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AnswerConnect Review

By
Adam C. Uzialko
,
business.com writer
| Updated
May 21, 2019
Home
> Marketing
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AnswerConnect offers answering services as well as inbound and outbound call center services for businesses of all different sizes and service level needs. Whether in its basic message-taking services or more advanced functions like order processing, AnswerConnect can tailor a program for any business.

AnswerConnect

AnswerConnect

The Best Call Center Services of 2019

The Verdict

AnswerConnect brings some solid features to the table, but it demands high rates and rounds up to the nearest minute when billing, making it a potentially costly partner.

For all of our answering service recommendations, visit our best picks page.

Answering Service Features

AnswerConnect offers a variety of services for its clients to mix and match based on their needs. Whether you're a small professional office that simply needs someone to answer the phone and take down messages or a retail business with an e-commerce store that wants help processing orders, AnswerConnect has options for you. These are some of AnswerConnect's key features:

  • Live answering: AnswerConnect agents are available 24/7/365 to answer caller inquiries in a professional manner, in accordance with the details you set out.
  • Message taking: AnswerConnect agents will capture all pertinent information from a caller, including their name, contact information and reason for calling. That information is saved in your preferred system, and messages will be forwarded to you.
  • Order taking: Agents can help callers navigate your e-commerce store and place orders, facilitating digital sales for your business.
  • Appointment setting: AnswerConnect agents can set appointments in your preferred software, automatically placing new appointments on the calendar and alerting the relevant parties when a new appointment is set.
  • FAQs: You can provide agents with a list of the most common inquiries your company gets to help them respond on the fly to callers without forwarding the call to your staff or taking a message for later response.
  • Web chat: AnswerConnect includes live web chat at no extra cost. An agent will respond to chat inquiries on your website.
  • Toll-free number: As an AnswerConnect client, you'll be provided with a toll-free number to use for your business, or you can choose to port your existing number over to the service.

All of these services are included in the answering service subscription at no extra cost. You can also implement an interactive voice response system that allows callers to route their call with self-guided prompts (e.g., "For sales, press 1. For technical support, press 2"), which can save time. The IVR system has its own separate minutes package.

Call Center Features

AnswerConnect's call center services build on its answering services with more advanced features, which include both inbound and outbound support. Call center services include the use of shared and dedicated agents (dedicated agents are much more expensive, as they focus on a single client). These are some of AnswerConnect's key call center services:

  • Sales: Call center agents not only serve as a sales department, but can also cross-sell and upsell to drive more revenue. AnswerConnect can plug directly into your e-commerce platforms for seamless order management and sales functions.
  • CRM integration: AnswerConnect agents can interact directly with your customer relationship management tool, automatically updating contact information and the time of last contact.
  • Lead generation and qualification: Call centers are adept at capturing new leads and qualifying them during an inbound call. AnswerConnect agents can capture caller information and gauge where they are in their buying journey to help you convert more callers into buyers.
  • Customer care and retention: Call center agents serve as a holistic customer service department and work to keep customers happy. When you're in danger of losing a customer, you can dispatch a call center agent to win them back.
  • Surveys: Call centers can engage in market research. AnswerConnect agents can devise surveys to conduct during inbound calls that grant new insights into customer behavior, wants, needs and concerns.

For all our call center service recommendations, visit our best picks page.

Pricing

AnswerConnect maintains several general pricing plans that you can use to gauge how much the service would cost you. These plans can vary based on your needs and call volume. We received a quote for the Premium (II) package, which includes 1,050 minutes. All plans charge a one-time setup fee of $49.99.

  • Standard: $149 per month for 100 minutes with an overage rate of $1.49 per minute
  • Business: $269 per month for 225 minutes with an overage rate of 99 cents per minute
  • Best Value: $299 per month for 325 minutes with an overage rate of 99 cents per minute
  • Premium: $549 per month for 600 minutes with an overage rate of 99 cents per minute
  • Premium (II): $949 per month for 1,050 minutes with an overage rate of 99 cents per minute
  • Premium (III): $1,359 per month for 1,550 minutes with an overage rate of 99 cents per minute

AnswerConnect's plans run month to month, with no long-term contractual obligations. Any calls an agent completes that last under 30 seconds are free, so misdials or robocalls don't eat into your package of minutes.

Limitations

AnswerConnect rounds up to the nearest minute after the first 30 seconds of the call. Billing in increments is not uncommon in the answering service and call center industries, but AnswerConnect's 60-second increments are excessive. Under this model, a call that lasts for one minute and one second would be charged to your account as two minutes. Rounding up to the nearest minute can quickly add up.

Moreover, AnswerConnect has relatively high rates. The company's highest-volume plan breaks down to more than 88 cents per minute, which is high compared with the other companies we reviewed. AnswerConnect's Best Value plan comes in at 92 cents per minute. Considering the company's policy to bill in 60-second increments, it is one of the most expensive services in our review.

AnswerConnect also charges for what is known as "agent work time" or "after-call work." This is any work done on your account after the phone call has ended. For example, an agent might take a couple of minutes to mark down some notes on your account following a call. That time counts against your package of minutes as well. Between rounding to the nearest 60-second increment and billing for agent work time, AnswerConnect's already high rates look even more impactful.

AnswerConnect's agents work remotely throughout the country, so while all are in the U.S., they are not required to attend a call center facility. For some businesses, this could raise security concerns if agents are using their home networks and potentially unsecured devices. Agents who work from home also might not be subject to the same accountability as agents in a central facility.

Customer Service

Our customer service experience with AnswerConnect was largely positive. A representative was late for a scheduled call on one occasion, but was otherwise informative, friendly and forthcoming. Each representative we spoke with explained the service in detail, including the company's policy to bill in 60-second increments. We were never pushed to make a buying decision, and the representatives remained fully engaged and patient even after we made it clear that we were only in the research stage of our buying journey and wouldn't be ready to make any decisions for some time.

Editor's note: Is your business looking for a call center service? Click the Compare Quotes button below to have our vendor partners connect you with free information.

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AnswerConnect

AnswerConnect

The Best Call Center Services of 2019

The Verdict

AnswerConnect brings some solid features to the table, but it demands high rates and rounds up to the nearest minute when billing, making it a potentially costly partner.

Adam C. Uzialko
Adam C. Uzialko
Adam C. Uzialko, a New Jersey native, graduated from Rutgers University in 2014 with a degree in political science and journalism and media studies. He reviews healthcare information technology, call centers, document management software and employee monitoring software. In addition to his full-time position at Business News Daily and Business.com, Adam freelances for several outlets. An indispensable ally of the feline race, Adam is owned by four lovely cats.