What Are Answering Service Companies And How Can They Help Your Business Grow?

What Are Answering Service Companies And How Can They Help Your Business Grow?
Article by DesignRush DesignRush
Last Updated: May 05, 2021
An answering services provider talking with a client
Half of your customers would switch to a competitor after just one bad experience
“Customer experience still reigns supreme as a key competitive differentiator.”
Salesforce

Yet, many brands fail to provide their clients with excellent support.

So, it’s no surprise half of consumers would turn to a competitor after a single bad experience.

Answering service companies can make all the difference.

In this article, we’ll give an overview of what these agencies do and point out a few reasons why you should consider hiring one.

designrush

What Is An Answering Service?

An answering service is a group of industry-trained customer service professionals who manage inbound and outbound calls on behalf of organizations.

These experts replace or sometimes support traditional receptionists as well as call centers.

Their job is to help businesses:

  • Handle routine tasks to reduce workload
  • Provide marketing and sales support
  • Improve customer service
Get free proposals from agencies offering business services!
SUBMIT YOUR PROJECT

Top 10 Answering Service Companies Of 2021

These are the best answering service companies that you can hire to grow your business:

#1: Specialty Answering Service (SAS)

Answering service companies: SAS
[Source: SAS]

Specialty Answering Service (SAS) is a Pennsylvania-based telephone answering service with 30 years of experience in the call center industry.

The agency has highly-trained agents whose job is to ensure that every caller receives superior care.

They serve clients across different industries like real estate, medical and property management.

Their key services include:

  • Live answering
  • Message taking
  • Order taking
  • Lead capture
  • Appointment scheduling

SAS has bilingual support and offers 24/7 coverage.

Pricing:

The company offers eight pricing plans:

  • Economy ($34/month + $1.29 per minute)
  • 100 minutes ($128 per month + $1.19 per minute)
  • 220 minutes ($219 per month + $1.19 each additional minute)
  • 500 minutes ($539 per month + $1.09 each additional minute)
  • 1,000 minutes ($999 per month + $1.05 each additional minute)
  • 2,500 minutes ($2,400 per month + $0.99 each additional minute)
  • 5,000 minutes ($4,599 per month + $0.99 each additional minute)
  • 10,000 minutes ($8,599 per month + $0.89 each additional minute)

#2: Unicom

Answering service companies: Unicom
[Source: Unicom]

Headquartered in Illinois, Unicorn is an inbound and outbound call center that assists businesses across a range of industries, including legal, medical and construction.

The company’s agents receive special industry training, so they handle each call with professionalism.

Unicom can assist you with:

  • Phone answering
  • Call filtering
  • Order taking
  • Help desk
  • Scheduling and appointments
  • Message intake
  • Data entry
  • Lead capture

Pricing:

Unicom’s pricing starts at $39.95 per month. However, you need to contact the agency for a custom quote.

#3: PATLive

Answering service companies: PATLive
[Source: PATLive]

Located in Florida, PATLive provides its clients 24/7/365 coverage. The agency is committed to delivering an engaging, helpful experience on each call their clients receive.

From hello to goodbye, their calls are highly customizable.

Some of the services the agency offers are:

  • Call transfers
  • Message taking
  • Appointment scheduling
  • Lead collection
  • Order processing
  • Event registrations
  • Integrations

Pricing:

PATLive has several pricing plans that require no contracts or commitments:

  • Basic ($39/month)
  • Starter ($149/month)
  • Standard ($269/month)
  • Pro ($629/month)
  • Pro+ ($999/month)

#4: AnswerHero

Answering service companies: AnswerHero
[Source: AnswerHero]

AnswerHero is a Florida-based answering services provider serving businesses from different sectors, including legal, medical, real estate and finance.

The agency offers 24/7/365 coverage and fully bilingual agents whose job is to ensure your callers receive the highest quality of support.

