1-888-GO-ANSWER is our pick as the best call center for inbound services because it maintains a comprehensive list of inbound call center services that are available at all monthly subscription levels regardless of call volume. Its pricing is flexible and includes suitable plans for businesses of all sizes, as well as the ability to tailor a custom plan if your needs aren't met by any of the existing plans. The company also boasts exceptional customer service that we found to be the best of all the companies we contacted during our review. 1-888-GO-ANSWER maintains three call center facilities in New York, Florida and the Caribbean island of St. Lucia. The St. Lucia call center is manned by agents that are accent neutral, which we experienced firsthand during our research into the company.
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Answering Service Features
1-888-GO-ANSWER maintains both an answering service and call center. Its answering service includes most of the key features we looked for in our review, as well as a few that went above and beyond. Here's a look at some of the answering services that 1-888-GO-ANSWER offers:
- Live answering: 1-888-GO-ANSWER agents are available 24/7/365 to answer the phones on your behalf in a friendly and professional way. You can develop a script to your liking through the client portal or mobile application, or you can customize your existing script on the fly. Agents will read from that script when answering your phone calls.
- Message taking: One of the most basic services that 1-888-GO-ANSWER offers is message taking. Agents will capture basic caller information like name, contact information, the reason for the call and will then forward that message to the relevant people at your organization. Message taking offers a more polished approach than a voicemail box, but also uses very few of your minutes.
- Order taking: Agents can fulfill more advanced customer service roles as well, such as order taking. Order taking involves walking a caller through a purchase and helping them with their order as if they were a customer in your store. Agents can also upsell and cross-sell when the opportunity presents itself.
- Bilingual support: 1-888-GO-ANSWER employs agents that are fluent in both English and Spanish, offering you and your callers bilingual support if needed.
- Mobile application: 1-888-GO-ANSWER includes the AlwaysOn mobile application for iOS and Android devices. AlwaysOn grants you insight into your account and the ability to customize your settings on the fly, which agents will be able to see and respond to in real-time.
1-888-GO-ANSWER's answering service includes a 30-day free trial, one of the longest trial periods we encountered in our review. The answering service is primarily for small and mid-sized businesses in any industry, though 1-888-GO-ANSWER has a wealth of experience in the healthcare, legal, finance, ecommerce, real estate and publishing industries specifically. HIPAA-compliant service is available for healthcare businesses.
Call Center Features
1-888-GO-ANSWER provides all of the major inbound call center services we look for. The company also offers outbound call center services upon request, tailored specifically to each client's needs. Here's a look at some of the main features we found with 1-888-GO-ANSWER, all of which are available regardless of the monthly subscription package you choose.
- Live answering: 1-888-GO-ANSWER offers live answering 24/7/365 as needed, during business hours, after hours, to handle any overflow or around the clock. Agents answer the phone using a customized script that you provide to ensure all calls are handled professionally and in accordance with the brand's messaging.
- Message taking: At its most basic, 1-888-GO-ANSWER agents can take down caller contact information and their reason for calling, forwarding it via email or text to selected contacts in your organization.
- Customer service: 1-888-GO-ANSWER agents can handle incoming customer inquiries or complaints without consulting the points of contact at your company.
- FAQs: Clients can provide 1-888-GO-ANSWER with 10 to 15 frequently asked questions to better assist callers.
- Customer retention: 1-888-GO-ANSWER agents can also engage in extensive customer retention services, such as mollifying dissatisfied callers. Agents can mail coupons or discount vouchers on your behalf to keep customers satisfied.
- Call patching: Calls can be patched directly to your relevant points of contact as needed for no extra charge. Transfers draw from your package of minutes, but many call center services will charge an additional fee for these calls. 1-888-GO-ANSWER does not.
- Email and text message notifications: Email and text message notifications are included at all subscription levels. Any updates to your account, appointments, or changes to your script will be confirmed via these notifications, as well as any messages captured by agents.
- Client portal: 1-888-GO-ANSWER includes access to an online portal where clients can view their account details in real time, including minutes used, minutes remaining, calls received, call types, call results, call duration, average duration of calls and more. Clients can also customize the scripting used by agents in the online portal, which updates the software at the call center facility in real time as well, allowing agents to use the updated script instantly.
