How to Successfully Deal with Answering Service Statistical Overload

Answering service systems generate a plethora of data, enough to approach big data proportions. All of these numbers are sufficient to make a statistical mathematician grin and a telephone answering service manager groan. So much data and so little time. Here are the possible options to consider:

Ignore the Numbers: Face it, most people in answering service supervisory and mid-level management roles call themselves “a people person.” They love interacting with human beings, while the thought of a spreadsheet sends them running in the other direction.

The understandable reaction of a people person to hard, cold, often-incomprehensible, raw statistics is to shove them aside. Ignore them and maybe they’ll go away. Reality check: they won’t, but they will become more insistent. While supervisors and managers can do their jobs without having numbers to guide them, they will do much better with actionable data.

Dive in and Ignore Everything Else: Though not nearly as common, some answering service supervisors and mid-level managers are task oriented. They actually like numbers and can ascertain meaning from them. It’s the people part of their job that they pull back from. So give them plenty of reports and numbers to play with, and they’ll be happy to devote all their attention to them, while largely overlooking the people who report to them. If only they had enough time to apply what their numbers tell them to do.

Pick a Couple Key Reports: Another reaction is from answering service supervisors and managers who know numbers are important. Working hard they try to understand one or two reports. Having mastered the basics, they use the numbers to guide their decisions and direct their staff. While laudable, the unfortunate side effect is that this causes them to operate under incomplete information. What they need is comprehensive reporting that merges key elements from multiple sources together into a holistic presentation.

Manage by Instinct and Forget Numbers: A fourth reaction often comes from longtime managers and supervisors. Over the years they have developed a gut feeling of how to run their answering service. Honed by time, these instinctual reactions are more often right than wrong, but if they could integrate factual data into their methods, they could become even better.

Use a Data Portal: Short of hiring a fulltime statistician to manage, master, and merge all of a telephone answering service’s disparate data sources, the next best solution is a data portal. A data portal provides easy access to various data sources and presents them in easy-to-understand management reports, all accessible from one place, usually with just a few mouse clicks. This is the ideal solution to help overworked managers manage with greater excellence.

Janet Livingston is the president of Call Center Sales Pro, a premier contact center consultancy that offers telephone answering services their exclusive CCSP Fuzion Portal, the next-gen portal for actionable analytics. Contact Janet at or 800-901-7706 to learn more.

Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer from Southwest Michigan.