If you think about it critically, when Alexander Graham invented the telephone, he also unwittingly created the renowned, frustration-inducing sound- the busy tone. All too often, this tone signals the fading away of potential deals or sales leads. If a client is trying to reach you so he can make inquiries regarding a particular product or service, this engaged phone tone can be a real deal-breaker.
We live in a society that fosters a culture of immediate gratification and little patience. If potential customers can’t reach you, they won’t hesitate to scroll to the next search result or click on the next ad. Thankfully, you can avoid such loses by investing in the best answering machine. With such a gadget, you remain connected round-the-clock even when you’re away from your office.
What is the Best Answering Machine?
If you’re looking to purchase an answering machine, whether for home or office use, there are a few things to take into account. Three key features this gadget should have are excellent sound quality, sufficient recording times and time or date stamp. The following are the best answering machines based on their ease of use, sound quality and pricing.
1. Panasonic KX-TGE445B Answering Machine
If you don’t like having cables extending from your answering machine, the cordless Panasonic KX-TGE445B, which comes with five handsets, is an excellent option. Although it doesn’t look appealing, this answering machine is pretty easy to use owing to the massive, high-contrast display. The background of the display is in a black color and the keys in white, making the gadget easily noticeable especially in the dark.
Understandably, the Panasonic unit is short on storage, with a capability to record a maximum of 17-minute long message. To compensate for this, the manufacturer has ensured that the answering machine can play messages out loud; hence, making it easy to screen calls.
In fact, this answering machine comes with a call block button located on the bottom right corner. You can use it to add more contacts to your blocked list. This is truly one of the best house phones with answering machine and caller id. Other features you’ll love about it include a power back-up operation, speakerphone and voice paging.
2. Amplicom AB900 Amplified Answering Machine
Do you experience difficulty hearing? Or are you buying an answering machine for an elderly person? If so, the Amplicom AB900 is a strong contender as it lets you crank up the volume up to 40 decibels using a rotary volume dial.
And this is not all; you can even control the speed of messages, which is another welcome feature for the hearing impaired.
Another feature that makes this answering machine an excellent option for seniors is its user-friendly interface. It’s operated using a one-touch playback button, which users can use to play, skip or delete past messages.
Furthermore, the Amplicom offers voice prompts in at least six languages- French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch and the most obvious, English. However, its 24-minute recording duration is a deal-breaker. If you receive lots of calls in any given day, the AB900 might not work for you.
3. AT&T Atamp;T 1740 Digital Answering Machine
If you’re looking for an answering machine with the longest recording time, the 1740 digital answering machine has got you covered. With one full hour of recording time, this answering machine makes a great option for the ever-busy business owners.
We also like that it’s a fully digital phone system. It means that you can access recorded messages instantly either through the handset itself or using a remote. This remote also lets you adjust your outgoing messages regardless of where you are. But where this answering machine really stands out is through its Message Guard Memory feature. The purpose of this is to save your messages in case of power outages.
The setup and overall use of Atamp 1740 is a cinch. It has large buttons which are clearly labeled, giving options for rewinding, fast-forward, deleting messages and lots more.
4. GE 29875GE1 Digital Messaging System
Some people are interested in the aesthetics of answering machines more than their functionality. If you fall into this category, the GE digital messaging system is easy on the eyes, and will match with any office furnishings. It comes in a beautiful white color that can complement different interior décor designs.
However, this messaging system has a lot to offer other than its good looks. For one, it boasts a recording time of 30 minutes. Plus, it’s fitted with a digital microchip which provides instant playback of messages.
GE 29875GE1 also comes with a digital message counter, which records the number of new messages that you’ve received. It also has a call screening feature, allowing you to listen to callers as they leave messages.
5. VTech DECT 6.0 Expandable Cordless Phone
If you want an answering machine that offers intercom between handsets, the VTech Expandable is a great choice. As its name suggests, this unit scalable, that is, you can add up to 5 devices. It is beneficial for business start-ups whose needs telephone needs may increase with time.
Also, it comes with handy digital messaging elements and a system voice guide. Although it can only record a maximum of 22-minute messages, this answering machine is equipped with a Caller ID share feature that lets you add contact numbers from your landline to your mobile phone.
What Is An Answering Machine?
Also referred to as an answerphone or telephone answering machine (TAM), this is a gadget used for answering and capturing a caller’s message in situations where no one is present to answer the phone. An answering machine differs from voicemail system in that it’s not a networked or centralized system, which is made accessible as a service. Instead, this gadget is designed for landline phones, meaning that you have to connect it to a such a system for it to work.
How Do Digital Answering Machines Work?
If you’re familiar with how CDs function, then you already know the technique used to store sounds digitally. With a digital answering device, the same principle is employed in converting your callers’ messages to a series of bytes. More specifically, an answering machine utilizes a microcontroller, which is responsible for digitizing your caller’s voice through an analog-to-digital converter. It then stores the sound in low-power random access memory (RAM)
To get a better understanding of this, we’ll consider a 15-second message recorded by a caller. This is about 30,000 bytes, which are initially stored in a certain section of the RAM. When the recipient plays this message, the microcontroller will read the bytes from the RAM via the digital-to-analog converter.
What Are the Different Types of Answering Machine Services?
