Table of Contents
- Live Answering Service Pricing
- How To Choose The Best Virtual Receptionist For Your Business
- The Top 5 Rated Business Phone Answering Services Reviewed & Compared
But that’s just one industry example… let’s say you’re a dentist or a urologist, and you operate out of a satellite office two days per week in an adjacent city to grow your practice/serve a nearby clientele. It doesn’t make financial sense for the business to invest in a full time staff or sectary for that location, and commingling appointment calls at your main office can often get confusing for your current staff. For a mere $350/mo, you can solve that problem by using this answering service with pre-trained medical specific answering staff. It’s classified as an outside contractor expense for your CPA, and is totally tax deductible without having to deal with adding to your payroll. Not to mention the insurance savings, etc…
This same application works for service businesses, medical, real estate, ecommerce stores, attorneys, and more. Fully customizable scripts can adapt to any business need, and the answering service staff are often times much better at handling difficult customers for obscure industries than a typical secretary.
Live Answering Service Pricing
When I first became aware of live answer services, I though the price was going to be outrageous. I mean after all, for us to have an in house employee on call 24/7, we would pretty much be committing to some type of full time salary, plus all the usual headaches that go along with someone working from home, supposedly around the clock at times.
Once I found out that I could replace even a part time position starting a $150 – $300/mo, it was a no brainer. Then I realized how many other businesses are missing out on sales and revenue, simply because they either can’t afford a full time secretary when just starting out, or don’t know that this service even exists.
The nice thing with a service like Pat Live, is if you run an ad campaign where you’re going to have a high influx of new customer calls, you don’t want to blow your marketing budget simply because you’re not equipped to handle it. Point being, they give you a dedicated phone number for free if you’d like to use it in your advertising, and it won’t affect your normal business line in any way. Very helpful for testing out magazine ads, gauging the response, and knowing immediately if a marketing tactic is working or not.
Plans & Pricing
Starter Plan: $149/mo
Standard Plan: $269/mo
Premium Plan: $399/mo
How To Choose The Best Virtual Receptionist For Your Business
As a small business owner, I have started to think about other similar businesses that could be helped by using live answering services. Why would I need an answering service? What is this service going to provide? Will it be worth the money put towards this service? How does it even work? What’s the best deal? Without an answering service how am I going to answer the phones at all hours of the day and night? Is an answering service my answer? Maybe…But I now have another problem. Will my customers sacrifice? This leads me to more questions. How much will this service cost me? Will it be a live person answering and helping MY customer? I would never want to put my customer and their needs up for sacrifice to a service that charges too much and doesn’t care. It can be very overwhelming. When you google it TONS of services pop up, all foreign and none familiar. Where do I start? Who should I choose? Which one will best fit MY business and MY needs? What’s a small business to do?
Here’s a scenario, let’s say you are a Life-Coach leading people through their daily struggles and during the day it works wonderfully because you are just a phone call away until…. your customer has a total melt down at 3 a.m. They are hurting, frustrated and in need of balance that only you can provide. You are the one person whom can bring them steadiness, realism and peace. You understand their situation and have always been there. You can’t just leave your customer without anyone to turn to, can you? No, you can’t. You care about your customer. So, an answering service is the best choice. But at the same time, you need to feel at peace with whom you choose for your answered service. There is no I in TEAM. You need to send in the second string and feel like they have your back and your team won’t suffer. GO TEAM!
Or maybe something like this. You are a wedding planner and your Bride-to-be has last minute nerves as well as cold feet. Who knows what time of the night. You need to know that she’s in good hands and will be able to reach a live, caring person in your absence. GO TEAM!
Or you are a Doctor and there’s a first time Mom frantically calling about her child’s fever. She needs a kind voice and listening ear to help give advice like suggesting Tylenol and ibuprofen until you can follow up shortly. An answering service that can make her an appointment first thing in the morning would be ideal. GO TEAM!
Or maybe you are a jewelry entrepreneur but can’t get to the phone, a live answering service may be your answer. Ideally, they will make that sale plus adjust you inventory. GO TEAM!
These situations matter to you as a small business owner. You’ve worked so very hard to gain the trust and loyalty of your customer. You shouldn’t have to worry that a missed phone call or rude answering service can lose the game for you. Believe it or not this matters to your customer as well. How many times have you been treated poorly and taken your business elsewhere? Probably a few times at least.
These are only some of the reasons why I’ve started to explore the option of hiring a live answering service for my small business. I want to take care of my customer first and foremost and do that while paying a fair price. Whether you are a doctor and have patients calling at all hours, or a plumber who needs to take care of that customer with a house full of guests on Christmas Eve, or maybe you are a psychic and have a customer that needs her home blessed in the middle of the night from evil entities.
