Cookie Preference Centre

Your Privacy
Strictly Necessary Cookies
Performance Cookies
Functional Cookies
Targeting Cookies

Your Privacy

When you visit any web site, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. This information might be about you, your preferences, your device or used to make the site work as you expect it to. The information does not usually identify you directly, but it can give you a more personalized web experience. You can choose not to allow some types of cookies. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings. However, you should know that blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience on the site and the services we are able to offer.

Strictly Necessary Cookies

These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services, such as setting your privacy preferences, logging in or filling in forms. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site may not work then.

Cookies used

ContactCenterWorld.com

Performance Cookies

These cookies allow us to count visits and traffic sources, so we can measure and improve the performance of our site. They help us know which pages are the most and least popular and see how visitors move around the site. All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. If you do not allow these cookies, we will not know when you have visited our site.

Cookies used

Google Analytics

Functional Cookies

These cookies allow the provision of enhance functionality and personalization, such as videos and live chats. They may be set by us or by third party providers whose services we have added to our pages. If you do not allow these cookies, then some or all of these functionalities may not function properly.

Cookies used

Twitter

Facebook

LinkedIn

Targeting Cookies

These cookies are set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant ads on other sites. They work by uniquely identifying your browser and device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will not experience our targeted advertising across different websites.

Cookies used

LinkedIn

This site uses cookies and other tracking technologies to assist with navigation and your ability to provide feedback, analyse your use of our products and services, assist with our promotional and marketing efforts, and provide content from third parties

OK
BECOME
A MEMBER
TODAY TO:
CLICK HERE
TELL A
FRIEND
[HIDE]

Here are some suggested Connections for you! - Log in to start networking.

Specialty Answering Service - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog

5 Ways Super Heroes Use Hotline Providers

Over the past year and a half, many people used their time at home to start a new hobby or learn a new trade. Me? I saw an opportunity to potentially turn 50+ hours of movie watching into a blog post. To that end, I spent my time getting entangled in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. At night, I’d binge watch until my eyes dried out, and during the days I’d google whatever I could about these characters and their storylines. Nerd alert and work tie-in (thank you work at home): I couldn’t help but wonder how much more successful the Avengers would be if they utilized a multi-faceted superhero hotline that can help with emergency dispatching and scheduling service repairs for civilians, among others. Here are 5 ways super heroes can use hotline services:

#1. Insurance Claims & Appointment Scheduling Hotline

When The Avengers get involved in fighting crime, property usually gets destroyed (we’re looking at you, Hulk). Designating a central hotline channel for processing insurance claims due to property damage is a great way for citizens to get the assistance they need, while maintaining a positive relationship between civilians and the heroes doing the dirty work. After customers finish having their insurance claims processed, they can call or be transferred to an appointment scheduling hotline to schedule their service repairs. Here are some examples of mega fighting scenes and the damage that ensued:

  • The Avengers: New York City was severely damaged after Loki opened a portal that allowed the Chitauri to run rampant in exchange for the Tesseract.
  • The Avengers Age of Ultron: After Tony Stark creates Ultron, a global defense program that turns against the team, the whole country of Sokovia gets demolished.
  • Captain America Civil War: Wanda Maximoff telekinetically deflects a biological weapon into a building, totally destroying it.

#2. Tip Hotline

If you’ve traveled using any sort of public transportation, you’ve probably seen the  “see something, say something” signs plastered about, encouraging passengers to report any suspicious activity they may see on the subway, train station, airport, etc. For citizens who spot a mischievous looking Loki, or happen to stumble upon a mysterious looking gemstone, they can call the tip hotline to report their findings. Below are some of the tip lines for the areas where The Avengers have been spotted:

  • Los Angeles, California: Home of the Stark Industries HQ. The Los Angeles Crime Stoppers Tip Line is (800) 222-TIPS
  • Santa Fe, New Mexico: Thor lands after being banished from Asgard by his father. The Santa Fe Crime Stoppers Tip Line is (505) 955-5050
  • New York: In addition to fighting in New York City, The Avengers have been spotted throughout many of the boroughs of New York including Manhattan and Brooklyn. The New York Crime Stoppers Tip Line is (800) 577-TIPS
  • Washington DC: Home of the National Mall, where Captain America and Black Widow were in hiding. The Washington DC Anonymous Tip Line is (202) 727-9099.
  • Willowdale, Virginia: Bruce Banner works at Culver University studying nuclear physics and gamma radiation. The Virginia Crime Stoppers Tip Line is (888) Lock-U-Up
  • Missouri: Where Peter Quill was born. The Missouri Crime Stoppers Tip Line is (417) 869-TIPS
  • Inglewood, California: Where Tony Stark was spotted at Randy’s Donuts. The Inglewood Anonymous Crime Line is (888) 41-CRIME

