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Story Telling: The NEW Communications Tool
“Tell me a fact, and I’ll learn. Tell me a truth, and I’ll believe. Tell me a story, and it will live in my heart forever”. The author of those words is unknown, but the truth is undisputed.
Story telling has become one of the newest business buzzwords. This very old concept has become the “newest” way to promote our businesses, as we are seeing in books and articles everywhere. We are encouraged to put short video clips on our websites, and to use narratives in our advertising. The teleservices industry has been using story telling since its conception; often explaining our services is really difficult until we give examples. Explaining that we will call a customer’s cell with any urgent messages gets the point across; but explaining how a customer got a new account because we were so quick to contact him makes the situation more real.
At Focus Telecommunications we use anecdotes to teach our agents about the intricacies of a customer’s special needs. In each account profile bullet points highlight facts for the people who answer your phones. But, when we are training, we try to chronicle the story behind the facts. When our agents know that you began your business from your garage, or that several of your family members work with you, everything becomes more real, and people just naturally want to help you succeed.
Using a narrative makes a situation come alive. We encourage our clients to share their stories with us. We can even shoot video of you sharing your special circumstances for use in our educational materials. Making sure we know your story is paramount to making sure we represent you well. When we answer your phones, we ARE part of your story.
204 – 809 – 876
N o, these are NOT Lucky Numbers; they are just the opposite! These are three
Caribbean telephone area codes that are used for scams. The charges vary from
$1.49 to $3.99 (or more) more per minute. They are similar to American 900
numbers, which are numbers with very high rates that are split between the telephone company and the businesses that operate the lines. The way it works is this: you will receive a phone call or find a message on your home voice mail telling you that you have a package for delivery, or that you have won a prize, and you will be asked to call a specific number to get more information. When you dial these numbers you will be put on hold, sent from one person to another, and asked a lot of questions, all of which are designed to keep you on the phone for as long as possible.
The goal is to run up the bill, and at two to five dollars a minute, running up the bill is easy to do. When you open up your phone bill you will be shocked to see the huge charges that have been incurred. The problem is, when you return a call to one of these numbers, you do so voluntarily and the telephone company is under no obligation to retract the fraudulent billing. Times are tight, and labor is costly; even the telephone company needs to keep costs down. If you get caught by one of these scams, and you are not able to get the charges reversed, call the FCC Consumer Center at 1-888-225-5322. There is STILL no guarantee that the charges will be dropped, but at least the FCC will be aware of the incident, and hopefully in the future there will be regulations prohibiting this practice.
The moral of this story is – never call back unknown long distance numbers. If you simply must – check the area code first, and never call 204 – 809 – 876 area codes.
Check Back Often For More Business Answering Service Tips and Training!
Working Smarter and Harder?
Let Us Help!
It isn’t just you – we are all striving to work smarter and harder. We are making do with what we have, and doing things that we used to delegate ourselves. Sometimes it’s downright scary to look ahead and see the number of tasks and project that await you.
Your business answering service is the cheapest labor you have! You pay us by the minute, not the hour, and that is to your advantage.
Why not dedicate one day or morning a week for your uninterrupted time. This is when you turn your phones over to us (yes, right in the middle of the day) and you do your payroll or make appointments or simply get organized for the week ahead. It is so much easier to complete tasks if you are not taking calls in the middle of your work. We can take care of the little things, and call you with things that are big or important. We know there are some interruptions, like new business, that are “worth the wait” in gold!
Spend time with us, explaining the kinds of calls that you want and those that can be called back later, and then relax. Our “secretaries” will take care of your company calls with our business answering service while you take care of your business!
