Our History

What started out as a telephone answering service in 1923 has now grown into one of the largest message solutions companies in Virginia. Hello, Inc., a family-owned and operated business, began as a one-woman show when the bedridden Margaret Redmond Smith offered to answer calls for local doctors. With an old French-style telephone mounted on a scissors-type extension near her bed, she claimed to be one of the first telephone answering bureaus with "built-in" automation. She was indeed one of the pioneers of the answering service concept in the United States at that time.

After her death in 1925, Margaret's son, Edward R. Smith and his wife, Eleanor, continued to operate Mrs. Smith's Doctor's Exchange. Services were expanded in 1933 to include commercial customers as well as medical clientele. In 1953 Margaret's grandson, Edward L. Smith, Sr. started his career with the family business. Two years later as the business continued to flourish, offices were moved from the Smiths' residence into offices in downtown Richmond, and Mr. and Mrs. Smith turned over complete operation of the company to their son Edward. Several moves later, the company located to its present address on West Broad Street and by 1973 had expanded its operations into the Washington, DC market as well. Hello, Inc. has the distinction of being America's oldest Live Answering Service. However, the company recognized the need for more innovative systems to keep pace with the fast approaching computer world.

Moving to a fully computerized system in the 80's gave Hello the ability to capture an even larger, more regional client base as it continued to add new services such as voice mailbox, paging services and cellular technology. This use of more sophisticated data communications systems allowed the company, now operated by the fourth generation of Smiths, to increase its geographical boundaries into the Tidewater area in 1989, thus achieving the company's goal of providing services to the "Golden Crescent" of Virginia.

The 1990s brought Hello's clients new interactive fax technology, allowing the company to enhance its ability to service customers throughout the world. As a testament to its superior service, Hello was awarded the industry's highest Award of Excellence for operator services in 1997. In 2004 Hello earned the 24/7 Call Center Site Certification by exceeding the criteria for providing 99.99 percent annual run time. Today, the company's management team and staff are here 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and utilizes state-of-the-art telecommunications equipment to service today's growing business needs. Its many services include: Operator Answering Services Inbound Telemarketing Services Voice Mail Paging Services Fax Broadcast

With confidence this truly growing and highly service-oriented operation, with its solid foundation based on a family tradition of friendly and reliable customer service and unequaled experience, looks to the next 91 years of success with great anticipation.

Hello Inc. proudly provides service to the following cities and surrounding areas: Richmond, Charlottesville, Virginia Beach, Fredericksburg, Newport News/Williamsburg and Northern Virginia