#3. Employee Call Out Hotline

Everyone needs a day off here and there, even super heroes. With an employee absentee line, call out requests are streamlined through one communication channel, and supervisors are able to be notified immediately. Absence reporting can also be combined with a substitute calling system. When one employee calls out, the next staff member on your roster can be contacted to fill in, which ensures there’s always someone to cover. Here are some reasons the Avengers crew may need to call out:

  • Vision - Has a throbbing headache that he can’t seem to get rid of.
  • Bruce Banner - Currently having an existential identity crisis.
  • Thor - Needs to visit the ophthalmologist to have a glass eye fitting.
  • Scott Lang - Dealing with an ant infestation.

#4. Emergency Hotline

Calling 911 when you have an emergency is an already established form of  communication in the United States. However, the police and other first responders have enough on their plate without throwing evil masterminds like Thanos or the Dark Elves into the mix. When it comes to emergencies of the earth-saving kind, having a streamlined channel to call out to the big guns is crucial. A solid emergency hotline would include:

  • 24/7 Coverage: Emergencies can happen any time of day, any day of the year, which means a super hero hotline needs to be available 24/7/365. Emergencies take no days off, and neither does the emergency hotline.
  • Automatic reach on-call dispatching: When it comes to emergencies, there is no room for error. With automated dispatching, urgent messages can get delivered instantly to on-call staff the moment the call ends.
  • Emergency call screening: Not every emergency will require the whole Avengers squad. Setting up an emergency screening hotline can help determine how many team members need to be dispatched. For example, a level 1 emergency could dispatch 1 Avenger, a level 2 emergency could dispatch 3 Avengers, and a level 3 emergency  could dispatch the whole squad.

#5. Whistleblower Hotline

Every work place has it’s share of drama and animosity, and the same goes for The Avengers. Coworkers butt heads, personalities clash, and sometimes they just need a place they can go to vent about their problems. Whistleblower hotlines offer employees a safe place to talk about their issues, either anonymously or not, which will make them more inclined to stick around and perform better. And without the fear of retaliation, employees are more likely to report wrongdoing sooner, creating a safer workplace for everyone. Here are a few whistleblower hotlines the Avengers could have used:

  • Human Resources: Peter Quill and Thor had a power struggle over who’s the real captain of Quill’s ship.
  • DOD: Tony Stark and Steve Rogers fought over the Sokovia Accords leading to the Avengers’ Civil War.
  • OSHA: Tony Stark recruited an underage Spiderman to fight in the aforementioned Civil War.

Source: https://www.specialtyansweringservice.net/5-ways-super-hero-use-hotline-providers/

Publish Date: November 16, 2021 5:00 AM


SAS November 2021 Release Notes – Revised Agent View, New SMS App, And More!

It’s a new month, which means we’ve deployed new and improved updates to improve your SAS Flex experience. Check out our November 2021 release notes below which includes a newer polished Agent view, a brand new app integration, and more!

General Web Portal Updates

  • Emailing calls: The Email Calls feature has been updated. Previously, you could only email calls to users within the Flex portal. Now, you can email calls to any address. Don’t forget to separate each with a comma!

Script Workflow Updates

  • Sorting columns: On the scripts page, you can click on the Name, Number, Created Date, Last Modified and Modified By columns to sort them accordingly.
  • Workflow (Collector) script block: A new Add bulk option has been added to the Workflow (Collector) script block, which allows you to add conditions in bulk. In the pop-up window, enter each conditions option on a separate line, and separate condition, function and comparison by comma.
  • Activate County in Address block: There is a new option under the Address script block, which allows you to toggle on a County field.
  • New agent view: Check out our new and improved Agent view by Previewing your script!

New App Integration

  • SAS SMS App: A new app has been added to our integration list. The SAS SMS App allows you to send an SMS message to callers after agents are finished handling a call. This feature is available in all closing blocks as a dropdown like the SAS Email App. Note that in order to send SMS messages to callers, your script will need to include the Phone Number script block.

Amazing Tips

New features are great, but knowing how to use old features are even better! Check out some great tips below for how to get the most out of features we’ve deployed in earlier releases you may not have known about.

  • Activate a DTMF Tone: If you are forwarding a Google Voice number, or if your calls require agents to accept calls from bots, agents may need to press a number on their keypad to accept the call. Activating the DTMF Tone in your Number settings will allow our system to accept the call on behalf of agents.
  • Add a Press 1 Callback: Similar to our Queue callback, activating our Press 1 callback will give callers the option to press 1 to reserve their place in the queue. After hanging up, their spot in the queue is held and they’re automatically called back when an agent becomes available.
  • FAQ Question Bank: Not sure what FAQs to add to your script? Check out our FAQ Question Bank which includes general Frequently Asked Questions like business name, location, and services offered.

