The June 2010 Issue of TAS Trader

It Only Takes Nine Days to Retain an Operator

By Paula Ford, Answer Center, Virginia Beach, VA

No, that isn’t a typo. Retaining good operators for your telephone answering service should be set in motion within the first nine days, not the first ninety.

Put yourself in a new hire’s shoes for a minute. Assume that you’re starting a new job as an operator at your company and that you know no one. Then thoughtfully ask yourself the following questions:

Does your boss put you under someone else’s wing? Do your coworkers make a point of welcoming you? Does the boss make an effort of going to lunch with you, or at least sitting with you for a ten-minute break? Does anyone show you where the restroom and the lunchroom are?

Do you get reassurance and positive feedback during training? Does the trainer have a clue of how to do her or his job?

Do you still feel alienated and lost after the first week? Is there a “vampire” or a “vampire clique” that makes you feel intimidated or unwelcome? Have you picked up the company culture by listening to the casual griping among semi-disgruntled operators? Or do you feel that everyone is friendly and supportive, helping you to feel at home and get up to speed as fast as possible?

Does the company have a mission statement that everyone must know and repeat daily? (This can be as simple as “Every call counts.”) Are new employees given a full view of the company culture by supervisors?

While it may be hard for an owner or manager to accurately answer these questions, exit interviews might be a good source of valuable insight – especially from operators who quit after a few weeks or months. Much has been written and discussed about the importance of an exit interview. Do you conduct one? Do you invite people to be brutally honest so that you can do a better job of making a good fit for the next trainee? Have you ever considered having a third party do an anonymous survey of your employees?

The more proactive you are during the first nine days of a new hire’s career with your answering service, the better the chances of retaining them for ninety days and beyond.

2010 ATSI Award of Excellence Winners

Now in its fourteenth year, the popular ATSI Award of Excellence program provides a quality control assessment of telephone answering services. An independent third party places and evaluates test calls over a six-month period each year. Those services achieving an overall score of eighty points or greater earn the ATSI Award of Excellence. Many answering services have earned the award for multiple years; this proves their ongoing attention to providing consistent and high quality service. The ten answering services (listed alphabetically) that earned the top scores for 2010 are:

Answer Excellence, Clearwater, FL
The Answer Network, Roanoke, VA
Answer United/Michigan Message Center, Kalamazoo, MI
A Better Answer, Plano, TX
Corporate Message Services, Inc., Savannah, GA
Cosmopolitan Medical Communications, Glendale, AZ
Extend Communications Inc., Cambridge, ON
Finger Lakes Answering Service, Auburn, NY
Main Line TeleCommunications, Aston, PA
Rochester Telemessaging Center, Rochester Hills, MI

The complete list of this year’s Award of Excellence recipients are:

Fourteen Years
Answer United/Michigan Message Center, Kalamazoo, MI
Rochester Telemessaging Center, Rochester Hills, MI

Thirteen Years
Hastings Communication Services, Inc., Austin, TX
Fallon Communications, Houston, TX
MedCom Professional Services, Inc., Levittown, PA
AnswerNet Phoenix, Phoenix, AZ
Business Connections, Salem, OR

Twelve Years
On Call Centre Inc., Ottawa, ON
A Better Answer, Plano, TX

Eleven Years
T.A.S. Communications, Madison, WI
Pro Phone Communications, Inc., Muskegon, MI

Ten Years
Tel-Us Call Center, Inc., Beverly Hills, CA
Answer-All Secretarial Service, Inc., Westminster, CO

Nine Years
Answer Midwest, Inc., Alton, IL
Direct Line TeleResponse, Berkeley, CA
Omni Communications, Carrollton, GA
Continental Message Solution, Inc., Columbus, OH
Anser Services, Green Bay, WI
ACT Teleservices, Newington, CT

Eight Years
A Better Answer, Houston, TX
Answer Quick, Louisville, TN
Berkshire Communicators, Inc, Pittsfield, MA
AAMCOM, Redondo Beach, CA
Tab AnswerNetwork, Santa Ana, CA
Corporate Message Services, Inc., Savannah, GA