Telephone answering machines have become a must-have in a majority of occupations. The increasing need for these devices has resulted in the manufacture of different models; from home-answering devices to answering services. In fact, there are several cellular phones that are already incorporating an automated answering system. What’s more, the current computers are also being designed with the capability of recoding messages from a home phone anytime the owners are not around to answer.
Nonetheless, there are those who advocate for manned telephone answering services compared to recording gadgets. This group of people finds this medium convenient because an answering service representative can try to reach using different numbers if it’s a matter that requires urgency. But with advancements in technology cropping up every second, other techniques of communicating are springing up. The same concept applies to telephone answering machines. You cannot compare the current answering machines to those invented in the 1890’s by Valdemar Poulsen.
The best thing is that with such advancements, people don’t have to rely on stationary phones that remain fixed to one location all day and all night long. You can now enjoy telephone answering services from the convenience of your hand-held phone.
Another area where answering machines have evolved significantly is their compatibility with laptops and PCs. When attending conferences and staff meetings that are strictly no-phone zones, you can program your answering machine to send you a message on your computer. The notification will specify the identity of your caller and the message left behind. Depending on the message left, you can assess whether to return the call immediately or wait until the meeting ends. The most advanced cellular phones are even capable of transforming voice messages to written text or emails. This way, you can read the message to yourself without interrupting other individuals attending the meeting.
You may also come across telephone answering machines that are offered by private services. These manned services not only receive your calls but also classify the messages based on the caller’s urgency. If they cannot reach you on your phone they will try to contact you using other means. Some answering services usually page their clients using a beeper like gadget, prompting the client to call back.
The Benefits of Automated Call Answering
If you own a small or medium-sized business, it’s crucial that you spend time in activities that earn your firm money or clients. They say that telephones are one of your best employees. This may be true because talking to clients directly enables them to understand your products better; hence, increasing chances of turning them to customers. However, answering all of your clients’ inquiries can eat into your time.
The best thing to do is to find a system that can filter your calls and relay messages of the most important calls. Most people choose to hire receptionists or virtual assistants. Unfortunately, if you’re just starting out, the cost of adding an extra member to your team may be unaffordable. Your next best alternative is to use an automated answering device. So what benefits does this system offer?
Control over your calls
As mentioned earlier, no business owner wants to lose clients because of unanswered calls. To prevent this, you should make an automated call answering system your best friend. Ideally, this system helps to you to separate the wheat from the chaff by allowing to determine the calls to answer immediately and which ones to deal with later. For instance, a sales inquiry will be routed directly to your landline or mobile phone while calls from existing clients are directed to voicemail.
Another benefit of routing your unanswered calls to an automated system is that it depicts a reliable and effective company. If clients call and fail to get through to you, the first impression they’ll have about your firm is that it’s unreliable.
Imagine a situation where a client places an order, only to end up getting the wrong product. This customer then attempts to reach your customer service several times but his efforts bear no fruits. The next action he’s likely to take is to count his loses and damage your reputation by leaving a bad review on your site and social media pages. You can avoid getting your brand tarnished by investing in a quality automated answering system. This way, even if your clients don’t reach you, they’re guaranteed that your firm will reach out to them later on.
Share responsibility with multiple colleagues
If your firm is situated in two or more locations, this does not necessarily translate to a long list of clients’ or suppliers’ contacts. With an automated call handling system, your customers can dial one central number and then determine the specific person they wish to talk to. This way, even if you move your business location, your clients can still reach you through this system. With such a smooth channel of communication, you’re likely to receive tons of calls every day. More calls translate to more work or new clients.
Answering Machines: What to Look For
Before you purchase an answering machine, you should determine what your needs are. Would you like answering machines without phone? What about an answering machine that can be used for multiple lines? Others will want an answering machine with remote access. This way, they have instant access to messages regardless of where they are. The following factors will help to narrow down your list.
The sole purpose of an answering machine is recording messages and replaying them. One issue encountered with the previous versions of answering machines was poor sound quality. But thanks to technology, this is not a problem you’ll find in modern answering machines. The ideal answering machine is one that gives you a range of functions. At the least, it should be capable of capturing, playing, pausing, erasing and skipping messages.
Another thing you should look into is the digital storage capacity of the device. If it runs out of storage space, then it won’t be any useful so it won’t record any messages.
Standalone vs. Phone Combos
Although they’re still sold on the market, a lot of manufacturers are now focusing on combining a cordless phone and answering machine into one unit. This is not to mean that standalone units don’t offer any advantages. For one, a standalone answering machine can be used with any type of phone.
Combo devices also have an advantage since they utilize just one charging base. If you want to continue using your current home phone, a standalone answering machine is your best option. But if you don’t mind ditching your phone for a newer one, consider investing in a combo answering machine that has all the bells and whistles.
Warranty & Support
As with any electronic gadget, answering machines also lose value after years of use. They can fail to function either because of manufacturing defects or abuse. Regardless of the reason for its failure, it pays to have a long warranty on your answering machine. Ensure that the warranty also covers storage. If this is not the case, then you’ll be forced to purchase a brand new answering machine.
In terms of support, most manufacturers can be reached using email, live chat or online contact forms. Some can be contacted directly through their customer support services. If you wish to contact the manufacturer, browse their user guide for contact information. You can also go through the FAQs section or leave feedback on their video tutorials.
The easiest way to stay on top of calls without making your phone bill soar is to invest in an answering machine. Whether you’re using it for office or home use, this gadget gives you a convenient way to record and check callers’ messages anytime you’re not available to answer.
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