Our Definition of a Snow Day – 16,470 Calls

A snow day means different things to different people.  For kids, it means, NO SCHOOL!  For those of us that head to work, it means cleaning off the car and navigating treacherous roads, snow plows (big and small) and then figuring out how to get your car into the parking lot once you arrive safely at work.  For an answering service it means, Game On!

Winter Storm Stella

Winter Storm Stella was no exception.  As weather conditions worsened in the Upstate NY area, offices began to close up to allow their employees the opportunity to get home and off the roads.  In our company, just the opposite was happening.  People were being asked to come in because when a storm hits, the phones start ringing.  And they don’t stop!  We have teams in 5 offices and they all rolled up their sleeves and took on the task of being the voice on the other end of the line.

We have a remarkable team of professionals.  Our Customer Service Representatives, Supervisors and Managers were energized by what they knew was coming.  They proactively geared up for the storm and organized to make sure shifts were covered.  They went above and beyond to help each other.  They were car pooling with those that couldn’t get transportation, they picked people up that couldn’t get out of their driveways or manage the road conditions.  Others worked extra shifts to help distribute the load for their colleagues and yes…  we had 2 people spend the night in the office because they couldn’t get home.   Did any of them complain?  Nope.  Even more remarkable was the level of understanding that our clients gave our teams.

When we face these kinds of challenges, it becomes all about, ”Let’s see how good we can be.”  And when we got the stats about the numbers of calls we handled, we truly impressed ourselves.  Stella set records for snowfall totals all over Upstate NY and set a record with us too.  We handled the largest volume of calls in one day in our company history ~ 16,470.  Our prior record was 14,099, which was set back in January 2012.

This is what exceptional looks like.  Congratulations to all who stepped up, well done to those who spent the night, hats off for the positive “can do” attitude that was pervasive across our offices.  Enjoy the “thank you” lunches this week and THINK SPRING!

 

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?”img_3554

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.

Answer Syracuse 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.  Answer Syracuse answering service 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 Answer Syracuse 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!

KUDOS!

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 companywide and our President and CEO acknowledges each and every one.

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Our team of Representatives

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.

 

 

 

2015 Service Anniversary Award Recipients from left - Jessica, Bonnie, Jen, Linda, Janice. Absent - Vickie

2015 Service Anniversary Award Recipients from left – Jessica, Bonnie, Jen, Linda, Janice. Absent – Vickie

We would like to recognize and congratulate the members of our Syracuse team who received our 2015 Service Anniversary Award.  They are an exceptional group of professionals and their dedication to their careers allows our company to be recognized year after year with ATSI Awards of Excellence for Outstanding Customer Service.

Jen – Sr. Customer Service Manager with 10 years

Linda – Customer Service Leader with 29 years

Bonnie – Customer Service Leader with 24 years

Jessica – Sr. Programmer with 9 years

Vickie – Customer Service Representative with 8 years

Janice – Customer Service Representative with 5 years

We applaud their leadership and mentoring of new Representatives as they come aboard.  It’s their expertise in understanding the sophisticated technology we use, being knowledgeable about thousands of accounts and being able to treat each caller with respect and professionalism that allows us to pass on our excellence to all members of the team.  Congratulations everyone!

 

 

 

Outstanding Service Earns Diamond Plus Award of Excellence – Eleven Time Award Winner

ANSWERSYRACUSE/COMMUNICATIONS GROUP wins coveted ATSI Award of Excellence

ANSWER SYRACUSE/COMMUNICATIONS GROUP has been honored with the exclusive ATSI  2015 Award of Excellence for the 11th consecutive year. This award is presented annually by the Association of TeleServices International (ATSI), the industry’s Trade Association for providers of telecommunications and call center services including telephone answering and message delivery across North America and the UK.  Communications Group  was presented with the award at ATSI’s 2015 Annual Convention held at Hilton Torrey Pines, La Jolla, CA.

“We are thrilled to have earned an ATSI Award of Excellence in 2015 and for earning this recognition for the 11th consecutive year.  Our dedicated team of professionals, lead by Jennifer Wiler, works very hard to ensure that we consistently deliver excellent service to our clients and their callers, year after year.  The results make us very proud and motivate us to continue our hard work. ”, says Gardner McLean, President of Finger Lakes Business Services, Inc.

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.

“The ATSI Award of Excellence is the most prestigious recognition of exemplary customer service in our industry.  Award recipients demonstrated the highest level of service throughout every aspect of a caller’s experience – exceeding the award’s rigorous criteria and customer service standards.  It’s quite an honor,” says ATSI President Jeffrey W. Zindel.

The award started 19 years ago as a means to improve the overall quality of the call centre industry by setting expectations and measurements to ensure a successful call handling experience.

Now an eleven-time winner Communications Group earned the Diamond Plus Award for eleven consecutive years. ATSI extends its congratulations to the staff of Communications Group on their proven quality service to their customers.

Ray Schremp, VP of Operations says, “We participate in the ATSI Award of Excellence program because it is a great way for us to reinforce the high standards we set for ourselves.  Excellence is something that you have to earn with each incoming call.  Our participation also encourages all of our employees to work toward a common goal – outstanding customer service.”

About ATSI

The Association of TeleServices International was founded in 1942 as a national Trade Association representing live answering services.  ATSI now encompasses companies across North America and the UK offering specialized and enhanced operator based services including: call centers, contact centers, inbound telemarketing (order entry), paging, voice messaging, emergency dispatch, fax, and internet services among others.

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Making An Impact

By:  Brie (3+ years of answering service experience)  Answer USA Group Logo 4-15-13

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.

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Answer USA Group Logo 4-15-13   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.

 

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It’s Personal

The age of emails and texting has lead businesses to become faceless and voiceless.  It has become common place to press #, then press 1, then press 5 and at some point, many of us just cut to the chase and press 0, 0, 0 with the hope of connecting to a “real person”.

So let’s get personal.  Our Syracuse area answering service puts the “person” back in personal service.  Answering services have come a long way since their inception many decades ago.  Historically, clients were doctors and messages were taken with pen and paper.  The advancement of technology has allowed an evolution of this commerce.  Answering services handle calls for numerous industries and can provide a new generation of services.  Custom scripting allows operators to address callers in the same manner a receptionist would in your office.  Our Central New York answering service will take the steps to make you look good, be a partner in providing seamless customer service and above all, be a live person that answers when we press 0.  It’s great to take advantage of technology, but don’t underestimate the impact of the personal touch.

For more information about how our Upstate New York company can offer yours the support you need, please contact us at (315) 255.9125 x225.