Seven Years
CallNet Call Center Services, Bloomington, IN
Extend Communications Inc, Brantford, ON
Dexcomm, Carencro, LA
Personalized Communications, Inc., Duncanville, TX
Antietam Call Center, Hagerstown, MD
A Better Answer, Ft. Worth, TX
Alliance Wireless Communications, Kingston, ON
Answer 1 Communications, Phoenix, AZ
Port City Communications, Inc., Port Huron, MI
Appletree Answering Service, Inc., Portland, ME
Telelink Call Centre, St. John’s, NL
CallStar, St. Petersburg, FL
Contact One Call Center, Tucson, AZ
Medfone, Inc., Wantagh, NY

Six Years
Stat Call, Alexandria, VA
AnswerTel, Athens, AL
Finger Lakes Answering Service, Auburn, NY
Spectrum Communications Services, Inc., Brookfield, WI
Extend Communications Inc, Cambridge, ON
Answer Excellence, Clearwater, FL
Focus Communications Center, Eldersburg, MD
Messages & more, Inc., Flagstaff, AZ
All Ways Communications, Hagerstown, MD
Telecom Answering Service, Homewood, IL
Communications Network, Inc., Muncie, IN
Central Communications Inc., Norwalk, CT
Communications Group, Syracuse, NY
Alert Communications, Ventura, CA
Answer Center, Virginia Beach, VA
Appletree Answering Service, Inc., Wilmington, DE

Five Years
MedCom Professional Services Inc, Allentown, PA
Main Line TeleCommunications, Aston, PA
Business & Professional Exchange, Inc., Beverly, MA
Call Experts, Charleston, SC
American MediConnect, Chicago, IL
Alphapage, LLC, Denver, CO
Medical TeleCommunications, Englewood, CO
All Call Communications, Georgetown, ON
A Better Connection, Inc., Gilbert, AZ
MedConnectUSA, Las Vegas, NV
Information Communications Group, Leawood, KS
Holy Redeemer Medical Messaging, Meadowbrook, PA
Answering Advantage LLC, Memphis, TN
Appletree Answering Service, Inc., Pensacola, FL
Ansaphone Service, Inc., Quincy, MA
King Communications, Saginaw, MI
The Message Center, San Antonio, TX
Santa Cruz Answering Service, Santa Cruz, CA
King’s Telemessaging Services, Shreveport, LA
Appletree Answering Service, Inc., St. Louis, MO

Four Years
Appletree Answering Service, Inc., Anaheim, CA
AnswerOne Inc., Brooklyn, NY
Answer, Inc., Lakewood, CO
Keener Communications, Inc., Glen Allen, VA
AnswerNow, Glendale, AZ
Cosmopolitan Medical Communications, Glendale, AZ
IPN Messaging Center, La Porte, IN
AnswerPro Limited, Mission, KS
TigerTel Oshawa, Oshawa, ON
TigerTel Richmond, Richmond, BC
Action Telephone Exchange, Rochester, NY
TigerTel Vancouver, Vancouver, BC

Three Years
JAM, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, UK
Appletree Answering Service, Inc., Cincinnati and Dayton, OH
Always On Call Answering Service, LLC, Concord, NH
Nationwide Inbound, Inc., Freeport, IL
Quick Connections, Greenbelt, MD
Crocker Communications, Inc., Greenfield, MA
A Quality Answering Service, Hudson, FL
TigerTel London, London, ON
Tele-Page, Montreal, QC
MedCom Professional Services, Inc, New Holland, PA
The Answer Network, Roanoke, VA
Tel-Excel, San Diego, CA
LaBell Exchange, Santa Ana, CA
Connections Call Centre LTD, Squamish, BC
Network One Communications, Tampa, FL