A Telephone Answering Service Prevents Businesses from Losing Customers
A telephone answering service solves many problems that often occur in businesses. A business needs to operate efficiently in order to achieve success, but when a business owner’s primary concern is to make sure telephones are answered by employees, there is less time to complete other, more pressing tasks in a timely manner. Although there are many businesses that hire receptionists to answer multiple-line telephones, the fact is that receptionists are not always able to keep up with all of the incoming calls in a timely manner. Sometimes the telephone lines light up at the same time and receptionists must put all of the customers on hold, which is not good for business. A small business answering service can help. When a client calls a business with a complaint, the client wants the matter to be taken care of promptly. If the customer is put on hold for longer than 10 minutes, the customer is likely to start looking for another alternative business. Keeping customers on hold too often and for long periods of time is a sure way to lose valued customers. When a telephone answering service handles calls, businesses are more likely to keep their valued customers.
A Telephone Answering Service Offers Businesses More Time
Time is an essential ingredient in building a successful business, and a telephone answering service is often helpful in this respect. When business phones are answered by professionals, the business appears to have a more professional quality. Companies that take the time to provide their customers with meticulous services are successful companies. There is almost nothing more irritating than hearing a taped while on hold that declares the company’s passionate wishes to serve their customers. This practice only serves to provide customers with the sense that these companies are managed by hypocritical business owners who, in fact, do not display any real concern for their customers. The use of voice mail is another practice that is offensive to potential clients. When a client wants to talk to a company representative, the client does not want to be put through to the representative’s voice mail. This is a loud and clear message to the customer that the employee is not at all concerned about helping the customer. Voice mails are often unanswered for several days. In the meantime, these potential customers are no longer interested in these companies, and take their business elsewhere. When a competing business offers their customers better customer care, the customers are likely to return to these businesses for their services. A telephone answering service can help business owners to keep existing clients.
A Small business answering service provides answers for businesses that need to deal with emergencies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A physician is not always capable of answering calls in the middle of the night. A small business answering service is often the solution to this type of medical situation. A professional telephone answering service operator that handles the physician’s calls is able to offer the patient helpful information.
When someone is locked out of a vehicle, a locksmith needs to be called, but the locksmith might be out on other calls. A telephone answering service operator lets the caller know that the locksmith is on another emergency call and the approximate time in which the locksmith will be able to help the person open the car door. The less than perfect alternative is to provide the customer with the option to leave a message on an answering machine, and this is not at all reassuring to the caller. Chances are that the caller is sure to call another locksmith, and the first locksmith loses this person as a future customer. A small business answer service is an easy solution to this situation.
Easy Solutions When Offices are Closed for Lunch
Many medical offices, including dental offices, are closed for up to two hours when the time for lunch breaks arrive. Patients who reach answering machines are inconvenienced by having to leave messages. Furthermore, the patient might not receive a return call, which only adds to the feeling of frustration. A telephone answering service provides these patients with some peace of mind because, at the very least, a real person answers the phone instead of a machine. There is nothing like a personal touch when it comes to quality medical care, and a small business answering service help to put patients at ease.
Telephones are Better When Real Persons Answer Them
Modern technological advances in communications are, in some ways, less efficient than old-fashioned methods that relied upon telephone answering services. Many persons, even those who frequently use the Internet, emails and social networking web sites, still appreciate receiving assistance from real persons when they call telephone numbers. Business owners and CEOs who hire the services of a telephone answering service, even those using , in order to make sure that real people representing their companies answer their telephones are likely to receive referrals from satisfied customers.
Life is filled with difficulties of one kind or another, but answering the telephone is a simple matter that is easily solved by a small business telephone answering service.
A Business Answering Service Tip
Most companies have the need for some type of a business answering service. In this article, we will review some of the important things that should be looked at when it comes to getting this type of service.
A phone call answering service is one of the most commonly used by small to medium sized businesses. This works in the same manner as an answering machine that people have in their homes. This enables a customer that calls the business the ability to leave a message that can be replied to at a later time. This can prevent a business owner from losing potential clients due to not answering the phone.
Many companies use outsource services to save money and increase phone call services. A service that allows for people to talk to a person is another alternative that many small to medium sized businesses like as well. This service will take the messages that are left and transfer them to the intended party in the manner that they have previously agreed to. This could be via fax, cell phone or voice mail, it all depends on your personal preferences.
