Follow Specialty Answering Service - Customer Service Articles on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook


Millennials are trending! The 75.3 million or so population of millennials communicate way differently than the Baby Boomer generation before them. While your mom loves to talk on the phone and dish about her back and knee pain, millennials aren’t huge fans of phones (SMH), but do love texting. When your dad did a backflip the first time he figured out how to ‘Like’ a post on Facebook, millennials were raised on social media. To capture the buying power of this group, businesses are realizing they need to flip the script on how they engage with millennials. For customer service, that means helping customers doesn’t always start with ‘Thank you for calling. How can I help you?’

While the basic tenets of good customer service remain the same across generations, the way millennials communicate is what’s really changing the customer service game. Preferred channels of service aren’t just telephones. They’re phones, and texts, and chats, and Twitter, and Facebook – pretty much just about every channel your small business is probably not engaging in right now.

So how can businesses that have developed their customer service strategies around Baby Boomers change gears to hook up with millennials? How can you achieve customer retention while millennializing your customer service? We’ve put together 7 tips your company can start putting into play today!

Tip #1: Social Media

Use of Social Media: As social media continues to evolve, millennials are evolving with it, which means you have to, too. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat are all free apps that millennials love, and that businesses can use to keep in touch with their customer base. 55% of people aged 18-34 stated that they have used social media to praise a brand on it’s customer service. Similarly, 50% of people in the same age range stated that they would also refer to social media to complain about a bad customer service experience. Oh no! If you’re not using at least some form of social media to engage with your customers, you’re dropping the ball.

How your company can use social media to engage with millennials: Just being accessible on social media is a great customer service strategy. Millennials are always on their phones – so you have to be there too.

  • Setup Social Media Channels: At minimum, make sure you have a Facebook and a Twitter page setup, with text on the page letting customers know they can DM you for support requests.
  • Post Regularly: We recommend posting regularly to show your customers that you’re up to date, engaged, and ready to communicate. Even if you’re just owning a Twitter troll because they talked smack on your beef, at least you’re posting something, and millennials know you’re there.
  • Make Sure Customers Know Where They Can Contact You: Traditional support channels like logging a support ticket on a website may not be adopted, where accepting support requests on channels millennials already use can be. If millennials know that they can send a direct message via Twitter or Facebook, instead of logging a formal support ticket, or calling a support line, they are more likely to reach out to you when issues arise, which means you have the ability to resolve their problem quicker. Make sure you have a place on your website letting customers know all the million+ ways they can contact you for support. And so you aren’t checking those million+ places every day, make sure all requests and messages funnel into a single email to easily triage requests.
Tip #2: Unified Communications

Unify Your Communications: Millennias have been exposed to the internet from infancy. That means data is always delivered in real time and on-demand. You need to have the right tools and technologies for seamless integration and a smooth flow of information across multiple channels. A millennial may expect to carry out a transaction online and call your contact center agent to verify when the shipping can be expected. Also, messaging and communication need to be consistent. Your website, your email marketing, and your contact center agents all need to speak the same language. Advertising a special when your answering service rep has no idea what the caller is talking about – that’s a super ‘No No’.

How your company can maintain consistent customer service with millennials: To really kill it, you need to be everywhere at once!

  • Use One Customer Service Team: Phone, email, and live chat support should all be handled by the same team of people. That way if someone who was using chat decides to call in for more assistance, they won’t have to explain themselves all over again.
  • Unify Your Software: If customer support isn’t able to be handled by the same group, we recommend looking for software that is able to integrate with other channels. For example, for your helpdesk software, look for a product that integrates with your CRM, POS, ordering platform, and billing system. For customers who are trying to get assistance, it can be frustrating when they are tossed around from person to person, especially if that person is not in the same location as the support rep they were just talking to. Consistency and teamwork are key in maintaining long lasting customer relationships.
Tip #3: Human Touch

The Human Touch: Despite their comfort with self-service, millennials still prefer the human touch when it comes to complex inquiries. They also want human interaction to be available on every channel – primarily to offer contextual and personalized service. So, out goes your static FAQ page and in comes web chat from an agent who knows which page you are browsing! Be sure that your agent is knowledgeable, can communicate well and is empowered to make decisions. 32% of millennials stated that working with a representative who does not have the ability or knowledge to resolve their issue is the most frustrating aspect of their customer service experience, and 63% have stopped doing business with companies due to a poor customer service experience. Millennials prefer an informal, honest, solution-oriented approach. Human agents must be available for them to contact at their convenience, and not because other service channels are sub-optimal.

The best way to provide 24/7 live support for millennials: Live support rocks! Make sure you’re offering it.

  • Hire a Virtual Receptionist: Outsource calls to a 24/7 virtual receptionist service so that your customers can receive assistance even after you’ve closed up shop for the day. Generally speaking, if millennials reach an answering machine, they will not stay on the line to leave a message. So, you’ll want to make sure you have around the clock coverage to field any incoming calls.
  • Make Sure the Virtual Receptionists Do Everything You Can Do: You’ll want to be sure that if someone calls at 2:00 PM and reaches you, and then they call at 7:00 PM and reach the answering service, that the service has the same capabilities and access to information as you. Many answering services can act as an extension to your business by screening calls, dispatching urgent messages, scheduling appointments, etc. In addition, you can save money by hiring a virtual receptionist as opposed to an in-office receptionist, who you’d have to pay a full salary and benefits. Many services, Specialty Answering Service included, even offer a free trial so you can make sure they are a good match!
Tip #4: Convenience

Convenience: Millennials take it for granted that your business will have a website, an app, and a contact center, not to mention a physical store front – all of which they will use depending on  convenience. So you can no longer shy away from multiple service channels.  They also prefer proactive engagement – reminders on bills to be paid, flights to be caught etc., rather than responsive engagement, like outreach on a payment after the due date has passed. It is important that you first obtain permission to call, text or email them, personalize the message, keep it accurate and relevant, and offer something actionable.

How to make your customer service channels convenient for millennials: You need to adopt texting into your customer service strategy.

  • Encourage Texting: Make sure your customers know they are able to text you if they need help.
  • Unify Your Numbers So They’re All Text Enabled: If you have numbers that aren’t text enabled, resporg them to a service that will allow texting.
Tip #5: Speed

Speed of Service: This one is universal, but especially relevant for millennials who are great at multitasking. Their service expectations are influenced by the instant gratification that they are used to from online experiences. No one likes to be kept on hold – especially so, the millennials – who are likely to abandon the queue faster than the Boomers. One way to overcome this is to offer self-service options such as an IVR or app-based service delivery.

How to speed up your customer service channels for millennials:  Create an internal SLA for responding to customers.

