansafone include outsourcing and offshoring call center functions for companies.

Prices at Ansafone range between $25 and $49 per hour for the customized call center solutions offered. The company has been in business for over 50 years, and it also provides digital services such as live chat email support and social media-based customer service. In addition, bilingual customer service representatives are available to chat with customers.

When contracting with Ansafone, businesses gain access to a team of experienced call center representatives who also personalize discussions, react with empathy to customer issues, and have experience with negotiations, which may benefit companies in need of outbound telemarketing services.

PriceService LinesFeatures
$25-$49 / hrVoice Services, Non-Voice BPO/Back Office Services>Number of Employees: 250-999
>Industry Focus: Outsourcing/Offshoring
>More features at Ansafone

What Customers Are Saying About Ansafone
Customers appreciate the professionalism and helpfulness of the Ansafone staff. One customer described his experience with Ansafone by saying, “Ansafone always goes above and beyond! They are always professional and ensure all messages are properly handled. If I have any questions or concerns, I can always count on my representative Dave! Thank you for your excellent service.”

Answer 365

Answer-365 Logo
The Answer 365 answering service is based in Canada. The company provides businesses with a professional operator to answer phone lines and provide customer care services for your clients. It offers customer service representatives who speak using clear, neutral East Coast voices to give the companies that contract with Answer 365 a professional image and competitive advantage.

Prices at Answer 365 are under $25 per hour, and the company keeps between 50 and 249 employees on staff to serve client needs and demand.

Advertising & marketing, business services, and health care & medical are the three main industry focuses for this company, and the service line is voice services. Some previous clients of the company are Heat Pump Guys, Spurr Heating and Air Conditioning, TUDI Mechanical Systems, and Heritage Gas Limited.

PriceService LinesFeatures
<$25 / hrVoice Services>Number of Employees: 50-249
>Industry Focus: Advertising & Marketing, Business Services, Health Care & Medical
>Notable Clients: Heat Pump Guys, Spurr Heating and Air Conditioning, TUDI Mechanical Systems, Heritage Gas Limited
>More features at Answer 365

What Customers Are Saying About Answer 365
Customers of Answer 365 appreciate the professional service and the after-hours service provided. One customer described the service by saying, “We use Answer 365 for all of our after-hour needs to ensure that our customers can always reach us, regardless of the time of day. We have peace of mind knowing that Answer 365 is a professional, local company who is caring for our customer and business needs even when we have gone home at the end of the day.”

AnswerFirst

ANSWERFIRST Logo
AnswerFirst answering service offers business solutions for both small and larger businesses. For smaller businesses, it may serve as the only answering service needed to meet a company’s needs, while for larger businesses, it may handle overflow call center work. The AnswerFirst company has between 50 and 249 employees on staff to meet demand, and the headquarters is in Tampa, Florida.

Business services, health care & medical services, and information technology are the industries typically served by this company. Examples of clients served by AnswerFirst are Bayer, NPR, and Berkshire Hathaway.

Service lines offered include voice services, such as answering inbound calls, messaging, placing orders, and processing sales and returns for customers on behalf of businesses. Non-voice BPO/back office services that include providing a website dashboard and reporting on all calls are also services offered by AnswerFirst. Business owners choose the preferred mode of communication to receive reports about calls.

PriceService LinesFeatures
Custom quoteVoice Services, Non-Voice BPO/Back Office Services>Number of Employees: 50-249
>Industry Focus: Business Services, Health Care & Medical, Information Technology
Notable Clients: Bayer, NPR, Berkshire Hathaway
>More features at AnswerFirst

What Customers Are Saying About AnswerFirst
Customers appreciate the efficient, reliable service provided by AnswerFirst. One satisfied customer stated, “Courteous, efficient and reliable, AnswerFirst is perhaps our most important strategic partner. They keep us in direct touch with those we serve.”

Answering 365

Answering-365 Logo
Answering 365 is an answering service that’s based in Los Angeles, California. The company has a staff of 11-50 workers to serve client needs. Telecommunications is the main industry focus for this company, though other industries are served, such as medical & health care organizations.

Some clients served by Answering 365 include HIPAA Compliance, QGenda, Appointment Plus, ATSI, CITRIX, and Epic, making the mix of clients a range of small and mid-size companies. Customer service representatives from Answering 365 offer multilingual services to accommodate customers.