This type of service is also a benefit when it comes to those times that there is an abundance of calls being received by a company. The representatives of this service will help relieve this excess by stepping in and answering calls and distributing the messages as they are received and in a manner that the company negotiates into the service agreement that they have.
A business answering service that provides live agents working can also be trained to provide information about a company to customers that call in. This can alleviate a lot of time for a receptionist that is needed for other aspects of the business. The receptionist can then be utilized in a different manner which can be far more productive.
The employees of this kind of answering service undergo extensive training in order to be able to handle any type of request that is asked of them. The are also all bound by a letter of confidentiality in which they must sign in order to begin answering the phones. These things are put in place to ensure that the rights of both the worker and the employer are protected.
There are also recordings made of phone calls that are received. These are monitored on a regular basis by quality control specialists in order to ensure that the high standards of customer service are being met. These recordings are also accessible by the client should there be a need for them to do so.
There are many different items that a business answering service can do for their clients. Taking the time to look at menu of services that they offer is one of the most important things that a business owner can do when looking into this kind of service. Contacting a specialist to determine how they can help you can be one of the smartest free consultations that a business owner should take advantage of.
Stop Back Often for More Tips on Selecting a Good Business Answering Service!
Quality Business Answering Service Fill A Need For Small Businesses
How does a small business present a professional face and still focus on day to day responsibilities? A quality business answering service could be the answer. In the past, these answering services simply answered phones, took messages and then delivered them. However, today, they make up entire customer service departments, delivering a variety of services to small and large businesses alike. Rather than a cold voice mail message that turns potential customers away, answering services add a personal touch at a price that is usually more cost effective than hiring personnel to do the same thing.
Answering services now perform tasks that help increase revenue in an active way, rather than simply providing a live person in the place of a recording. An answering service customer representative is the first impression that many customers get for the businesses they represent. In a high quality answering service, they will be trained regarding the organizations they represent so that they can assist customers in many ways.
Beyond answering calls using the chosen greeting and company name, they interact with customers or clients to answer questions, gather information, set appointments or take orders. Depending on what the business owner requests, the answering service will notify them after each call or at desired intervals. They can also transfer calls to designated employees or to a voice mail, and can field common employment verification calls, conferring relevant information in a professional manner. Some services also include carrying out surveys or call center services, or working online using the business owner’s own website.
These services make the organization more reachable and efficient in the eyes of its clients and allow the owners to direct their attention to the business itself. For small business owners this can mean the ability to expand and increase sales because the telephone can be answered at any time of the day or night. They could be sleeping, in a meeting, working, or at a family picnic and the business activity would not stop.
Calls for the business owner can be recorded to listen to at a more convenient time, and can also deliver recordings and messages through the many different forms of media available today. They will even answer internal calls from employees and transfer calls within the company.
Small business owners are not the only people outsourcing to answering services. The medical community has found value in hiring outside help to manage the many calls they get every day. Some services even have emergency medical dispatchers and they specially train their staff to field medical questions and help find solutions, or call the proper physician.
Property management companies are another industry that commonly takes advantage of the benefits of an answering service. Property management is a field that requires 24/7 attention, but that isn’t always possible for the employees to cover. A professional service that is well educated and informed is a valuable asset and can make the difference between disgruntled clients and happy ones. Also chances are that the caller is sure to call another property management company, and the first property management company loses this person as a future customer. A small business answer service is an easy solution to this situation.
Many other business types are making use of a business answering service and discovering the benefits to outsourcing to these service companies. Customer service is their focus and only job. Consequently, they are driven to represent their clients with courteous professionalism and a sophisticated aspect that many business owners cannot accomplish alone.
A Quality Business Answering Service is a Great Resource For Small Business.
