Answering Service Case Studies
There are so many ways that an answering service can help make your business more efficient. We work with many industries, including the industry categories you will see below. Read through our case studies for select industries to learn about the creative solutions we developed for various businesses!
If you do not see your business industry on the list here, give us a call anyways! This is a short list that explains what we do for popular industries but it is NOT a complete list of our clients’ industries or our solutions. Plus, we are always excited and ready to solve new problems for businesses.
Case Study: Customers since 1989
One of our longest business relationships is with a St. Louis-based hospice organization. We have provided this client with continuous monthly service since 1989 (that’s 28 years). We currently provide service to over 30 home health and hospice offices. Using technology wisely, we have reduced the amount of time it takes to securely send out and document a home health or hospice patient call. Taken messages are also dispatched immediately. We do much of this using a HIPAA-compliant secure message delivery app.
As soon as the nurse on-call opens and reads the message, that action communicates with our answering service equipment and we know when and by whom the message has been delivered. That information becomes part of the permanent record. If the message is not read within a certain timeframe outlined by the organization, the operator is notified and quickly escalates the message dispatch procedure up the chain of command. In Missouri, for Medicare reimbursement, it is required that a nurse be on the patient’s doorstep within 1 hour after an emergency call is placed. We help ensure this happens through efficient communication.
We helped another hospice with a very specific need. They wanted to identify new patient referral calls immediately since those calls were handled only by the supervisor. Rather than ask over 900 callers a month if they were a new referral, we crafted another solution. Our client securely sends us a daily census report of all patients. The first question we ask all callers is the patient’s name. If the name is on the directory list, we proceed to take and dispatch the message to the nurse on-call. If the name is not on the list, then we ask a secondary question: “Are you a new referral or a current patient?” If the patient is a new referral, then we take and dispatch the call on to the supervisor. If they are not a new referral, we go to the nurse on-call account. The office receives daily encrypted email reports of all calls taken the previous 24-hour period.
Reporting & Accountability: Documentation is extremely critical in the healthcare field. Included in our daily summary reports is information about the date & time the patient called, to whom and when we delivered the message, plus detailed documentation of what happened in between. In the event we dial a phone number and get a “not in service” or “call cannot be completed as dialed” recording, we make a note in your report. Based on our recommendations, clients have changed the way calls are forwarded to us to ensure we receive the Caller ID. We’ve had patients in crisis call and say “Have Mary call me right away. Henry can’t breathe!” and then hung up. Using the Caller ID, we helped the nurse determine which patient had called.
Case Study 1: Customer from 1999 until 2013
A hospital conglomerate was amazed that we could customize a program to meet the needs of 61 separate biomedical offices and keep everything straight. Our system helped facilitate more efficient communication between hospital staff and the biomedical offices within their hospitals. We answered all calls with the name of hospital and asked just one question before sorting all calls to the correct department within the correct facility. We asked if the caller needed “X-ray, Imaging, Dictation or something else.” All calls that were answered as “something else” were dispatched to the BioMed department, which handled all mechanical and machine-related hospital issues. The caller was also asked if the call was “routine, urgent, or STAT.” Based on time of day and the urgency of the call, we followed different dispatching instructions for each scenario. This is customization of an answering service at its finest.
Reporting & Accountability: Detailed message reports are sent to each department manager in addition to the corporate office. All hospital equipment repairs and work orders are tracked 24/7. Information about the performance and responsiveness of both the biomedical technicians and the call center agents are also included within the report.
Case Study 2: Customer Since 1991
Since 1991, we have answered after-hour calls (including weekends and holidays) for a nationally recognized pharmaceutical company. Over time, we have refined our procedure for the service we provide and the many products they represent. We thoroughly screen calls and dispatch only medical questions to the on-call pharmacist. This national corporation has continued to use us uninterrupted for 26 years. That fact alone demonstrates that we are consistently good at what we do.
Reporting & Accountability: Only callers with medical questions have messages taken and dispatched to the pharmacist. Callers with questions regarding orders, shipments or billing are asked to call back when the office reopens. We securely record and store calls (in a HIPAA compliant manner) in case our clients ever have questions or concerns about a particular communication.
Case Study 1:
With written permission from the broker, we have access to daily downloads of all MARIS listings. Using this information and a custom database of your agents’ names and their cell phone numbers, we will immediately patch a caller to the correct agent. We ask the caller for the agent’s name or the address of the property they are calling about. When we enter either piece of information into the directory, it immediately pastes the agent’s name and cell phone number on the screen in front of the operator. We then patch the call through directly to the agent who listed the property. We can pass along the Caller ID or add our phone number to the address book of the agent’s cell phone so that he/she immediately knows the call is coming from a prospective client.
Reporting & Accountability: Each call is a prospective buyer calling about a specific property or to list a property. All listings are tied to a specific agent’s name, which is tied to their cell phone. We receive a daily download of the new MARIS listings as well. If a listing is not on the list, we send the call to the broker. When we transfer a call, we send the Caller ID, not ours. That way the agents have the caller’s number in their phone. All calls (except solicitors) are transferred to a real estate professional, thus providing the best customer service.