Source: https://www.specialtyansweringservice.net/sas-november-2021-release-notes-revised-agent-view-new-sms-app-and-more/

Publish Date: November 6, 2021 5:00 AM


Never Miss an On-Call Alert with New Automated Dispatching

If you are an emergency services business, your business is always on. Instant and accurate on-call emergency dispatching is essential so you can take the right action, when seconds matter.

Since we started answering business phones, Specialty Answering Service has been dedicated to rapid, reliable emergency dispatching - so businesses like yours can stay ahead of problems. When a customer reaches out for help, it’s critical they are heard. Faster resolutions means happier customers, and happier customers grow businesses.

Enter automated dispatching. For businesses that need to be available for their callers around the clock in case of an emergency, like restoration contractors or medical offices for example, having a reliable on-call system is paramount. For the past 20 years, SAS has been dedicated to providing the best answering service in the industry for businesses of all shapes and sizes. That means taking the services that we offer, and building up bigger and better than before. So we built our automated dispatching system.

With automated dispatching, we can deliver messages instantly to your on-call staff the moment the call ends, and we can do it along the communication channels that works best for your team. These improvements to our traditional live operator dispatching model give businesses a more comprehensive and cost effective way to receive emergency communication - and this system works right alongside our live operator answering service.

Here’s how you can use our fully automated dispatching to receive your urgent messages.

Use automated on-call dispatching with live operator answering services

Automated dispatching works alongside our live operator telephone answering service, allowing you to take advantage of live agents answering the phone and automated technology to make sure you received the message. As a 24/7 live answering service, we love hearing the voices of real humans more than most. However, when it comes to emergencies, there can be little room for error. By switching to a fully automated reach on-call set-up, our system can take care of dispatching urgent messages, and agents can spend more time focusing on answering your calls properly.

Pay nothing - automated dispatching is a free service

If you are using live operator dispatching, you are paying a per minute rate for our answering service agents to dial your staff. If your staff doesn’t answer, the agents will set the next call to dial out. This cycle keeps running until your dial outs are exhausted, or until the agents reach your staff. All of this is billable time under your per minute rate and can get expensive depending on your dial out settings.

Our automated dispatching is a free service. Switching to our automated on-call system is a great way to lower your monthly answering service bill, which means you can spend it on more important things (like that new coffee machine you’ve been pining over). With live agents are taken out of the mix, and the automated system is responsible for reaching out, then that means no extra charges.

Choose your preferred method of communication

We offer 3 different ways your on-call staff can receive their messages after the call. Some businesses prefer a phone call from their service when emergencies arise, and others are fine with their staff receiving a text with the caller’s information. SAS offers flexibility when it comes to choosing your urgent message delivery method. Options include:

  • Recording: In the recording option, the system will call all numbers in your schedule with an audio message saying: “You have a new automated on call notification from SAS. Please press 1 to accept the message.” If the first recipient presses 1, the system will play the full audio recording of the call for them. If there is no keypress, the system will continue to call in accordance with the dialing rules you’ve set.
  • Text to Speech (TTS): In the Text to Speech, or TTS option, the system will call all numbers in your schedule with an audio message saying , “You have a new automated on-call notification from SAS. Please press 1 to accept the message.” If the recipient presses 1, the Text to Speech system will read the message that you have created in your client portal.
  • SMS: In the SMS, or texting option, a text message is sent to all numbers in your schedule at the same time. The message will say: “A new urgent message has been created. Reply with ‘OK’ to accept.” Once accepted, the system will relay the custom text message that you have created in your client portal.

Maximize accountability with your on-call staff

Our on-call log can help you learn more about how your staff is dealing with emergency messages. If you are on our Flex platform. you can track dial out or SMS attempts, time between dial outs, which on-call staff member accepted the message, which ones didn’t, and more. Each attempt we make to reach your on-call is logged so you get up to the second intelligence on how your on-call staff is performing after hours.

Reach the right people

Ensure that emergency messages and issues are always sent to the right people with our powerful scheduling system. Whether your schedule changes once a month or 3 times a day, like our live agent system, our automated on-call system is completely customizable. If your on-call schedule rarely changes, or if your on-call schedule changes weekly, daily, or even hourly - create the schedule to match your business model so your staff members are getting notified and taking action immediately.

Add and schedule groups of staff members who will remain on-call in 24-hour increments, or schedule individual or groups of on-call employees to rotate every hour. And, with an easy to use interface, we’ve made managing your on-call simple.