  • Set A Support Timeframe: Instant gratification is king. If your millennial customers reach out to you and they don’t hear back quickly, they are going to take their business elsewhere. Set a time frame within your company and try to stick to it as best you can. For example, maybe your goal for email replies is 30 minutes during business hours, and 2 hours after hours.
  • Use Technology for Confirmations: If you’re using a helpdesk, you can easily setup an automated email that goes out as soon as you receive an incoming ticket that just lets the customer know you’ve received their request and that they will be hearing from you soon. If you’re using email to handle your requests, setup an autoresponder. Either method assures customers that they are being heard, which makes them more likely to stick around for the resolution.
Tip #6: Self-Service

Use of Self-Service Channels:  78% of millennials agreed that they have a more favorable view of brands that offer a mobile-responsive customer support portal. Ideally, easy and straightforward transactions such as balance inquiry and password reset can be self-service while complex interactions are best left to a live agent. Also, it is important to provide confirmation of a successful transaction. Otherwise, millennials are likely to call back to verify if the transaction did actually go through – defeating the entire purpose of having self-service in the first place. This would be considered poor service.

The best way to provide self-service customer service options for millennials: Help your customers help themselves.

  • Invest in Web Based Technology to Connect Your Systems: Generally speaking, if millennials know that they can make a change with their order or account without having to speak to someone, they will do it on their own. Giving your customers access to an online portal that allows them to manage their settings at their leisure can help reduce phone calls and increase customer satisfaction. You’ll want to make sure the portal is user friendly and that the people using it aren’t able to make any drastic changes, like accidentally deleting important information.
  • Develop a Help Desk: Articles are awesome. Make sure to create an online library where customers can go to for answers to their questions – and make sure you update it regularly. You’ll find that this will cut down on your support costs while keeping your customers uber happy.
Tip #7: Quality

Quality of Service Delivery & Service Recovery: Consumer activism is high among millennials. They take action as a response to perceived service quality, whether it is good or bad. They talk about their service experience online in social media and in chat forums, are quick to recommend a good service provider to friends and family, and equally quick to warn them about a bad one. In fact, their tolerance for bad service is lower than other generations, and therefore companies need to work on improving quality of service delivery and speed of service recovery in the event of an unsatisfactory incident. In other words, if something goes awry, apologize and take corrective action straightaway.

How to improve the quality of your service for millennials: Make sure you’re taking feedback at every opportunity.

  • Send A Survey After Every Issue You Resolve: Send out an email or text after every resolved issue asking your customers for their feedback. Giving them this option to tell  you directly how you did can help deter them from bad mouthing you on social media. If their feedback was positive, you can then follow up by asking them to post a review online. If their feedback was negative, work with them to resolve their issue and analyze the entire thread so you can improve the process for next time.
  • Look for Patterns And Be Proactive: Analyze your support requests each week to look for trends. For example, if you’re seeing an escalation in support requests for new customers, maybe you need stronger on-boarding procedures.

While generations differ in how they interact with the businesses they patronize, their expectations are essentially the same – they want good customer care, and they want their problems to be resolved in as little time as possible.

The post 7 Simple Ways To Adjust Your Customer Service Strategy for Millennials appeared first on Specialty Answering Service.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Voicemail is a digitally recorded message stored in a digital mailbox – a best friend to all people who screen their calls and actively avoid their friends and family. If you call anyone, one of two things are going to happen: the call will be answered by a human being, or you’ll be transferred to a voicemail box. But that wasn’t always the case. Before 1970 when voicemail didn’t exist, trying to reach someone who wasn’t there meant waiting on the line while it kept ringing, and ringing, and ringing. Endlessly. And you were all like ‘I know you’re there. Pick up. Pick up. PICK UP!’ But they never did. Thanks to voicemail, someone is always there. Even if it’s a digital someone.

For businesses, voicemail is a cheap lead capture tool. Think about how many calls your business gets during the day. Now imagine not having voicemail (or *cough*, a live receptionist *ahem*) and leaving potential customers waiting on the line, wondering when, or if, you’re going to pick up. Not cool.

Today, there are a ton of voicemail providers out there that basically all perform the same function: storing recorded communication for convenient retrieval. In this infographic, we’ll school you on how voicemail works, when voicemail was introduced, how voicemail messages are digitally stored, how voicemail is a part of Unified Communications, and how AI voice to text voicemail transcription services are replacing having to listen to your messages.

If you’re writing about voicemail on your own website, please copy the code below to use this infographic:

<img title=”Learn All About Voicemail Infographic” alt=”Learn All About Voicemail Infographic” src=http://www.specialtyansweringservice.net/wp-content/uploads/how-voicemail-works-infographic.jpg” width=”710″ height=”6642″ />
<pre><em>Image originally posted on <a href=”http://www.specialtyansweringservice.net/learn-about-voicemail-infographic/”>The SAS Blog</a></em>

The post Learn about voicemail infographic. appeared first on Specialty Answering Service.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Great customer service is the best! It’s like playing with a puppy while eating a marshmallow only box of Lucky Charms while falling asleep on your grandmothers lap – yeah, it’s that good. So we thought it would be fun to put together a list of customer service all stars from film and television. The best of the best customer service heroes. Characters you can imagine, if answering calls, would go above and way beyond the call of duty to keep your customers happy. Enjoy!

Buddy the Elf:

Customer service skill mastered: Staying positive

Buddy is a human that was raised by elves, so naturally he learned to spread joy no matter who he was talking to (unless that person is a Santa impersonator). Buddy may take some extra time learning the ropes, but once he gets it down pat he would be a great asset to any team.


Customer service skill mastered: Contagious happiness

Joy literally knows no other emotion except for joy. What more could you want in a customer service rep?

Mary Poppins:

Customer service skill mastered: Creative thinking

Mary Poppins is a peculiar nanny that was originally hired to take care of a dysfunctional family. While she has a unique way of doing things, she was able to bring the family together in a fun and loving way. Essentially, every company should have a Mary Poppins at their disposal to help keep the business afloat.


Customer service skill mastered: Applying outside skills to the job

She might forget who you are throughout the conversation, but Dory knows how to make the best out of every situation. What’s even better, is she has a unique set of skills that she can use to help troubleshoot any issue. Yes, talking to whales is a skill everyone should know.

Phoebe Buffay:

Customer service skill mastered: Relate-ability

Phoebe is that one employee who may be a little quirky, but she’s a genuinely good person that just wants the best for everyone. Even if she may not know an answer, she can fake it ’till she makes it. Not only will Phoebe help fix your customer’s issue, she’ll probably also convince them to purchase more product. It’s a win-win, really.


Customer service skill mastered: Making the best out of every situation

Long story short, the man was turned into a donkey and STILL maintained a positive outlook on life. Not only that, but his best friend is an ogre that pretty much hates everybody and everything. Do you think that stops Donkey from having a good time? Nope! A good CSR will leave their baggage at the door and do their best to help anyone in need.

