The ABC’s of the Telephone Answering Services
ANSWERING the phone sounds easy and it is, until you have multiple competing activities going on around you. BUSINESSES should be aware that 80% of callers will hang up if their call goes to voicemail or a machine (Fortune Magazine). The COST of losing new business or your existing business because you can’t handle the easy task of answering the phone, should make you shutter. Customers can DEMAND good service because there’s always someone out there ready to deliver when you can’t.
A live telephone answering service can provide the ultimate customer service EXPERIENCE. Think about the FINANCIAL impact that personal touch can have when you welcome a new customer aboard or can support an existing customer with a human voice on the line. People are fatigued with automated services and express GRATITUDE when they hear a “real person” welcome them. Many of our clients ask themselves, “HOW did I go so long without you?”
We all like INDIVIDUAL attention when we’re looking for a solution or searching for services. An answering service may be able to get the JOB done and set your business apart from the other guy that either doesn’t answer the phone or makes you navigate the telephone key pad.
AnswerUSA Group taps into your KNOWLEDGE of what type of support your customer needs and we become your voice. Many people aren’t aware they’re talking with an answering service. We’re that good! When you call for information, we’ll LISTEN more than talk, so that we gain the understanding of your needs.
We understand that people are very MOBILE and aren’t always at a desk. You NEVER have to miss a call or OPPORTUNITY to give your customers and clients the human experience. We’ve got that covered!
Each account is custom PROGRAMMED. Just like snowflakes, no 2 are alike! An answering service can ask the same QUESTIONS you would to help ROUTE the call and provide the same STELLAR service.
TIME is precious and we all need to UNDERSTAND and VALUE what it means to new and existing clients. No one wants to WAIT and WONDER (…Double U gets Double Credit) if anyone out there is going to call them back. We’ve all been there and done that! Your customers deserve an XENIAL atmosphere in which to do business with you. AnswerUSA Group of answering services has YEARS of experience (and the awards to prove it) in providing just that.
Z is the last letter of this alphabet but don’t let the opportunity of working with an answering service like AnswerUSA Group be the last thing you do today. CALL or EMAIL us for more information and we’ll make doing business with us as easy as ABC!
Most websites have, as part of their menu options, a Testimonials page spotlighting feedback from clients. We’re no different.
Our company takes these pats on the back one step further however, recognizing compliments that our Operators receive from clients, patients or others who like our service better than their own.
We call these pats on the back, KUDOS! The messages go company wide and our President and CEO acknowledges each and every one.
Here’s some examples of KUDOS!
“Stated I was very professional and needed to come work for her all the time.” (Kudos to Dee – Customer Service Manager – Tampa)
“I took a call from a very anxious client and before we hung up she thanked me for calming her down even though all I could do was leave a message for the office for Monday.” (Kudos to Amanda – Customer Service Representative – Auburn)
“One of our Doctors called in for a message that we had been trying to deliver. He apologized to me that his phone was in the car. The Dr. also stated that we are awfully nice, we do a great job, thanked me for all we do, said to keep up the good work and he wished that all doctors gave us compliments because we earn it. “ (Kudos to Natasha – Customer Service Representative – Auburn)
From the daughter of a caller, “Janice was courteous, polite, she went above and beyond the call of duty, she was kind, an asset to your answering service, and a human being – not a robot or prompt. (Kudos to Janice – Customer Service Representative – Syracuse)
“Mike did an excellent job at taking a message and handling a difficult caller. Keep up the good work.” (Kudos to Mike – Customer Service Representative – Watertown)
A client shared that “when he returned calls from 2 clients, they gave him compliments on the operators that took the messages. He said he loves our service.” (Kudos to Chantel – Customer Service Leader – Syracuse)
The list goes on and on.
So why is it a big deal to celebrate KUDOS! at this company? Last year more than 40% of our sales leads came in from (1) client referrals, (2) people calling the service for another account and liked what they heard, and (3) current clients asking us to expand our services with them. You can pay thousands of dollars for advertising and putting your name on pens but there’s no better return on investment than having a team of professionals getting it done, just by doing their job.
