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12 things that outsourcing could have done for the Ghostbusters.

Ghost with a phone

When we wrote this post a few weeks ago, we could never have guessed that one of “Ghostbusters” writers, Harold Ramis, would pass away. Harold Ramis’ subversive genius was responsible for a great many laughs we have had over the years. From “Stripes” to “Groundhog Day” to “Analyze This,” his brand of humor in collaboration with the hilarity of some of “Saturday Night Live’s” first cast members, Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray and John Belushi among others, created a string of movies that will keep audiences in stitches for years to come. As much as we are saddened by his passing, we are grateful for his gift. So thank you, Harold Ramis, for inspiring this post. We hope it will be informative for our readers, but also illustrate how your humor has shaped our lives. Anyone who can draw a comparison between a Twinkie and psychokinetic energy is all right in our book.

Well, they may have been great at busting ghosts, but when it came to business sense, the Ghostbusters weren’t working with fully loaded proton packs. From their secretary’s poor phone manner to a total lack of discretion on service calls, they were a hot mess. It’s a shame they didn’t have the foresight to outsource when things started blowing up (yeah, literally). Just think. If they had stayed on top of their game, maybe Gozer would have been a little more reluctant to initiate a hostile takeover of NYC. And Vigo wouldn’t have had so much freedom to create that whole river of slime thing. Here’s a list of 12 things that outsourcing could have done for the Ghostbusters, and can definitely “do” for your small business.

1. Lead Capture

Hello, Ghostbusters… Yes, of course they’re serious… You do?…You have?…No kidding! Just gimme the address… Oh sure, they will be totally discreet. Thank you! [hangs up] WE GOT ONE!

Janine Melnitz Secretary

Their first job was met with a resounding exclamation from Janine Melnitz, receptionist not-so-extraordinaire. Lead capture at its best. That’s what outsourcing can do for your business. The more calls you pick up, the more business you’ll have coming in. An increase in profits will cause such workplace excitement that it might even make the toaster in your breakroom dance – no pink ooze required!

2. Whistleblower Hotlines

I’m givin’ this whole thing as a promotional expense, that’s why I invited clients instead of friends.

Louis Tully Accountant

Oh, Louis Tully, the accountant turned lawyer who uses words like “mistrangement” and talks openly of misappropriating company funds to throw a party. Were they all really clients? We’ll never know. Meanwhile, if his firm had an anonymous whistleblower hotline for employees to call when workplace fraud is suspected, maybe Louis wouldn’t have been home throwing that party when the snarling Gatekeeper, Vinz Clortho, showed up at his door and turned him into a dog.

3. Clear Communication

Mr. Mayor, we’re here tonight because a psychomagnotheric slimeflow of immense proportions is building up beneath the city.

Power Meeting Mayor’s Office

Whether you are busting ghosts, selling cars, or fixing leaky faucets, prospective customers need to speak with knowledgeable staff every time they contact your business. Complex language and confusing information can be a turnoff. Answering services have a straightforward approach that can fully inform your callers, supplying the details they need in a quick, concise fashion. Communication channels can be unified so that every department’s extensions ring to the same number (which will be answered at the call center), and email, live chat and social media outlets can be monitored by representatives with a keen understanding of your small business. Many providers also offer bilingual operators, fluent in English and Spanish. So issues stemming from improperly trained employees and language barriers become a thing of the past. Like, seriously psychomagnotheric – in a good way.

4. Better Customer Service

Janine Melnitz wasn’t so spectacular in the customer care department. In fact, she was downright awful.

Ghostbusters. Whaddya want? [Translation: What do you want.]

Janine Melnitz Secretary

Outsourcing to the right answering service can ensure friendly, professional support on every call. Your reputation will remain intact, and not only that, but better service usually results in repeat customers, glowing referrals, and new client acquisition. Happy customers are loyal customers!

5. Appointment Scheduling

The Ghostbusters never could get a break. From the minute supernatural forces started taking over NYC, they were on the job, taking calls and busting ghosts non-stop. With so many specters to slay and so few hours in the day, you have to wonder how they kept track of their appointments. Had they outsourced their customer care needs, call center operators could have scheduled tech appointments on virtual calendars, sent them regular updates regarding adjustments or cancellations, and might have even made appointment reminder calls to potential customers, making sure they would be around when Ecto 1 showed up.

6. Supersize Your Image

Your business may not be as big as the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, but outsourcing can give it a larger-than-life appearance. Whether you are a one-man office or medium sized organization, having call center staff man your phones perpetuates the illusion that your company is bigger than it really is. People gravitate towards the most successful businesses, the ones that have client rosters longer than the Empire State Building. Outsourcing can give potential customers the impression that you are so prosperous and sought after that you need extra help just to manage your inbound calls. And that’s exactly what you want them to think.