Spongebob Squarepants:

Customer service skill mastered: Positive attitude and a hard-working mindset 

Spongebob Squarepants is everybody’s favorite underwater character that lives in a giant fruit. He works hard flipping patties at the Krusty Krab, and works even harder to get his cranky neighbor, Squidward, to smile. If your CSRs are having trouble connecting with the job and/or your customers, have them take a course in Spongebob etiquette.


Customer service skill mastered: Thinking outside the box

Kramer, like Phoebe, is an oddball. However, he is constantly on his toes, thinking about the next plan. Even in stressful situations Kramer is always there to lend a helping hand.


Customer service skill mastered: Spins the negative into positive

Unlike his foul-mouthed friends, Butters is an optimistic (albeit naive) character who just wants to do well. Often seen as the “voice of reason,” he would be great at keeping your customers happy no matter what the issue.

SNL Cheerleaders:

Customer service skill mastered: Team spirit

It doesn’t matter if they’re cheering at the big football game or a chess match, Craig and Arianna are there to pump up the team. If your employees aren’t excited about the product they’re representing, what does that say to your customers?

George Bailey:

Customer service skill mastered: Putting others first

If you’ve seen It’s a Wonderful Life, then you know it’s about a man who essentially gave up his dreams to help others. While you shouldn’t expect your employees to give up their dreams, you should want them to want to help others. If you’re trying to boost morale at work, George Bailey would definitely be your go-to guy.


Customer service skill mastered: Being a friend to all

Arnold had an unfortunate childhood, but he doesn’t let that get him down. Whether it’s a friend, a neighbor, the garbage man or even the school bully, he is always encouraging his peers to be their best selves. Arnold is mature, collected, and exactly who you want on the front lines handling angry customers.

Ned Flanders:

Customer service skill mastered: Staying cool under pressure

Ned Flanders is another character that stays cool and collected even in troubling times. He gives great advice and he has that “sweet grandpa” vibe. You can certainly rely on Ned to remain chill and trust that he won’t snap back at a customer.

Mike and Carol Brady:

Customer service skill mastered: Problem solving

Who doesn’t love this family oriented duo? Not only are they there for you when you need them, but they’re great at solving problems and coming up with a solution. How else do you think they successfully managed to blend a family of six kids? Six kids!

Kimmy Schmidt:

Customer service skill mastered: Eagerness to learn

While Kimmy might be “behind on the times” due to her prolonged stay in an underground bunker, she doesn’t let that get her down. Kimmy is motivated to learn everything she can and she always has a positive attitude, no matter what the situation.

Forrest Gump:

Customer service skill mastered: Positive attitude

It’s safe to say that Forrest Gump doesn’t have a mean bone in his body. He only wants the best for everyone and works hard to ensure that people are taken care of. Like Buddy, he might take a little longer learning the ropes but once he gets it you’re set for a lifelong amazing CSR.


Customer service skill mastered: Team player

Via freak tornado, Dorothy ended up in some sort of parallel universe and befriended 3 obscure characters. Not only did she help each of them reconcile their own fears and shortcomings, but her team player mentality eventually got her to where she needed to be. They say “teamwork makes the dream work” and she’s exactly who you would want on your team.

Woody Boyd:

Customer service skill mastered: Great listener

Woody is your friendly neighborhood bartender that always knows exactly what to say. Whether he’s giving advice or just there to lend a listening ear, you know that he means well. With Woody manning your phones, you can rest easy knowing that your customers will be taken care of. He also probably hosts a great happy hour.


Customer service skill mastered: Eagerness to spread knowledge

Yoda would be your ultimate Help Desk guide to answer all of your customers’ questions. Granted you may need to hire a translator so people can understand him, you can’t go wrong with the little green, all-knowing machine.

Jiminy Cricket:

Customer service skill mastered: Gives great advice

Jiminy Cricket is a wise, old insect that doubles as Pinocchio’s conscience to encourage him to make good choices. You couldn’t ask for a more wholesome creature taking care of your customers!

Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother:

Customer service skill mastered: Making issues disappear

While Cinderella would make for a good CSR, her fairy godmother would make for a great one. She is, after all, always there when you need her. Fairy Godmother makes things happen and she makes it look easy all the while. Just a swift wave of her wand and poof! Your customers are happy.

Pam Beesley:

Customer service skill mastered: Always answers the phone in a friendly tone

Pam would be a great asset to your team because she’s already well versed in office life. Not only that, but she’s friendly, reliable and she’s even got a creative touch.


Customer service skill mastered: Spreading love to all

Barney may be a purple dinosaur toy that turns into a real life being, but he sure knows how to drop some knowledge. Not only that, but his whole life basically revolves around loving people. Sounds like a great CSR to us!

The post 23 Movie and Television Characters Who Would Make the Best Customer Service Representatives appeared first on Specialty Answering Service.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

The most constant aspect of life is that it’s always changing, and when things change, you have to adapt right along with it. Ironic, isn’t it? Most of the time, change happens for the better, but it does come with some stipulations. If you’re a medical professional, then you’re well aware of HIPAA and how it changed the entire medical industry. If you’re not aware of HIPAA, then pull up a chair and allow us to explain.

What is HIPAA?

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, better known as HIPAA, is a law that was created in 1996 to help regulate and protect the personal health information of patients.  The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, better known as HITECH, has it’s roots with HIPAA. Some other offshoots of HIPAA include PHI (Protected Health Information) and BAAs (Business Associate Agreements). Essentially, these laws and requirements make it so that doctors or other medical professionals cannot pass your information through unprotected systems making the data vulnerable to prying eyes. With Specialty Answering Service, we understand how important it is for our clients to maintain HIPAA compliance, so we’ve changed our method of doing things as well.

Since the start of HIPAA, medical professionals all over the country have had to completely change how they run their practice to make sure they are adhering to the appropriate guidelines. Tasks that seemed so routine before, like inputting data or filing records, now have to be handled delicately to insure the patient information stays protected.  This means that if you’re using any companies to help in your day to day tasks, like answering your calls or shredding your documents, these companies also have to follow the same rules to insure they are not leaking any private data. HIPAA defines these companies you use as “business associates”, and all of these 3rd party business associates would need to enter into a Business Associates Agreement in order for your practice to maintain complaince.

Business Associates Agreement

A Business Associates Agreement is another offshoot of HIPAA, and is another protection mechanism in place making sure your patients’ health information stays protected. Whenever you do business with a 3rd party, that party needs to adhere to HIPAA even if they themselves are not in the medical industry. A business associate could include any person or company that produces, receives, communicates or maintains protected health information (PHI) on behalf of a covered entity, like a health care provider.

