Private Investigators : Information Specialists
Just this week alone, I have had the necessity of calling a dozen or
so PI's around the country. Over 50% of the phone calls, during normal
working hours, were NOT answered. No telephone answering machine, fax tone,
voice mail, nada!! A number of times I needed to fax materials to some
of these PI's -- again, no answer or no fax tone or whatever. Ladies and
gentlemen: if you are not using voice mail or a telephone answering machine
or a secretary to cover your phones, you are losing business and you don't
present a very professional appearance to your prospects or clients. Yes,
I know some of you provide your clients your cel number or pager number,
but what about the ones that don't have this info?? Admittedly, I got one
PI in CA out of bed at 0330 this morning to cycle his fax machine but my
day starts early in the East.
I use the Panasonic, 2-line answering machine,phone with auto-logic.
It takes a message when we are out and then automatically calls our pagers
so we know we have a call. This phone also has a memo feature that will
allow you to record any incoming or outgoing call while you are talking.
It is quick and simple to use and very effective. It uses the small MC-60
tape cassettes which are the same my pocket tape recorder uses. You don't
have to buy different tapes for each use. Nice and simple. I use custom
ringing on my second line so that my fax has its own number and it is set
up to recognize custom ringing (Brother Intellifax 1450MC--plain paper
fax). The Brother also has voice mail built into it so that it could serve
as a voice mailbox, fax back, incoming fax, message transfer unit. It can
be purchased at BestBuy or such for under $400.
We also use custom ringing on our other line so that it gives us the
effect of four numbers plus our 888 number on the second line on a third
custom ring. You are able to determine what the call is, the fax will answer
automatically and the answering machine takes regular calls if we are out.
It is not an expensive setup. Costs a lot less than a secretary and is
less than using a telephone answering service for months.
If anyone would like info on our system, Email privately. The Panasonic
phones, custom ring equipment, caller ID products, fax machines, etc.,
can be purchased wholesale from TeleConcepts (I posted this company's address
and phones earlier).
When we first decided to establish our businesses in Camden, SC, we
discovered that communications were primary here. People want to talk to
a live voice the majority of the time so --- We could not afford a full-time
secretary nor could we stay in the office/shop full time, so----
(1)We purchased pagers for each person. No rental. Purchased (reconditioned)
pagers with time stamps on the messages so we would know exactly when we
(2)Bought Panasonic KX-T2740 two-line telephones with answering machines
built in and with automatic message transfer. The unit will take a message
and then call any number you have programmed into it and tell you that
you have a message. These units also have memo features so you can record
any incoming telephone call (incoming/outgoing) without having to use a
separate recorder. The tapes for this unit also work in our portable tape
(3)Had remote call forwarding put on each line. This allows us to change
the forwarding number from any remote location as we move around or when
the situation changes. We can forward to home, friends or cel phones and
remotely change the forwarded number. We even forward to locations in other
cities when we are travelling.
(4)Got custom ringing and ring detectors for the home office. We have
three extra numbers coming in on two lines. The custom ringing allows us
to KNOW what line is calling so we can answer properly by business name
or just "hello". It also
gives us a 24 hour dedicated fax line without the extra cost.
(5)Purchased a plain paper fax machine with ring detection and built
in voice mail features. We have the voice mail ability in our home office
and central office computer with Cardinal modems but do not like to leave
computers on the phone line except for our dedicated work computer used
by field techs, etc. (this one has an excellent firewall to prevent unauthorized
access and records any attempted access also). The fax machine we use is
a Brother Model IntelliFAX1450MC with many useful features built in including
a copier and, especially nice, fax-back. This cost around $300 at Best
(6)Added CallerID to each line and we use Cidco 2-line ID units. We
also put ID blocking on one line for outgoing use.
(7)Added A.T.&T. Starterline 800 service coming into one of our
custom ringing lines so that we know when an 800 call is coming in. The
Starterline gives us national 800 service at a minimum cost per month.
(8)We use "if no answer-forward" on our cel phones so, if
we are forwarding to the cel and cannot answer it, it automatically forwards
to our second line and takes a message on the recorder which then automatically
calls our pagers.
(9)Utilizing the fax machine voice mail features, we are able to create
mailboxes whereby the client or prospect or whoever can either