5 Essential Phone Answering Services for Online Companies

Answering calls, taking messages and re-routing callers are essential aspects of a business. The traditional way of doing these is to assign specific persons to answer and re-route calls. However, this method can be burdensome. It takes too much time and effort and can get in the way of other important business operations. This is where a virtual phone answering service comes in.

If employees take more time answering phone calls in the office, they’ll have less time doing actual business work. Using the traditional phone system can also make it harder to reach out to team members who are out doing field work. Such a problem can be remedied by switching to a small business phone system.

By taking off the burden of taking every message and answering each call, businesses can focus more on business operations. This allows businesses to grow and improve their services. On top of this, using a virtual phone answering service also makes small businesses appear more professional. It gives an appearance of trustworthiness to their partners, clients, and prospects.

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Best Phone Answering Services for Businesses

Say goodbye to the burden of answering every call

Virtual phone answering service comes in 2 forms: one that only uses automated attendants and one which uses both automated attendants and live receptionists to take calls and messages. The service can be available at specific days or times, or any time of day and week. It can be straightforward or complex.

Determining which is the best answering service will depend upon the size and kind of business. For small businesses, a straightforward, budget-friendly and automated answering service would suffice. A cloud-based phone system is also recommended. But for larger industries, a complex and more comprehensive service is ideal.

In choosing our top picks, we have considered the price, ease-of-use, and features of each phone answering service. Check them out below.

1. RingCentral- Best Affordable Answering Service for Small Businesses

RingCentral is relatively cheaper than most virtual answering services. At a very affordable price each month, the basic plan offers a package that includes visual voicemail transcription, 100 toll-free minutes, and unlimited phone calls. This makes it ideal for small businesses who are looking for a budget-friendly answering service.

Its auto attendant can route calls to the right employee or department. You can also customize the company greeting which the routing system uses to welcome callers. If you want to scale up, you can also try their more advanced answering services such as the RingCentral Standard or Premium.

Business Phone Service Plans

Reasons to choose RingCentral:

  • It’s affordable
  • Easy to set up and manage
  • Works anywhere on any device
  • 7 layers of security

The downside of RingCentral is that it has no live receptionist to take calls. So if your company needs your business calls answered by a human, then this service is not for you. However, if you’re more concerned about the budget, then this service is most recommended. It already offers the essentials at an affordable cost.

If you wish to know more about RingCentral, check out their website for more details. You can also download their mobile app for free.

2. Specialty Answering Service- Comprehensive Live Answering Service

Specialty Answering Service is the most comprehensive phone answering service. With its wide-range plans, it can cater to the needs of various businesses, from small to large companies. The company also has years of experience in providing phone answering services for many businesses and industries.

The main service of the company is its 24/7 live receptionist. You can also opt for automated calls if that’s what you prefer for certain calls. You can even adjust and revise the script for the company’s live receptionists to use. Features can be easily revised through their portal. This makes it really flexible as your business scales up.

But Specialty Answering Service is more than just answering and routing calls. They offer other features as well to better improve the communication aspect of each business. You can have them answer text messages and emails, use another language like Spanish, take orders, and even respond to questions by customers. These are the main reasons why this is one of the most comprehensive and flexible phone answering services out there.

Flexible pricing for small to large business

Why choose Specialty Answering Service:

  • Live operator available 24 hours
  • Inbound call center services
  • Built to scale up
  • Dynamic software integrations
  • Flexible for businesses of all size

Learn more about Special Answering Service by visiting their official website. The company also has a mobile app, which you can download below.

3. PATLive- For Growing and Small Businesses

PATLive offers 24/7 answering service so your company can still receive calls even after business hours. This allows your company to grow and scale up. It helps you build and maintain professional communication with your clients by making yourself (through virtual receptionists) available anytime.

Aside from its live phone answering service, it also offers other services. They can route calls to the right person, whether in the office or out in the field. The overflow calls feature also make sure that someone’s always there to answer the call even when the other lines are busy. They can do other related tasks like appointment scheduling, order processing, lead collection, and even registration.


  • 2/4 Answering Service
  • Automatic forward calling for overflow calls
  • Book and manage appointments
  • Take calls even after work hours
  • Order processing

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They offer a 14-day trial, so you can try their services before deciding to give it a go. Want to know more about PATLive? You can check out more details about the company and the services through their website.