Focus on Call Center Services
Call Center Services or “Custom” Services include such options as inbound order entry, scheduling appointments, making reservations, locating dealers, fulfillment, and customer service/help desk assistance. Being a part of a team requires clear communication, so you will work closely with an account manager who will keep both you and Focus up to date on what’s new in your company.
(Read Between the Lines)
The biggest mistake people make is failing to involve their answering
service early in their project, educating your service takes time.
Choosing the right inbound order entry company to team with is vital, so be sure to choose wisely the first time. Focus will partner with you to:
Create a customized script
Manage your database
Deliver messages to one or multiple locations
Network in multiple time zones
Provide backup for media bursts
Assist with overflow callsFocus agents are comfortable working on your Internet site (we’re a web enabled answering service) or creating a web site for you through a sister company. Let us answer your customer’s questions and solve their concerns over the phone, with e-mail or text chat.Allow one of our call center service consultants discuss your needs and help develop a plan of action. Contact us for information on:Scheduling appointments,
Customer service/help desk assistance.
Focus on Government Answering Services
Focus has been helping government offices solve their often complicated telecommunications requirements since 1987. We can help to streamline and improve your operations with our flexible, customizable telephone answering solutions. From the first steps of the RFP, to the last call, we will work with you and respond quickly to all your needs.
(Read Between the Lines)
||As a Woman Owned Business Focus has MBE (Minority Business Entrepreneur) Status.
A necessity for contractors who need a percentage of MBE subcontractors to qualify for Government Contracts.
Government regulations and requirements are becoming more demanding, and individual preferences and budgetary constraints need careful consideration. By choosing Focus you will be assured the best price consistent with the highest quality government answering service and the support of a consistently dedicated staff. Focus is a certified MBE, a multiple Award of Excellence winner, and an ATSI – GOLD Certified Call Center (the only one in the MD/DC area).
“We were recently awarded a contract based on the fact that our subcontractor (Focus) was a Minority Business Enterprise. Thanks for going through the process to help clients like us.”
L.W. From H.H. Services
Focus on Medical Answering Services
Donna West, President of Focus, has over 10 years of experience in the medical industry and created Focus to specifically meet the answering service needs of the medical community. Your patients expect and deserve the best when it comes to their health; don’t let that quality slip because you and your staff are not at the office. We will call the right physician for the right problems, and we respect your time off.
(Read Between the Lines)
In this day of litigation and patient rights, it is extremely important that your medical answering service has the tools and systems in place to professionally represent your practice, as well as to help protect it.
Focus answers for physicians in all medical specialties from single physicians to multiple doctor practices to clinics, home health providers, hospices, pharmaceutical companies, medical equipment and supply distributors and a nationally acclaimed hospital. Our policies, procedures and training are about providing the best possible medical answering service to you and your patients.
Here are some things you should know
Focus agents undergo a rigorous training program and ongoing quality control evaluations
Emergency medical dispatchers are specially trained to handle medical situations
All agents sign a confidentiality agreement
Focus is up to date on HIPAA requirements
We offer archived message storage and retrieval
Calls are recorded for your protection“I want to thank you for the professional manner in which you have handled our telephone answering service account. Your attentiveness to our needs and swift response is greatly appreciated. During times of transition and change you have committed yourself to our business and have seen us through any turbulence. I look forward to continuing our work relationship.”
J. Hoffman, Johns Hopkins Home Care Group
Focus on Property Management Answering Services
Focus has specialized in answering services for the Property Management industry since 1987. Donna West invested months interviewing resident managers and property managers to understand the unique telephone answering needs of the industry. As a result, we have the most comprehensive training program for agents who will answer property management calls. Our agents KNOW this business.
Over 50% of the calls answered at Focus on a daily basis are related to property management. We have been active associate members of both the Property Management Association and the Institute of Real Estate Management since 1989. We offer telephone answering, voice mail, receptionist service, internet and web site answering, and more.
We speak your language; we know the difference between a toilet back-up and a stoppage.
We understand that you can’t pay your employees overtime to fix a problem that is not an emergency.
