Training Your Answering Service Staff

A well trained staff is your greatest asset in the answering service business. The training should include one full day on how to properly use all software applications and a workbook with various scenarios and tips should be developed for the new operator to study at home.

The training that involves the technology side of things is important, but not nearly as important as teaching your new operator how to deal with the callers effectively. You may choose to have your new operators complete training and certification through the ATSI (Association of Telemessaging Services International) Certification program which is an educational program to provide answering service operators with verifiable certification levels. This gives them a good base to build their experience on.

Even with industry training like that available through ATSI, you will need to train the employees on the protocol that is to be used with each client. They should be taught to understand not only the proper verbiage that is to be used, but also what tone they should have when answering each call. Your new operators need to learn skills in acting, along with customer service! At times they will be called upon to be very professional as with a doctor’s office call and more jovial and friendly when taking a sales call.

It is a great idea to have lots of mirrors around the call center room so that operators can “check their attitude”. Having the right attitude coming through in your voice is usually as easy as changing the look on your face. A smile is easily communicated right through the telephone. Have you ever had a telephone operator reading a script to you when you called with a complaint?

When they speak a very monotone “I am so sorry about your experience”, it is not very comforting. However, when a person is genuinely saying the words “I am so sorry about your experience” you feel that they care and want to help you. It is important to illustrate this difference so the operator understands it. Using their emotions to relate to and understand the caller’s needs will be their greatest skill.

Once they have been trained on how to use the equipment, how to use their emotions and voice and how to handle each particular client’s phone calls, the on the job training can begin. You will want to have them “shadow” an experienced operator for several days or maybe even a full week. This will give them an opportunity to listen in to a variety of calling scenarios and witness first-hand how to handle a variety of situations.

Next they should work the night shift for at least a week so that they can hone their skills in a slower-paced, less stressful environment. With proper training the new operator should sound like a professional and be ready to face the many challenges of being an answering service operator.

Proper training and support will help your staff provide top-notch customer service to each and every caller. This will make your clients happy and you will prosper when they are happy.