Kudos! to the Representatives that make selling our service easier!
Kudos! to the Supervisors that coach the Representatives on how to be their best!
Kudos! to the Customer Service Managers who help maintain the positive work environment!
Kudos! to our company leaders who always remember to say thank you and insist on celebrating the win!
And Kudos! to our clients and callers who take the time to acknowledge all our hard work, and the result of hours of training. It’s a real lift and keeps us motivated.
A Cry for Help: 5 Signs You Need an Answering Service
You’ve been running a successful business, and your phones are frequently ringing to prove it. But as your business has grown, the strain on your staff may have increased too. If any of these five signs rings a bell, it may be time to hire an answering service.
- Productivity is slipping.
If your team is so busy answering and returning phone calls, it’s tough for them to focus on other projects that require less distraction. This inattention to other tasks adds up to unfinished work in various areas over time, which will ultimately slow the growth of your business. Answering services are designed to handle much higher phone traffic, so all calls are answered quickly.
- You’re losing time.
Losing time goes hand-in-hand with losing productivity. Handling calls correctly will take time and attention and adds up to hours that could be spent updating databases, following up with current customers, or acquiring new ones, for example.
- Customers are complaining.
If you’ve had a handful of customers complain about the hold time when they called, or not having their calls returned at all, it’s time to consider an answering service. Poorly handled calls give your customers the impression that you probably run your business poorly as well. When your customer is not happy, this will prompt them to check out your competition.
- Callers are talking to voicemail more often than to a live voice.
While voicemail certainly serves its purpose with catching calls that can’t be immediately answered, it also adds a degree of discomfort for the caller. Customers wonder when their call will be returned, or may worry that it won’t be returned at all. And getting voice mail in the case of an urgent matter is always disconcerting. Hiring an answering service with live, courteous operators ensures that your customers are greeted professionally and quickly each time they call.
- Your on-call staff members only want to receive the urgent calls.
Customers call at all times of the day and night, and sometimes their calls are urgent but many times they’re not. For example, if you own a medical office and assign certain team members to answer the after-hours calls, it would save them valuable time, and sleep, if they received only the emergency calls. An answering service would channel calls about appointments or refills and other non-urgent matters to your business to handle the next day.
The bottom line is that if you’re spending more time putting out fires due to your call volume, it may be time to view a live answering service as your firefighters. The right one will take the pressure off of you and your team, so you can focus on taking care of your customers and growing your business.
Please contact us for more information about AnswerUSA Group and how when can help your business.
Attributed to Joann Fussell, Voice Link April 14, 2016
Answer Watertown Has Moved To a New Location (February 2016)
Our Watertown office has relocated to its new site at 522-A Bradley Street, Watertown, NY. The move took place in February and was necessary to provide additional office space to support an increased number of staff and conference areas. Several renovations were needed to accommodate the needs of an answering service, including mandatory separation of the Operators’ room from other areas. All of the AnswerUSA offices played a part in the relocation since the goal was to guarantee continuity of service for all clients.
A Career Operator
By: Dee (15+ years of answering service experience)
I remember my first day at Answer Bay Area. I had no idea what an answering service did, with the exception of answering the telephone on behalf of companies and doctors’ offices. I was amazed at the call volume and variety of call types that my instructor handled as I looked on. Within hours I was answering calls with an experienced operator by my side. I was so terrified that I did not think I would be back the next day.
I remember the first mistake that I made was calling a doctor with a routine appointment call. He quickly realized that I was new but took a moment to encourage me. He assured me that I would get the hang of it. He did not know that made my day and I decided I would give myself a chance to learn the answering service business.
Once on my own, I realized that we are here to help people by taking a message, being compassionate to their needs or just being nice to someone. I have irate callers that I have to take deep breaths in order to be overly nice. Surprisingly, some of them offer an apology for taking their frustrations out on me.
We receive sad calls from people whose spouse has passed away during the night and from hospitals notifying the doctors that a patient has expired. We also receive the occasional funny story. I took a call from a parent whose child had stuffed a green pea up his nose and the mother was laughing so hard she was having trouble giving me information for the doctor.