4. Ruby Receptionists- Live Answering Service for Small Business

Ruby Receptionists does not only provide live receptionist answering service. It also comes with a free local business phone number. Designed for small businesses and solo entrepreneurs, this answering service starts with a $299 monthly plan for 10 users, 10 voicemail boxes, and 100 minutes. Such a plan is just right for a not-so-busy line.

However, you can use their other plans if you want to scale up.

Service Plans for Small BusinessThe company’s live receptionist service is available during business hours (5 am to 9 pm). It’s also available during weekends from 6 am to 6 pm. This setup is just perfect for small businesses that don’t usually get after-business-hour calls. But if you need a 24/7 answering support, we suggest you try the other services included on this list.

Aside from answering calls, greeting callers, holding or routing calls, it can also do the following: appointment scheduling, custom scripting (FAQs and other forms), and handling call overflows.


  • Live business-hour call answering
  • Scheduling and outbound calling
  • Custom call-handling
  • Custom scripting

You can download the Ruby Receptionists mobile app below. While you’re at it, might as well head on to their website to get more details about their services.

5. MAP Communications- Virtual Phone Answering Service & Troubleshooting

MAP Communications is the virtual answering service to get if you’re looking for a company that excels in customer troubleshooting and custom scripting. They specialize in highly customized scripts. As such, they can help your company manage just about anything like order processing and technical troubleshooting.

Their services are also affordable compared with others, except RingCentral which is the cheapest option on the list. Nevertheless, MAP Communications is still affordable considering the services and features that come with every plan.

Pricing and PlansFeatures:

  • 24-hour answering service
  • Appointment scheduling
  • Call routing
  • Customized phone scripts
  • Call overflow

If you’re a small company, you can also check out these phone systems for small business. And if you wish to know more about Map Communications, just visit their official website.

Business Phone System by Grandstream

If you’re also looking for a business phone system for your office, don’t miss this 4 phone 8-line bundle by Grandstream. This completely mobile phone system allows you to get calls anywhere. With this, customers can reach out to team members who are out in the field for work.

Other features include:

  • Auto attendant
  • Voicemail
  • Cell and remote extensions
  • Call recording
  • Free dial tone
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FAQs About Virtual Phone Answering Service

How much does it cost to hire an answering service?

The average cost is 85 cents a minute. Since the average calls received by small businesses is around 250 to 500 minutes a month, then the monthly cost for an answering service is between $200 to $450.

How does answering service work?

Typically, an answering service works by having live or automated receptionists screen, answer and route calls. Aside from these, the service can also include taking messages and orders, answering questions, and scheduling appointments.

What is a live answering service?

It is a type of answering service which uses live people to answer and route calls, answer questions, schedule appointments and such. There is real-time engagement between the caller and the live receptionist.

More Than Just Answering Calls

Getting a virtual phone answering service is beneficial to small and large businesses. They don’t just take off the burden of having to answer calls. The service goes beyond answering and routing calls. In most cases, you’ll get receptionists who will do other important work in engagement with clients like appointment scheduling, answering FAQs and troubleshooting, taking messages, screening calls and more.

In choosing a phone answering service for your company, you must take into consideration the following: your preferences, budget, the size of your business, and the kind of business you’re running.

For example, if you’re business does not usually get a late night or after-business-hour call, then you don’t necessarily have to get a 24/7 service. Also, if you think basic services like simple call answering, screening and routing will do for your business, then that should be fine for now.

With these in mind, we decided to make our list as varied as possible, so you can choose according to your budget and your other criteria. Rest assured that all the answering services we’ve featured here are the “best” in their own special way.

We hope you find this article helpful. We’d like to hear your thoughts. Feel free to leave a comment below.

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  1. I like how you said that businesses can focus more on business operations if they have a phone system. It’s easy to see why phone calls would distract from any other work. I think having a phone system is a smart idea.

  2. I like that you said that having an automated receptionist answering machine would allow you to route calls, answering questions and scheduling appointments. I have a friend that told me that he was thinking of setting up some type of answer machine for his office. I’m going to let him know about looking online for discount packages available.

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