Who needs an after hours answering service?

24 Hour Businesses

Closing up shop at 5 p.m. doesn’t mean that your business won’t continue to receive calls after hours. For many industries, having callers greeted by voicemail after the doors close for the day is perfectly acceptable. But for service-oriented industries, voicemail places a barrier between your customers’ needs and your ability to manage them. Take a look below at 12 businesses in the service field, and possible scenarios that an after-hours answering service could address.

  • Account Type: Doctors’ Office / Medical Office
  • After-Hours Scenario: Patient calls with a post-surgical complication and asks to be transferred to the doctor.
  • Answering Service Protocol: Reach On-Call, 5-minute queue, infinity, no message
  • Action: In this case, the operator would contact the doctor or staff member who is on call and would continue to dial out every 5 minutes forever, until connecting live. At this point, information would be relayed. Call details would not be left on voicemail.
  • Account Type: Software Developer / Technology Company
  • After-Hours Scenario: A VIP client calls in for support. Though the answering service can handle troubleshoot Tier 1 issues, the client prefers to have VIP clients routed to their on-call helpdesk.
  • Answering Service Protocol: Warm Patch, 0-minute queue, 1 attempt, leave message
  • Action: In this case, the operator would place the caller on hold and dial the first on-call staff member. If voicemail is reached, the operator would leave a message, then pick the caller back up and let them know that they will attempt to contact the next name on the list. A maximum of 2 patches can be attempted. If no connection is made, the operator would inform the caller that their information has been forwarded and that they will receive a call back shortly.
  • Account Type: Funeral Director
  • After-Hours Scenario: Client has just lost a loved one and is calling the funeral director to transport the deceased.
  • Answering Service Protocol: Reach On-Call, 10-minute queue, infinity, no message
  • Action: In this case, the operator would hang up with the caller and continue to dial out to the funeral director every 10 minutes until connecting live. At this point, information would be relayed. Call details would not be left on voicemail.
  • Account Type: HVAC Contractor
  • After-Hours Scenario: Someone calls because their forced hot air stopped working on the coldest night of the season.
  • Answering Service Protocol: Reach On-Call, 5-minute queue, 3 attempts, leave message
  • Action: In this case, the operator would let the caller know that they will reach out to the on-call technician, but to call back if they have not heard from anyone in a half-hour. The operator would contact the tech 3 times at 5-minute intervals, leaving a message only on the 3rd attempt if they connect to voicemail.
  • Account Type: Insurance Office
  • After-Hours Scenario: There was a car accident and a customer immediately calls in to file a claim.
  • Answering Service Protocol: Warm Patch, 0-minute queue, 1 attempt, leave message
  • Action: In this case, the operator would place the caller on hold and dial the on-call list (up to 2 patches), attempting to connect with each representative only once. If voicemail is reached, the operator would leave a message. The caller would be picked back up and informed that no one is available at the moment, but that their message would be passed along as urgent.
  • Account Type: Taxi Cab Service
  • After-Hours Scenario: It’s last call at the local bar. One of the patrons, who is in no shape to drive, calls a cab for a safe ride home.
  • Answering Service Protocol: Reach On-Call, 5-minute queue, infinity, leave message
  • Action: In this case, the operator would let the caller know that a car will be on the way shortly, but if he does not hear from anyone within 15 minutes, to call back. There are 3 drivers working the area that night. The operator will continue to dial out every 5 minutes until a driver is reached and dispatched. Each time voicemail is reached, the operator would leave a message.
  • Account Type: Lawyer
  • After-Hours Scenario: The office just closed for the day when a call comes in from a client who has been arrested.
  • Answering Service Protocol: Reach On-Call, 15-minute queue, 3 attempts, leave message
  • Action: In this case, the operator would let the caller know that they will reach out to the attorney on-call, and pass along their information. The operator would make 3 attempts to connect with the attorney, making each call 15 minutes apart. If voicemail is reached on each attempt, a detailed message would be left.
  • Account Type: Mental Health Professional
  • After-Hours Scenario: A patient is in crisis and calls their mental health practitioner for emergent care.
  • Answering Service Protocol: Refer to 911/ER or Reach On-Call, 5-minute queue, infinity, no message
  • Action: This case could be handled two ways. The operator may ask the caller if the issue can wait until they are able to contact the mental health professional. If the caller says that it cannot wait, the operator will direct the caller to dial 911 or go to the nearest ER. If the caller can wait, then the operator would dial out to the practitioner every 5 minutes until connecting live. At that point, information would be relayed. No message would be left on voicemail.
  • Account Type: Elevator Service Contactor
  • After-Hours Scenario: A call comes in at 2:00 a.m. from an elevator where two people are trapped.
  • Answering Service Protocol: Reach On-Call, 2-minute queue, infinity, no message
  • Action: The answering service would not dispatch local police, but would immediately contact the elevator service, and continue to do so every 2 minutes until reaching a technician. At this point, information would be relayed. No message would be left on voicemail.
  • Account Type: Utility Company
  • After-Hours Scenario: A homeowner is awaken by the smell of gas and calls their natural gas provider in a panic.
  • Answering Service Protocol: Refer to 911 and Reach On-Call, 0-minute queue, infinity, leave message
  • Action: In this case, the operator would instruct the caller to dial 911, and would let them know that they will reach out to the provider’s on-call team and have someone dispatched to the location. The operator would dial out to each on-call tech consecutively. If no answer, the operator would leave a message on voicemail. This process would be repeated until connecting with someone to ensure that they are en route to the residence.
  • Account Type: Tow Truck Operator
  • After-Hours Scenario: In the above insurance scenario, the accident caused significant damage and rendered the car disabled.
  • Answering Service Protocol: Cold Patch, 1 attempt, disconnect
  • Action: In this case, the operator would ask the caller to hold a moment while they are being connected to the towing service. The call would be transferred directly to the on-call contact, and the operator would drop off the call once the line is connected.
  • Account Type: Property Management Company
  • After-Hours Scenario: A tenant accidentally locked himself out of his apartment.
  • Answering Service Protocol: Warm Patch, 0-minute queue, 3 attempts, no message
  • Action: In this case, the operator would place the caller on hold while attempting to patch him to the after-hours maintenance staff. The operator would dial out to each contact (2 people maximum), making 3 attempts to connect. If unable to reach a live person, the operator would pick the caller back up and let him know that no one is available, but that his message would be passed along as urgent.

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Specialty Answering Service is a leading call center company, helping fast-growing businesses close sales and deliver amazing live customer support 24 hours a day. SAS' friendly virtual receptionists and customized call handling create an outstanding virtual office experience. There are thousands of small businesses already using our services. Try SAS for free today.

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