PROFESSIONAL ANSWERING SERVICES: The Best Options in 2022

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As a business owner, you don’t need anyone to tell you how every call from a client is vital to the success of a company. Clients who can speak with a real person right away are more likely to be satisfied than those who must use an answering machine and wait for a response. To keep your consumers from waiting on hold, it is a good idea to use professional answering services. Professional answering services help your company communicate, whether you require a full-time receptionist or simply need a break from your phone lines. In case you’ve been debating whether or not to use professional answering services to manage your company’s important communications, this article should clear things up and help you make an informed decision.

Overview

The risk of losing potential clients is high when the business phone goes unanswered. Even if you do pick up the phone, there’s a good chance that solicitors will waste your time. Thus, many small businesses feel trapped between the prohibitive costs of picking up the phone and the similarly prohibitive costs of not doing so. Professional answering services can help you avoid this impasse. Instead of you picking up the phone, they’ll do it for you. Professional answering services will take your calls and relay messages to you. They generally have operators that are trained to gather all the pertinent information from each caller. As part of their job as professional answering services;

  • They are able to cope with annoying solicitors.
  • They’re equipped to immediately send forth time-sensitive communications.
  • They will even make appointments with customer support reps on your behalf if you need it.

It’s more efficient for professional answering services to take your calls. Apart from saving you time, you can also avoid the risk of losing any potential new consumers. So, when running a business, it only makes sense to employ the services of a professional answering service.

What are Professional Answering Services?

In short, professional answering services are experts responsible for fielding calls and other messages for multiple businesses. Many companies find it helpful to have an answering service manage their inbound and outbound calls, but modern professional answering services also handle email, text message response, and cold calling.

However, if you’re in the market for one, then you should be aware that professional answering services are known by a variety of names depending on their specific offerings :

Contact or Call Centers

The existence of call centers is no secret. Whether you have positive or negative feelings about them, they provide a necessary service for businesses who rely on external live operators to handle customer support issues and a high call volume. Call centers conduct a variety of tasks, not just telemarketing, unlike what most people imagine when they hear the term. One common purpose of these organizations is to act as a company’s first point of contact with its clientele or to provide technical support for the latter.

Internet Answering Service

Most online answering services are not the same as conventional ones. They basically offers their sevices and support via email, live chat, and other digital mediums. Live agent support is also uncommon among internet answering services.

Virtual Receptionist

The services provided by this firm are equivalent to those of a standard office receptionist. They must answer calls, transfer it to the appropriate person, and provide the callers any pertinent information, such as office hours and location.

Virtual Office Office

The virtual office agency is like having a virtual receptionist, except they also provide you with a real location and can host short-term meetings there. For new enterprises or those with a mobile workforce, this may be an excellent choice.

Automated Answering Service

The voice-response system is the foundation of the automated service rather than human agents. Despite not being an old-fashioned answering service, this firm provides a way for callers to leave messages or follow a set of voice prompts to reach the appropriate department. If you’ve ever phoned customer service and been given the option to push 1 or 2, you’re definitely familiar with this type of service.

Do Answering Services Still Exist?

Absolutely!  More people are using answering services than ever before. The fact that answering services still exist may come as a surprise to those who have wondered whether they are still necessary in the age of increasing AI and technological advancement.

What is the Difference Between a Call Center and an Answering Service?

Talking about professional answering services, a firm may contract with a third-party answering service to receive and forward its calls and messages on their behalf. A call center on the other hand performs the same function, but with the added capability of using complicated scripts to handle inquiries, phone orders, lead qualification, and electronic correspondence.

What Do Answering Services Do?

Basically, they answers telephone calls on behalf of another organization. If your company needs a receptionist or just a break from fielding calls, Professional Answering Service can help. Live operators are available around the clock, allowing you to increase your business’s accessibility and lengthen the time your office is open to the public.

Your consumers will always have access to real people, available to answer their questions immediately. They also help improve your site’s usability and attract more visitors by offering live chat.

What is the Difference Between an Answering Service and an Answering Machine?

An answering service representative can undoubtedly close a deal; an answering machine cannot. In addition to taking incoming calls, operators can also place outbound calls: An answering service can also assist you if you’re having problems calling prospects back. 

Are Answering Machines Obsolete?

In this age of voicemail and other messaging services, answering machines are now largely obsolete. Both the initial purchase price and the ongoing cost of maintaining an answering machine can add up quickly. Voicemail is a more time- and cost-effective way to get in touch with others, and it can be used with virtually any phone.

