Featured Startup Pitch: By tapping into unused call center agent time, LiveAnswer offers small businesses access to live, 24/7 customer support
LiveAnswer improves small business customer service and sales by answering their phones quickly and accurately with a live person at an affordable price. LiveAnswer provides small businesses with a custom scripting tool that empowers them to decide how they would like each of their calls answered, and by routing their calls to the best call center agents in the country.
LiveAnswer is the evolution of the antiquated call center model, providing affordable access to highly-trained agents from top call centers with no long term contracts and completely transforming the way small businesses operate.
The platform enables call centers to sell excess, unused call agent time to startups and small businesses which previously could not afford the overhead and minimum requirements. As a 24/7 business support solution, LiveAnswer also fully integrates incoming calls into clients’ current marketing, sales, and customer retention tools.
LiveAnswer helps businesses better understand the voice of their customers.
I began as a software engineer working for global brands such as Bacardi, Ford Motors, and FedEx, where I developed technology focused on digital customer acquisition and retention.
In 2007, I co-founded one of the largest travel document expediting services, RushMyPassport.com, which was soon voted number one by the Wall Street Journal for speed and customer service. I then set my sights on the direct mail industry with Dukky, which was cited by Entrepreneur Magazine as a direct mail-to-web solution that doubled industry standard response rates.
While working on RushMyPassport.com, I realized the call centers we used were slow to answer calls and implement changes, in addition to being cost-prohibitive for our startup. I knew there had to be some way to make the much needed virtual receptionist, lead qualification and customer support services we needed more efficient and attainable for other startups and small businesses.
Shortly after selling the business, I was determined to solve this problem and had the opportunity to work with multiple call centers. I realized they had two challenges: Increasing the occupancy rate of their agents; and small businesses were too ‘small’ to contract with. This is where the idea for LiveAnswer was born.
Rather than hiring and training new call agents, I followed the Uber and Airbnb models to purchase excess capacity or unused time from the best agents at existing call centers. The next focus was on creating a technology platform that would empower small businesses to sell more and provide better customer service—the cornerstone of LiveAnswer.
LiveAnswer is now the largest Cloud-based virtual call center, with access to over 25,000 agents in the United States.
With LiveAnswer, I have built a platform that empowers other businesses with robust business support services. Since they are no longer worried about hiring and training people to simply answer their phones 24/7, they are free to focus on the activities needed to grow their business.
LiveAnswer is affordable enough for the smallest of businesses, yet has software tools that larger businesses doing complicated direct mail or advertising campaigns require.
To reach these businesses, LiveAnswer focused its message around the term ‘24/7 business phone support,’ and an integrated marketing campaign which includes advertising, media relations, partnerships, and referrals.
In addition to Google AdWords, targeted advertisements are reaching small businesses via radio, and print publications read by call-heavy professions such as doctors, lawyers, accountants, event planners, etc.
I am also confident in the power of the product and offer businesses a free, seven-day trial before buying. My hope is that during their trial period, businesses will see how LiveAnswer can help them to focus on growing their business instead of working in their business.
Five million American businesses have one-to-19 employees, 22 million businesses are sole proprietors and 543,000 new businesses are added every month. It is impossible for these small businesses to staff their phones well 24/7/365. And when they don’t answer, their competitors do, costing them sales and customer satisfaction.
In the next six years, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates 40 percent of the domestic workforce will be independent contractors or unaccompanied entrepreneurs. We see great opportunity in supporting this portion of the country’s business landscape.
As for competitors, they do exist in the answering service and call center spaces (examples: Ruby Receptionists, AnswerConnect), but no one has combined LiveAnswer’s robust software tools with live agents to handle the calls.
HOW WE DIFFERENTIATE FROM THE COMPETITION
No other answering service provides small businesses with access to as many quality agents, has faster pick-up times or offers LiveAnswer’s proprietary software.
LiveAnswer’s technology starts with the Script Designer, putting the client in control of how each call is answered. This is the key in maintaining control of your brand, satisfying your customer and growing your business.
Through a simple user interface, LiveAnswer clients can select multiple local and toll-free numbers. This gives them the ability to use different numbers for different types of advertising and track lead generation.
In addition, LiveAnswer’s call behavior tool allows businesses to ring their internal team first and only use LiveAnswer when they can’t answer the phone themselves. This lowers costs while providing 24-hour coverage.
Finally, LiveAnswer fully transforms during an incoming call from a Cloud-based call center to a full business support system connected to platforms a client uses for existing sales, customer retention, and marketing (e.g: HubSpot, Salesforce, etc.).
LiveAnswer offers a scalable pricing structure of monthly packages of minutes, enabling affordability for even minimal call volume.
As business owners, we understand that businesses grow and sometimes contract, so we wanted to give customers flexibility in adjusting their accounts based on their success. LiveAnswer users can upgrade or scale back on their plans at any time to accommodate the ebbs-and-flows of business.
In addition, I believe that LiveAnswer needs to earn clients’ business every month; therefore there are no long-term contracts.
LiveAnswer is growing quickly. We are currently looking for community managers to help our customers optimize their scripts and to learn how our platform and service can better grow their business.
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FOUNDER: Adam Boalt
YEAR FOUNDED: 2013