5 Tips to Grow Your Answering Service

Most everyone who owns or runs a telephone answering service dreams of growing it bigger. This allows you to service more clients, provide jobs to more people, and generate increased revenue. Of course the side effect of all this is increased compensation for you as the owner or manager. With this in mind, here are five tips to grow your answering service. 1) Answer with Excellence: Preparing for growth starts in the operations room. You must provide a high level of quality to your clients. This allows you to keep existing customers and attract new business through word-of-mouth referrals—the best type of promotion. Service excellence begins with great training and continues with superb supervision. Your agents need to answer calls fast, meet callers’ objectives, and surpass clients’ expectations. This requires focus for the agents and that they are appropriately scheduled as traffic projections dictate. Until operations is functioning as it should, pursuing a growth strategy is a foolish effort. You will end up doing much work and have little to show for it. 2) Invest in Technology: Be sure to support your staff with the technology they need to succeed. To provide an environment where your agents can thrive, establish a technological infrastructure that allows them to flourish. While your answering service agents are your public face, technology works behind them to enable them to do their work with excellence. Acquire the right tools to aid them in doing their jobs. Some technological solutions will allow your staff to accomplish more in less time. Other tools can help them reduce errors. And still other apps aid them in providing new services. The essential truth is that first-class technology is a requirement, not an option. 3) Establish Scalable Processes: To excel in the answering service business and establish a framework from which to grow, you must institute replicable processes to guide every action in each department. This includes operations, sales and marketing, technical, accounting, and administration. Document these processes, keep them up to date, and insist everyone follow them. Next make them scalable. That way, as your answering service grows, your processes will grow with them. Non-scalable processes hinder growth. Scalable processes fuel growth. 4) Manage with Intention: In order to oversee your answering service staff well, you must manage with intention. Instead of spending all day responding to urgent interruptions, direct your team so that there are few surprises. This requires a new way to manage, which entails delegating responsibility and empowering proactive action. Just as processes must be scalable, so must your management. This is an area where many answering service owners and managers falter. Instead of implementing a scalable supervision structure, they try to absorb all the work themselves. Eventually the workload becomes too great, and then everyone suffers. 5) Execute Well: In all ways and in all things, execution is key. Not only must operations serve with excellence, but so should all departments of the answering service. This includes the customer facing aspects and the vendor directed tasks, as well as internal functions. When an answering service performs it’s work well and has achieved the preceding tips, then it is poised for growth, rapid and sustainable growth. Trying to grow before your answering service is ready will only lead to discouragement. Follow these five tips and growth will follow.   Janet Livingston is the president of Call Center Sales Pro, a premier sales and marketing service provider for the call center and telephone answering service industry, which helps clients grow their revenue. Contact Janet at contactus@callcenter-salespro.com or 800-901-7706. Peter Lyle DeHaan  is a freelance writer from Southwest Michigan.