A LITTLE INDUSTRY HISTORY:
The first telephone answering service was established in Richmond, Virginia as Mrs Smith’s Doctors Exchange in 1923. Margaret Redmond Smith, who was bedridden by the way, operated her answering service by using an old French-style telephone mounted on an accordion style extension next to her bed. She answered calls for local doctors, and created a viable business for herself for the next two years. Following her passing in 1925, the business was continued by her son and his wife. (Many answering services have histories of being passed down to the next generation of the family) In 1933, they expanded the business to serving commercial customers in addition to their already existing medical clients. It wasn’t until 1955 that they moved the business out of the home and into a formal office space in town.
OUR HISTORY IN A NUTSHELL:
Our founder, Ruth Goldenberg, established Direct Line in 1979 in a small office with leased switchboards from the telephone company in Berkeley, California. The primary focus was initially providing 24 hour emergency dispatch services to the medical community and dispatch and messaging services to business and professional clients. The small agency became well known and highly regarded in the community. Over time we have expanded and have stayed ahead of the curve as technology has come available. We were one of the early adopters of computerized answering service technology in the 1980′s, and our modern computerized system allows us to provide highly technical services, some not even involving answering a phone. As technology improves, we continue to stay ahead of the curve.
While part of our client base has remained consistent, our systems and people have allowed us to offer much more sophisticated services to clients in every profession. We have also evolved into providing call center services including inbound order taking, reservation and information gathering services, and alert monitoring via email/messaging for a wide variety of clients. We serve doctors, attorneys, small business, large corporations, educational institutions, entrepreneurs, and major technology powerhouses. Each service we provide is able to be tailored to fit the needs of our clients, which is what keeps them coming back to us month after month, year after year, and even decade after decade.
Like Mrs. Smith’s answering service, Direct Line TeleResponse continues to remain in the Goldenberg Family. In 2012 the torch was passed down to the next generation, Ruth’s son Ken. With over 20 years of experience in the family business, Ken Goldenberg has been established as the new company president and has continued the agency’s legacy of excellence.
Direct Line as a privately owned answering service managed by the same principles since the company’s inception in 1979.
This gallery contains 36 photos.
It was September 10, 1979 that Ruth and Larry Goldenberg flipped the switch, opening the doors of Direct Line Answering Service at Dwight and Fulton streets in Berkeley California. In the years since, Direct Line has maintained the highest level of customer service through implementing high standards of excellence and keeping up with technology. We were one of the early adopters in incorporating computerized systems into our service, and continue to ensure our customers receive the best technology our industry has to offer.
While we didn’t start out in the early 1900s (like this picture above), but we did start out with 10 accounts whom we served by using cord-operated switchboards similar to these. We rented our switchboards directly from AT&T and we ran our business out of a small rented office. Today, we serve over 800 clients utilizing state of the art technology with our computer-telephony integrated Pinnacle system and other high-level technology resources. We operate out of our custom designed office building located in Berkeley, California, and benefit from having a highly qualified workforce with technology experience. We pride ourselves on recruiting top-notch staff and ensuring they are provided the best possible training and technology access. We strive to provide a healthy and positive work environment, and recognize staff for their achievements through our “RAP” awards and through our staff appreciation events.We improve as technology improves, allowing us to take our long-respected legendary accuracy to an even higher level.
For the last 18 years, Ken Goldenberg (their son) has been a solid member of the leadership team driving Direct Line’s success, and over time he has taken more and more of a primary leadership role in the company. He has committed to continuing the high-level of excellence the company has exemplified over the past 33 years, and is committed to carrying that torch forward. On this 33rd birthday, Ruth and Larry are ready to hang up their phones… but of course that doesn’t mean they aren’t still there to support Ken as he takes over as the new President of Direct Line.
Over the past 33 years some things have changed (such as our location and our name, and the generation of leadership), and others continue to remain the same (several of our long-standing customers and our family-owned company). We here at Direct Line pride ourselves on having a positive and motivating work environment, on our commitment to making our community a better one, and most of all to serving our amazing clients here in the San Francisco Bay Area and across the world.
Thank you for continuing to be an integral part of our business family, and we look forward to serving you for another 33 spectacular years!
No matter what business you are in, it is very difficult to be available to your clients on the phone at any moment they choose to call. In today’s 24/7 instant gratification world, your customers are looking for service. Are you giving it to them? When they call, do they get an “answer”?
Seven reasons to choose Direct Line Teleresponse as your 24/7 Answer.
- Specialized Service: Direct Line provides specialized service plans for your unique business needs. Whether you need someone to handle your calls, take your orders or to provide support for your web alerts, Direct Line will create a tailor-made plan to maximize your business potential.
- Superior Service: Internationally recognized for our excellence in customer service, we provide outstanding customer service quality to both your customers, and to you… our customer.
- Experienced Service: Established in 1979,Direct Line Teleresponse has been serving businesses of all sizes across the nation for over 30 years.
