Nationwide Telephone Answering Service
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Live Telephone Answering Service

Answer your customers 24/7 every day.

Answering Services

Answering Innovations offers a wide variety of answering services, each of which can be customized to meet your needs.

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Answering Service for Funeral Homes, Plumbers, Lawyers, HVAC, Healthcare, Property Management, Small Businesses & more.

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Plans & Pricing

A team of live answering service agents available 24/7 for your business.

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Common Answering Service Message Dispatching Scenarios

"Thank you for calling ABC Company, how may I help you?"

After answering the phone call with your personalized answer phrase, the operator will follow your custom protocol, gathering information from the caller and often dispatching the message.  Your protocol and other relevant information about your business are prominently displayed on the operator's computer screen for the duration of the call.  For most of our clients, we take the caller's name, phone number, and a detailed message.  We can gather any additional information you might need, such as company name and best time to call back.  Next, depending on the nature of the call, we can deliver the message to you in a variety of different ways.  Below are common dispatching methods used for non-urgent and urgent calls, followed by a few examples of urgent dispatch protocols used by some of our current answering service clients.

Do you have on-call staff? Use our free online on-call scheduling software to set your schedule as far in advance as necessary. Changes to the schedule occur in real time so the answering service always dispatches urgent messages to the correct personnel.

How We Dispatch Non-Urgent Calls

Email Immediately

We can email the message with the tap of a finger to one or more members of your staff.

Text Message (without confirmation)

We will instantly send a text message to one or more individuals.

Email and Text Message

Many of our answering service clients choose to have us simultaneously send an email and a text message to one or more members of the staff.

Secure Message

Receive a push notification to your favorite smart device with our secure messaging app, miSecureMessages, keeping your messages organized and separate from other text messages.

Hold for Daily Management Report

We will send an email to one or more staff members recapping all of the day's messages.  We usually send this in the morning or in the evening, but we can deliver it any time you want, or even multiple times per day.

Hold for Check-In

Call the answering service for your messages.

Other Dispatch Methods

We can also deliver messages via pager or fax. (Sorry, we no longer dispatch messages by carrier pigeon.)

How We Dispatch Urgent Calls (If Applicable)

While routine calls are often emailed or sent as a text message without confirmation, some calls are urgent and require us to follow an urgent dispatch protocol until we confirm the message has been received. You will tell us which calls should be considered urgent, if any, when setting up your answering service account. For HVAC and service companies, for instance, this could be whenever on-call staff needs to be dispatched for a job; for medical and dental offices, this could be when a patient is in pain and needs immediate attention. What is considered urgent is up to you. You will list for us a variety of contact methods and we will attempt each method, usually waiting a period of time between attempts, until the message is delivered.

Any of the non-urgent methods listed above can also be used in combination with the following common ways we dispatch urgent messages:

Text Message With Confirmation

Using text messaging with confirmation, we dispatch the message to your cell phone and you confirm message delivery by returning a short confirmation code, such as 1ok. This makes it easy for you to let us know you received the message and that we can discontinue the dispatch process.  If the message is not confirmed within a pre-determined period of time (e.g., 15 minutes) we will escalate to the next action on your urgent dispatch protocol.

Call You

The answering service will call the message out. If you don't answer, we can either proceed immediately to the next action on your urgent dispatch protocol, or leave a message to call the answering service back, and then if we do not receive a call back within a pre-determined time period, we would escalate to the next action on your protocol.

Live Patch

We will put the caller on hold, dial your phone number, and if you answer we will announce the call.  If you are able to speak at that time, we will connect the caller directly to you. If you do not answer, we can escalate to the next action on your urgent dispatch protocol.

Example 1: Solo Practitioner Lawyer

The lawyer can't answer calls while already on the phone or in court, so, acting as a virtual receptionist, we take a detailed message and inform the caller the lawyer is unavailable at the moment but will call back as soon as possible.

All Legitimate Calls:
  1. Simultaneously send the lawyer and the assistant an email and a text message (without confirmation).


Example 2: HVAC/Plumbing Company

The Plumbing Company uses Answering Innovations for after hours, weekend, and overflow phone coverage, and utilizes the web on-call scheduler to keep us updated in real time who is on-call throughout the month. Some calls are inquiries about their rates; we relay the information and treat these calls as non-urgent, immediately sending an email. Urgent service related calls are dispatched according to the protocol assigned during account setup.

Urgent Calls: Leaking water heaters, no hot water, broken pipes, or any time a caller says it's urgent.
  1. Text the on-call plumber with 15 minute confirmation. (Wait 15 minutes.)
  2. Call the on-call plumber's cell phone. (If no answer, leave a message to call us back. Wait 10 minutes for call back.)
  3. Call the on-call plumber's home phone. (No wait.)
  4. Start over at #1.
All Other Legitimate Calls (Non-Urgent):
  1. Send email to


Example 3: Property Management

The Property Management Company uses Answering Innovations to handle calls from tenants after hours. Some calls are urgent and must be dispatched immediately. Other calls, however, are not emergencies and don't need to be dispatched in the middle of the night, saving the Property Management Company money (and sleep!).  We hold these types of messages for the email recap the following morning at 8am.

Urgent Calls: Water leaks, no heat, no a/c, no electricity, lockouts, noise complaints, property damage.
  1. Call John Doe. (If n/a, leave message to call back and wait 10 minutes.)
  2. Call Jane Doe. (If n/a, leave message to call back and wait 10 minutes.)
  3. Call John Roe. (If n/a, leave message to call back and wait 10 minutes.)
  4. Call Richard Roe. (If n/a, leave message to call back and wait 10 minutes.)
  5. Start over at #1 until message is dispatched.
Non-Urgent Calls: Anything not listed as urgent above.
  1. Hold for recap emailed daily at 8am.


Example 4: Medical Clinic

The Medical Clinic uses us for after hours and overflow calls and has a different urgent protocol depending on whether the caller is a doctor/lab or a patient.

Urgent Calls From Doctors or Lab:
  1. Call the on-call doctor. (If n/a, leave message to call back and wait 10 minutes.)
  2. Send text message with confirmation (5 minutes) to the on-call doctor. (Wait 5 minutes.)
  3. Text the office manager.
Urgent Calls From Patients:
  1. Send text message with confirmation (5 minutes) to the on-call doctor. (Wait 5 minutes.)
  2. Text the office manager.
Non-Urgent Calls:
  1. Email immediately.

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