Start using automated dispatch today

Our automated on-call dispatching is the easiest, most reliable, and most affordable way to make sure your urgent messages are reaching toe right responder immediately.

If you’re using any type of emergency on-call dispatching and you’re on our Flex platform, you already have access to and are using this system. If you’re on one of our legacy systems, please contact Specialty Answering Service support to make this available in your account for free.

Source: https://www.specialtyansweringservice.net/new-automated-dispatch-system/

Publish Date: October 21, 2021 5:00 AM


Why Amazing Customer Service is Essential During a Crisis

Under any normal circumstances, a stellar customer service experience is something most businesses strive for. Throw a global pandemic like COVID-19 into the mix, and suddenly, all sense of normalcy flies out the window. Pandemics and catastrophes aside, businesses that can provide exceptional service no matter what the circumstance are more likely to succeed against competitors. And from a customer’s perspective, I’m going to tell you why.

First impressions matter

At some point during the Great (not so much) Lockdown of 2020, I decided to adopt a dog. Of course, I went bananas shopping for her online. Toys? Check. Treats? Check check. However, when I ordered a new collar that was too big, I had to contact the business’s customer service department to process the exchange. As this was my first time shopping from this particular retailer, I didn’t know what to expect. Would I be on hold until the pandemic ended? Should I get something to snack on while I wait?

Before I could make a decision, I was being greeted by a warm, bubbly voice. Doloris was both professional and friendly, and she transformed a standard, run-of-the-mill interaction into an enjoyable customer service experience that felt like a breath of fresh air. In the midst of processing the return, she asked me about my pup, and she told me about her four-legged friend. We talked about the current pandemic and how we were both holding up, which helped personalize our interaction. She wasn’t just some voice on the other end of the line - she was an actual human who was experiencing many of the same challenges I was facing, such as adjusting to working from home and not being able to find any toilet paper.

By the end of the call, a new collar was on its way to me. I was told to donate the original if I didn’t want to ship it back (so awesome!), and I was smiling and laughing as if I were speaking with an old friend. That’s what I’d call an amazing first impression.

Positive experiences lead to positive online feedback

After I hung up the phone, I felt like I needed to tell everyone about my great experience. As someone who has worked in the customer service industry for years, I know how important positive feedback is. And research shows that 91% of consumers are more likely to use a business that has positive reviews. So, I went to social media to tweet at the company, insisting that Doloris be given a raise immediately! Most importantly, my review wasn’t incentivized, meaning that the retailer didn’t ask for my opinion in exchange for cash or freebies, which is a definite online review snafu, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

Now, I am just one person whose opinion may not seem to influence much. But did you know that businesses with nine or more reviews posted within the last 90 days earn 52% more revenue than the average business? Every review really does count! And small businesses thrive off of a strong digital footprint.

Word-of-mouth referrals mean more business

There’s no question that online reviews impact sales. But even more personal and perhaps more valuable is word-of-mouth marketing. As any basic business model can tell you, an increase in referrals means an increase in prospective customers. In fact, referrals are so important that many companies often develop referral programs for existing customers who bring in new business. For example, a property manager might knock a few hundred bucks off a tenant’s rent whose referral resulted in a signed lease. Or a burgeoning hair salon might reward a referral with a discount to both the existing customer and the new customer.

According to Mark Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO of Facebook, trusted referrals are the Holy Grail of advertising. So, how does a business get customers to refer them to their friends and family? They provide a flawless customer service experience. And how do they do that? By offering these three things:

  • 24/7 availability: We’re all well aware that emergencies don’t wait until business hours. Whether it’s 2 AM on Christmas morning or 3 PM on a Tuesday, offering 24/7 support is essential in showing your customers that you care.
  • Omni-channel communication: Offering support via phone, email, chat and/or carrier pigeon allows you to stay connected with more customers.
  • Professional and friendly representatives: Customers appreciate representatives who are polite, professional, and adept at problem solving. When you invest in a solid customer service team, your customers will invest in you.

Times are tough right now for small businesses everywhere. If your small business needs an extra hand with customer communication, sign up for our 2-week free trial to see what SAS can do for you.

Source: https://www.specialtyansweringservice.net/why-amazing-customer-service-is-essential-during-a-crisis/

Publish Date: July 14, 2020 5:00 AM


18 First Responder Freebies During the COVID-19 Pandemic

First responders, the world salutes you! If you are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 battleground, there are all kinds of places that want to show their gratitude. We’ve put together a list of some of the freebies that you can get your sanitized, gloved hands on as a thank you for all that you do!