Once this agreement, or contract, is signed (by both parties), you are able to disclose private information without any violation. However, if your 3rd party associate breaks the contract, you could also be held liable for their actions. For example, if you sign a BAA with a medical lab, and they happen to disclose information to an outside party that’s not on the agreement, you could be held accountable. Before you enter into an agreement, you should always consult with a lawyer so you know exactly what you’re agreeing to. If both parties aren’t on the same page, it may lead to fines (which can cost over a million dollars per violation), loss of business, damage to your reputation, and/or lawsuits.

Running any office is complicated, but running a medical office comes with it’s own set of hoops that you have to jump through on a daily basis. To try and make your job a little easier, we’ve compiled a list of vendors below that a medical professional may partner with, and why you would need to make sure you’re covered with a BAA:

  • Cloud/IT Data Base: No matter what system or software you use, all of your patient data is stored somewhere in cyberspace. You’ll want to enter into a BAA with whatever party you’ve chosen to do business with to insure that this information stays protected from hackers, or any other outside source looking to steal information. Data breaches are more common than you would think, so it’s important that you keep this information protected at all costs.
  • CRM Providers: If you use a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform to manage all of your patient data, you’ll need to enter into a BAA with the CRM vendor to insure that information stays protected. There are many CRMs that are medical based, like Veeva and Evariant, so they already know the deal when it comes to HIPAA. It doesn’t hurt to always cross your t’s and dot your i’s.
  • Answering Services: If you outsource your calls to an answering service, you’ll want to make sure that the answering service is HIPAA compliant. This means that the messages they send to you cannot contain any patient information. For example, Specialty Answering Service complies with HIPAA by sending standard messages that alert you that you have a new message and to log into your secure online portal for more details. We can also sign a BAA to insure that we are staying compliant under HIPAA. Other answering services may comply with HIPAA by sending messages via fax. However, not all answering services are HIPAA compliant, so if you’re in the market for an answering service or on call service,  make sure you do your research before partnering with one.
  • Billing: If you do not process or send out invoices in your own office, then you’ll want to sign a BAA with your medical billing company because they’ll have access to patient information.  Any and all patient data needs to stay protected, and this would include billing records.
  • Lawyers/Legal FirmAn important aspect of running a medical office is making sure you have proper legal representation just in case things don’t go according to plan. Even if you’re not in any sort of predicament, it’s always smart to have back up just in case. When you do hire a lawyer, you should also enter into a BAA with them as they would need to have access to patient records. If you do not, you might find yourself getting hit with a double whammy.
  • Insurance Providers: Due to the high costs of the medical industry, most medical practices partner with various insurance providers. Since the insurance provider would have access to patient health records, you would need to sign a BAA with them to keep that information protected.
  • Medical Labs: If you’re in the medical industry, then chances are you partner with some sort of lab to analyze any blood or culture samples you take from your patients. They are essentially an extension to your practice, so entering a BAA with any labs you work with is crucial.
  • Medical Transportation ServicesIf you partner with a medical lab, then you most likely also partner with a medical transportation service. These services would be used to to transport any blood or culture samples to a lab for further testing. Included with these samples are the patient records, which the transportation service would have access to. So, you would want to sign a BAA with them as well to protect those items.
  • Appointment Reminder Notifications: Usually, medical offices will send out some sort of reminder when a patient is due for their annual check up, or if they have an upcoming appointment. If you use a 3rd party company to send out texts, emails, phone calls and/or post cards, you’ll want to make sure they are adhering to HIPAA in addition to signing a BAA.
  • Shredding Services: If you run a larger practice, then you may need to hire a 3rd party to shred documents/records that are no longer needed. Since they’ll have access to all of the information you give them, you’ll need to enter into a BAA with the company to insure that information gets destroyed correctly and nothing gets left behind.
Not Every Company You Work With is Considered a Business Associate

Sometimes you may work with vendors that might not need to be regulated under HIPAA, and therefore would not need to sign a BAA. The vendors listed below may not need to enter into a BAA with you, however, please check with your lawyer to make sure:

  • Janitorial/Medical Waste Services: Typically, janitors or companies that dispose of medical waste do not need to adhere to HIPAA since they aren’t handling any patient information. However, they do still have to come into your practice so they will have indirect access to medical records.
  • Website Hosting/Developers: If you pay an outside source to create and/or manage your website, you probably don’t need to sign a BAA with them. Generally speaking, your website shouldn’t have any patient information on the surface. However, if your website also serves as an online portal for your patients to log into, or a repository to gather patient email addresses for newsletter mailings, then you’ll want to make sure your 3rd party associate is HIPAA compliant and you may want to enter into a BAA with them as well.
  • Business Consultants: If you have a business consultant, you may want them to enter into a BAA depending on how involved they are. If they don’t have access to your patient records, then you’re probably fine. However, you should consult with a lawyer before making any decisions.
  • Direct Mail Companies: Direct mail refers to a marketing effort used by all types of industries to try and target a larger audience. For example, these promotional efforts could include brochures or pamphlets regarding your medical practice. Since these companies can realistically send mail to anyone, you may not need to enter in a BAA if you’re not giving out your own patients’ addresses.

These examples are just a few of the many types of business associates a medical professional may partner with. No matter how many or how little business associates you have, it’s always important to make sure everybody’s up to code. When you stay current on HIPAA regulations, you can insure that all of your patients’ health information stays protected. Happy patients equal more business and more business equals happy medical professionals. Everybody wins!

The post List of 14 Companies HIPAA Considers Business Associates appeared first on Specialty Answering Service.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

As an answering service, we’re obviously way into phones and the technology behind how they work. Since Super Bowl LII (go birds!) is coming up, we tried to see how we could incorporate phones with football. We thought about the technology that allows the quarterback to talk to the coach via his helmet, although that didn’t lead us very far. We also looked into how the President calls the winning team to congratulate them, and that was also a dead end. But then we stumbled upon something so magical it’s hard to believe it was even real – that is, the creation of the football phone.  And like peanut butter meeting jelly for the first time, greatness was conceived.

Where Did it Come From?

In the late 80’s, magazine sales were tanking, which put the pressure on marketing agencies to come up with ideas on how to move more subscriptions. To spark sales, Sport’s Illustrated offered VHS tapes of sports bloopers as an incentive for new subscribers. This idea was marginally successful, but it was getting tough to fill up a tape with new material. There’s only so many times you could watch Jeff Francoeur misfire on the throw to first. So, the SI marketing team went back to the drawing board.

Sport’s Illustrated VHS Blooper Ad

And now for a John Slattery break.

1980s Sports Illustrated TV Commercial featuring John Slattery - YouTube

Frog Phone = Football Phone

In 1986, the marketing director for Sport’s Illustrated, Martin Shampaine, came across a phone that resembled a frog, which then led him to the idea (obviously) of creating a phone that looked like a football. Because you know how many times you’ve tried to dial a frog.

