Answering Service Case Studies

Revised September 30, 2010

A regional medical clinic of 100+ doctors within multiple departments had a very complex problem during after-hours: how to accurately screen and then route callers to the appropriate on-call physician. It was a challenge of logistics: enormous amounts of ever-changing detail, the constantly fluctuating status of multiple on-call physicians, special one-time clinics, and the multitude of questions from caller after caller. The Centratel Solution: Our systems and procedure-based structure creates precise documentation and instruction for the Telephone Service Representative (TSR) for every conceivable situation. As new events occur, the documentation is updated. It changes continuously as needed and, as almost a living entity, this documentation is the “base of operations” for handling each account.

A single-doctor veterinary clinic needed relief from 24/7 on-call duties. The Veterinarian hired Centratel to screen and dispatch after-hours calls. The doctor’s private life is preserved as callers are carefully screened. Truly urgent situations are alpha-paged to the doctor for immediate handling. Each day, hard-copy backups are sent via Email to her home office.

A medium sized Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Company owner used several answering services in succession and was profoundly frustrated at not being able to find an after-hours service that could, 1) distinguish precisely between an emergency which required an on-call person, and 2) non-emergencies that could wait until regular office hours and did not require after-hours attention. Frustration mounted as the wrong on-call personnel were occasionally alerted. And, overlaying all this, there was trouble finding an after-hours answering service that could provide dispatch personnel who could truly fill the customer’s need for professionalism, empathy and plain common sense. Why couldn’t the people at any of the answering services feel a sense of urgency when a grocery store’s freezer became inoperative on a hot summer’s day or, in the middle of a winter’s night, a business office’s heating system went down? Further, the answering service that was being used at the time was too expensive for the quality that was delivered. Centratel was employed and immediately met all the above needs through highly motivated, highly compensated, career personnel who used the absolute latest answering service message delivery tools and protocol. Every time, message urgency is determined flawlessly according to a well thought-out script and solid decision-making parameters. The message delivery protocol, that was carefully scripted with the owner of the HVAC company, insures every answered message is delivered quickly and flawlessly.

A region-wide Property Management Company with 18 separate offices needed to centralize its after-hours communications. Centratel processes all after-hours calls from tenants and property owners. Each site has its own on-call scenario, with individualized on-call answering service protocol and staffing. Activities from all sites are faxed to headquarters each workday morning.

A small high-tech firm with three partners didn’t have the resources to provide an 8-5 receptionist. Also, the firm lacked the after-hours resources necessary to intercept help-desk calls. Together with the partners, Centratel developed a call center handling strategy in which incoming calls could be either routed to individual voice mail boxes or connected directly to cellular phones. The answering service protocol necessary to determine how each call would be handled was thoroughly developed; every possibility was examined and all eventualities were considered. Due to the quality of answering service and the knowledge of the attending Telephone Service Representatives, callers reaching Centratel during regular office hours are unaware that they have reached an outside answering service. After-hours, the call center relay protocol changes in order to differentiate those callers who truly need assistance and those who can wait until the next business day for assistance. The client enjoys enormous savings over providing daytime answering service staff, has a profoundly effective call-screening mechanism for after-hours and projects a “large office” image to callers.

A regional water company had to account for after hours service continuity for all of its customers in case of a water line break. The company chose Centratel to process all its urgent after-hours calls. Centratel TSR’s are trained and equipped to not only reach on-call personnel with a failsafe 1,2, 3 step procedure, but to interface with the water company’s database to answer customer questions regarding billing and other administrative issues.

A local Hospice had numerous on-call nurses ready at a moment’s notice to attend to families in distress. The problem was in finding a way to immediately dispatch the nurses 24/7 while providing an unrushed and compassionate face to the public. With an understanding of the sensitivity necessary to handle Hospice communications, Centratel Telephone Service Representatives reach on-call nurses via cellular phones, pagers and voice mail. Each morning via fax, Hospice administration staff receives complete details regarding each answered messaged dispatched from the previous 24 hours.