Answering services carefully schedule their staff to make sure they have the right number of people available to answer your calls. Professional answering services have turned this into a science to make sure they serve their clients with excellence.
Here’s how they go about it.
The reason an answering service can provide you with comprehensive telephone coverage at a small fraction of the price you would pay for a full-time receptionist or customer service professional is that it is a shared service. That is, their employees answer your phone calls, and when they’re not working for you, they’re working for other businesses just like yours.
Together you and these other companies cover the costs to provide the service. The result of this shared-service approach means that you get around-the-clock, full-service telephone answering for only a few dollars a day. That’s the economy that results from using a shared service. The key to making this work is how the answering service schedules staff to answer your calls.
The answering service starts by considering past call traffic. They look at how many calls came in at a particular time last week, last month, and one year ago—maybe even several years. While new answering services and startups have little to no historical data available to use for their staffing projections, established answering services have reams of information at their disposal. The more information, the more accurately they can project how many calls will arrive in the future.
Next they look for patterns. Are the number of overall calls from all their clients trending up or trending down? They must adjust to reflect that. For example, assume that one year ago their staffing levels perfectly matched the number of calls that came in, but this year traffic is running 20 percent higher. That means they need to adjust their staffing levels to take 20 percent more calls. With this historical data and trend information, an answering service schedules staff to meet this projection.
Last, their schedule needs flexibility. Though a skilled scheduler can take all this information and produce a highly reliable, accurate schedule, they can’t account for everything. A schedule needs to accommodate unexpected peaks in call traffic without negatively impacting the quality of the service provided.
To handle this they may tap supervisory and management personnel to help with an unexpected influx of calls. Or they may schedule a person to be available just in case. This provides a buffer to make sure they’re as available as possible to answer your calls.
Your answering service works hard to make sure they have the right number of people available around-the-clock to answer the expected number of calls that come in for your organization and the other businesses that use their shared service. If they over schedule, they’re inefficient and that drives up the cost of your service. If they under schedule, the quality of their service suffers.
That’s why the best answering services hit the ideal schedule almost all the time. This allows them to provide you with a quality service at a cost affordable price. This is how an answering service schedules staff to serve you with excellence. Though no answering service can achieve this all the time, the best ones can do it most of the time.
With a decades-long record of offering telephone answering service to the northwest region and across the United States, Redding Answering Service is committed to providing advanced, first-rate telephone answering service to your company. Let us help you maximize your communication effectiveness—at a cost-effective price—to drive bottom-line results. Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer who covers the answering service industry.