Shampaine, the Einstein of his time, spent months working out the logistics of how the product could look like a football, and still have the functionality of a telephone. By the early 90’s, SI had successfully gene spliced a football with a phone and they were ready to show the masses.

Sport’s Illustrated Football Phone Ad

Sports Illustrated Football Phone - Christmas edition (1991 commercial) - YouTube

What started as a simple gimmick to try and get people to subscribe to a magazine, the Sport’s Illustrated Football Phone scored major points among fans and helped contribute to 1.6 million new subscriptions between 1986 and 1991. The company had so much success with the football phone, that they played around with other variations as well.

They eventually created the sneaker phone but by the mid 90’s, Sport’s Illustrated resorted back to offering VHS compilations as their premium freebie. Like anyone could ever throw a perfect spiral with a shoe.

Sport’s Illustrated Sneaker Phone Commercial

But will it help my time in the quarter mile? Yes.

Commercial Sports Illustrated Sneaker Phone - YouTube

Fast forward to present day, where technology has evolved from football phones to face and fingerprint recognition to unlock your cell phone. Technology is always progressing, but that doesn’t mean we’ll ever forget about the OG of sports equipment shaped telephones.

Spoof Football Phone Ad from Howler Magazine

Great line to watch out for: ‘Where’s the camera on this thing’

The Soccer Ball Phone from Howler Magazine - YouTube

Sport’s Illustrated Football Phone Ad Transcript

But wait, there’s more! We’ve transcribed the SI football phone advertisement for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!

Girl #1: Buying Christmas presents for my boyfriend is one of the most impossible things ever.

Girl #2: Everything I give him, he always wants to return it.

Grandma: Stores are busy, the cashiers are impatient.

Girl #3: Christmas shopping is just about the only thing that wrecks the holiday season.

Narrator: Catch this, it’s Sport’s Illustrated’s most exciting Christmas gift ever – the football phone! Free with a paid subscription to SI.

Couple #1 (after being thrown the football phone): It’s a phone!

Grandma (after being thrown the football phone): My goodness, it’s a telephone inside of a football!

Girl #1 (after being thrown the football phone): Awesome! It’s a phone!

Guy #1 (after being thrown the football phone): Oh, cool! I would love something like this. Mom, if you’re watching, I would love something like this for Christmas

Couple #1 (after being thrown the football phone): He’s looking for the pass, it’s a phone call!

Narrator: it looks like a football, but works like a regular phone. The football phone plugs into a standard jack and has push button dialing, on/off ringer, mute button and automatic redial.

Guy #2: Hello, Colleen? This is fantastic, I’m at the stadium right now and I have a football phone!

Couple #2: Cute! This has got to be out of her price range, though, something like this.

Narrator: And the football phone is free!

Girl #1: No way… It’s free?

Girl #2: Free?

Girl from couple #2: That’s even better! And I don’t even have to go shopping for it, I hope!

Grandma: What do I have to do to get this?

Narrator: Here’s the unbelievable catch. The football phone is free if you get Sport’s Illustrated at their biggest Christmas savings ever. A year’s subscription at almost 65% off the cover price. You can be billed after the new year, or you can use your credit card today. So, call now!

Girl #2: I’d say you’re crazy. Nobody cuts prices before Christmas!

Girl #1: I’ll buy it for my father, my brother and my boyfriend!

Narrator: You only pay 99 cents an issue and the subscription includes the NFL, NBA and baseball previews, the yearend double issue and the 1991 swimsuit issue.

Guy #1:  I would love to have Sport’s Illustrated for Christmas, I never get anything I want.

Girl #3: Sport’s Illustrated, I should have thought of that a long time ago!

Grandma: All I have to do is buy this for all the men in my life and I wouldn’t have any problems at all!

Girl #1: My Christmas worries are over!

Guy #2: I hope she orders that for Christmas for me!

Guy #1: I would love to have this for Christmas. So, mom if you’re watching, please, for once (gestures to football phone).

Narrator: Don’t wait, call our toll-free number now. Get Sport’s Illustrated for all your favorite fans at SI’s biggest Christmas savings ever, and get the football phone free, plus a gift card.

Guy #2 (on the phone) get Sport’s Illustrated for me for Christmas. I want this phone!

The post Pay Your Respects To The Sport’s Illustrated Football Phone appeared first on Specialty Answering Service.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

January is National Soup Month. Aside from the fact that there’s a near 100% chance you didn’t know that, you’re probably wondering what soup has to do with customer support. The answer? Everything. Customer service is like soup. It’s warm and friendly, comprised of the ultimate combination of tips and tricks that has the potential to take a bad experience from sour to savory with just a dash of patience, a pinch of adaptability, or any other culinary reference that stirs your stockpot. Customers who are presented with a taste of the care that we’ve outlined will most certainly go back for seconds, thirds, and even fourths. So, what are you waiting for? Get out your notepad, and start writing down our recipe for souped-up customer support!

Ingredient 1: Patience
Everyone has heard the expression, “Patience is a virtue.” Overused? Maybe. Applicable? Absolutely. You are going to be dealing with a bevy of customers all day long, and no two will be alike. Some will be as straightforward as tomato soup. They’ll be familiar and easy to manage. Others will be vague or confusing – a sort of mulligan stew, if you will. You won’t have any idea of what they’re all about or how to help them. So, when you’re up against the mulligan stews of the world, and you’re counting the seconds until your next tomato soup call, keep your cool. If you can feel yourself boiling over, instead of flipping your lid, just move it a smidge to let out some steam. Take a moment to deescalate your emotions. Once you’re back down to a simmer, you can address the issue at hand.

Ingredient 2: Empathy/Understanding
Empathy is the driving force behind human connection. It’s comfort food for the soul. So, when it seems as though an interaction is sinking faster than chicken and dumplings gone wrong, try to look at things from the customer’s angle. Listen intently, and make it a point to understand what they really need. When a customer is clearly upset, you’ll need to have some compassion. What if the same thing were happening to you? What if you’d been looking forward to the perfect bowl of chicken and dumplings all day, and then someone forgot to add the dumplings? Or maybe you paid for enough to fill a Dutch oven, but all they sent you was an 8 oz. mug? By envisioning yourself in the customer’s shoes, you will be able to quickly identify the root of the problem and resolve the situation to everyone’s satisfaction.

Ingredient 3: The Power of Positive Thinking
Upbeat personalities are like gazpacho – they’re bright, refreshing, and full of flavor. Whether communicating on the phone, via live chat, or through email, customers can always tell when they are speaking with or corresponding with someone pleasant. Wouldn’t you much rather present yourself as a cool and spirited cup of gazpacho than a heavy ladle of loaded baked potato? To keep things friendly, adjust your attitude, your tone of voice, and the tone of what you’re writing. Whatever the avenue of communication, positive language and an approachable demeanor will steer the conversation in the right direction.