Two Years
Monroe Telephone, Beaumont, TX
Pronto Connections, Inc., Chicago, IL
Answer Plus, Inc., Clive, IA
Appletree Answering Service, Inc., Houma, LA
Appletree Answering Service, Kansas City, MO
Answering Service Care by Global Response, Margate, FL
Secretariats, Inc., Norfolk, VA
A-B Communications, Novato, CA
Central Answering Service, Inc., Riverside, CA
Time Communications, Saint Paul, MN
Appletree Answering Service, Inc., San Juan, PR
Northern Communications, Sudbury, North Bay, Timmins, and Sault Ste Marie, ON
The Legacy Connection, Tuscaloosa, AL

One Year
Appletree Answering Service, Inc., Boston, MA
Sooner Answer Service, Inc., Edmond, OK
Concorde Communications, Los Angeles, CA
AnswerAll LLC, Macon, GA
Mid-State Communications, Manchester, TN
TigerTel Nanaimo, Nanaimo, BC
Executive Services, Pueblo, CO
QTAS, Quincy, MA
TigerTel Alberta, Red Deer, AB
Commercial Telephone Exchange, Inc., Reno, NV
Appletree Answering Service, Sacramento, CA
Answer Bay Area, Tampa, FL
Business Service Center, Inc., Wausau, WI

Find out more about the ATSI Award of Excellence program at www.atsi.org.

News

Professional Teledata Releases Midnight Freedom
Professional Teledata released Midnight Freedom for PInnacle Freedom customers. Using Freedom’s hosted platform, Midnight Freedom provides users with the option to outsource some calls, such as those on the midnight shift, to other answering services. Now, TAS owners can share agents by consolidating calls during a specified time. Using the PInnacle Freedom platform, the net effect is that a single agent can handle calls for multiple agencies using just one headset and one PC. Additionally, Professional Teledata will establish partnerships with several top TASs to handle outsourcing needs. While the outsourcing TAS contracts directly with the authorized TAS, all data resides on the hosted system.

Amtelco’s New IS Web Scripting
Amtelco’s Infinity Intelligent Series (IS) offers next-generation call scripting, offering TAS owners an easy-to-use, one-click method to provide Web-based demonstrations of new scripts for clients; it also can be used to provide clients’ customers with script-driven data collection applications using only a Web browser. IS Web Scripting provides opportunities to increase revenues while reducing agent workloads. Applications include serving funeral home, property management, and apartment accounts; closely working with clients in script development; allowing client’s to process data using the same script as the TAS; allowing clients to update call center data; and developing client Web sites, including scripting.

MedCom Helps Vision Impaired
MedCom Professional Services, Inc., with offices in Levittown, Allentown, and New Holland, Pennsylvania, took spring- cleaning to a new level. They searched their offices for used computer equipment and donated them to the Susquehanna Association for the Blind and Vision Impaired (SABVI) in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. “It’s a win-win- win situation all around,” said MedCom’s executive vice president Tom Sheridan. “The program appealed to me because it not only helped the SABVI, but it also recycles computer equipment in a responsible way.” Sheridan added the equipment donated was about four or five years old and in working condition; some only needed new operating systems.

Amtelco’s New Transformer Script and Directory Tools
Amtelco’s IS transformer tools make it easy to update message scripts and directories for use in the Infinity Intelligent Series (IS), resulting in significant labor savings. The tool creates IS message scripts using exported data from Infinity and other messaging platforms. It can be used to automatically create basic messaging scripts, forms, and directories – including contact methods – when upgrading to the Infinity IS. The tool is also is capable of importing from comma-delimited and tab-delimited text files and spreadsheets; this makes it possible to convert listings that were developed on other platforms into Intelligent Series directories.

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[Posted by Peter DeHaan for TAS Trader, a telephone answering service e-publication from Peter DeHaan Publishing Inc.]

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About Peter DeHaan

Peter DeHaan is the president of Peter DeHaan Publishing, Inc., (http://peterdehaanpublishing.com) the publisher and editor of Connections Magazine and AnswerStat, and editor of Article Weekly. Peter DeHaan’s personal website (http://peterdehaan.com) contains information and links to his blogs, newsletter, and social media pages.