Answering Service and Voicemail Software

If you need an answering service or voicemail system, and are the do-it-yourself kind of person, then you may be interested in answering service software. That’s one of the terms for software that helps you manage incoming phone calls. It’s also called call management software; phone message software; call center software; or just telephone software. What answering service software is right for your home office or small business?

What Can Answering Service Software Do For You?

Software is used by commercial answering services for both “live operator” and fully automated virtual office services. Both live and automated telephone answering services require the abilities to connect to incoming callers; identify the caller; transfer the caller to the appropriate party; keep a record of all call activity; and, in some cases, respond to voice or keypad input of requests from the caller. Those are the basics, but software can do many other call answering services as well.
Call center software is for “boiler rooms” of inbound telemarketing agents awaiting inquiries from potential customers; tech support and customer service reps; and other kinds of people who field calls from many people. Call center software’s basic function is to answer high volumes of calls and route them to the first available agent. It can also identify callers by location from their area codes, or even individuals who have called before from their numbers or caller-ID.
answering service software
Depending on the caller, the software may be able to put detailed information on the monitor of the agent who receives the call even as the call is transferred to that agent. This enables more efficient, faster customer service.

Starting Small: Online Voicemail Providers

Online voicemail services offer options for solo entrepreneurs and small businesses who want the convenience of handling voice messages online, and a professional sounding “virtual office” presence for callers. Here are a few internet-based voicemail service providers, each with it’s own set of offerings, price points and unique features. Some even have free online voicemail services or free trial periods so you can try them at no cost and find out if it’s right for you or your business.
Google Voice offers a free voicemail to email service, voicemail transcription, custom greetings on a per-caller basis, and call routing. Wouldn’t it be nice to read your voicemails via email, instead of listening to them? You can also easily forward an email – the audio or transcribed text – to someone else. Google Voice also offers call blocking, call recording, and conference calling – all for free!
Grasshopper offers virtual office services “for entrepreneurs,” meaning cheap and rapidly scalable. Start with a portable, toll-free or local number for as low as $12/month. It comes with a customizable main greeting and voice menu with informational and fax-on-demand menu options; unlimited extensions; dial-by-name directory; on-hold music; and conference calling. Includes voicemail and fax to email and email to fax. Supports Blackberry and iPhone. Intelligent call routing so if Joe is unavailable Jane gets his callers, etc. Optional voicemail-to-text, “true” 800 number service, studio production of greetings and voice menu scripts.
Onebox offers a Virtual Receptionist for small businesses of 2 to 20 people. They’ll create a professionally recorded greeting for your business, to greet your callers. It can take voicemail messages or direct calls another number. Simple menu options let you configure auto-attendant, call routing, voicemail, faxing, and conferencing. They also offer live receptionist services for small businesses, starting at $130/month for 50 minutes of answering services, so your calls can be handled by a real person.

More Powerful Systems

Telephone answering software (TAS) can be purchased as a turnkey system, including a computer server, telephone interface cards, etc. It can also be purchased as pure software to be installed on an existing server. offerings integrate readily into other software-based telephony systems such as VoIP, virtual PBX, customer relationship management (CRM), etc.
TAS can cost between $10,000 and $30,000 for an entry-level system. But you can also find free, open source software that does what pricey commercial programs do. One of the most powerful and popular open source telephone answering software packages is called Asterisk.
Asterisk can be downloaded free of charge or bundled with hardware, installation, and training services (which cost money). It’s used by many small and large call centers, telephone answering services, and virtual office service providers. It can be used by any business for its in-house TAS needs.
AsteriskNOW is a complete Linux system with Asterisk and FreePBX. You can use this bundle to quickly download and install everything you need to build a custom PBX phone system. Features include IVR, call hold, company directory, conference calling, call forwarding, speed dialing, music on hold, and more.
Voicemail services are also bundled into Asterisk and many other TAS. So-called “unified messaging” is a popular aspect of such software; it allows voicemail to find its intended recipient by whatever communication channels are available at a given time, sending voicemail to a landline, cell phone, or email inbox as either an audio file attachment or a speech-to-text translation.

More Posts about Telephony:

  • VoIP Systems for Small Business

  • Here’s Your Free Business Fax Number

  • Free Conference Calling Services

  • Mobile Phone Plans for Small Business

  • Get a Toll Free Number

Join the Conversation! Leave Your Comment...


Free Small Business Tech Support -- The Rankin File
Subscribe to The Rankin File: Free Newsletter
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved
Privacy Policy -- See my profile on Google.