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Telephone Answering Services

acd system and auto call distribution system route calls This section of our technical library presents information and documentation relating to answering service systems and phone answering services. At Database Systems Corp. (DSC), we offer complete inbound call center and outbound automated phone services. Our inbound call center processes phone calls using our interactive voice response (IVR) system that answers calls without an operator.

Organizations looking to reduce costs and to improve customer service can now contract their inbound 800 answering service and outbound voice messaging programs at our automated call center facility. As designers of call answering systems and phone answering service software, DSC is uniquely positioned to manage your call answering service and 800 number service campaigns saving your organization both time and money. Because our phone answering service software was created in-house, we can deliver comprehensive 800 number outsourcing quickly -- providing you with a competitive advantage in the marketplace. From external database access to web integration including XML messaging, DSC can provide very custom phone applications. Plus you will find our 800 phone service to be quite affordable.

Answering Services: Yea or Nay?

By: Jeff Davidson

For more than 20 years now I have been uniformly unimpressed by the quality and service level of the telephone answering services I've encountered. Far too many answering services rely upon semiskilled, unenthusiastic workers who apparently have not been briefed as to the proper name of the company for which they are answering, or the proper response to use. Many "operators" answer the phone in a hurry, quickly put callers on hold, don't listen well, and don't take message well.

If you decide to use an answering service, comparative shopping is mandatory. Some answering services enable you to leave messages for specific callers. Others can answer questions about your business. Depending on the type of service you desire and how much you're willing to pay, some companies can engage in taking orders.

Specifically, for home-based service providers, the marginal value of employing an answering service to support your marketing efforts is unclear. Since telephone answering machines and various call-forwarding options cover a fairly wide latitude, the advantages of using an answering service may rest largely in the eye of the beholder.

Here are some guidelines for retaining an answering service to handle your calls:

1. Get recommendations from friends or associates in business who retain answering services. The next time you call someone who uses an answering service and you are impressed by the service, once reaching your intended party ask for the name and phone number of the manager or owner of the answering service.

2. Call three to five answering services and discuss the range of services, costs, employee qualifications, other types of businesses served, and length of time in business. Ask for names of referrals or letters of praise or commendation.

3. If you attempt a trial run with an answering service, do so for the shortest time possible. Five to seven days will give you a reasonable idea of how your calls are handled.

4. Once the service is in place, periodically call your own office throughout the day, posing different questions and leaving different messages. Also have your spouse, children, or friends call the service so that you gain a full measure of their effectiveness.

Like it or not,the service you employ will represent the first (and regrettably, perhaps, only) impression that first-time callers have of your business and your services or products. Never linger with a marginally effective answering service.

Here is a summary of the marketing advantages and disadvantages of employing an answering service.


* Offers a human being answering the call of another human being.

* Can potentially be more helpful than a fixed message.

* Can write up orders or perform other services for a fee.

* Can be retained for specified hours, such as peak times.


* Can convey a poor first impression.

* Can get names and numbers wrong.

* Costly, particularly compared to answering machines.

* May not pick up within four rings.

* May frequently put callers on hold.

* May be staffed by inarticulate nincompoops!