Use an Answering Service to Screen Calls
October 24, 2016
The telephone serves as an essential tool for most businesses. It’s the primary means of communication with prospects, customers, vendors, and employees. The telephone provides the potential for immediate, direct communication with these important groups. As far as effectiveness and making personal connections, we cannot overstate its value. When it comes to urgent and emergency communication, nothing beats the supremacy of the telephone. After all, who would ever send an email to 911? And some industries require that all critical messages, such as a buy or sell order to your financial services representative, occur via a phone call, explicitly disallowing email or text. Yes, the phone call rules.
Yet the telephone is also a source of unwanted communication. This includes people trying to sell you something you don’t want or need. While telephone sales have a useful place, they are sometimes misused, too.
Between the time-critical phone calls and the unwanted interruptions, resides an array of important but not urgent calls. What’s an overworked manager or business owner to do? How can you receive the urgent calls fast, eliminate the fluff, and rank the rest?
The solution comes from your telephone answering service. They can screen your calls, which generally results in three types of action:
Escalate the Urgent: As we mentioned, the telephone is ideal for time-sensitive calls and emergencies. Yet without proper attention, these high priority calls can be seriously delayed or even lost in the morass of routine calls.
You simply tell your answering service what constitutes an emergency or urgent call. Then specify how you want it handled. They will look for these types of calls. Possible actions might include transferring these calls to your office phone or mobile device, reaching an on-call person, or providing specific instructions to the caller.
Exclude the Distractions: There are some calls you never want to receive. Your answering service is a great resource for keeping these calls from interrupting you and work that is more important. Sometimes callers merely seek information and the answering service can provide it so that you don’t need to become involved or even return a call. Other times they can inform the caller you have no interest, hopefully ending future calls.
Order the Relevant: Most phone calls, however, are important but not immediately essential. For these, the answering service can take a message for you or your company to respond to later. Batching these calls for action is an effective use of time. Some leaders and managers block out certain times of the day to return calls or process information left by callers. This frees up the remaining time to focus on projects and work that demands concentrated, uninterrupted effort.
Your telephone answering service can make this happen when they screen your calls. In doing so you can reclaim the telephone as an indispensable business tool and protect your valuable time in the process.
Janet Livingston is the president of Call Center Sales Pro, a premier sales and marketing service provider for the call center and telephone answering service industry – and who helps businesses and organizations find the perfect answering service. Contact Janet at email@example.com or call 800-901-7706.
Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer from Southwest Michigan.
How to Generate Content for Your Newsletter
You’ve been collecting email addresses from your answering service clients and prospects for months. You know you need to do something with this inf...
Call Centers Can Provide the Answer When Chatbots Overwhelm
Chatbots, which automate responses to social media inquiries, promise to provide some interesting customer service solutions, but they also pose threa...
Buying a Distressed Answering Service
We talked about “Selling a Distressed Answering Service.” Now we look at this issue from the alternate perspective of the buyer. The key is to tre...
Hospital System Sees Call Center as Marketing Tool
Heads turned and ears perked up by what the hospital’s VP of marketing said during a roundtable discussion at a recent convention: “Our call cente...
Are You Sick of Hearing Complaints about Your Answering Service?
No one wants to receive an assignment to investigate and vet a new call center. If all goes well you might get a pat on the back, and anything that go...
Is Your Answering Service Your Retirement Plan?
For many business owners their business is in effect their retirement plan. Yes, they do have a SEP or IRA, but most of their assets are tied up in th...
Format Your Marketing Emails for Mobile Devices
Would you ever send out an email-marketing piece that only half your list could read? Of course not. That would be a waste of effort for you and highl...
Develop a Career Path For Your Call Center Agents
A key challenge call centers face is finding good agents. Then they must train those agents, which is an investment that can take several weeks. After...