telephone answering service faq

Live Answering Service FAQ

Answers to the Most Frequently Asked Questions About Our Telephone Answering Service



We've compiled the answers to the most frequently asked questions about answering service. for you. We hope you will find the answers you're searching for. If not, let us know and we will be happy to help you.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Thinking About Using a Live Answering Service

How long has Ambs Call Center been in business?

We have been in business since 1932. We'd love to tell you more about our story!  


How is Ambs Call Center different?

We are a family-owned and operated company. We take your success personally. It's important we provide you and your customers with excellent telephone answering services. 

We never stop learning and improving for our customers. We always look to learn from our successes and failures. What it comes down to is doing the right things for the right reasons and taking care of you, the customer.

We encourage you to read more about how Ambs Call Center is different


How many clients do you have?  

We serve over 2,000 clients. Most have been with us an average of over 6 years.


What is your average speed of answer?

Answering your phones quickly is job one for us. We answer 80% or great of calls in 3 rings or less. And for the very small percentage of calls that go on hold, we want that wait time to be less than 60 seconds.

How many call center agents do you have?

We have roughly 85 on our team and growing.  


Do you offer a free answering service trial?

No. We do not offer free answering service trials. 


Can I forward my existing office line or cell phone to you?

Yes! This is the most common way our customers send their telephone calls to us. This is accomplished using call forwarding features from your phone company. 


Can I advertise the local or toll-free number that you give me?

Yes. We can provide you with a local or toll-free number to advertise that is answered by Ambs Call Center. Toll-free numbers are available at 5 cents per minute. Please read this before advertising the number we provide you. 


How much does answering service cost?

Ambs Call Center has plans starting at $249 per month. We bill by the amount of time that we work for you and have plans to match your specific needs. You can see our rates on our answering service pricing page or call our solutions team at 800.968.1181. 


Do answering service minutes rollover?

No. Along with historical call data, our answering service also uses the number of subscribed minutes as a component in schedulingHaving enough people ready to answer your phones is crucial to providing you with excellent service.


What are your terms and conditions?

Good news. You won't need a law degree to understand our common sense terms and conditions of service. We're upfront and honest in all that we do. 


Is your answering service available 24/7?

Yes. Ambs Call Center provides 24/7 telephone answering service 365 days per year, holidays included. 


Does it cost more for you to answer 24/7? 

No. We don't nickel and dime you based on the time of day that you need us to answer your phones. Our service plans all provide 24/7/365 telephone answering coverage.  


Do you charge extra to answer my phone on Holidays?

No! We want you to enjoy spending time with friends and family knowing that we would never charge you extra to do so.


Are you based in the United States?

Yes! We have 3 call centers. Our call center locations are in Jackson, Michigan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Tampa, Florida. We love visitors! If you would like to schedule a tour to meet our team in person, please let us know.


Can you use my software? 

It depends. We do work within our clients' software. One of the determining factors is the amount of phone calls that you receive per month. See if we're a good fit for you here.


What's included in the standard set-up?

Standard set-up includes the programming, testing and training of standard accounts using our proven process. As part of our proven process for setting up answering service accounts, we have developed industry and service line specific set-up forms. If you use these forms in setting up your account, it qualifies as a standard set-up. 


Does Ambs Call Center outsource calls overseas?

No! We are a 100% US Based answering service. All of our team works in our three call centers in the good old USA! 


Are you a HIPAA compliant answering service?

Yes. Compliance is something we take very seriously. and we are a HIPAA compliant answering service


How do your agents know how to handle my calls?

When your phone line rings into Ambs Call Center, our screens immediately display information about your company. This includes the answer phrase we greet the caller with and the call handling instructions for routine and urgent calls you provided during our proven process set up. Pertinent information about your business, guidelines on what information to collect, and details on how to handle each call are all programmed into our system, and quickly accessible by our agents. 


How can I get my messages?

Ambs Call Center will send messages and information to you by any delivery method that works best for you. Different types of messages can be sent in different ways. Each member of your team can have their own delivery preferences too.

Our popular message delivery options include:


Do you put my calls on hold?

Yes and No. Let us explain.

All call centers in existence will put calls on hold. How they do so varies and while some claim they "never put calls on hold", it is really just semantics and not really true.

Here is what we call a 'hold': For the very small percentage of calls that we answer which ring over 24 seconds, the caller will hear a customized greeting letting them know someone will be with them momentarily. 

