Businesses that care about their customers and callers want to provide a professional experience over the phone. That’s why most every organization cares about customer service quality, which is why they want an answering service that also stresses customer service quality.
Most all answering services claim to provide quality, but their follow-through and consistency often vary considerably. That’s why leading answering services make a point to emphasize training and quality service by having a dedicated manager oversee these critical areas.
The Importance of New Employee Training
How much time do answering services spend on new employee training? The answer may surprise you. Though it’s shocking, some answering services have new hires answering client phone calls on their first day of employment. That’s way too soon.
Thorough training takes much longer; it’s measured in days not hours. Before a new answering service employee takes a single call, they must learn how to operate the answering service computer system, study the accounts they’ll be handling, and master customer service skills. This takes time, but it’s precisely what you want and exactly what you deserve before they take your calls.
The Value of Ongoing Training
Another common shortcoming at too many answering services is the idea that agent training is a “once and done” situation. This perspective is shortsighted.
Quality expectations continually change. What passed for excellence five years ago, now stands as a basic expectation. As the customer service bar continues to rise, ongoing agent training will help keep the answering service staff at the top.
Also, leading answering services add advanced technology and powerful applications to their systems on a regular basis. Would you rather have someone receive training on this new software first or figure it out while talking with your customers? Of course you want them to receive training ahead of time. That’s another function of ongoing training at an answering service.
This ongoing training also helps prepare employees to become certified answering service agents, which is another essential step in providing exceptional quality.
The Benefits of a Quality Assurance Program
A third critical element for advanced telephone answering services is a QA (quality assurance) program. A QA program regularly evaluates the work of each answering service employee to make sure they continue to meet high quality standards and provide excellence on every call.
Using a combination of call monitoring and statistical analysis, a QA manager evaluates each answering service agent on a regular basis, providing encouragement in areas of excellence and correction in areas of weakness. The goal is to have every staff member provide consistent, high-quality service on every phone call, for every client, on every day.
This QA effort also prepares the answering service staff to meet and exceed the criteria of the Award of Excellence program, which only a small fraction of answering services across the country can achieve.
Having a dedicated QA/training manager is key to developing a staff that focuses on providing quality service to its clients and who can handle your phone calls with excellence.
Joseph Kohalmi is Advantage TeleMessaging, Inc.'s Sales & Marketing Director.