Many people think of a telephone answering service as a company that takes messages. Yes, they do that, but they can do much more than just take information; they can give out information as well. This includes basic help desk services.
A help desk is essentially a call center that provides support to end-users, such as purchasers of a product or software, as well as users of an online service or shopping website. Help desk support comes in various levels, from level one, which is the most basic, up to level four, which is the most critical. The amount of training and experience needed to provide support at each level increases with each higher tier. Whereas level one may require a person with good customer service skills and basic product training, level four may require a degreed engineer. Trained technicians typically handle levels two and three.
The goal is for level one support staff to handle all common questions and the basic problems. This frees up more experienced staff (who also command commensurately higher compensation) to focus on more complex problems. No one wants a $90,000 a year engineer taking time to look up the nearest dealer for a caller who won’t do so online. That makes no sense.
A reasonably trained first-level help desk team can realistically handle over 50 percent of the calls, with great first level teams approaching 80 percent and even higher. The goal is for the first level team to handle the bulk of the calls and escalate the ones they can’t handle to the second level help desk team.
While a company can provide this first level help desk service themselves, many find it is more cost-effective to hire an answering service to do the work for them instead. Plus the answering service is already staffed 24/7, whereas most companies are not.
Think of your answering service as your first level help desk provider.
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 – and who provides a call center matchmaking service, covering both onshore and offshore call centers and answering services. Contact Janet at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800-901-7706.
Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer from Southwest Michigan.