Ingredient 4: Communication Skills (Verbal & Written)
Before beginning any job relating to awesome customer service, work on your communication skills, and learn how to deliver information in a simple, effective manner. For example, imagine if you were trying to impart a recipe for your grandma’s famous black bean soup, but you were so confusing that the recipe turned out more like refried beans. What good would that do the recipient? The goal of any verbal or written communication is to get your point across in the most direct way to ensure that everyone is on the same page, and the customer is receiving the assistance they need. That means developing a strategy for well-thought out conversation, and allowing that to guide everything you say or type.

Ingredient 5: Non-Complacency
You could do your job blindfolded, with one hand tied behind your back. You’re comfortable. Too comfortable. And after a while, that complacency can actually lead to a mediocre work ethic. Think lobster bisque, devoid of flavor. Hot and sour soup that’s neither hot, nor sour. Never stop considering which aspects of your position or your core knowledge you can improve upon. Always evaluate. For example, do you frequently find yourself repeating the same information to customers? That is a sure sign that you need to improve your telephone skills. Are customers usually happy when they hang up with you? If not, go back and dissect the conversation in your head to see where you could have used different language to produce a more positive resolution.

Ingredient 6: Adaptability
In many cases, customer interaction will go entirely according to plan – those run-of-the-mill phone conversations where you barely have to stray from your script. On the other hand, some calls will take a turn that may lead you outside of your area of expertise. When the recipe calls for shallots, but all you have is an onion. When the soup requires a roux, but you don’t know a roux from a mirepoix. Should that happen, and you can pretty much bet that it will, be prepared to roll with the punches. Rely on your training and intuition, and use the items at your disposal to get things to the desired end result, without compromising flavor or quality.

Ingredient 7: Problem Solving Skills
Anyone in customer service, and anyone who’s ever tried to make consommé, knows that these are not simple tasks. As a customer support representative, you are “the problem solver,” and no one ever said that your job would be easy. Problem solving requires ingenuity and adherence to four basic steps: identifying the problem, generating solutions, choosing the most appropriate solution based on the customer’s needs, and implementing said solution. Using your background knowledge in conjunction with the information that the customer provides, you’re bound to stir up an answer to any problem that comes across your plate. While the fix may not be exactly what the customer had in mind, you can feel confident knowing that you can handle anything they throw at you.

Ingredient 8: Professionalism
Visualize yourself the owner of the best French onion soup cart in the city. You are a soup genius, and you have quite a following. Then, one morning, your soup cart buddy makes a mistake resulting in soup that is neither French, nor onion. And the entire day is filled with unhappy customers. Well, in customer support, that’s not just one day – it’s every day. That’s why professionalism has special significance in a customer service position. Your ability to remain professional, even when the customer is screaming at you about an ill-fated bowl of soup, will positively portray the “customer first” mentality that is the hallmark of any stellar corporate support team.

Ingredient 9: Assertiveness
When you’ve suddenly become the customer’s punching bag, assertiveness is the tool that will quickly take you out of harm’s way, and reestablish the rules of polite conversation. In other words, stand your ground, and gently assert your expert knowledge of the situation. You know that New England clam chowder is white, and Manhattan clam chowder is red, and on this point, you cannot compromise. But, even if you don’t know clam chowder from clams casino, there will always be someone to whom you can escalate the call. Maintain a self-assured demeanor, and assert yourself with definitive language that will convey your point with ease.

Ingredient 10: Attentiveness
Cream of mushroom soup wouldn’t be very good without cream and mushrooms. And customer service wouldn’t be very good without an attentive customer support representative. Each and every interaction requires attention to detail, and lots of stirring. This means careful listening, accurate note taking, and proper responses to the customer on the other end of the phone call. Make yourself seem available and helpful by your tone of voice, how promptly you answer questions, and how efficiently you address the customer’s needs.

Ingredient 11: Time Management
“First call resolution” is a widely-known catch phrase in call center lingo. If the situation allows for it, it is of utmost importance to end each interaction with all issues resolved to the customer’s satisfaction. On the flip side, it is also important to get to as many calls as you can. That means that your focus shouldn’t be allocated to one customer. To make a long story short, while communicating and interacting with customers is important, strong time management skills will enable you to help as many people as possible, provide quick and concise solutions across the board, and still have a few minutes to spare to enjoy that ridiculously good butternut squash soup with your name on it.

Ingredient 12: Basic Computer Skills
Technology changes faster than a pot of chicken noodle soup soothes a cold. So, basic computer comprehension and the ability to learn new software is a major aspect of any customer service position. Filling out Excel sheets, writing emails, keeping up-to-date notes in whichever database your company uses – these are all tasks that you will be expected to perform on a daily basis. And depending on the company that you are working for, your computer skills may need to be developed beyond standard data entry. That being said, if you aren’t the most technologically savvy employee, take a few minutes out of every day to review the ins and outs of the software you use. Before you know it, you’ll be an expert.

Ingredient 13: Ability to Stay Calm, Cool, & Collected
Sometimes, customer support can be a messy job. The customer may be upset or angry at something entirely out of your control, like when you’re making wonton soup, and the filling boils out of the wrappers. Instead of becoming defensive or escalating your emotions, channel your inner yogi, and use a calm, assertive tone to defuse the situation. It would be great if you could please everyone all the time, but the odds are not in your favor. It’s your job to produce as many positive outcomes are possible. So, keep your emotions from clouding your judgment, like cloudy wonton broth, and get right down to the issue at hand.

Ingredient 14: General Organizational Skills
If you’ve ever made borscht, then you know that it’s a serious soup. There’s chopping, mincing, shredding, grating, slicing, and dicing, all for the love of beets. Keeping yourself on-task for that undertaking can’t be easy, which leads us to our next skill. You may be on a call while handling a live chat and sending an email, and the other line could be ringing in the background. The ability to multitask relies heavily on your organizational skills, and you’ll be expected to keep track of every call: whom you are speaking to, what needs to be done next, and which customers’ concerns require immediate attention. Don’t worry, though. As long as you’re organized, you can borscht your way through anything.

Ingredient 15: Being a Team Player
Customer service is almost always a team effort, working brilliantly together like the little meatballs and escarole in Italian wedding soup. You may share responsibilities equally, or each employee may have his or her own area of expertise. Whether you need assistance with an individual customer issue, or you’re brainstorming together to improve call center procedures for the entire group, your coworkers will need to rely on your presence and your input, just as you rely on theirs. Which brings us to our final point…

Ingredient 16: Dependability
As with most jobs, your performance affects the people around you and the company as a whole. Customers trust you to help them with everything from correcting an error on their account to walking them through the pros and cons of the various beef stews on the market. Be equal to the task, and you’ll swiftly prove yourself as invaluable an ingredient to your employer as Julia Child was to masterfully-crafted boeuf bourguignon.

