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Written by
Katy Ratican
27 Jul 2021
4 minutes
Phone answering services: a comparison
A comparison of phone answering services in the UK by features, cost and contract length to help business owners find the right provider
Phone answering services: a comparison

As a business founder, especially if you’re leading a small business or startup, there’s every chance that you have too many roles to play. In the early days, you perhaps don’t have a team big enough to take care of routine affairs and you may end up missing phone calls. If you have started receiving too many ‘missed call’ notifications, it’s time to think about a phone answering service.

Every call to your business could be from a potential client, customer or even investor. A phone answering service will ensure that you don’t miss out on those opportunities. It'll answer calls professionally, without making the mistakes that busy business managers and entrepreneurs are likely to make.

To help guide you through the process, we have analysed the top phone answering services in the UK by their features, cost and contract length.

Comparison of top phone answering services in the UK

Moneypenny PA

Features: With more than 13,000 clients, they’re one of the most recognised names in phone answering in the UK. Onboarding is a detailed process where they understand your business needs, its character and the desired response to incoming calls.

Their online message and call log will make sure that you’ll always stay informed. Their Pocket Phone System app makes it easy to monitor your communication even when you’re on the go. Importantly, their virtual assistants work in teams so that your business communication can go uninterrupted.

Cost: It depends on the number of calls your business will get and the number of employees in the system. They do offer packages for small and medium enterprises and startups.

Contract length: The contract is for three months and if you decide to deactivate their services, you are required to give a month’s notice.

AnswerConnect

Features: Another phone answering service that takes calls on your behalf 24/7 is AnswerConnect. One of the most established names in the country, their teams are also based in the UK. They’ll manage leads and give virtual assistants who’re familiar with your industry.

They can also schedule appointments for you. A value-added feature is the personalised responses they can offer to repeat callers. Their services can also be easily integrated into your existing apps. Users are also happy with their prompt customer service and easy onboarding.

Cost: Depends on your needs.

Contract length: There are no long-term contracts you have to worry about; they only have monthly agreements.

Take My Calls

Features: If you’re a solo entrepreneur, freelancer or small business in its early stages, Take My Calls is a viable option for you. Their phone answering service lets you manage how you’d like to divert your calls, the information you’d like the team to collect and how you’d want to receive and handle your messages.

Cost: An advantage of Take My Calls is that you can either pay as you go or opt for monthly payments. The monthly packages, depending on the calls you want them to receive, start at £15 per month.

Contract length: There are no long-term contracts. You can upgrade your package as your business grows.

ReceptionHQ

Features: ReceptionHQ sets itself apart from others with the flexibility of its packages. There are no binding contracts and you can start small and use their services when you expect a surge in calls, for example during the festive season or flash sales.

This makes them suitable for solo entrepreneurs including freelancers, wedding photographers, real estate agents etc. Plus, the onboarding process only takes a few minutes.

Cost: Their plans range from £15 per month on a pay-as-you-go model to £190 per month to small and medium enterprises.

Contract length: You don’t have to enter into any contracts.

MessageDirect

Features: Over 3000 companies trust MessageDirect for its 24/7 phone answering service that starts at 60p for a day. This established service is also known for its dedicated and personalised message managing service that comes with an account manager.

Cost: The plans start at £19.20 for a month.

Contract length: MessageDirect has no long contracts.

Alternative to phone answering services

If your primary reason for getting a phone answering service is that you end up getting calls and messages 24/7 on your only (personal) number, you should consider getting a second number for work.

With Chalkboard, you get several value-added features such as auto-reply messages for missed calls. While some of the phone answering services may take more than 24 hours to get activated, you can get a second number through Chalkboard within seconds and be giving it out to customers within five minutes.

In short

A professional phone answering service shows that you run a professional enterprise and that you value your callers. Even as a solo entrepreneur, or freelancer, that’s how you begin to command respect from your clients and customers. That’s what will also help you move up the value chain.

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