Food Freebies

  1. Krispy Kreme is also providing free dozens of their famous Original Glazed® Doughnuts on Mondays through Nurses’ Week, which ends on May 12th.
  2. How about some coffee with those donuts? Wawa is offering free coffee of any size for healthcare workers and first responders until this crisis is averted.
  3. And they’re not the only ones! Through June 1st, head to a Sheetz near you and enjoy free coffee for frontline workers.
  4. Starbucks is serving up free tall brewed (hot or iced) coffees to first responders and front-line healthcare workers through the end of May!
  5. Free Snickers? Hangry, be gone! Nurses and other essential workers can get a Snickers bar, on the house. Just sign up for your e-gift card and redeem it at Walmart.
  6. If you’re a hospital worker who lives near Nando’s, get yourself some free peri-peri chicken takeout. The chain is giving out 50 free meals daily at every Nando’s in North America through May 17th.

Shoes & Apparel Freebies

  1. Crocs is giving out free shoes daily! If you’re a healthcare worker, check out their site and enter to snag a pair.
  2. Comfy scrubs. Check. Frontline medical professionals can head to Barco Uniforms and submit a request for free scrubs for as long as the COVID-19 crisis lasts. They’re donating 10,000 per month!

Travel Industry Freebies

  1. Driving around Southern California? Honda is giving away free gas for healthcare workers through May 12th! Find out more about where and when here.
  2. Are you a medical volunteer and need to get to Georgia, Louisiana, or Michigan to offer your services to hospitals that need your help? Fly free on Delta Airlines.
  3. If you have to travel, you might as well get free parking out of it. Thanks to The Parking Spot, essential healthcare workers will enjoy free airport parking at any of their facilities through May 12th.

Family & Mental Healthcare Resources

  1. Who takes care of first responders’ families when they’re taking care of us? Care.com can help. You’ll be able to find, manage, and pay for caregivers for your children, seniors, and pets. Access their premium services free for 30 days.
  2. Frontline professionals can’t get through this pandemic alone, and Talkspace is equal to the task. They are offering 1 free month of counseling via text, audio and video calls with a licensed therapist using their Unlimited Messaging Plus plan.
  3. Maybe you know that it’s time to talk to someone, but you would rather remain anonymous. Through NurseGroups.org, you can “meet” with other nurses to talk about the challenges that you’re facing, and the best part is that it’s both free and confidential.

Techy Freebies

  1. Newsflash. There’s a cell phone network specifically built for first responders. FirstNet, part of the AT&T network, is offering 3 months of free wireless service to COVID-19 first responders. Not only that but becoming a new FirstNet customer gets you a $200 activation credit on a Mobile-Responder plan!
  2. The American Nurses Association’s free webinar is titled Be Confident Protecting Yourself and Providing the Best Care to Your Patients during this COVID-19 Pandemic.
  3. A free course on COVID-19 Pulmonary, ARDS and Ventilator Resources is offered by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses.
  4. Osmosis.org has a bunch of online resources. From What You Need to Know to Guided Meditation to Yoga, it’s worth checking out. And, if you sign their #Raisethline pledge, you’ll get 3 free weeks of Osmosis Prime!

Source: https://www.specialtyansweringservice.net/18-first-responder-freebies-during-the-covid-19-pandemi/

Publish Date: May 6, 2020 5:00 AM


How COVID-19 Has Impacted Call Volume for Small Businesses – Multiple Industry Analysis

If you have watched the news even once during the COVID-19 coverage, you’ve heard stories about how small businesses have been hard-hit by the disaster, many unsure if they will have a business to go back to after the smoke clears and the dust settles. As an answering service, we’ve seen clients with rapid increases in call volume, clients whose call volume nearly dropped off, and new clients who signed on during lockdown, realizing how much they needed a service to manage customer care after they had to downsize. We wanted to get an idea of the broad impact that the coronavirus has had over a variety of industries. So, we researched inbound usage for several existing clients, and we found some interesting results to share with you – some obvious, and others, not so obvious. Take a tour of call volume trends from January through April of 2020 – pre-pandemic, and at the height of the crisis.

Event Venues

With weddings and graduations being sidelined all across the country, it’s not at all surprising that event venues have seen a drop in call volume over the last few months. Not only are people postponing or cancelling events, but without a definitive date when social distancing measures will ease, people aren’t scheduling any new events, either. Event Venue A experienced a 50% downturn from February to March, and another 73% drop from March to April – nearly double Event Venue B, which saw decreases of 27% and 36%, respectively. According to Wedding Wire, the average wedding utilizes about 15 vendors, e.g., the facility, photographer, caterer, stylist, and more. And those vendors employ a group of people to perfect every detail. So, the venues aren’t the only ones losing out.