- High-Tech Service: We pride ourselves on utilizing the best technology available in the industry with our Pinnacle computer system which automatically identifies which instructions to follow, whether it is time of day, specific service you provide, or who might be on call for a specific situation. As technology changes, we advance with it.
- Reliable Service: Direct Line is a 24 / 7 Gold Site Certified Service, representing a high level of proficiency in recovery techniques, good business practices, documentation of procedures, and levels of redundancy necessary for 24 / 7 preparedness.
- Customized Service: We don’t just answer your calls (or answer your inbound email), we do it professionally, pleasantly, within 3 rings and never put callers on hold in the middle of a call. We process incoming information accurately, quickly, exactly, as per your on-call instructions as detailed in our database. Direct Line will deliver your message, efficiently, quickly by email, fax, pager, text message, voice mail, relay to cell phone, or patch the call directly to you.
- Domestic Service: All of our agents are based in the United States, and we do not outsource any of our calls to overseas call centers. We screen our operators to ensure the highest possible quality, and pride ourselves on our outstanding staff.
Isn’t it time you gave yourself an advantage? If your customers can’t reach you, they will surely reach out to your competitors. Our service is always open, always answering, and always offering the very same high-quality customer service whether you call at 9am, 9pm, or even at 2am. We remain open on all holidays, and are equipped to remain open no matter the circumstances with our backup systems. You will never miss another call, and you will get one of the best competitive advantages available in business today. Excellent customer service.
When it counts, you need to have someone handling your calls that will go the extra mile to be sure you get that important, possibly life saving message. One call we received this month is a perfect example of how important judgement is. A call came into our office late at night attempting to reach our client to alert her that a home neighboring hers was on fire. Usually calls to the client would be handled by sending a page, however our late-night agent took extra steps to alert the client of the danger. Knowing the urgency of the situation, the agent called the client directly to all known numbers and continued calling until she got through.
“Our neighbors house went up in flames last night and Astra called me instead of just paging me which woke us up and we got out of the house just in case the fire spread. If it wasn’t for her calling we would have slept through it.” ~ L.A. June 2012
When situations require “out of the box” thinking, we are proud that our staff has the training and good judgement to put in the extra effort to provide the level of service needed.
Great Job Astra!
If you haven’t figured it out yet, we are living in the age of information. Sometimes, it’s the age of “way too much information”. If you are anything like most of us out here in the business world, you start your day with a deluge of emails, a stack of mail, and (for many) a voicemail box overflowing with messages. Oh, but wait… if you use us, chances are you don’t have to have a voicemail box full of voicemails…. we’re here to help!
The thing is that yes, as the world of information moves faster and faster, it becomes necessary to have a plan with how to deal with all of this information. Take a peek at this great “infographic” from Mindjet.com. If you notice, several of the solutions are something that we can help you with!
Direct Line TeleResponse is proud to be a sponsor of the Pleasant Hill Baseball Association, an organization that thinks of others in their time of need. It was devastating news for the Union City Softball Association who discovered their equipment storage sheds were broken into and robbed over this past weekend. Because of this thoughtless act by thieves, the youth in Union City California almost didn’t have a season.
Fortunately the Pleasant Hill Baseball/Softball Association, (PHBA) when they heard stepped up to the plate, literally. The PHBA pulled together their resources and donated 15 teams worth of gear to the Union City Softball Association so that they may start their 2012 season without interruption. Great job PHBA, and we at Direct Line are very proud to be associated with such an amazing program who thinks of the kids and shares the wealth. Play Ball!
*Direct Line Teleresponse is sponsoring a boys baseball team this year! Stay tuned for updates on our little Pleasant Hill Cardinals!
The holidays between Thanksgiving and New Years Day are always a buzz in our offices here at Direct Line TeleResponse.In addition to covering for holiday closures, we start a new campaign to keep us focused on our number one goal, excellent customer service. We are proud to participate in both the ATSI (Association of Tele Services International) and Cam-X (Canadian Call Management Association) Award of Excellence programs. It’s like the Academy Awards for the answering service industry.
This year, if you wander around our offices, you will see a theme of excellence. We go all out with decorations, contests, awards, and of course we like to keep it fun!
Of course (as always) the goal is excellent customer service for our customers. The result we treasure the most are the kudos we receive from you.
“‘You sound so professional, I really honor having a good admin” ~ Amy M.
“Thank you, again, for superior service” ~ Angela X.
“We have been pleased with Direct Line’s service to the point that I now refer them to others myself!” ~ Joanne L.
“I keep hearing about how ‘awesome’ my receptionist is, they are shocked when I tell them it’s my answering service” ~ Rachelle G.
The best compliment of all, is serving you!
Thank you so much for your business, and we wish you a Happy New Year!
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow. ~Melody Beattie
On this Thanksgiving Day, we thank each and every one of you, our clients, our staff, our partners, our friends…our Direct Line Family. Happy Thanksgiving to you all!