Working with the staff at Answering 365 frees up the business owner and in-house staff to focus on core areas of the business while the call center manages inbound calls and customer service. Some specific service lines provided by this company include telemessaging, urgent dispatch, inbound calls, small business answering service, appointment setting, secure lead capture, and bilingual answering service.

PriceService LinesFeatures
Custom quoteMedical Answering Service, Legal Answering Service, Dispatch, Telemessaging, Urgent Dispatch, Inbound Calls, Small Business Answering Service, Appointment Setting, Secure Lead Capture, and Bilingual Answering Service>Number of Employees: 11-50
>Industry Focus: Telecommunications
>Notable Clients: QGenda, Appointment Plus, ATSI, CITRIX, Epic
>More features at Answering 365

What Customers Are Saying About Answering 365
Customers like the fast, efficient service provided by Answering 365. One satisfied customer stated, “All of our patient calls are handled promptly and properly. Their customer service team is always there when we need them.”

Conectys

Conectys Logo
Conectys is a customer experience (CX) and content moderation service that is based in the Philippines. Its main industry focuses are outsourcing and offshoring. The service line is built on a foundation of customizable technology that can be scaled up or down as needed and provides security, cost-effectiveness, and analytics to keep business owners informed of all aspects of provided services.

Conectys has a large team of employees, ranging from 250 to 999, which adds to the ease of scaling a project up or down quickly when demand changes. The team members come from different countries and over 35 languages are offered, making the service both multilingual and multicultural.

Conectys services range in price from $25 to $49 per hour. Service lines offered include voice services, CRM consulting, SI, and market research. Salesforce, Freshdesk, Zendesk, Kayako, and LivePerson are some of the past clients of this company.

PriceService LinesFeatures
$25-$49 / hrVoice Services, CRM Consulting and SI, and Market Research>Number of Employees: 250-999
>Industry Focus: Outsourcing/Offshoring
>Notable Clients: Salesforce, Freshdesk, Zendesk, Kayako, LivePerson
>More features at Conectys

What Customers Are Saying
Customers value the professionalism of the staff at Conectys and also appreciate the adaptability of the services offered. One customer stated, “I have found Conectys to be an excellent partner. They have some very high-quality individuals and have proven on several occasions their willingness to adapt to the changing needs of the business.”

Connections Call Center

Connections-Call-Center Logo
Connections Call Center is an answering service that’s located in British Columbia, Canada. It’s a smaller company with 11-50 employees who provide personalized service. Telecommunications is the company’s industry focus, and it specializes in answering calls for clients in industries such as real estate, handling event registrations, booking appointments for clients, and taking messages regarding emergency procedures.

Some of the services offered by this telephone answering service include agents who provide customer service, the option to have a live operator answer calls 24/7, and multilingual service lines. Logistics planning is also offered, and customers have the option to establish custom greetings and answer phrases and to prepare personalized scripted messages.

PriceService LinesFeatures
Custom quoteCustomer Service, Emergency On-Call Procedures, Real Estate Communications, Game or Event Registrations, Appointment Booking, Telephone Answering Service, Live Operator Answering 24/7, Personalized Scripted Messaging, Custom Greeting and Answer Phrases, Logistics Planning, and Multilingual>Number of Employees: 11-50
>Industry Focus: Telecommunications
>More features at Connections Call Center

What Customers Are Saying
Customers love that the agents at Connections Call Center are friendly and that the calls are handled professionally. One pleased client said, “Excellent service. We always receive comments on how professional and friendly our customer service agents are! To our customers, it is a seamless service; they assume that the people answering the phone are our staff in our office. It has worked out way better than we thought possible!”

Moneypenny

Moneypenny Logo
The Moneypenny answering service has both US and UK locations, and it provides a variety of voice services for businesses. These services include answering phones, live chat over the internet, mobile device support, and a virtual receptionist option that chats with customers to engage them and increase sales.

Moneypenny has a staff of between 250 and 999 individuals available to manage high-volume calls, and services are provided 24/7, so even customers who call a business after hours can receive an immediate response.

Some industries Moneypenny specializes in serving are government, health care & medical, and advertising & marketing. It does, however, offer services to all industries, not just the ones in which it specializes. Moneypenny has an in-house development team to create the AI-enabled services used on website and mobile technologies, and the live phone service representatives are trained in-house to ensure companies using the Moneypenny service receive the level of care required.