There is a service available for all the above.
But how do they work? And what do they provide?
Why Do You Need A Live Answer Service?
- To give urgent calls priority.
- To weed out the legitimate calls from the calls that can be handled during regular business hours.
- Handle over-flow calls at an extremely busy time while providing your customer with consistent quality acting as a “front office receptionist”.
- Make appointments for your customer.
- Provide daily reports
With today’s advancements in technology within the telecommunications industry, cell phone providers, paging and voice mail services there is as high level of bases being covered and this is all good but lacking drastically in the human voice of a real person and their desire to help the customer.
I have combed through many answering services, read reviews, studied and narrowed it down. I am going to highlight 5 of the best live answering services for small businesses that I believe excel in several areas and aspects offering a high-quality service. These services are all based in the United States. None of these services charge for spam calls, hang-ups or misdials. The average plan is 500 monthly minutes of call time which generally equals 150 inbound calls.
The Top 5 Rated Business Phone Answering Services
Reviewed & Compared
Pat Live – The #1 Recommendation By Professionals
Pat Live has three primary plans for standard business usage. The nice thing about Pat Live, is that they have industry specific trained staff to handle your calls professionally and reliably.
Instead of having to write your own script, or worry about training an in house employee to handle objections appropriately, Pat Live staff are experts and this and handle it day in and day out.
Starter Plan: $149/mo
Standard Plan: $269/mo
Premium Plan: $399/mo
Pat Live has a friendly team of experts that are very professional, upbeat and ready to handle your callers around the clock. Then deliver your messages safely to you almost as if they part of your everyday staff. This is important because it creates a unified business and provides less confusion for your customer.
They won’t answer your calls with a recorded robot voicemail. They answer your calls live every time and never clock out. After hours are never a problem. They will find you anywhere and deliver your massage by sending it instantly through a text. Keeping you up-to-date with your customers while being convenient. Now that is good news and such a great game plan!
Pat Live answers each phone call with your business name offering a no confusion seamless presentation to your callers. They will patch a call through but just in case your unavailable they will take a detailed message and get it to you as quickly as possible with email, SMS, or you can check messages through an online portal.
If your business sells items or products Pat Live is very valuable. Their virtual receptionist can answer questions your buyer may have resulting in a sale! So, you can sell around the clock. You are even able to catch those insomniacs and make a sale! Now that’s a SCORE!
- How To Setup Your Own Automated Greeting Phone System With Grasshopper
- Get A Virtual Business Phone Number On The Cheap
- The Cheapest 800 Number Service Anyone Can Setup In 20 Minutes
- Good Toll Free Number Providers With Call Tracking
Answer Connect has three base plans available.
Standard – 135-minute plan at $149.99/per month
Business – 225-minute plan at $199.99/per month
Premium – 450-minute plan at $399.99/per month
Answer Connect offers appointment-based businesses whether it is healthcare, real estate, law, or personal care, helping you to fill your schedule are maximize your workload. Answer Connect gives you free use of Setmore, their partner online appointment software. Or they will do it your way with your system and go ahead and book those appointments.
Answer Connect makes it easy and convenient for you by logging into your account and using the dashboard to review messages, pay your bill, or even change your plan. Plus, I must add- I signed up for an account and within less than a day I had a follow up call from a very nice woman asking if I had and questions or if she could help me!!!! Now that’s a phone answering service I want on my team!! AWESOME!
SAS – Specialty Answering Service
SAS has 4 packages to choose from –
Economy – $29.00/per month
100 Minute – $109.00/per month
220 Minute – $189.00/per month
500 Minute – $469.00/per month
Extending your business hours by maximizing your phone lines can be a huge asset to your business. So, choosing a live answering service that best matches your business can also be a huge asset for you. It is not a decision that should not be taken lightly. I chose SAS as one of the best services I explored for many reasons. SAS has services that are a good fit for most any small business. Reviews are stated explaining they are in business to make money as the fact that they are smart enough to stay very competitive within their industry as well. Live answering services are fighting to stay in the game and win your business. SAS takes a victory because they offer tons of services to help you with your business. They offer everything from order taking to Bilingual (Spanish) operators, voicemail services and appointment setting for you customers taking out the middleman of a return call from you booking your customer on your schedule.
SAS also offered inbound communications solutions for tons of industries simplifying your search for finding a live answering service that would fit your business. Lawyers & attorneys, doctors & physicians, real estate offices, HVAC contractors, dental practices and even funeral homes. Now that’s how to hit a home run.