Balloon & Flower Vendors

One might expect that if events are being cancelled, balloon and flower sales are also taking a dive. In the case of these two clients, one would be wrong. Luckily for flower shop owners, making the switch from storefront sales to online only enabled those originally non-essential businesses to remain open. And with no one actually able to celebrate birthdays and other major events in person, a bouquet of flowers, a bunch of balloons, and a drive-by party will have to do the trick. Balloons floated up by 33% from February to March and continued their streak into April. Flowers saw a 13% growth spurt from February to March, and another 37% upshoot from March to April. Whether for birthdays, graduations, Easter, Passover, or advanced orders for Mother’s Day, things are looking up for these retailers.

Commercial Cleaners

As we’ve come to appreciate, the companies that are dedicated to cleaning and sanitizing medical facilities and essential businesses are indispensable, and never more so than when a novel virus is carving its way through the population. A quick glance at the graph below shows that Commercial Cleaner A, based in New York – aka the hot spot of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States – has been inundated with calls, showing a 290% surge from February to March, with numbers continuing to rise another 32% in April. While Commercial Cleaner B’s usage is not as astronomical, they still had a 73% upswing from February to March in their California setting, before a nearly equal 71% downtrend from March to April, possibly the result of one-time March sanitization of the many establishments on lockdown.

IT Service & Sales

There’s nothing like an epidemic to force a crash course in how to turn your business from brick-and-mortar to work-from-home, virtually overnight. The amazing thing about technology is that we live in a time when radically changing your business model is not only plausible but feasible. A sudden shift in protocol means that the not-so-tech savvy will need help getting everything together. It makes sense, then, that two of our Business and Residential IT Service clients saw a spike in calls from February to March, springing up 78% and 143%, respectively. But a company that specializes in commercial IT Sales fell off by 52% between February and March as businesses began to close their doors, and dove another 53% into April.

School Safety

School’s out for the summer! And the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus have affected more than just educators and administrators. When you think of grade schools and universities, school safety personnel aren’t usually the first people who come to mind. Yet, especially in the days of Sandy Hook and Parkland, they are a vital part of a properly functioning institution. Unfortunately, school shootings aren’t the only incidents that claim lives on campus. According to the National Fire Protection Association, from 2011 to 2015, fire departments in the United States responded to around 4,100 structure fires in campus properties, 92 of which were fatal. As we can see, fire safety consultants for college campuses saw a 68% decline in call volume from February to March, which makes sense, given that hundreds of schools closed their doors. And as students hurriedly left their dorms, one campus’ emergency line had a 98% decline between March and April.

Hair Salons

Though a few states have begun to reopen businesses previously deemed non-essential, the vast majority of areas remain buttoned up. Stylists may be able to create videos showing you how to trim your own hair, but there’s no revenue in a DIY video, unless you’re charging for it. So, salons and spas have definitely lost out on a wealth of business – not only on regular cut and color appointments, but also on updos for prom, which some students held virtually. Salon A, in North Carolina, stayed steady through March, as the state did not institute mandatory closures of personal care and grooming facilities until March 25th. Calls subsequently fell by 59% from March to April. Salon B, in Georgia, had a 69% slump in usage between February and March, when local governments shut businesses down – despite not having an official order from the governor until April.

Mental Health Counseling

Not catching COVID-19 is at the forefront of everyone’s mind, which is why social distancing campaigns are in place across the globe. But what happens to mental and emotional well-being when we’re all staying at home, missing out on personal connections with family, friends, and coworkers? A lot, as it turns out.

Depression, anxiety, substance use, domestic violence and child abuse can and likely will get worse during this crisis, as past disasters have taught us. And, as time rolls on, mental health counselors will have a crisis all their own, trying to help individuals and families recover from the mass chaos brought on by such a tiny virus. For two mental health counselors in New Jersey, we see inverse call volume. But why has one decreased while the other increased? Perhaps Counselor A is not offering telehealth appointments, which could explain the 50% decline between March and April. Or maybe, location plays a role. Counselor A is based in the lower part of New Jersey, closer to the Philadelphia area and less of a COVID-19 battleground than northern parts of the state. Counselor B, who has seen a 231% climb in inbound traffic from March to April, is based in upstate New Jersey, just outside of New York City – which has a higher COVID-19 mortality rate than anywhere else in the country. If that’s not a reason to need a counselor, then what is?

Resorts

So, what do you do when you’re bored out of your mind working from home? If you have the means and the mode of transportation, you go on vacation, or you plan one so that you can decompress when this horror story is behind us. That’s what two stateside vacation resorts have seen in the past two months, despite the fact that the travel industry as a whole has taken a big hit. If you’re going to be forced to shelter in place, you may as well do that somewhere with sun and fun, rivers, tubing, beaches, water sports, and most of all, a respite from the cares of the world. Resorts A and B have both seen usage upticks, the most prominent being Resort A – with a 192% burst between March and April. Resort B trailed quite a bit but still did well, showing 71% more inbound traffic. Of note, international Resort C experienced a 66% fall in usage during the same time frame. If no one is flying, they’re not going to be booking international vacations, no matter how great the mojitos are.

