Businesses that have global customers and/or customers who frequently call after hours can benefit from an answering service, which gives customers a person to talk to, even when your business is closed. Specialized answering services can even answer basic questions and give customers technical advice and support.

The main types of answering services are:

  • Computer automated
  • Live virtual receptionist
  • Specialized
  • Call center

Top 10 Most Reviewed Answering Services

Answer 1 provides a range of virtual receptionist services like call screening, appointment scheduling and order processing. We specialize in assisting clients in IT, legal, healthcare and service industries.
Abby Connect provides virtual receptionists to businesses and professionals from our headquarters in Summerlin, NV. Our friendly receptionists accept, screen and transfer incoming calls with customized greetings to save you time.
Davinci Virtual Office Solutions uses live receptionists to answer and forward client calls. Clients can also take advantage of mail forwarding services and hold meetings at over 4,000 spaces all over the world.
Call Ruby uses live professionals who provide virtual receptionist services so clients can make strong first impressions and work away from their desks without missing important calls. Call Ruby offers a 21-day, risk-free trial.
AnswerNet provides virtual call center services for companies that work numerous industries, including commercial vehicle, financial, real estate, pharmaceuticals and insurance. AnswerNet has 28 locations in North America.
AnswerConnect provides 24/7 live answering services so client companies never have to seem closed to their customers. The HIPAA-trained staff can notify clients via SMS or take messages during clients' busiest hours.

The ConsumerAffairs Research Team believes everyone deserves to make smart decisions. We aim to provide readers with the most up-to-date information available about today's consumer products and services.

Want your company to be on this guide?

What features matter most?

Hours of operation

Answering services can take calls when the business is closed or during operating hours, but not all services offer the same time coverage.

  • 24/7: These answering services take calls all day without interruption.
  • Business hours: Calls are answered during typical business hours, generally between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.
  • Global time zones: Answering services with a global presence can accommodate every time zone.

Responsiveness

Answering services need to quickly answer the phone and address inquiries.

  • Answer time: The answering service should pick up calls as quickly as possible.
  • Average call handling time: A lower average call handling time indicates an answering service capable of quickly answering questions.

Expert knowledge

Businesses get an answering service with expert staff.

  • Terminology: Industry-specific answering services know the specialized terminology used by the business.
  • Specialized skill sets: These receptionists provide basic support and answers through their specialized skill sets.
  • Subject matter experts: These answering service employees have credentials or extensive personal experience in specific subject matter.

Technology

Answering services using high-quality and innovative technology provide more features and better service.

  • Call routing: The virtual receptionist routes the call to the most appropriate contact number instead of sending it to a general office number.
  • Voicemail transcription: Voice-to-text transcription sends a written email or text when a voicemail comes into the office phone line.
  • Emergency notification: The answering service operator sends a high priority call directly through the phone line or provides emergency notification to the company.

Call quality

Good call quality provides a better customer and client experience.

  • Voice quality: The answering service needs business-grade phone equipment and quality-enhancing technology.
  • Speech clarity: Virtual receptionists should be well-spoken and capable of clearly communicating on the phone.

Pricing

Answering service prices vary widely depending on the size of the company, the call volume it handles and the contracts in place.

  • Monthly fee: Businesses pay a flat monthly fee for all answering services.
  • Price per call: Companies pay for every received call.

What are different types of answering services?

Automated

This answering service uses a computerized call system.

Live

Virtual receptionists take calls, provide help for callers and route messages to the appropriate personnel.

Specialized

Industry-specific answering services offer advanced technical and subject matter help for callers.

Call center

Businesses with high call volume may need a partially or fully dedicated call center.

Who's it for?

Businesses with high call volume

Companies getting too many calls to handle in-house benefit from the additional answering help.

Small businesses

Smaller businesses need to focus on their core competencies instead of splitting their attention on the phones.

Medical practices

Medical staff can concentrate on patient care while virtual receptionists handle patient calls.

Contractors

Answering services handle job inquiries, provide basic information and set appointments for the contractor.

Company reviews

  • AnswerAmerica

    Answer America is a pay-as-you-go answering service with multiple locations across the United States. This answering service gives businesses live agents capable of capturing customer information and forwarding messages for companies lacking the resources to handle their own calls.

    • Best for Companies get a cost-effective answering service for low call volumes.

  • Specialty Answering Service

    Specialty Answering Service started in 1985 in Philadelphia, PA as a startup service. The virtual receptionists receive extensive training with many quality control measures in place so businesses know their calls get handled with professionalism.

    • Best for Small businesses wanting to leverage a pay-as-you-go answering service to balance costs and service.

  • Advantage Answering Plus

    Advantage Answering Plus got its start in a small room in 1992. Today, the company helps businesses handle their inbound callers with a professional touch and quick message delivery.

    • Best for Companies benefit from a flexible answering service with quick message delivery.

  • A Better Answer Call Centers

    A Better Answer is a 100 percent female-owned and operated answering service operating for 30 years. They handle legal, medical and general business answering needs with live operators and features such as customized message delivery.

    • Best for Businesses with specialized needs can get custom services tailored to their exact requirements, such as medical teams needing urgent call forwarding.

  • TeleMed

    TeleMed provides answering services exclusively for the healthcare industry since 1986. They work with over 45,000 medical providers and handle their answering needs through live operators and secure messaging features.

    • Best for Medical providers get a HIPAA-compliant answering service that helps them focus on their patients, instead of spending all their time and resources answering phones.

  • Alphapage

    Alphapage works with companies looking for medical call and call center services. They offer a wide range of inbound answering service features, such as call screening and dispatching, with a web-based platform that's easy to use.

    • Best for Large companies get a tech-forward answering service with dispatch and medical paging services, email answering support and quick screening features.

  • AnswerFirst

    AnswerFirst provides answering services with a socially and environmentally responsible approach. Their inbound calling features recorded calls available online, quick messaging and email answering support.

    • Best for Small to mid-size businesses benefit from a no-contract answering service with email support.

  • PATLive

    PATLive, founded 25 years ago, is a North American answering service with 24/7 coverage. They feature live operators experienced in taking messages from callers, appointment scheduling so businesses can focus on their work and many answering coverage options.

    • Best for Companies get a variety of answering services that cover call volume the businesses cannot handle, efficient call logging and even complementary services such as data entry.

  • Cloud Virtual Office

    Cloud VO, founded in 2004, provides Workplace-as-a-Service, which gives mobile workers, freelancers and smaller businesses access to a professional answering service, office space rentals and other professional services as needed. These services help smaller businesses handle their calls without distracting small teams from their work at hand.

    • Best for Small and virtual businesses get a cloud-based answering service solution.

  • Contact Communications

    Contact Communications focuses on U.S.-based contact centers over the past 20 years. This answering service lets businesses greet all callers with a live person who can follow the company's custom script.

    • Best for Companies of any size get more time to focus on their core business needs, while Contact Communications provides flexible services with live operators.

  • Sunshine Communication Services

    Sunshine Communication Services, based in Florida and founded in 1975, offers answering services available on a 24/7 basis. They help businesses handle inbound calling with professional receptionists, trained customer service agents and data entry services.

    • Best for Companies get an answering service with receptionists experienced with industry-specific needs, such as medical practices.

11 – 18 Most Reviewed Answering Services