We never interrupt your callers to ask them to "please hold". We see this as rude and off-putting and doesn't lend itself to a great caller experience.

We stay focused on each one of your callers from the beginning to the end of the telephone call.


How do I know when an appointment is scheduled? 

You can have our appointment scheduling software alert you of a new appointment via text or email. If your calendar is syncing with our software (via Google, iCloud, or Office365) the appointment instantly appears. Your device can also notify you based on your calendar app's settings.


How do I call forward my phones?

Call forwarding your phones is a very easy process. We go into greater detail in our article on how to call forward to an answering service. Most telephone companies use the same call forwarding codes but not always. If you use a VOIP phone service, oftentimes you can call forward via your portal in addition to using the call forwarding codes on your phone. Some VOIP telephone companies allow you to automatically call forward your phones according to your schedule. To be 100% sure, please visit your phone company's website to verify the codes for your specific phone service. Note, it is not possible for us to call forward your phones for you. The most common method to call forward your phones: To turn ON call forwarding:
  1. Dial *72. Dial the Ambs call forwarding phone number (including area code) to forward your calls.
  2. Wait for confirmation, you may hear a confirmation tone or message. If you hear ringing, wait until your Ambs phone number is answered.
  3. Hang up, your calls are successfully forwarded. You can always check by calling your office number to verify it is ringing into us.
To turn OFF call forwarding:
  1. Dial *73. 
  2. Your phones are no longer call forwarded.


Can I change my answering service plan?

Yes. You can change your plan at any time. As a matter of fact, we will watch your usage for the first few months to make sure you are on the right plan. If you have questions about your plan or how to streamline call handling, Lori and Jennifer are here to help.

How do I know how many minutes I've used?

We're happy to let you know what your usage is at any time. Just call or email us and we'll run the numbers let you know if you're on the best answering service plan.

Will I be notified when all of my minutes are used up?

Currently, we do not have an automatic notification. It is something that our R & D team is currently working on. 

How often will I receive an answering service invoice?

We send invoices monthly via email. Invoices are sent out at the beginning of the month. This means you will receive 12 invoices per year from Ambs Call Center. 

Some of our competitors send you a bill every 28 days. This means they will make you pay 13 invoices per year.


Do you charge for solicitor calls and hangups?

Yes. Anytime that we are working on your behalf it uses the minutes included in your plan. If you have a repeat caller or number that keeps calling, we can block that from coming in free of charge. We also offer Voicemail Prescreening which stops these types of calls from ever reaching an operator.


How can I pay my answering service bill? 

You can pay your answering service bill online by visiting our payment portal.


What are work time minutes?

Work time minutes are calculated when our staff is working on your account. Taking incoming calls, dispatching calls, account changes, account maintenance, and on-call changes. Minutes are billed in 20 or 30-second increments.

The following tasks make up work time.

  • Answering the phone, taking messages or information, and scheduling
  • Making phone calls to your staff or customers
  • Sending text messages
  • Paging
  • Making account changes or updates
  • Responding to email or text responses
  • Entering on-call information - Avoid this by using free web on-call scheduling
  • Transferring calls

We go into more detail about time-based answering service here.


What is the D.I.D. number charge?

The D.I.D. telephone number is the telephone number we provide for you to call forward your phones to. In some cases, you may simply refer your customers to call this number directly.


What does partial month charge mean?

You will only see this appear on your first invoice. This amount is the pro-ration of the amount of days service that were provided to you in the previous month.

You will also see the full amount for your monthly plan appear on this invoice as well. This is because we bill for the upcoming month’s service base rate and the previous month’s usage.


What are patch minutes?

Patch minutes are calculated when a call is transferred to another telephone number. The amount of time the call is connected is counted as patch time.  An example is when we connect a customer to you on your mobile phone. 


When is my invoice due?

 The invoice due date is the 25th of the month.


Why do I have a late fee on my invoice?

If the payment for an invoice isn’t received by the due date of the 25th a late fee is automatically applied.


How can I tell if my invoice was paid with the automatic credit card feature?

The invoice will have a ‘PAID’ watermark in the middle of the invoice.


What are the recurring charges?

The recurring charges are for all services billed in advance. The service period dates are indicated on the invoice in the box located in the upper right-hand corner.


What are usage charges?

Usage charges are for any minutes used above and beyond what is included in your plan. These charges are billed after the fact or in arrears for the usage period located in the box in the upper right-hand corner.

Let's Talk

Our team is here to help answer all of your questions. Let's us know you'd like to talk.