Answering Machines and Voicemail
There are a number of reasons you may not be able to answer your phone. You could be in a meeting. You could be in a "zone" working on an important project, and you can't allow your concentration to be broken. You just may have decided not to take any calls for the next two hours while you take care of loose ends.
So you need a reliable voicemail system.
Answering Machine Functionality
Some people still use stand-alone, "old fashioned" answering machines (though they typically use digital technology now, instead of cassette tapes!). For small businesses, these machines can be more than adequate, offering long recording times, remote message retrieval, and other features.
For larger office settings, business phone systems typically feature robust voicemail capabilities. These include multiple mailboxes, remote message retrieval, time and date stamping, etc. Begin by looking into brands such as Panasonic, AT&T, and Uniden.
Answering Services and More
Answering services are also common these days and are especially useful for medium and larger-sized businesses. An answering service helps add a more personal touch for incoming callers. Who wouldn't rather speak with a real person than get a pre-recorded message? By utilizing an answering service for after-hours messages, for example, you can add a touch of class and communicate to your clients just how much you value their time.
With Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), you can have an online answering machine with many of the same functions as a physical device, but without the cords or hardware. Online answering machines operate through your existing high-speed Internet connection, allowing you to make calls and take voice messages (and more) via the Internet. You can even forward calls to your cell phone when you're away from your desk. Consider looking into such trusted providers as PhonePower, ITP, Ring Central, and Skype.
And, of course, there are always the voicemail capabilities of your mobile phone. These may be sufficient for all of your needs. But if not, then you can create a system using today's voicemail technology to ensure you catch all of your messages easily, at your desk and away.
So, whether you're working with a traditional answering machine, one of the many professional answering services, or a VoIP system, the sophisticated features of today's voicemail solutions allow you to do far more than just check your messages.