  • Urgent call answering
  • Message taking
  • Disaster recovery
  • Appointment setting
  • Lead capture
  • Call routing
  • Surveys

Pricing:

AnswerHero has five pricing plans:

  • Starter ($79/month for 50 minutes)
  • Popular ($129/month for 100 minutes)
  • Pro ($249/month for 250 minutes)
  • Business ($449/month for 500 minutes)
  • Executive ($749/month for 1,000 minutes)

#5: VoiceNation

Answering service companies: VoiceNation
[Source: VoiceNation]

VoiceNation is a Georgia-based live answering services provider that assists clients across a range of industries, including legal, medical real estate and digital marketing.

Thanks to their 24/7/365 coverage, they help organizations eliminate hang-ups and never send their businesses to voicemail boxes.

Their key services include:

  • Call patching
  • Disaster recovery
  • Order processing
  • Voice mail
  • Live chat

Pricing:

  • Basic ($49/month for 20 minutes)
  • Business ($99/month for 50 minutes)
  • Pro ($249/month for 150 minutes)
  • Executive ($449/month for 300 minutes)
  • Enterprise ($799/month for 600 minutes)

#6: Davinci

Davinci website
[Source: Davinci]

Located in Utah, Davinci has served over 40,000 virtual clients throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe.

Their clients come from different sectors like healthcare, legal, technology and real estate.

The agency’s core services include:

  • Call routing
  • Audio conferencing
  • Online faxing
  • Outbound calling
  • Lead generation
  • Follow-up calls
  • Surveys
  • Voicemail support

Pricing:

Contact Davinci for a custom quote.

#7: Go Answer

Go Answer website
[Source: Go Answer]

Go Answer is a New York-based company that provides answering services to small and medium-sized companies.

The agency offers 24/7/365 bilingual support and serves clients in the education, hospitality and financial sectors, among others.

Apart from phone answering services, their expertly-trained contact center agents can handle various other tasks, including:

Pricing:

Contact Go Answer for a custom quote.

#8: PCMSI

PCMSI website
[Source: PCMSI]

PCMSI is based in Pennsylvania. The agency employs highly-trained and competent telephone answering services operators who are available 24/7/365.

They partner with clients across various industries like real estate, healthcare, transportation, government and information technology.

Some of their services are:

  • Live answering
  • Call transfers
  • Appointment scheduling
  • Order taking
  • Lead capture
  • Help desk

Pricing:

PCMSI offers 15 pricing plans, starting from $67/month for 60 minutes and up to $2,200/month for 4,000 minutes.

#9: AMBS Call Center

AMBS Call Center website
[Source: AMBS]

AMBS is a 24/7 call center company headquartered in Michigan. They serve clients in various sectors, including business services, healthcare and utilities.

The company’s agents are HIPAA compliant and their services are optimized for exceptional customer support.

Ambs can assist you with:

  • Taking messages
  • Taking orders
  • Answering customer concerns
  • Answering questions products or services questions
  • Voicemail support
  • Appointments scheduling
  • Sales lead capture
  • Event registration
  • Emergency line coverage

Pricing:

AMBS offers five pricing plans:

  • 250 minutes ($249/month)
  • 500 minutes ($479/month)
  • 1,000 minutes ($949/month)
  • 2,500minutes ($2,250/month)
  • 2,500+ minutes (inquire)

#10: MAP Communications

MAP Communications website
[Source: MAP Communications]

MAP Communications is a Virginia-based company that specializes in answering services.

The agency partners with both small businesses and Fortune 500 companies in various sectors, including transportation, hospitality, utility and government.

Their key services include:

  • Appointment scheduling
  • Call routing
  • RSVP answering service
  • Virtual answering service
  • Customized phone scripts
  • Free online tools and reports

MAP Communications offers bilingual experts and 24/7/365 coverage.

Pricing:

The company has three pricing plans:

  • Standard ($39/month for 0 minutes)
  • Business (149/month for 125 minutes)
  • Executive ($249/month for 225 minutes)

What Do Phone Answering Service Companies Do?

Phone answering service companies wear many hats, but their primary goal is to showcase businesses in the best light possible, improving their brand image and increasing customer satisfaction.