7. 24-Hour Coverage

You remember the infomercial.

Are you troubled by strange noises in the middle of the night? Do you experience feelings of dread in your basement or attic? Have you or your family ever seen a spook, specter or ghost? If the answer is “yes,” then don’t wait another minute. Pick up the phone and call the professionals…Ghostbusters. Our courteous and efficient staff is on call 24 hours a day to serve all your supernatural elimination needs. We’re ready to believe you.

Ghostbusters Infomercial Late Night TV

It’s self-explanatory, right? Outsourcing offers your customers the convenience of 24-hour assistance, 365 days a year.

8. Sales Support

I had no idea it would be so much. I won’t pay it.

Hotel Manager Snooty Hotel

You are the Keymaster, the owner, the head honcho. But you need a trusted Gatekeeper to help your sales department stay ahead of the game and qualify more leads. Outsourcing can do that. Virtual services assist with order entry, payment processing, delivery information, and returns; essentially anything your sales team does from your home office. They can even take payments before dispatching for service contractors like electricians, HVAC professionals, towing companies, limo services, locksmiths, and more. That way, payment is guaranteed before technicians or drivers are dispatched. The Ghostbusters nearly got stiffed on the bill when they had to get Slimer out of that hotel ballroom. When you outsource, you won’t have to worry about anyone telling you they won’t pay.

9. Customization/Brand Identity

We’re the best. We’re the beautiful. We’re the only, Ghostbusters.

Peter Venkman The Ghostbusters

The Ghostbusters were positively one-of-a-kind. But even if there were 10 different ghost-busting businesses, no two companies would be the same. That’s why it’s so important to maintain brand identity. Call centers can customize features to fit the specifics of your business. They can answer the phone the way you would like, respond to customers’ queries using your pre-determined FAQs, and even give franchises consistent frontend support across the board. Just because you outsource your phones, doesn’t mean you will lose any of the intricacies that separate you from your competitors.

10. Emergency Services/Dispatching

Lieutenant, I think you’d better talk to this guy. It’s some dock supervisor down at Pier 34. He says the Titanic just arrived.

Police Department New York City

As Dr. Venkman said, “This city is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.” And in any disaster – natural or manmade – having an effective emergency services plan is critical. Call centers can work with you to establish the proper protocol in the event of a catastrophe. They can send out voice or email messages en masse to your database of clients and employees, assist in areas such as product recall and returns, dispatch technicians to job sites in situations when immediate response is needed (think tow trucks, fires, medical transport), all the while keeping callers calm and well-informed. So when the Titanic floats into your local pier and ghosts start walking out of that gigantor hole in the ship’s hull (“Well, better late than never!”), your outsource provider will be there to field calls and dispatch professional ghost hunters to the scene pronto.

11. Market Research

We’re running tests to see if we can get an equally strong positive response… We sing to it, talk to it, and say supportive nuturing things to it.

Ghostbusters Training a Toaster

Chances are pretty good that you’re not hocking mood slime and conducting follow-up surveys to see what people think about it. But whatever kinds of market testing you are considering, from opinion research to demographics analysis, outsourcing can help. Often, this can be in the form of inbound answering or outbound calling. For example, with inbound, customers may be asked to rate their experience via phone following a customer service transaction. With outbound, operators may be assigned lists of individuals to contact, gauging interest on new products still in the research and development phase. Whatever the case, even if you are selling mood slime, outsourcing your market research needs can take the burden off in-house staff and collect feedback that will enable you to continuously improve your products and services.

12. Regulatory Compliance

Certain government, financial, or healthcare agencies may be bound by regulatory constraints. Call centers can accommodate those needs, too. From information security requirements to HIPAA to emergency dispatching protocol, outsource providers will follow your guidelines to a tee, adhering to whatever laws govern your organization. If the Ghostbusters had given a hoot and properly addressed their EPA code violations, maybe Walter Peck wouldn’t have shut down the grid and caused a mass exodus of entities from the holding system, triggering the coming of Gozer, and leaving the entire city covered in marshmallow fluff! We blame Janine Melnitz.

Wow. Who would have thought you could learn so much from Pete, Ray, Egon, and Winston? (Ok, ok – Janine, too…) They may have been experts at banishing Zuul from a subzero, but they had abysmal business sense. So what’s the moral of the story? Unless you need instruction on how to operate a recently acquired proton pack, or you think it would be *super* cool to make the Statue of Liberty walk, do not take your cues from the Ghostbusters. Instead, look into outsourcing. You’ll be glad you did.

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