Now that you’ve taken a tour of the most important ingredients to the best customer support in the universe, how does your customer service soup rate? Are you lacking something critical, like noodle-less chicken noodle soup? Or are you as fine-tuned as blue-ribbon turkey chili? Whatever you’re cooking, remember that your ability to excel at customer support is only as good as the ingredients that you’re using. Put the right components together in the right order, and you’ll be a master chef in no time.

The post Customer Service Soup: 16 Essential Ingredients for Amazing Customer Service Agents appeared first on Specialty Answering Service.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Why, hello there, and Happy New Year! As the clock struck 12, and 2018 rolled around, billions of people all over the world contemplated their New Year’s Resolutions. Lose weight, read more, give up cheesy poofs, stop binge-watching Netflix – you know, the usual. Call center service companies like SAS absolutely love resolution season. If you’re a small business selling diet aids, 8-pack ab videos, books on learning how to play the accordion in 5 easy steps, or mail-order meals, you likely can’t keep up with the demand and have a real need to outsource some, if not all, of your customer service. For us, that means more customers, and more opportunities to say “Hello!”

Since we’re so busy perfecting our Hello, we thought it would be fun to hear how people say Hello in other languages. We’ve included a list of languages and their corresponding Hello greetings recorded in both .MP3 and .WAV format for you to consume. Some have different variations depending on the country in which you are speaking, or the area of the country that you’re in. With only 57 languages in our list, it’s just the tip of the iceberg – nowhere near the 7,000 or so that are spoken across the globe, but it’s a good place to start. Take a listen to the sound clips, practice a bit, and surprise the people around you with your stellar linguistic talents!

NOTE: In many (but not all) of the recordings below, the first example indicates an informal greeting, whereas the second example indicates a formal greeting. In addition, in some languages, there is no literal translation for the words “Hi” or “Hello.” So, a similar word or phrase may be used.

  1. Afrikaans [mp3 | wav]
  2. Amharic [mp3 | wav]
  3. Arabic (Egyptian) [mp3 | wav]
  4. Arabic (Moroccan Darija) [mp3 | wav]
  5. Armenian [mp3 | wav]
  6. Bengali [mp3 | wav]
  7. Burmese [mp3 | wav]
  8. Croatian [mp3 | wav]
  9. Creole (Haitian) [mp3 | wav]
  10. Czech [mp3 | wav]
  11. Danish [mp3 | wav]
  12. Dutch [mp3 | wav]
  13. Persian/Farsi [mp3 | wav]
  14. Finnish [mp3 | wav]
  15. French [mp3 | wav]
  16. Gaelic [mp3 | wav]
  17. German (Germany & Austria) [mp3 | wav]
  18. German (North-South Germany) [mp3 | wav]
  19. German (Switzerland) [mp3 | wav]
  20. Greek [mp3 | wav]
  21. Hausa [mp3 | wav]
  22. Hawaiian [mp3 | wav]
  23. Hebrew [mp3 | wav]
  24. Hindi [mp3 | wav]
  25. Hungarian [mp3 | wav]
  26. Icelandic [mp3 | wav]
  27. Italian [mp3 | wav]
  28. Japanese [mp3 | wav]
  29. Khmer [mp3 | wav]
  30. Korean [mp3 | wav]
  31. Kurdish [mp3 | wav]
  32. Malay [mp3 | wav]
  33. Mandarin [mp3 | wav]
  34. Māori [mp3 | wav]
  35. Mongolian [mp3 | wav]
  36. Nepali [mp3 | wav]
  37. Norwegian [mp3 | wav]
  38. Pashto [mp3 | wav]
  39. Polish [mp3 | wav]
  40. Portuguese [mp3 | wav]
  41. Punjabi [mp3 | wav]
  42. Romanian [mp3 | wav]
  43. Russian [mp3 | wav]
  44. Samoan [mp3 | wav]
  45. Spanish [mp3 | wav] Hint: We excel at saying Hola! Check out details on our Spanish Answering Service.
  46. Swahili [mp3 | wav]
  47. Swedish [mp3 | wav]
  48. Tagalog [mp3 | wav]
  49. Tahitian [mp3 | wav]
  50. Thai [mp3 | wav]
  51. Turkish [mp3 | wav]
  52. Ukrainian [mp3 | wav]
  53. Urdu [mp3 | wav]
  54. Vietnamese [mp3 | wav]
  55. Xhosa [mp3 | wav]
  56. Yoruba [mp3 | wav]
  57. Zulu [mp3 | wav]

Have a correction or want to share a recorded greeting from a native speaker? Contact us – we’d love to hear from you!

The post Learn How to Say “Hello” in 57 Languages! appeared first on Specialty Answering Service.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

The North Pole Elves, aka Santa’s Helpers, are an industrious and creative bunch of customer service representatives, without whom the world would be devoid of magical toys and fudge stripe cookies. (Nevermind about the cookies – wrong elves.) These pointy-eared beings may be hidden from view nearly the entire year, but much like SAS’ call center agents, they never stop filling orders. Not only are they experts at maintaining a mass production environment, but they are also great teachers. In fact, they have a few lessons to impart, if you are so inclined to learn them. Let’s get started!

Tip 1: Elves have serious attention to detail.

You’ve gotta hand it to those Elves. They painstakingly craft millions of toys every year, and each one is more perfect than the last. Of course, Elves understand the importance of the big picture – having enough toys to go around. But they also know that it’s the little things (no pun intended) that make all the difference in any old toy that you could purchase at the mall vs. a carefully-honed item that was built with its recipient in mind.


Both big and small businesses alike need to have enough quantity to satisfy demand. But quality is what will ultimately sell your product and keep customers coming back year after year. The same goes for the answering service industry. Sure, you can answer calls faster than Elves can make a rocking horse; but it’s how you answer them that counts.

Tip 2: Elves take pride in their work.

Elves are happy people. They get to live with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and the Elfin Eatery is fully stocked with buttery cookies and hot cocoa. Who wouldn’t be happy? While that sounds magical, their sprightly outlook isn’t just about the company they keep or the awesome snack bar. Elves love what they do, and they take pride in it! Are there days when the mere sight of another tinker toy is enough to send them packing for Fiji? Probably. But all in all, they excel at toy manufacturing because they believe in the good they are doing.


No job is perfect, and customer service can be especially challenging during the holidays; however, every employee offers a valuable contribution to the people you serve. When the going gets tough, think about the positive impact you have on your customers.

Tip 3: Elves thrive on teamwork.

