US Answer Answering Service Launches Cloud-Based Answering Service and Mobile App

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With one man companies increasing 300% since the 90's, many are now realizing that voicemail is hurting their small business and that an answering service is their only alternative.

According to a study of 8,000 calls by Rentlinx, a property management software company, 75% of their customer’s callers were sent to voicemail… and only 20% of them left a message.

Let’s do the math. 1,000 calls and 750 go to voicemail and 20% of them, or 150 callers, leave messages. Assuming all these calls are incoming leads for renters, these property managers are only capturing 15% of their incoming leads.

Solopreneurs (the Census Bureau calls them non-employer businesses) have increased from 15 million in the early nineties, to over 1/3 the US workforce (45 million) today. Many say they will be half the US workforce (75 million+) by 2020. This is a silent, but drastic transition that is occurring in the US workforce. It will have as much an effect on enterprise businesses as it will on the level of competition in this new “solopreneur” market.

Most of these small businesses still use their cell phones for their telephone calls and miss most of their calls, as demonstrated by the Rentlinx study. This is because voicemail has been a component of their cellular service since the late 80’s and for many it has become habitual.

However, in the early nineties, the 4 major cellular carriers, noticing the rapid adoption of cell phones, concocted a scheme to generate an estimated $750 million each, annually, by adding mandatory instructions – “At the tone please record your message when you are finished recording you may hang up or press 5 for more options…” etc.

While at first this really didn’t have an impact, by 2009 almost everyone had enough of these instructions which are widely considered responsible for the 80% hang up rate on voicemail.

Small businesses that realize this, and are looking for an alternative, presently only have one option…answering services. However, most of the nation’s 2,000 answering service companies are using outdated telecommunication equipment connected to the public telephone network and as a result the industry as a whole has a poor service reputation.

US Answer launched in January 2013 and now has hundreds of customers and a dozen employees. The system was conceived by Jim Plunkett and Laurence Kelly (co-founders). It is an integration of Contactual, a cloud based contact center solution and Salesforce. Plunkett developed a proprietary reconfiguration of Contactual so that calls go first to a live receptionist instead of first to a recording and hold queue, which is what happens in most call centers.

This month US Answer released a mobile app to accompany its answering service. The mobile app not only allows US Answer customers to view their messages and minutes used, it also allows them to update their availability to receive transferred calls. This is the most important functionality we have developed to date as our virtual receptionists can tell immediately if someone is available for a call transfer saving 20 seconds if they aren’t, says Plunkett. Our customers can even post status messages such as “I am in court until 4 and will be returning messages after” so our receptionist can tell callers this and it seems like they are right in our customers offices.

Try one month of free service here

About Jim Plunkett

Once lead engineer on the cleanup of the nations worst hazardous waste sites, Jim entered the digital world in 1999, founding (think Air B&B 1.0). In 2001, at Wright Express, Jim conceived the “Daily Best Fuel Price”, now branded Octane, arguably the first “app” ever developed. Jim was employee number 11 and EVP at PowerPay, which grew 900% from 2004-2008, making the Inc. 500 list. Jim is presently Co-founder and CEO of US Answer.

About US Answer

US Answer is cloud-based answering service and mobile app built on the and 8x8’s cloud-based Contactual software. More information can be found at

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Jim Plunkett

Jim Plunkett
since: 08/2013
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US Answer
since: 08/2013
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