We know the fire department will probably break down the door of the elevator, and we try to reach you first–IF those are your instructions.
We understand your on-call schedule and we have on-call personnel specifically trained to handle this vital information.
We have one of the finest reputations in the industry when it comes to answering for the property management community.Allow us to provide backup to your leasing office. Just give us your parameters and we can set up appointments for your leasing agents and give vital information so you don’t lose those impulse “lookers”.(Read Between the Lines)
Focus offers detailed billing for large property management companies that wish to pass costs on to the building owners. And we can provide a combination of automation and agent services for the best in cost control.
_____________________________________________________________________Focus answers for both commercial and residential property management companies, as well as for home owners associations and builders who have not yet released new communities to a home owners association. We also answer for service companies that specialize in providing maintenance, plumbing, HVAC, and other necessities to the property management industry.
A disaster can strike anytime without warning at any of your commercial properties. Don’t be caught unprepared; make Focus answering service a part of your disaster plan today. We can set up a voice mail or agent assisted account with emergency information ready to go in a few minutes, NOT a few hours. Your customers want service, not excuses; let us help you keep your business running and your calls answered.
You can turn your phones over to Focus Telephone Answering Service and rest assured that we are here to protect your interests.
“For 10 years, Focus Comm Centers has provided our company with excellent service. All calls are executed in a timely and professional manner and the staff is always respectful and helpful. Emergencies are handled with urgency, care and with enough detail that we are able to jump on the situation immediately when we get the call. We appreciate all that you do.”
R.F. at C.R.M.G
“Great Service! We receive calls promptly. I can always call and speak with a supervisor. When I change on-call, I get a prompt response.”
A.T. at D.H.B.
“What wonderful service. No issues what so ever. I highly recommend Focus!”
K.D.S at RA
Our staff is both familiar and comfortable with the specialized needs of your industry. If you had a bad experience with another answering service or just want to get it right the first time call Focus, your commercial and residential property management answering service expert, TODAY at 1-800-886-6696; we are ready to be on your team!
Focus on Telephone Answering Services
In the beginning, telephone answering services took simple messages and relayed them to the office. Today, answering services take intricate messages, give out information to callers, and deliver messages and information in complicated ways to multiple people through multiple medias. Today 80% of ALL major companies outsource to keep costs down so they can remain competitive and stay “Focused” on what they do best.
Focus can play a valuable part in running your business. For example,
We can answer your phone 24/7, taking a professional message and deliver it to you via e-mail, fax, cell phone, office phone, or voice mail.
We can triage your calls and follow a decision tree to assist in solving problems.
We can make or change appointments for you.
We can answer your office lines and transfer calls to your employees as your receptionist.
We can take messages and work on your web site.
We can send audio files of your messages to your e-mail.
We can answer excess calls when your staff is overwhelmed.
We can be a part of your disaster backup plan.
We can offer multiple time zone networking.
We can communicate with your customers by phone or Internet – Your website or ours!Find out what Focus Answering Service can do for you!
(Read Between the Lines)
To make a great first impression -
you need the power of a person answering your phones!
Focus Award Winning Call Center is committed to excellence, giving you an edge that exceeds your toughest competition. Our mission is to take and deliver messages accurately, promptly, and professionally, every time!
“I wanted to convey my appreciation for the fine job you folks at Focus have been providing my firm. Ever since my firm switched (from another answering service) to Focus, we have observed a noticeable change. We enjoy the professional manner in which our image is projected by your staff to our potential and existing customers. In fact, I can honestly say that we have received several compliments over the past seven years from customers about the timeliness and accuracy of the messages relayed by your staff to mine. Thank you very much for the great service and continued support you have given my firm’s operations and me. I wish you all the best with your firm’s success and growth.”
J. C. at C.W.R.I.
If you have had a bad experience with another answering service or just want to get it right the first time, call Focus TODAY at 1-800-886-6696; we are ready to be on your team!