- Outbound services: 1-888-GO-ANSWER also engages in outbound calling campaigns on your behalf; however, outbound services are performed on a case-by-case basis. In order to determine which outbound services are suitable for your company, you'll need to consult with your account manager and discuss your options.
For companies with more specialized needs or higher call volumes, clients can select a team of five or more dedicated agents, which come at a competitive hourly rate. 1-888-GO-ANSWER also offers a 30-day, risk-free trial with no obligations. Companies are only charged a setup fee if they continue following the 30-day free trial, during which 1-888-GO-ANSWER observes call volume and nature to develop a more particular service plan.
To see all of our call center service recommendations, visit our best picks page.
1-888-GO-ANSWER offers competitive pricing; however, the best per-minute usage rates are found at the highest volume levels. 1-888-GO-ANSWER is not a tiered service, meaning all core features are available regardless of the monthly subscription size that you select. Some call centers restrict features based on the selected package, so this was a welcome aspect of 1-888-GO-ANSWER's services.
- Pay as you go: $50 per month, plus a $1.15 per-minute overage fee.
- 100 minutes: $110 per month, plus a $1.10 per-minute overage fee.
- 250 minutes: $250 per month, plus a $1.00 per-minute overage fee.
- 500 minutes: $475 per month, plus 95 cents per minute for overage fees.
- 1,000 minutes: $900 per month, plus 95 cents per minute for overage fees.
- 2,500 minutes: $2,200 per month, plus 90 cents per minute for overage fees.
- 5,000 minutes: $4,200 per month, plus 90 cents per minute for overage fees.
- 10,000 minutes: $8,200 per month, plus 90 cents per minute for overage fees.
- Custom plan: If you require more minutes or specialized service, you can call 1-888-GO-ANSWER's sales department to develop a custom package and receive an estimate.
Most features are included with 1-888-GO-ANSWER, but the company also offers a few add-on features for an additional fee each month or at a per-minute usage rate. These add-on services include:
- Interactive voice response menu: 15 cents per minute
- Sub-accounts: $10 per month
- Additional phone numbers: $10 per month, per phone number
1-888-GO-ANSWER is a month-to-month service that does not require any long-term contractual commitments. All plans include access to all the core features we looked for. Pricing packages can be upgraded or downgraded each month as needed based on expected call volume, making 1-888-GO-ANSWER a scalable service suitable for growing companies or seasonal businesses with varying call volumes.
For businesses in need of dedicated agents, 1-888-GO-ANSWER boasts one of the lowest per-hour prices at $14.50 per hour. It does, however, require a minimum of five dedicated agents on a team that works full eight-hour days, which can become pricey. For this reason, we only recommend the use of dedicated agents for high-volume businesses or those with uniquely tailored outbound campaigns.
All plans with 1-888-GO-ANSWER require a one-time setup fee of $75, which is only charged if companies move forward following the one-month free trial. This setup fee is somewhat higher than other call center services we investigated, but the free trial period is also longer than others, giving businesses plenty of time to decide whether the service is a good fit for them or not. 1-888-GO-ANSWER bills in second-to-second increments, meaning you're only charged for the time an agent is connected with a caller on your behalf.
We found a few limitations with 1-888-GO-ANSWER's services. However, the pricing was most competitive at the highest volume plans. Still, the per-minute usage rates for the company's lower-call-volume plans were not cost prohibitive and included access to all core features.
The only other drawback we identified with 1-888-GO-ANSWER is that outbound services, while available, are only designed on a case-by-case basis. That made it difficult to determine all of the specific outbound services the company offered compared to the other call centers we evaluated for our review. To determine the specific outbound services that would be applicable to your company, you need to discuss your options with a 1-888-GO-ANSWER representative.
Still, there were few limitations that posed significant drawbacks with 1-888-GO-ANSWER, which earned it our best pick for inbound call center service.
Our customer service experience with 1-888-GO-ANSWER was extremely positive. The representative was not only helpful in breaking down the offerings available from 1-888-GO-ANSWER (and the typical onboarding process), but the rep provided valuable advice that our hypothetical business should keep in mind when comparing call center services. For instance, the representative explained typical "gotcha" points to ask about, including incremental billing policies and if the call center billed clients for any agent work time after calls. These are common aspects of call center services that often increase monthly costs. This information is indispensable to a small business investigating the industry for the first time. Many providers don't offer this information unless asked, despite its significant potential impact to the overall cost of a call center service.
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