24/7 Business Answering Service (“Front-office,” After-hours, office hours overflow, and on-call)

Updated April 28, 2017

Centratel is, statistically, the highest quality answering service in the United States. Have you come to this website because your current telephone answering service is not performing? If so, you are not alone. 98% of our newest accounts came to us because they were dissatisfied with their former answering service provider. Note: Our most recent Customer Reported Error Rate (January through March, 2018) was one customer-reported error for every 12,297 message transactions processed.

For a comprehensive overview of how Centratel is able to maintain such a high level of quality, see company president and majority owner Sam Carpenter’s letter, “Why Centratel.” If you have used a traditional telephone answering service to handle after-hours or overflow calls, you are familiar with the chronic problems: unpredictable message delivery, names and numbers wrong, surly telephone operators. Centratel is poles apart from the traditional call center or telephone answering service. We provide the next level of professionalism and value….

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(Note: This web site is different from other answering service sites. Our prime objective is to provide you information, not to simply “sell” you. Of course we want to provide you service, but our first aim is to inform. Within this site you will find nearly 200,000 words of answering service-related content accessible via a search feature. The information is constantly updated and is as objective as it can be, considering we are a for-profit entity. For information about the answering service industry itself, go here.)

Centratel Quality: Centratel’s systematic answering service protocols have developed directly as a result of handling emergencies for our many medical clients. What is true for medical urgencies is also true for any business urgency. The transaction with the caller must be professional, accuracy must be zero-defect, and the process of taking the information and delivering it must be concise, fast and efficient. All this must be accomplished by Telephone Service Representatives (TSRs) who perform in exactly the way you expect your front office personnel to perform: they are personable, informed, positive and un-rushed.

Please also review testimonials from our current clients.

At Centratel our people make the difference. Applicants for the TSR position undergo an intensive interviewing/testing process. We have a zero-tolerance policy regarding substance abuse: Drug testing is part of the interview process and frequent random testing occurs with all answering service and administrative staff. Training is incessant and rigorous; our expectations are high. In turn, our TSR staff enjoys wages and benefits in the top 2% of all answering services nationally as they perform in a work environment that is both calm and invigorating. We don’t hire part-time answering service staff; all TSR’s earn a living wage and consider their positions as careers. We break the stereotype of the call center/telephone answering service industry in which operations personnel are under-paid and overworked. At Centratel, we move in the opposite direction, fully acknowledging that the key element in a superb answering service message relay lies with the people who handle the calls. And unlike the majority of telephone answering services that discourage client contact with operations personnel, we invite you to personally inspect our physical operation in Bend and meet the people who actually handle your calls.

At Centratel we understand your operational/management challenges. We’re a business too! We must receive and process answered messages, handle human resource affairs, schedule new projects, deal with inventory, plan for the future and handle after-hours dispatching! We use the same answering service tools we offer our clients and we’ve honed the necessary processes to provide refreshingly personable and error-free dispatch for your customers and your on-call personnel.

Your customers, your staff, your bottom line: These are your priorities during the regular 8-5 work day. But what happens during off-hours, the other 75% of the time that intense management is not available? During these times, it is critical that you offer your callers the same quality service they obtain while dealing directly with your front-office staff.

At Centratel we understand that after-hours calls must be handled efficiently, immediately and with great care. Our various answering service relay protocols, built on years of emergency dispatch for the medical profession, have a major commonality: it is critical that your incoming calls be handled exactly as described in the 1-2-3 step answering service relay method that has been specially designed for your company. The essential element in the relay protocol is that the urgent message is absolutely delivered, quickly and efficiently! The new business client is carefully interviewed by Centratel’s new-account specialist to determine what exactly constitutes an emergency and how to relay the information to on-call personnel.

We are the face of your company when you’re not there. Your non-emergency calls must also be handled quickly, professionally and in a friendly way. Every call counts!

Absolutely dependable, it’s the job of the TSR to carefully follow relay instructions to find a balance between needlessly disturbing your on-call personnel and efficiently connecting him or her to people who truly need immediate assistance. Once your relay protocol has been established, it is followed tenaciously by the TSR unless we have been given real-time instructions otherwise.

Centratel generates hard-copy backups of all call center transactions. For routine answered messages, there are a variety of delivery options available including voice mail, fax and Email. If you use our daytime answering service, messages can be delivered one at a time as they are taken, or in batches. All elements of every after-hours on-call contact are batched hard-copy to your office each morning. We provide full archiving of answered messages for a period of three years.

There is an almost endless array of message delivery and message retrieval options including picking up your messages anytime from any web enabled computer, or your Smartphone, with our free on-line message pick-up service.

All calls are digitally recorded, providing a solid record of any conversation between our TSR and your caller. This is a critical element in determining liability issues–experience has shown that over 90% of client complaints are based upon caller misunderstandings or errors, and not based on TSR error.

Your office personnel have a direct connection to a specific Customer Service Representative (CSR) at Centratel. Our customer service department is organized so that you will have one person assigned to your answering service account who handles all client issues directly with the TSR staff. Your Customer Service Representative will know your people personally and understand your answering service account intimately. Indirectly becoming a part of your front office staff, your CSR is friendly, professional and dependable. After-hours, and in the absence of your assigned CSR, a skilled on-site Operations Supervisor will be immediately available to answer questions or handle unusual answering service or call center situations.

Our TSRs use the absolute latest and most dependable 100% digital call processing equipment available. Ours is a complex business: All primary systems are redundant and backup systems are readily available. Centratel’s two certified IT engineers are available 24/7/365 in the remote chance of a systems malfunction. Mechanical support includes robust UPS/battery backup with heavy duty generators and redundant servers. Located in the Pacific Northwest, the most stable environmental location in the lower 48 states, we are not susceptible to hurricanes, tornadoes, floods or earthquakes.

And, we do it all at a reasonable price! In the answering service business, just like your own business, it really is a matter of “getting what you pay for.”

To apply for service, go to our Price Quote page.