PriceService LinesFeatures
Custom quoteVoice Services>Number of Employees: 250-999
>Industry Focus: Government, Health Care & Medical, Advertising & Marketing
>Notable Clients: Good Business Charter, Be the Business, Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management, Northern Powerhouse
>More features at Moneypenny

What Customers Are Saying
Customers love the professionalism and ethics of the staff at Moneypenny. One customer described the company by saying Moneypenny is “A very technologically advanced company and ethical senior management team that I had the pleasure of working with about a decade ago. Pleased to see them going from strength to strength.”

NICE inContact

NICE-inContact Logo
NICE inContact offers answering service solutions for both small businesses and large enterprises. Computer software is at the heart of the company’s answering system, allowing the service’s staff members to serve customers accurately and quickly. It employs between 1,001 and 5,000 agents and delivers 99% uptime.

Offices are in four locations — Salt Lake City, Utah; Columbus, Ohio; Manila, The Philippines; and Cochabamba, Bolivia — providing customers with a multilingual and multicultural response when needed.

NICE inContact has a computer software industry focus, and the service lines it offers include cloud contact center solutions, customer interaction cloud service, workforce optimization, and customer service. Some of the answering service’s clients include Gartner, Ovum, Frost & Sullivan, and DMG Consulting LLC.

PriceService LinesFeatures
Custom quoteCloud Contact Center Solutions, Customer Interaction Cloud, Workforce Optimization, and Customer Service>Number of Employees: 1,001-5,000
>Industry Focus: Computer Software
>Notable Clients: Gartner, Ovum, Frost & Sullivan, DMG Consulting LLC
>More features at NICE inContact

Ruby Receptionists

Ruby-Receptionists Logo
Ruby Receptionists is based in Portland, Oregon, and specializes in offering voice services and chat functionality. The company employs between 250 and 999 employees, providing easy scalability during busy periods or client business growth stages. It also offers a free trial of its virtual receptionist service, so businesses have the option to test it to see if it functions as desired before making a financial commitment.

The industry focuses of Ruby Receptionists are advertising & marketing, financial services, and real estate, though it also serves the health care industry, legal services, and home service companies. Packages are chosen based on estimated monthly needs, and prices are broken down by the minute, with packages available for 50 minutes per month, 100 minutes per month, 200 minutes per month, and 500 minutes per month.

It serves many large and small clients. Some of its clients include Conroy Consults, McKeen Law Firm, and Molinar and Co Financial Advocates.

PriceService LinesFeatures
Custom quote Voice Services>Number of Employees: 250-999
>Industry Focus: Advertising & Marketing, Financial Services, Real Estate
>Notable Clients: Conroy Consults, McKeen Law Firm, Molinar and Co Financial Advocates
>More features at Ruby Receptionists

What Customers Are Saying
Customers appreciate the professionalism and friendly service provided by the live reps at Ruby Receptionists. They also value the AI-based chat service that serves customers’ needs based on preprogrammed scripts and the chance to test the service before committing.

Smith.ai

smith Logo
Smith.ai is an answering service that provides virtual receptionists as well as web chat and messaging services. Services are available 24/7, and between 50 and 249 customer service agents are available to serve the needs of customers.

Located in Palo Alto, California, Smith.ai strives to serve as a growth agent for businesses in the legal, advertising, and marketing fields, as well as other industries. Some of its clients include Hacking Law Practice, Wondermint, Fagan Fagan & Davis, Merchbar, Watchman Monitoring, New Wave Financial Services, Nyman IP, Hamp Law, D’Orazio Peterson, and CMIT Solutions of Upper Chesapeake.

The voice services offered by Smith.ai include a live voice answering service that connects your customers with a live representative and AI-based web chat services that are manned by live agents 24/7. The company also offers a free trial for clients that want to learn more about the service and how it works before committing to a contract with this answering service.

Some other service lines offered by Smith.ai are SMS messaging response, responding to Facebook messages on a company’s behalf, screening leads and performing intake procedures, and scheduling appointments for an organization’s staff members.