Veterinary Medicine

They say that every dark cloud has a silver lining. And one of the most heart-warming silver linings of the ominous coronavirus cloud is that pet fostering and pet adoption rates have increased. Why? Because all you need is love! 4-legged, fur babies to bring a smile to your face and ease your pain while you ease theirs. For the first time in years, many shelters are empty, and more dogs and cats in happy homes means more vet visits. We looked at four veterinary practices, and all four showed increased call volume. Vet A had a 139% swell from March to April. Vet B’s calls increased in March, going up by 76% from their February usage. Vets C and D both increased February through April. There’s nothing like taking a disaster and turning it into a reason to spread joy. It’s a beautiful thing!

Food & Beverage

The food and beverage industry has seen all sorts of changes in the past two months that no one saw coming. If you’ve tried to get into the grocery store during senior hours, purchased hand sanitizer made by a distillery, or enjoyed curbside service from your favorite dine-in only restaurant, then you’ve seen the adaptability of businesses in your area, necessitated by the “new normal.” What we found particularly curious are two industries that have seen unexpected peaks and valleys, even in these crazy times.

The first, online alcohol sales. Bars are closed. Liquor stores are closed (but some now offering pickup). So, where do you go when you want a glass of chardonnay and your wine rack is bare? Storm your neighbor’s kitchen and trade a roll of toilet paper for a bottle of the good stuff? Nope. You have it shipped right to your door. For our online alcohol retailer, this manifested into a 55% increase from February to March followed by a 77% push from March to April.

Unfortunately, dairy suppliers have had less luck than their spirited colleagues. Regardless of the empty supermarket shelves at the onset of the pandemic, or the continued need for milk, butter and cheese, dairy farmers have been asked to dump milk because of a crippled supply chain. If you can’t guarantee freshness due to delays in delivery, then you can’t sell the product. That explains the 42% loss for our dairy client between February and March followed by a 14% decline from March to April.

Traffic Incidents & Vehicle Services

Of the industries we researched, we found a fascinating correlation between a few companies that are decidedly linked, though it’s not something that we would normally make the super short leap to connect. That’s why research is so cool! Let’s look at 1) the online alcohol retailer, 2) an alcohol level monitoring company, 3) a driving hotline, and 4) collision repair.

As we recall from our last segment, with bars and liquor stores closed, online alcohol sales have gained. And with people no longer having to leave their homes to imbibe, there are fewer drunk drivers on the roadways. The graph below shows an inverse relationship between the amount of online alcohol sales, a 77% rise from March to April, and the amount of calls received by a company that monitors breathalyzers installed in vehicles to prevent driving while intoxicated, a 10% fall during the same time frame. While the number of alcohol monitoring calls has not decreased by much for our client, we are grateful for any reduction in drunk driving. This story is echoed in cities across the country, with reduced DUIs between March and April.

Fewer drunk drivers on the road, in addition to the millions who are staying put with everything on lockdown, means fewer calls to driving and traffic incident hotlines – an 18% dip from February to March, and another drop by 44% from March to April. And, if the highways are less congested and people are paying more attention to the road instead of, well, just about anything else, there are less accidents, and thereby, less of a need for collision services. An 11% downshift for our auto body repair client between February and March, and another 12% fall in April.

Viruses don’t care who you are, where you live, or how successful you’ve become. They don’t wait for your finances to be in perfect shape so that you’ll be able to weather the storm when they strike. And they don’t ask what type of business you run, or how much their existence will interfere with your and your staff’s livelihood. There is no denying the massive impact that the coronavirus has had on our society and the world. But, with a little ingenuity, your small business can and will bounce back from this.

Source: https://www.specialtyansweringservice.net/how-covid-19-impacted-small-business-call-volume/

Publish Date: May 5, 2020 5:00 AM


5 Ways an Answering Service Can Help Reduce Your Small Business Expenses

Owning a business is an expensive endeavor. When it comes to making the business run smoothly, there are so many factors to take into consideration that it can all get incredibly overwhelming, especially for those just starting out. From manufacturing and distribution costs to rental space to computers, phones and Internet, the bills just keep adding up.

Savvy business owners are always looking for ways to minimize their expenditures while still getting the most out of their investments. And, one of the handiest tools a business can have in its toolbox is an answering service. Live answering services offer a ton of benefits at a fantastic value, all without sacrificing the services or quality you need to make your small business successful. In the unforeseen economic downturn brought on by COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to manage your budget wisely and stabilize inbound revenue. Here’s how an answering service can help.