They help brands create meaningful, personal connections with customers through executing tasks like:

  • Screening calls
  • Recording calls
  • Delivering messages
  • Setting appointments
  • Managing emergency calls
  • Processing outbound marketing campaigns
  • Taking orders
  • Providing customer service and technical support
  • Communicating with clients via text and email

Phone answering service companies can handle a high volume of calls after hours, during weekends or holidays, making sure each customer is assisted with special care and personalized communication.

Agency description goes here
Agency description goes here
Agency description goes here

How Do Answering Service Companies Work?

Typically, answering service companies operate by using call forwarding.

When organizations activate this option on their office phones, phone traffic is transferred automatically to the answering service provider’s office.

The calls are answered by highly trained industry representatives that understand the callers' needs and answer their frequent questions professionally.

They work based on specific guidelines or scripts that they use when speaking with clients.

So, callers won’t realize that they are connected to an outside customer agent or that they haven’t directly reached the office they’ve called.

Most phone answering service providers will assist you with additional services, including assisting clients via live chat, email and social media.

Additionally, these experts usually make real-time reports that not only allow you to monitor billing and the agents’ performance but are also useful in understanding your customers’ needs and concerns.

How Much Do Phone Answering Service Providers Charge?

Answering services are subscription-based services. So, providers typically charge:

  • Per minute: This structure is based on the minutes the agents spend talking with clients
  • Per call: In this case, the business pays a flat rate for each received call
  • Per month: This fee includes a set number of calling minutes per billing cycle

Prices usually start at $30+ and go as high as a few thousand dollars per month.

The cost ranges from company to company, and a few factors that may influence it are:

  • The number of services used
  • The coverage time
  • The agency reputation

What Is The Difference Between An Answering Service, A Call Center And A Virtual Receptionist?

In each case, it’s like having an in-house receptionist. However, these three types of services slightly differ based on how they handle tasks.

Call centers typically manage large volumes of calls mostly connected to order taking and telemarketing.

They are also able to answer questions over the phone or send emails and text messages to handle various customer requests themselves.

Answering service companies usually receive short calls, which they later route towards different departments.

Their job is to gather key information from callers like names, telephone numbers or issues they struggle with. Then, they quickly transfer this info where needed so that their clients’ employees can respond to them accordingly.

Virtual receptionists perform the same or similar tasks as answering services and call centers. Additionally, they can also assist businesses with lead capturing and appointment scheduling.

However, unlike phone answering services and call centers, they are more concerned with your business success and engage in more interactions with your team.

These experts' job is to improve your customer satisfaction and sales, so they offer various customer service-related services and handle the communication with professionalism.

Considering that these types of services are increasingly in demand, the three types of companies may offer customer support services that each of them would normally offer separately.

Agency description goes here
Agency description goes here
Agency description goes here

How Can Answering Service Companies Benefit Your Business?

From reducing costs to boosting sales, these are the major benefits that partnering with answering service companies can bring:

#1: Reduced Cost

Compared to hiring an in-house receptionist, phone answering service providers can save you money in the long run.

Employing an in-house receptionist may cost you between $2.800 and $3,500 per month, whereas hiring and training a new employee can cost you about $4,000.

Factor in additional spending like sick days, holidays, payroll taxes and hiring several people to handle each shaft. Add office equipment costs as well.

Partnering with an answering service provider can reduce these costs dramatically since customer agents are fully trained experts who have all the necessary equipment to handle client communication.

Plus, they will charge you based on the minutes spent talking with your clients, so you will avoid paying full-time salaries.

#2: Increased Productivity

Each call you get is an opportunity to provide your callers with great customer service while enhancing your brand image and improving client satisfaction.

However, responding to each call or email can be a hassle, especially if you and your team have too much work on your shoulders.

Allowing an external answering service to manage your client communication can free you a lot of time so that you can focus on your company’s core competencies and larger sales drivers.

It will reduce your workload while increasing your productivity and efficiency.