PriceService LinesFeatures
Custom quoteVoice Services, Conversion Optimization, and Artificial Intelligence>Number of Employees: 50-249
>Industries Served: Legal, Advertising & Marketing, Other
>Notable Clients: Hacking Law Practice, Wondermint, Fagan Fagan & Davis, Merchbar, Watchman Monitoring, New Wave Financial Services, Nyman IP, Hamp Law, D'Orazio Peterson, CMIT Solutions of Upper Chesapeake
>More features at Smith.ai

What Customers Are Saying
Customers appreciate the professional service of Smith.ai and also like that services are catered to their individual businesses and it’s not a one-size-fits-all answering service. One customer is quoted as saying, “Smith.ai is just excellent. My go-to receptionist team that I use and recommend to other law firms … and business owners generally!! They go above and beyond to cater their receptionists and live chat services to the specific needs of my business.”

Unity Communications

Unity-Communications Logo
Unity Communications specializes in Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), and it operates offices in three countries: the US, the Philippines, and Costa Rica. It provides multilingual service for clients, and services provided by live agents include customer support and telesales.

With prices under $25 per hour for some services, hiring Unity Communications to manage phones and chats may be more cost-effective than hiring a worker in-house to perform these communications tasks.

It employs a large staff of between 250 and 999 agents at any given time, and its industry focuses are information technology, business services, and telecommunications. Some specific service lines it offers include voice services and non-voice BPO, along with back office reporting services. It also has IT staff augmentation that supplies tech support included in the service lines it offers for businesses.

Unity Communications serves both large and smaller clients. As examples, AT&T, RingCentral, Wireless Watchdogs, and Telematics are among the clients at Unity Communications.

PriceService LinesFeatures
<$25 / hrVoice Services, Non-Voice BPO/Back Office Services, and IT Staff Augmentation>Number of Employees: 250-999 
>Industry Focus: Information Technology, Business Services, Telecommunications
>Notable Clients: AT&T, RingCentral, Wireless Watchdogs, Telematics
>More features at Unity Communications

What Customers Are Saying
Customers enjoy the opportunity for growth provided by the customer service representatives from Unity Communications. One client mentioned that “Unity Communications contributed to a record-breaking number of leads, and sales doubled. The team delivered impressive results and had a positive influence on the sales process overall. Organization, diligence, and professional tact are qualities that make this firm an excellent partner.”

VoiceNation

VoiceNation Logo
VoiceNation is based in Buford, Georgia, and provides live answering service 24/7 and 365 days per year. It offers bilingual services to accommodate your customers, and it has between 50 and 249 agents available to meet your business needs.

Industry focuses are financial services, health care & medical, and information technology. Real estate and legal industries are also served, as well as others.

Some VoiceNation clients include Adobe, McDonald’s, Dell, Hyundai, Rolls Royce, USDHS, FEMA, Dunkin’ Donuts, Comedy Central, and Delta.

The price for VoiceNation services is under $25 per hour, and it also offers a free seven-day trial to let business owners decide if the service is a good fit.

PriceService LinesFeatures
<$25 / hrVoice Services>Number of Employees: 50-249 
>Industry Focus: Financial Services, Health Care & Medical, Information Technology
>Notable Clients:  Adobe, McDonald's, Dell, Hyundai, Rolls Royce, USDHS, FEMA, Dunkin' Donuts, Comedy Central, Delta
>More features at VoiceNation

What Customers Are Saying
Customers love having a live person answer calls and provide professional service to their customers. One client said, “We are so happy that we are using VoiceNation. It is important to have a real person answer the phone for your business. The onboarding was awesome. The customers think that the operator actually works at our business. That means that the operators are presenting the professional presence that our business needs. The messages get texted to us and emailed, which allows me to track things from home. My husband manages the campground and has to mow and do yard work, so he cannot always be answering the phone. Thus, VoiceNation has really helped us manage our business. Thank you!!!!”

Westpark Communications

Westpark-Communications Logo
Westpark Communications is a US-based company with offices in Texas and Tennessee. It has been in business since 1968, and it has between 50 and 249 employees available to provide answering services for clients.

Answering service, scheduling reservations, and customer service are among the offerings of this company. It provides voice services, non-voice BPO, and back office reporting services to help clients manage records about the customers who call.

In addition to answering services, Westpark Communications offers a virtual office program with voicemail service to catch any missed calls and to allow customers to leave a message.