Over the course of my career, I have left the office realizing that I have helped someone each day, whether it’s a caller, a client or an operator. It makes my job fulfilling each day.
AnswerUSA Group has been honored with multiple Association of TeleServices International (ATSI) Awards of Excellence for 2015
Finger Lakes Answering Service (Auburn, NY) has been honored with the exclusive Diamond Plus Award of Excellence, marking its 11th consecutive year of recognition. This year’s achievement of finishing in the top 5 for the past 6 years is unprecedented.
Answer Syracuse/Communications Group (Syracuse, NY) has also received the Diamond Plus Award of Excellence, recognizing its 11th consecutive year of outstanding service.
Answer Bay Area (Tampa, FL) has been honored with the Pearl Award of Excellence for achieving its 6th consecutive year of excellence. This marks a spectacular increase in ranking over 2014.
Independent judges are contracted by ATSI to evaluate message services over a six month period. The scoring criteria includes: Response Time, Courteousness of Rep, Accuracy of Call, Knowledge of Account and Overall Impression of Call.
Our dedicated team of professionals, lead by Karen Goodman (Auburn, NY), Jennifer Wiler (Syracuse, NY) and Dee Starling (Tampa, FL), work very hard to ensure consistent delivery of excellent service to AnswerUSA clients and their callers, year after year. The results make us very proud and motivate us to continue our hard work.
Making An Impact
By: Brie (3+ years of answering service experience)
First impressions can be tricky, nerve-wracking experiences – I know a lot of people who rely heavily on first impressions to give them a sense of who a person is, how they operate and what to expect from them in the future. We spend a lot of thought, time and energy on first impressions. Now that I think of it, humans spend a lot of time just thinking about first impressions and worrying about how first impressions will impact their relationships with others.
In this business it is important to make a good impression on every call you take and surprisingly, most people won’t recognize your voice even if they’re a repeat caller. I’ve had cases where I had taken a call for someone and get them on the line again on a different account for the exact same type of message. They don’t recognize that I had just been speaking with them. I see this as another opportunity to change their day.
Whenever I have someone on the line I think about how I am impacting their day. This really helps me keep things in perspective. Time really matters in this situation – I try to improve the callers day in the short time that I’m speaking with them. If I’m only going to be on the phone with this person for 1 – 2 minutes I really have to be attentive to make an impact. One of the most important parts of my process is focus – I strive to give my callers my full attention. People can tell when you are multi-tasking (even over the phone) or if you are distracted and unfocused. So many callers are appreciative when you gather and confirm details they’ve mentioned that are important to them.
Manners are extremely important to me in my personal and professional life. Working in a call center environment has changed my life for the better. I always try to use my manners and I have had compliments on my manners in my personal life. For me, it’s all about consistency – everything we do is a practice. I’ve made manners my practice – both at work and at home. A genuine thank you impacts every day interactions on a very large scale.
AnswerUSA / qliqSOFT Secure Messaging ™
AnswerUSA Group is partnering with qliqSOFT™ to provide a secure messaging service to a Smartphone or office computer. This service is fully compliant with HIPAA and HITECH standards, allowing clients to enjoy the ease and efficiency of text messaging without the concern for security and PHI data exposure.
Here is how it works:
Group members download the qliqCONNECT app from either the iPhone App Store or Google Play.
- The qliqCONNECT app will notify the recipient of a pending message until it has been acknowledged, ensuring that no message is overlooked.
- Also built in is the ability to notify the service that messages have been received through the app. No longer is there a need to call the service to confirm.
- PC/Mac users can easily download the application from qliqSOFT.com
Here is why it is secure:
- The transmission of the Protected Health Information (PHI) from our system to your phone is encrypted and secure.
- The access to the PHI is through a password protected secure access point.
- The PHI is protected with strong encryption on the phone and in transmission.
- There is a built-in screen saver in the app that will require entry of the PIN after 5 minutes.
- If the phone is lost or stolen, we have the ability to lock or wipe the qliqCONNECT app remotely.
Call us today for more information and pricing. Let us help you receive secure, encrypted messages on your Smartphone.
Click here to visit qliqSOFT’s website.