Your answering service works hard to serve you with excellence and to delight your customers. Nothing pleases their staff more than to know they’ve done their very best for you. One thing, however, gets in the way of them achieving this goal. That’s working with outdated information about your company.
In an ideal situation, as soon as key information changes in your office, you notify your answering service. This includes information about your staff, your on-call, your business, your protocols and procedures, and your office contacts. Unfortunately, a common result is forgetting to notify your answering service of these changes. This isn’t a criticism, but it’s the common reality of overlooking them because they’re not physically on-site with you and they work quietly in the background.
Though it’s always a good time to review the information your answering service has about your business and operation, now is an even better time as we approach the holiday season. This is because you will likely rely on your answering service even more in the next couple of months, which makes it even more critical for them to have the most up-to-date information.
As you review the information that your answering service should have. Here are a few common areas to check.
At one time you provided your answering service with a list of employees, or at least a list of key employees as it relates to the work they do for you. Is this still up-to-date? Probably not. This is the first thing to check, to make sure your answering service has the correct information about who works for your company and what their positions are. You don’t want them saying that Brad oversees customer service, when he moved to accounting a few months ago. Even worse you don’t want them saying that Sally is their sales rep, when she’s no longer with the company.
Does your company have on-call personnel? If so, make sure your answering service has a current list of who they are, along with their preferred ways to reach them. Without this critical information, your answering service will use what they have—outdated information. This could include trying to reach someone who is no longer on call or sending a text to a smart phone that’s no longer used. Each of these, and other pieces of missing information, will cause delays in providing the service your customers expect.
Has your company moved, changed phone numbers, or updated your company email address? Make sure your answering service knows about these items as well. Verify that they have the address for your office, as well as any other locations. Make sure they know your main phone number and are giving out the correct fax number and email address to anyone who requests it.
When you initiated service with your answering service, you provided specific procedures and protocols for them to follow. This might include how to determine what constitutes an emergency or how to handle your on-call situation. They will work hard to follow these instructions, but have your preferences changed? Make sure your answering service has your latest expectations, so they know what to aim for.
Who is your answering service’s primary contact at your office? Has this changed in recent weeks or months? Do they have the right information to know how to reach this person? Having this information is essential if they have a question, especially if there’s an emergency where they need an immediate answer. Fortunately these situations arise infrequently, but if they do, it’s critical your answering service knows who to reach and how.
Companies sometimes overlook their answering service when changes occur in staffing, on-call personnel, procedures, and contact methods. So don’t feel bad if you’ve missed these items, but do take steps to verify and update this information with your answering service. Doing so will make sure your answering service has all the information they need to serve you to the very best of their abilities.
May you and your staff have a happy and joyous holiday season.
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.