Industries served by Westpark Communications include eCommerce, legal, HVAC, medical, property management, and utilities.

PriceService LinesFeatures
Custom quoteVoice Services and Non-Voice BPO/Back Office Services>Number of Employees: 50-249
>More features at Westpark Communications

What Customers Are Saying
Customers appreciate that their clients are treated with respect and courtesy. They also value the responsiveness of Westpark Communications staff members when they call in with questions about their service. One customer mentioned that “Westpark Communications really does have ‘All the right answers.’ Our customers receive the same courteous service from Westpark that we do when we have a question or request for them. I’m pleased with our decision to switch to Westpark Communications.”

What Are Answering Services?

Answering services are businesses that answer inbound calls, make outbound calls, and manage other aspects of customer relations on behalf of the hiring company or organization. Companies choose these services based on the need to improve customer relationships and provide service that in-house staff members are not able to provide.

Services may be needed only for times when in-house staff is unavailable, such as in a doctor’s office when it’s necessary to have someone on hand to take messages. Services may also be needed to offer 24-hour-a-day responses to customer calls or to answer high-volume calls. For example, a utility company may choose to work with an answering service to provide basic customer service and accept payments or arrange service calls without interrupting the regular office tasks of in-house staff.

Some other examples of reasons to hire an answering service are needing customer service representatives to reach out to your current or potential customers by making outbound calls and needing someone to answer your inbound calls when your staff is not available. Hiring an answering service may also provide a small business with access to advanced call center software that would otherwise be cost-prohibitive.

Some specialized services offered by some answering services include HIPAA compliance, bilingual communication abilities, social media customer service, and providing government- or finance-based customer service.

Benefits of Answering Services

Advantages of using an answering service include freeing up time to focus on your company’s core competencies. Allowing another agency to manage inbound and outbound calling, for example, frees up your team to focus on the product or service you offer while the answering service manages basic interactions with your customers.

Businesses hiring answering services also gain access to experienced customer service representatives who are skilled in personalizing service, answering questions, managing private records, and negotiations. These services also often have specialized knowledge to assure you of meeting privacy regulations and that the needs of your clients will be served with accuracy and efficiency.

Outsourcing the tasks performed by an answering service may also save a small business money when compared to the cost of hiring a team in-house to manage communications with customers. It saves the cost of choosing an expensive software and phone system, and it also saves the cost of wages and benefits for full-time in-house employees.

An answering service also makes a small business appear efficient and professional by responding to all queries with courtesy and correct information, as well as by directing inbound calls to the correct personnel within the company.

What to Look for in an Answering Service

To accommodate the needs of varying business types and sizes, there are answering services that provide a wide variety of service lines. These service lines include basic phone answering services that take calls on behalf of businesses. These companies perform typical office tasks such as taking messages, managing customer problems and complaints, and handling customer accounts.

There are also services in the genre that provide outbound calling and telemarketing services to reach potential and existing customers regarding new services and products. Non-voice BPO/back office solutions are available from some services to help customers manage records and track KPIs.

Small business owners may enjoy the experience of working with a smaller answering service with only a few employees, basic CSR software programs, and potentially, lower costs. Bigger business owners may note a preference for working with a larger answering service that has more advanced software and a large staff to provide more intensive customer service or one that offers 24/7 service.

Business owners may also prefer to choose an answering service that specializes in the type of company they own, to reduce the learning curve by bringing in agents who are able to hit the ground running and to ensure the answering service agents are already familiar with industry terminology and regulations.

The Cost of an Answering Service

Answering services typically charge from $25 to $99 per hour of service. Some services also add an implementation fee onto the cost before the costs of the service package begin. This fee is charged to cover the service’s costs while setting up the software, testing it, and training employees to use it.

Priced packages from answering services may be set up by the hour, by the minute, or by multi-hour prices where companies get a lower per-minute price by agreeing to a larger contract.

Price packages also factor in the number of services being used. For example, a company needing only an agent to answer calls and take messages would be likely to enjoy a lower per-minute cost than a company that required agents to accept payments for utility accounts or provide IT diagnostics and troubleshooting services.

Some answering service agencies may offer a free trial of some services to let customers see how the service works. These typically won’t be the full services offered, though they do provide the benefit of letting the customer experience working with the answering service before making an investment and committing to a contract.