Voicemail allows you to check messages from any phone, and no one else will hear them. When compared to answering machines, voicemail is safer because messages are erased permanently after being listened to. Your privacy is also at stake because answering machines are simple to hack.

Can I Use Answering Machine instead of Voicemail?

If you don’t want to use voicemail but desire to utilize an answering machine, make sure to set it to take up calls after lower than 4 ringing.

Basically , both perform same functions. When there is no one available to take a call, callers can leave messages on an answering machine or voicemail.

Unfortunately, most answering machines are incapable of recording a message from a caller if the line is busy or the caller is disconnected from the line.

On the other hand, most voicemail systems will divert the call to the voicemail server. This will allow the caller can leave a message even if the receiver is unable to take it at the time.

Professional Answering Services: The Best 2022 Options

The best answering services have professional call takers, receptionists, and people who take appointments and orders. The best option will be cost-effective for your business and easy to use with your other systems. They improve the call management system and also make it easier to talk to customers by adding things like personalized scripting, operators who speak more than one language, and flexible call routing.

If you’re in the market hunting for top professional answering services, here are a few options you can consider;

#1. Ruby

An increasingly common form of live answering service, Ruby (or Ruby Receptionists) provides round-the-clock virtual receptionists and built-in online chat. It has the most features and options of any answering service available today. This include the ability to schedule appointments, direct calls as needed, and even collect leads automatically, making it number on this list top.

The platform provides a fully functional mobile app that allows you to receive instant notifications for incoming calls and messages. At the moment, Ruby is compatible with numerous popular business apps like Grasshopper, Clio, Nextiva, MyCase, and Rocket Matter. Ruby’s auto-attendant has both call whisper and barge features to offer superior customer service.

Virtual receptionists and live chat can be used together in a single package if the need arises. Only downside is that Ruby only offers answering services and live chat. Hence, you can check out Davinci Virtual if you need a live answering service to assist you with routine office duties. By upgrading to one of Davinci’s Premium plans, you’ll gain access to virtual assistants with the skills necessary to handle any number of administrative chores beyond the scope of a standard assistant.

Key Features

  • Ruby mobile app
  • Capturing leads mechanically

PROS

  • Neither the initial setup nor after-hours call handling are charged for.
  • Connects to commercial VoIP platforms
  • Intuitive call management options such as forwarding and live transfers

CONS

  • You can only speak with a bilingual receptionist during business hours.
  • Compared to the other service providers, it is the most expensive option.
  • Prices per minute that are significantly higher

#2. MAP Communications

When it comes to on-demand per-minute pricing, MAP Communications is the only live receptionist service in this list. To use the Standard plan, you pay only for the minutes you actually use (in addition to a low monthly subscription fee). All hours of the day and night, seven days a week, at no extra cost, the basically offer receptionist services. Access to a client portal, script customization, text and email delivery, and a choice of a local or toll-free number are standard features across all service tiers.

MAP Communications has the cheapest monthly membership rates, but bills in 60-second intervals. In the event that a call lasts 110 seconds, but is billed as 120, you will be charged for 120. Its base plan is reasonably priced at $43 a month, plus the cost of any minutes actually utilized, making it a good option for startups and one-person operations.

MAP Communications is a cheap option, but it lacks a mobile app. Instead, you can track your company’s incoming calls through a client online interface. Check out Ruby if you’d like real-time information about your company’s phone calls, no matter where you are. A complete mobile app is available from Ruby, with features like call holding at the touch of a button and dedicated business numbers hosted by Ruby.

Key Features

  • Specific scripts
  • Customer web portal
  • Telephony services

PROS

  • All packages come standard with a local or toll-free phone line.
  • Each subscription includes access to a dedicated client-facing website.
  • Time-based pricing is possible, and you’ll only be charged for the time you actually spend using the service.

CONS

  • There is no accompanying smartphone app.
  • Minutes not part of Standard plan’s allotment

#3. Abby Connect

If you run a small business and want to have a dedicated crew handle your calls and chat messages, Abby Connect is one of the best options. If you sign up for one of their plans, you’ll have access to a group of five to seven receptionists, with the option of adding more teams for longer service hours and round-the-clock support. This makes it seem that your company has a dedicated reception staff who are well-versed in the ins and outs of your industry.

Abby Connect allows you to upload custom transfer music in order to better represent your company’s values than any other service. It also has the longest free trial, at 14 days, during which you can try out the service, your assigned team, and all the features available to you at no cost. In addition, to help you get the most out of the service, you will be assigned a personal success manager.