#3: Enhanced Customer Service

Answering service companies can help your business reinforce strong customer relationships and maintain a professional image.

Their highly trained representatives offer professional services who can ensure your clients receive high-quality support, showcasing your company in the best light possible.

They will customize your clients’ experience, offering personalized greetings and answers for each individual caller.

They can also provide 24/7 assistance, even out of your working hours, during weekends and holidays.

Additionally, these professional agencies employ talent who speaks several languages to serve your bilingual customers.

All these factors will contribute to enhanced customer service, increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty.

#4: Easy Tracking

Partnering with a phone answering service provider will give you access to cutting-edge reporting tools to track your inbound and outbound calls.

These tools can generate monthly reports automatically and provide you with insights into who is calling your business and for what purposes.

They can also track key info on callers and numbers that you can later leverage for your sales and marketing campaigns.

Additionally, these tools will measure how much time your agents spend assisting your clients, which helps monitor the billing.

#5: Boost In Sales

92% of consumers say that positive customer service experiences make them likely to purchase from a brand again. (Salesforce)

Excellent customer service is a major factor that influences client satisfaction and retention. It is the key to building loyalty and driving repeated purchases.

Answering service companies with their agents can make all the difference by offering professional support and efficient problem resolutions.

This will contribute to more returning clients and sales boosts.

what customers think about customer service experience
[Source: Salesforce]

How To Choose The Best Phone Answering Service Provider For Your Business

To choose the best phone answering service provider for your business needs, consider the following factors:

  • Industry experience: Ask if the prospective agencies have experience in serving companies in the same sector. If they do, it means that they are already familiar with the ins and outs of your business, the needs and the major concerns of your clients. Agents with previous industry experience can serve your callers more effectively and efficiently.
  • Time coverage: Think about the time you need these experts to assist you. Do you need them during your working hours, after your working hours or only for weekends and holidays? Some phone answering service providers work 24/7/365; however, others can only offer their support at a specific time of the day. So, do ask these companies for the time coverage before you make your choice.
  • Client feedback: Find out what other clients say about each potential agency by reading their reviews. This form of feedback will showcase their capabilities and strengths but also highlight their weaknesses. You will discover how reliable and flexible they are, what processes they have and whether they can provide exceptional customer service.
  • Reporting: See what reporting tools these agencies have access to and ask how often they will provide reports and what they will include. A great phone answering service company will ensure their monthly reports include key data like number and types of calls received, number of issues solved or not solved, the time spent on each call and more.
  • Bilingual agents: Learn if phone answering service providers employ bilingual representatives. This is particularly important if you live in an area where English is not the only spoken language. Consider that Spanish is the most spoken foreign language in the U.S., so you might want to partner with an agency that has Spanish-speaking agents as well. It all depends on your location and customer base.
The most spoken languages in the US
[Source: Statista]

10 Questions To Ask Answering Service Companies Before Hiring One

  1. What industries does your team have experience in?
  2. What type of systems and technologies do you have access to?
  3. Do you offer any additional services to call answering?
  4. Do you use local numbers?
  5. What time coverage do you offer?
  6. How can you ensure the quality of your services?
  7. Do you have an emergency backup plan?
  8. Will you provide me with monthly analytical reports? What metrics will you track?
  9. Where are your agents located? Are they fluent in English? Are they bilingual?
  10. How much will your services cost me and what is included in the contract?
Discover how you can capture more customers with targeted advertising.
READ MORE

Takeaways On Answering Services

Answering service companies can help you manage your client communication more effectively and efficiently. 

Hiring them may cost you between $30 and a few thousands of dollars per month.

The benefits of partnering with a phone answering service provider are:

  • Reduced cost
  • Increased productivity
  • Enhanced customer service
  • Easy tracking
  • Boost in sales

To choose the best agency partner for your business needs, consider these factors:

  • Industry experience
  • Time coverage
  • Client feedback
  • Reporting
  • Bilingual agents
Subscribe to Spotlight Newsletter
Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest industry news
"