At Specialty Answering Service, we’re focused on the health and safety of our employees and their families. And throughout all of the disruption COVID-19 is bringing, SAS, just like every other telephone answering service in the industry, is still committed to your success.
One of the main things we’re learning by speaking to our customers and prospects is that the conversation around business communication is changing. For some businesses, answering services were the after hours dispatching team or the overflow receptionist team when you couldn’t answer the phone in your own office. Now, we’re becoming the 24 hour answering service. With so many businesses forced to do business from home, the main thing small businesses are concerned about now is continuity of communication.
Businesses are seeing customers trying to reach them more than ever. Inbound requests are spiking. Business communications are in flux as you don’t know which member of your team is going to be available to speak with a customer at any point through the day. You need your communication to be flexible, and an answering service allows that type of flexibility.
Answering services like Specialty are committed to supporting companies like yours. No matter what size your business or what industry you’re in, an answering service can act as a central point of contact and give you the flexibility to be there to receive a transfer, or take a message if you’re not available.
Here’s how to maintain solid communication through your answering service during a crisis:
- Ensure messaging redundancy: In many cases, and especially during an emergency, there needs to be more than one point of contact to ensure messages are getting to someone as soon as possible. Whether it be through texts, emails or actual phone calls, you should include two or more contact numbers or addresses for each method of communication being used. That way if Contact Person A has stepped away, Contact Person B can step in without any disruption.
- Maximize coverage: If you are in an emergency service industry or not, consider using the 24 hour live coverage answering services offer to make sure your business is available around the clock. Assign staff members who are available to take transfers around the clock by using a rotating on-call schedule or simply arm your answering service operators with a handful of the most important FAQs. That way they can help answer questions on your behalf which will help cut down on the amount of calls your team have to return. While we recommend 24 hour support, it’s a good idea to review your answering service pricing first to ensure there are no extra charges for 24 hour support. Most services do not charge extra and will just charge based on your usage alone.
- Reassess contact points: Normally, there is a single person from your company who takes your teams needs and communicates them to the answering service to program into a script. Make sure there are at least 2 individuals in your company who knows how to contact the service and who understand your protocols in general in case one contact person is unavailable.
- Ensure phone reliability: If you manually transfer your calls to the service, make sure you have another way to transfer calls if something prevents you from accessing your office phone. For example, a power outage will make it difficult for you to manually forward calls. However, your phone provide may be able to do it remotely from their own headquarters. It’s important to make sure your provider has a plan in place specifically for emergencies and that they are compatible with your own business protocols.
Even if your answering service is performing perfectly, we understand that your staff may be experiencing a high level of stress because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Answering services are here to help you through the stressful times so maintaining continuity in communication isn’t even on your radar. We understand the role communication plays during an emergency and now more than ever, communication is critical to maintaining your business.