Abby Connect isn’t the cheapest option, especially if you need around-the-clock support from an answering service. MAP Communications is $100 cheaper per month than Abby Connect, but it lacks a mobile app and doesn’t offer dedicated teams. Since the regular plan doesn’t contain any bonus minutes, you’ll have to pay extra for each minute you use.

Key Features

  • Abby Go mobile application
  • Call rejection
  • Warm transfer

PROS

  • Specialized group led by a dedicated success manager for your account.
  • SLA guarantees of a 99.99% uptime service
  • You can contact your account manager to set up call recording.

CONS

  • A surcharge is applied for around-the-clock assistance.
  • Mobile app just allows for texting, and no other forms of communication
  • There is no call forwarding option

#4. Davinci Virtual 

Davinci’s two tiers of service, Business and Premium, allow you to pick and choose the services that work best for your company. In the case of Premium packages, the receptionist doubles as an administrative assistant, helping with things like scheduling and travel arrangements. For administrative tasks, Davinci charges $50/hr, billed in 15-min increments.

Plans for businesses include standard features like voicemail management, call forwarding, and a dedicated phone number. In addition, Davinci has a special function that allows you to host teleconferences with as many as 99 people.

Unfortunately, Davinci’s phone lines are only staffed on weekdays between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. It now takes more time to activate an account. VoiceNation is the best option if you require a 24-hour solution that includes weekends and holidays and fast account creation.

Key Features

  • Davinci mobile app
  • Virtual assistant
  • Sophisticated call routing

PROS

  • Free and unlimited international calls
  • Per-second charges
  • Dependable mobile app

CONS

  • Doesn’t provides round-the-clock phone support.
  • Setup costs $95 and there’s no free trial available.
  • It may take up to two business days to activate.

#5. VoiceNation

When it comes to setting up an account, VoiceNation is one of the quickest and easiest options available. VoiceNation, in contrast to other providers that take two days or more to have your account up and running, can be set up and customized in under twenty-four hours. Additionally, it has cheaper rates and requires no initial investment to get started.

Regardless of which plan you choose, VoiceNation always provides you with bilingual agents, scripts written specifically for you, and a cutting-edge mobile app. It provides a powerful report and analytics tool for managing performance and making predictions. Only Enterprise tier subscriptions come with a personal account manager. Abby Connect is worth looking at because it provides a specialized team and success manager for all pricing tiers.

Key Functions

  • Online response tracking system
  • Transaction Processing
  • Toll-free number that can be forwarded to another number

PROS

  • Not requiring any initial investment to get started
  • There will be no additional costs incurred for calls made on holidays or outside of normal business hours.
  • All plans come standard with bilingual operators.

CONS

  • Calls made from the mobile app cost 10 cents per minute.
  • Only those on the Enterprise package get access to a dedicated account manager.
  • Cannot be used to schedule appointments

How Many Messages Does an Answering Machine Hold?

Your voicemail box has a capacity of up to 30 messages at any given time. Depending on the type of voicemail, new messages are stored for anywhere between 14 and 30 days after they are received. In the event that you do not save them during that time, the files will be erased automatically. Messages that have been saved are retained for a period of thirty days; at that point, if you have not manually erased them, the system will automatically do so for you.

What is a Digital Answering Machine?

A digital answering system, or “digital answering machine,” is a machine that can record and save messages from callers and is connected to a traditional landline telephone. Businesses and homes alike utilize digital answering systems to field phone calls and take messages.

Conclusion

On behalf of a business, professional answering services takes calls, places calls, and disseminate information to their clients.

These firms help small and medium-sized businesses because those businesses often lack the funds to engage an in-house workforce to handle their high call volumes.

Moreover, many professionals, like doctors, plumbers, and electricians, have busy schedules outside of the office that prevent them from personally answering their phones. Having an answering service means they can receive calls and avoid losing customers to rivals.

Professional Answering Services FAQs

Do you think it's worthwhile to pay for an answering service?

Undeniably. You can retain consumers, fulfill their expectations, and offer customer service with the aid of professional phone answering services. Additionally, the modest fee you pay your answering service yields a large return on investment month after month and year after year.

What is the cost of a phone answering service?

It’s crucial to realize that several variables affect how much an answering service costs in this situation. Depending on the service package you choose, you may expect to pay between $0.65 and $1.19 per call. That’s why it’s so important to assess your potential call traffic before choosing a package.

Why is an answering service necessary?

When you’re too busy to talk to potential clients or answer urgent questions from current ones, an answering service can do so while you focus on what you’re doing. Having an answering service to field calls when you’re closed is also a great time saver. 

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