History of the Technology at A Professional Image… Telephone Answering Service

Jan 18, 2023

A Professional Image opened their doors in June of 1986 in Chandler, Arizona.  The Owner, Ann had previous experience working as a switchboard operator in Millersburg, Ohio.  She could never have imagined how much success she would have.  Her original dream was to have a family business that she could pass down through the generations.  First, to her daughter, Lori… Her Granddaughter Lindsay and Grandson Connor… and hopefully to her Great Grandson, Griffin.

In the year 1986, there were many restrictions to an answering service… mainly the technology and the integration with the phone companies.  Answering services had to remain local unless they were willing to pay exorbitant fees to the local and long-distance telco providers.  The equipment that was available was also antiquated and expensive… but she soon settled on a system called Telescan.

This system would allow API to program one screen that would auto pop when a DID number was called.  This would include the answer phrase, the list of questions to ask the caller, a list of employees, and delivery instructions.  Every call was written onto a message form, then passed to a dispatcher to read.  They would determine if we held the message for pick up, digitally paged the client, or called the client with a message.  Remember, this is the day before cell phones.  These messages were put into a wheel that was divided and labeled for each account.

As the years continued, so did the technology.  Soon, Alpha pagers were available as well as cell phones.  There were concerns that an answering service would not remain relevant, but the opposite occurred.  The demand to have a live voice answer a phone 24/7 increased.  In addition, API upgraded their system to allow our staff access to additional information about our clients, to enter messages into a database while on the phone and automate the delivery of messages.

Jumping forward a few more years, technology gave the gift of voice mail systems.  Again, there was fear that automation would ‘replace the answering service’….  However, API was able to market the integration with the live answering and automated greetings.  This technology allowed our service to be more efficient and offered cost savings to our clients.  Around this time, it was cost effective to offer nationwide answering service.

One of the most innovated pieces of technology that became available to answering services is the voice logger.  No longer did we have to defend the ‘he said, she said’ scenarios.  Today, this technology is a crucial tool that allows us to train and increase our customer experience.

In 2017, API switch to a Linux based system provided by Szeto Technologies.  This system allows us to customize scripting and supports automated delivery using email, fax, SMS Text Message, and Secure messaging.  It has built in Voice mail, automated greetings, on call scheduling and every statistic you can imagine.

API is now fully redundant.  This includes 2 telco companies that provide fiber optic service, fully redundant equipment (servers, routers, modems, etc.), a UPS and Generator on site and we employ a full time IT professional.  We provide service to all industries including medical, commercial, and professional.  As a value-added service, API is offering live and automated appointment reminders.

If you are interested in learning more about A Professional Image, please call 877-921-1300, 480-921-1300 or email info@aprofessionalimage.com.

Lori Horton
A Professional Image