Any great business starts with exceptional leadership, and it doesn’t get much better than Santa. The jolly old elf himself has been running North Pole operations without a hitch for eons. So, he must know a thing or two about getting the job done. He relies on the Elves to work on their projects as a team, ensuring that each toy truck has wheels, sirens and a nice paint job, and each dolly has curlicue hair and that sweet, baby powder scent. When the day is done and everyone has whittled their last spinning top, they head to the Candy Cane Corral for free eggnog and some good old fashioned camaraderie.


To put it plainly, Santa is about as good without his Elves as a call center is without its agents! No man is an island. There is no I in TEAM. And here’s one more cliché for good measure: teamwork makes the dream work.

Well, what have you learned? We hope that this has been a quick refresher course in how to be the best customer service representative you can be. No matter what your industry, it never hurts to take a step back and reevaluate how you approach your job. Humans spend an average of 2,080 hours a year at work, so you may as well make the most of it!

The post The Top 3 Customer Service Tips We Can Learn from Santa’s Elves appeared first on Specialty Answering Service.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

You know the phrase. “For quality assurance, your call may be monitored or recorded.” Those words ring out millions of times a day as consumers contact businesses for customer service and support. But how about this – call recording started out in the air traffic control industry after the invention of magnetic tape. Who knew!

Today, call recording is a hugely important piece of the compliance puzzle, especially for industries that are extremely regulated, such as finance and insurance. And call recording in telephone answering services is a great way to check up on agents and evaluate their performance, while simultaneously providing the call center with a legal buffer.

Here’s an infographic we put together to help you learn about the basics of call recording software.

Read our extended resource to learn more about the history of call recording and the answering service industry.

If you’re writing about call recording software on your own website, please copy the code below to use this infographic:

<img title=”Call Recording Software Infographic” alt=”Call Recording Software Infographic” src=”http://www.specialtyansweringservice.net/wp-content/uploads/Learn-About-Call-Recording-Software.jpg” width=”1024″ height=”7853″ />
<pre><em>Image originally posted on <a href=”http://www.specialtyansweringservice.net/learn-ivr-systems-technology-infographic/”>The SAS Blog</a></em>

The post Call Recording Software Infographic appeared first on Specialty Answering Service.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Reflect for a moment on how often you’ve dialed up a business and heard this: “Your call may be monitored or recorded for quality assurance purposes.” Sounds all too familiar, right? That phrase is commonplace these days, and it generally means that the company you’re trying to reach, or the answering service that is managing their inbound calls, is keeping tabs on communications to ensure that calls are fielded professionally and thoroughly.

Some answering services provide call recording for their clients as a courtesy. For many businesses, this is a great feature that enables you to have a full understanding of your customers’ needs, especially if you can’t quite catch all the details from the message you receive. It is also a means of protection against customers who may try to manipulate the system by stretching the truth. At the same time, it protects the consumer, should an issue arise with how they were treated.

What about Federal wiretapping laws?

Federal law and many State laws say that recording telephone calls and in-person conversations is permissible, as long as one party consents. That means that your call may be recorded, without your knowledge, because your consent isn’t required. However, there are some places where both parties must consent in order to legally record any communication. And that is where the “your call may be recorded” soundbite comes in. At the call center level, that brief, upfront recording lets both the caller and the operator know that they are on a monitored line.

Do all call centers record calls?

Some advanced answering services include call recording as part of your plan, and call recordings are made accessible via a public-facing portal. You’ll also find answering services that record calls, but recordings cannot be retrieved without directly requesting them. And if a bunch of clients call in at once for their recordings, the service will have a logistical nightmare on their hands. For smaller centers, recording software and file storage are expenses that they can’t justify. So, you may not have the option to record anything.

One thing that it’s important to be aware of is that your call center may technically be recording calls illegally. For example, let’s say that calls are being answered in a one-party state, such as New York, but the caller is located in a two-party state, such as California. Even though New York doesn’t require callers to be informed that they’re being recorded, if the call originates from a two-party state, then you usually defer to the stricter of the two States’ laws. You’ll want to keep that in mind if you run a national business with customers in both one-party and two-party States.

Is call recording right for my business?

With certain industries, e.g., criminal law, whistleblower hotlines, and medical clinics, if someone knows that their call is being recorded, they may be less inclined to stay on the line. And that can be a hindrance to growing your customer base. For the most part, though, call recording is ubiquitous, and consumers have come to expect it. Not only that, but there are a number of benefits to listening to a call after your customer hangs up.

That being said, if you are using an answering service that offers call recording, but you aren’t currently taking advantage of the feature, here are the top six reasons why you should!

  1. Identify areas for script content improvement based on call flow: Are there commonalities in the places where operators stumble, e.g., phrasing or industry-specific words? If you can find the spots that are tripping them up, then you may be able to tweak the language to make calls more fluid.
  2. Identify the most common questions / call types, and program the script accordingly: You might start off with a basic script – one path where you’re only gathering name, number and regarding. Then, as you listen to calls and review messages, you may notice that most after-hours callers need emergency service, whereas most business-hours callers are asking for the owner. That one path can then be split into three: Calling for Service, Calling for the Owner, and All Other Calls. You could even include a business hours function in the Service path to accommodate an after-hours reach on-call schedule.
  3. Identify operators who are unsure of themselves or unprofessional so that they can be trained or addressed accordingly: It’s easy to pick out the operators who just don’t feel comfortable on the phones. Maybe they are confused about your business, maybe they’re new, or maybe they’re just having a bad day. By listening to call recordings and providing feedback, you are giving the service a heads up on any holes in their training and helping them ensure that only the best of the best are fielding your calls.
  4. Identify operators who excel at what they do so that they can be recognized for their achievement: In the same way that you provide feedback for less-than-stellar performance, it is also a boon to any operator’s self-confidence when they know that they’ve represented your business exactly as you had hoped. A little kudos goes a long way to inspiring continued success!
  5. Gather call details in the event that the operator’s message is confusing, incomplete, or inaccurate: Despite any operator’s best efforts, there will be occasional mistakes in documentation. They are only human, afterall. In the event of errors or unclear message details, having that recording to refer to as a backup can mean the difference between hooking a new client or losing a lead.
  6. Have recordings on file when it comes to disgruntled or harassing customers: As a business owner, you hope that you’ll never have the displeasure of dealing with a customer who is determined to give you an earful. But as a realist, you know that you can’t please everyone all the time. That being said, for those times when callers are raging on the phone, having a recording of abusive behavior may afford you some leverage in how you choose to respond.

When the first device that recorded sounds was invented in 1857, no one could have predicted just how useful it would become in the modern era. So, as your business continues to move forward, keep up with the technology that was designed to make your life easier. Ask your answering service about call recording, and use it to your advantage!

The post 6 Reasons Why Your Answering Service Should Be Recording Calls appeared first on Specialty Answering Service.

Read Full Article
Visit website

Read for later

Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free year
Free Preview