#1. Act as a buffer for down-staffing

As of March 2020, the salary for a receptionist can range anywhere between $30,000 and $40,000 per year. But the true cost of an employee is much greater than salary alone. Medical and dental insurance, 401(k), paid time-off, pension, social security, disability, etc. all add up, significantly raising your baseline expenses. If you are among the many who have had to temporarily down-staff or let people go entirely, you’ll need to think about how to manage the workload with less workers.

With wages and employee benefits no longer debiting your account, you’ll be able to devote a portion of that savings towards a professional virtual receptionist. Utilizing an answering service will allow you to keep costs at a minimum while ensuring that every customer receives the assistance they need. Depending on the amount of call volume your business receives, you may be able to pay as little as $1/day to have your calls answered by not one or two, but a whole office of agents.

#2. Provide round-the-clock availability

If you are one of the lucky business owners who was able to retain your staff during the course of this pandemic, then you may have been able to do so only by cutting employees’ hours. Even if you still have coverage 40 hours a week, what happens during the other 128 hours when calls are still coming in?

If your back up plan is to send calls to voicemail like many small businesses, then you’re kissing valuable leads goodbye. Did you know that 8 out of 10 callers will hang up if they reach voicemail? That means 80% of business opportunities are passing you by and going right into the sales funnel of your competitors. 24-hour answering services don’t ever clock out. They are available anytime you need them, whether it’s at 2 AM on a holiday weekend or smack dab in the middle of your work day - pandemic or no pandemic.

#3. Make staffing as easy as signing up for service

Once the COVID-climate clears, you may come to the conclusion that rehiring former workers will not be feasible for some time. It’s also possible that the people you would like to rehire were forced to find alternative avenues of employment to maintain their quality of life. Normally, there is a lot of time, money, and investment put into finding the right employee. On average, it takes about 42 days to select a candidate to hire and fill the position.

All things considered, there’s a lot that goes into recruitment, including taking into account that the newbie may not work out. Should that occur, which so often does, the process then restarts and the investments must be made again. Outsourcing to an answering service eliminates recruiting, hiring and training new employees. Answering service agents are already trained and ready to field calls on your business’s behalf. What’s more, they are fully set up with all the hardware and software necessary to do the job.

#4. Retain your competitive edge and ROI

So much goes into making your phone ring and obtaining leads: thousands spent on SEO and advertisements, hours spent on cold calling or door-to-door outreach. As a small business owner, you give everything you can to cultivate success for your company. Then, imagine living through a global pandemic and watching all that hard work fall by the wayside. Well, you can skip the imagination part - the novel coronavirus fallout is everyone’s new normal. And having an answering service in place will ensure that your considerable efforts are not lost.

Since most callers prefer to speak to a live person, giving them a consistent point of contact during these uncertain times offers an edge over your competition. The more calls your virtual support staff answers, the more opportunities there are for growth and ROI maximization.

#5. Maintain balance

Owning and operating a business warrants an abundance of expenses, not all of which are monetary. There’s a huge expenditure of blood, sweat, and tears, as they say. Over time, the resulting stress and fatigue can lead to serious health problems. And that’s under normal circumstances. Add COVID-19 into the mix, and you’re looking at a flood of physical and mental distress that must not be ignored. With an answering service there to unburden you, you’ll be in a better position to balance work and leisure without skipping a beat.

Yes, work is how you can afford to live. But if there is anything that the coronavirus has taught us, it’s that living to work pales in comparison to the importance of spending precious moments with family and friends, and taking time to foster your own physical, emotional, and mental well-being. An answering service is a reliable shoulder to lean on, whenever you need one.

No matter what kind of business you run, expenses are never-ending. As we all adjust to the current economic climate, we need to be mindful of how much is going out even more than on how much is coming back in. Partnering with an answering service is a worthwhile investment that will offer efficient and professional services, whether you sign up for a free trial just to help you hurdle the pandemic, or you reap the benefits well into your COVID-free future.

Source: https://www.specialtyansweringservice.net/5-ways-an-answering-service-can-help-reduce-your-small-business-expenses/

Publish Date: April 28, 2020 5:00 AM

About us - in 60 seconds!

Submit Event

Upcoming Events

Everything You Want To Know About The Most Prestigious Awards In The Industry! Read More...
 1331 

Latest Americas Newsletter
both ids empty
session userid =
session UserTempID =
session adminlevel =
session blnTempHelpChatShow =
CMS =
session cookie set = True
session page-view-total =
session page-view-total =
applicaiton blnAwardsClosed =
session blnCompletedAwardInterestPopup =
session blnCheckNewsletterInterestPopup =
session blnCompletedNewsletterInterestPopup =