With reliable commitment to gain your business SAS also offers several other services that you might need to maximize their service in turn helping your business. Services like telemarketing, virtual assistants in direct mail follow up with virtual receptionists and even market research! And if you need a more specialized service SAS’s dedication to you will even provide personalized training to ensure that they are in-the-know and helping your business benefit in any way possible. Now that’s going the extra mile to win the race!
All of this can seem overwhelming and complicated, RIGHT? Nope, SAS has one-stop software to streamline your experience. You can access your schedule, retrieve your massages and even track metrics to make you happy.
SAS has gone above and beyond to build a business that is almost unmatched by any other service. They take this very seriously, 24 hours a day and 365 day a year serious. BRING them ON!
Pricing packages for VoiceNation in my estimation is the most flexible. This means they are budget friendly.
40 for 40 – $40.00/per month
This was the basic starting fee. Not bad, right? One of the most attractive features was the fact that after this you get to pick and choose the services you need for your business and add them to your package allowing customization to ensure you’re not paying for a service you don’t need. This was very attractive to me!
The options offered from VoiceNation seemed endless and they are having their finger on the pulse of their industry offering you so much that any small business could be comfortable choosing them over most others. Their lineup is impressive with some big hitters on their game card and yet they value their small ballers as well. Which impressed me greatly. I would choose them and feel confident that they are a company I won’t out play and won’t have to go back to the boards looking again.
Stericycle Communications Solutions
Pricing can’t really be compared here. I will tell you why. If you are going to the stadium to watch your favorite football team win the super bowl. You’re decked out in team colors, have a program, your beer and get to your seat only to find you’re at a rock concert venue you’d be totally confused and dumbfounded, right? RIGHT. You must possess the corresponding gear for the corresponding situation. The above scenario would kind of be ok and may work, but mostly not, right? RIGHT!
Stericycle Communications Solutions is the same way. They are a live answering service that can be chosen…. but is absolutely geared towards the medical community and all the needs they may have pertaining to live answering services.
Stericycle Communcicatiosn Solutions is the only live answering service that I found with the needs and services to provide a medical based business with solutions and ease for their business.
If you are a small business and in the medical industry I highly recommend you choose Stericycle Communications Solutions since they offer so many services beyond that needed by most small businesses. They were the only live answering service that I found to offer a combination of live-agent services, automated outreach technologies and even patient engagement platforms. They are securely compliant to support your patients as well as internal initiatives. They will keep you and your staff updated on all the information they gather on your behalf.
Your patients will get the chance to get involved with their care as Stericycle Communications provide them with patient scheduling, physician referrals and even post-discharge and satisfaction surveys all the while they represent your business fantastically.
Professional Communications PCMSI
PCSMI has very affordable pricing. They offer what they refer to as their “Best Rate Guarantee”. They monitor your usage each month and then set your business up on the most cost-effective package based on their findings. So, monthly you get billed at the base rate that is best for your business lending a great value to you. They automatically provide this to you at no extra cost. I think that is a wonderful idea and great process to help each small business out there.
So, who is PCSMI at the core of their business? Here’s what I have found. They are knowledgeable, polite and caring on the phone as I personally called and asked a few basic questions putting them on the spot. I was welcomed and treated very courteous. I learned that whether you are a small business owner or a large well-established corporation, PCSMI will work hard to help you save money and succeed.
This is NOT their first BBQ. They have been in business since 1962. Their experience and know-how impressed me in the fact that today’s world it certainly a lot different than it was then. They have obviously embraced change and worked within their industry to change with it.
All their service operators are located at their location in the United States. They have been trained by PCSMI to enable a consistent service for your customers. Rest assured this helps also in the fact that your customers won’t hear babies crying in the back ground or train whistles blowing.
But this next option is the reason why PCSMI made my top 5 of the best live answering services. If you are an online retailer selling items or products and orders are an essential for the success and growth of your business this is the live answering service for you. PCSMI will process orders for your business to give you an extra boost. Advanced order entry system will enable their operators to seamlessly access your website to assist your customers with current information to help with orders. This feature I felt bumped them above the others resulting in a VICTORY! GO TEAM!
Whether you are searching endlessly or just lightly considering a live answering service for your small business there are a lot to choose from all offering many different options and each all seem to have a specialty. You may have your eye closely on your budget and need a price efficient choice with options or you’re a doctor and need appointment setting services built and geared for the medical community with your patients’ needs first and foremost. Or possibly you may be looking for an answering service with the added benefit of processing orders straight from your inventory to boost business and never turn away your customer. But don’t forget the tried and true genuine customer service that all people, customers, businesses, and individuals deserve. These qualities were considered, studied and rated as the reasons why the above Live answering services fell among my BEST! I believe these to be my starting line up in the game of business! GO TEAM!
“The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand. “
~ Vince Lombardi