Anserve’s History

Anserve is a Family Business

With Anserve, You Know We Are Always Focused on Helping Your Business Succeed.

Pompton Lakes Telephone Answering Service

Anserve started in 1969 when husband and wife Bob and Nancy Ward purchased the Pompton Lakes Telephone Answering Service from Hazel and Dwin Travers. At this time, the answering service used three telephone company switchboards to service approximately 250 clients, including small businesses and local doctors.  Just as it does now, the business operated 24 hours a day.

From the beginning, Nancy Ward ran the day-to-day operations for Anserve, then still known as Pompton Lakes Telephone Answering Service. Over time, the company acquired several other local answering services. Bob Ward helped with negotiations for the acquisitions but kept his day job at an advertising agency until 1995.

Bob & Nancy Ward in the mid-1990s with secretary, Carol.
Bob & Nancy Ward in the mid-1990s with secretary, Carol.
Bob & Nancy Ward in the mid-1990s with secretary, Carol.

Telephone Company Switchboards

Equipment was rudimentary in the early days. For instance, phone messages were written on paper and the company leased telephone switchboards from the telephone company. Due to telephone company regulations, each answering service had to be located within a quarter-mile of the telephone company. For the answering service to operate, there was an important piece of equipment called a concentrator/identifier with wires physically connected to the telephone company. Summer thunderstorms would often knock the concentrator out of commission, and Nancy would have to go out to make repairs at all hours of day or night.

In the days before cell phones and pagers, long-term employee Maureen Caracciolo remembers that in many cases, telephone agents had doctors’ phone numbers memorized to reach them quickly. Operators got to know where to reach their doctors in an emergency, whether it was on the golf course, at bridge club, or at a weekly bookstore crochet club, in the case of one pediatrician! Soon beepers and pagers came into use, and then cell phones, which help agents notify doctors immediately in the case of an emergency.

Eleanor Napoli
Eleanor Napoli
Eleanor Napoli (pictured with manager John Stavola) began working for Bob Ward in the early ’60s and has worked for Anserve for more than 25 years. Today, at age 93, she still does bookkeeping work for Anserve!

All Hours Answering Service

Pompton Lakes Answering Service
Pompton Lakes Answering Service
Pompton Lakes Answering Service

Through the 1980s, the company was known as “All Hours Telephone Answering Service” but changed its name for each town it served, such as “All Hours of Pompton Lakes”, “All Hours of Oakland”, and “All Hours of Oak Ridge”.

In 1982, the company survived a serious fire. The fire forced the evacuation of the rest of the three-story building the company was housed in, but despite heavy damage to the building, Anserve was able to continue to operate.

In 1984, the Wards purchased another similar-sized answering service in Ridgewood, NJ, and for several years they juggled the two locations. Eventually, the two offices were merged into the Pompton Lakes location, and the new name Anserve replaced previous names.

Outdoor Mall sign board

Anserve Moves to Butler

In 1995, Bob closed his advertising agency (Carelli, Glynn, and Ward) and began working for Anserve full time, concentrating on sales. At this time, the company closed its doors in Pompton Lakes and moved to its current building in Butler, NJ. This was an “exhilarating and scary” transition, says Nancy, because an answering service never truly closes, but Anserve kept operating smoothly through the move without skipping a beat!

Over the years, the Wards chose to keep Anserve a family business. As teens, the Wards’ three children contributed to the family business, working as telephone agents, filing paperwork, and doing painting and lawn mowing. As an adult, their son Rob began to work full time at Anserve in 2006, at first as an agent and then working with back-end technology. Rob became president of Anserve in 2015, and he continues to grow the business and make sure Anserve is at the forefront of 21st-century technology to grow the business for the future. While they’ve passed “retirement age,” both Bob and Nancy Ward remain actively involved in Anserve to this day.

founders of Anserve

Anserve still provides services to doctors and businesses, but they tend to be larger medical practices and larger companies these days.  Having started with just 12 agents, today Anserve employs over 130 agents who service over 1,300 clients, though employees say it still has the feel of a small company.  While technology has changed over the years – Office Manager Karen Okul remembers starting her job in the mid 90’s without the use of a computer! But one thing has not changed, “The Wards are really good to their employees,” says 20-year employee Holly Horne.