Case Study 2: Customer since 2016
A real estate developer of a gated community (under construction) had a unique problem. He wanted to ensure the safety of current residents by keeping the community gates closed and secure. However, he also needed to let in a line of dump trucks that would wait outside each morning for the gate to open. Using a program on a PC connected to the phone line, we send a signal every weekday morning at exactly 7:15am to open the gate and again at 4:15pm to close the gate. It took a little trial and error to get the timing of the signal just right but we accomplished it quickly and were able to provide this custom solution!
Reporting & Accountability: If there was ever a question “was the gate opened / closed at a particular time,” we have the logs to answer that question. Our logs show each time their equipment (the gate) was called and which signal (open or close) was sent.
HVAC, plumbing, electrical, refrigeration, roofing, cleaning services, etc
Case Study 1: Customer Since 2005
From small companies with a few employees who handle residential clients to large companies with over 100 employees who handle only commercial customers, we have plans and systems for every contractor or service professional’s needs.
One of our very large commercial HVAC clients took our advice and the end result was faster internal communication and cost savings. Previously, this client was using less efficient communication methods, like calling technicians by phone and then waiting some time to call the next person in line. By switching to a secure message app on a smartphone, we deliver and confirm message delivery in a fraction of the time. When a message needs to be relayed to a technician, the operator sends a secure text message to the on-call technician. The action of opening and reading the text message, generates a “read receipt” on our equipment. This automatically time stamps the message ticket in our system with the tech’s name and the time the message was read. This becomes part of an email summary report sent the next business day. If the message is unread by the “timeout threshold” set by the company, then the undelivered message is presented back to the operator who then calls the tech’s cell phone. If the tech still does not respond, the operator begins calling the backup tech or supervisor.
Reporting & Accountability: Detailed email message reports allow the office to audit which technician was notified, when the message was picked up along with all of the customer information. This amount of detail ensures proper customer billing and supply restocking.
Case Study 1: Continuous Customers Since 1995, 1996 & 1998
We provide answering services for several large commercial property management companies. Our success is in our ability to keep detailed information straight. For one client, we have built a database of 140 commercial property addresses that is updated as properties are bought and sold. Our client has 9 crews of maintenance men who support the 140 properties. The primary person on-call and backup person on-call changes weekly; we keep information correct on each account. When a tenant calls with a maintenance issue, we ask if the issue requires immediate attention or if the call can wait until the office reopens. Urgent calls are next sorted by address into 1 of the 9 crews based on the caller’s address. Urgent maintenance calls are then dispatched to the maintenance crew and a summary report is sent daily. Requests which can wait until the office reopens are faxed or emailed the next business day.
Reporting & Accountability: Similar to the field of medicine, when it comes to commercial property management, there can never be enough documentation. Running water from plumbing or roof damage can cause thousands of dollars of damage in a very short time. By quickly and accurately notifying the correct maintenance crew, this type of damage can be minimized. It is imperative that the office know when calls came in and who picked up the message. In addition, by recording all calls there can be no question of “he said, she said.” Our clients receive 2 emails daily: a detailed report of urgent calls taken and dispatched, plus an email for routine maintenance requests.
Case Study 2: Customer since 1999
An established commercial property management company asked if could monitor the elevator cars in their buildings in case a passenger became trapped in the elevator. This was a challenge for us because it was not a person calling to leave a message; rather, we would need to work with pre-programmed equipment designed by the elevator industry to behave in a certain way. After working with their technology and acquiring information from the elevator manufacturer, we came up with a working solution. We found out that there were at least 4 manufacturers of this type of equipment and each type of elevator behaved a little differently. All we had to do was get past the automated system to establish 2-way conversation with the person in the elevator car. We could then determine if there is an entrapment issue or if someone accidentally hit the HELP button.
Some elevator monitoring facilities charge for every elevator car they monitor. From our point of view, it did not matter if there were 1 or 6 elevator cars in the building; we have all the cars programmed to dial the same phone number. Based on the phone number dialed, we can quickly determine the address of the building and who to contact for an entrapment. We can then listen to the recording to determine exactly which car (1-6) the call came from.
Reporting & Accountability: All calls are treated as alarms since someone may be trapped in an elevator car. If there is an entrapment, each dispatch attempt is documented with date, time and the number we dialed. If there is ever a question about whether someone was trapped or not, we have the voice logger to document the person in the elevator telling us that “yes, we are trapped.”
When separating urgent from routine apartment maintenance calls, we pay attention to the difference between what residents consider to be “urgent” matters versus what an apartment complex thinks is an “urgent” matter. We enter the nature of the call into a database that automatically sorts the call into 2 categories: Urgent (to be dispatched) or the Non-Urgent (to be held and emailed over the next business day). The list is set by the apartment manager. Here are examples:
Example 1: Clogged toilet. In the database, if a resident has only 1 toilet and it is not working, then the call is considered an emergency. However, if the resident has 2 toilets and only 1 is not working, then this call is considered routine and held until the next day report.
Example 2: If a resident has 1 light out in the apartment but others are working, this is a routine call. If there are lights out in common areas such as the hallway, this is an emergency call.
Example 3: No A/C in temperatures under 80 degrees is a routine call, whereas No A/C in temperatures over 80 degrees is an emergency. We have a system for calling related to heating as well.
Example 4: Any unconstrained water leaking from anywhere is an emergency. If it is a constrained leak, such as a leaky faucet, it is considered to be routine.
The biggest complaint from the maintenance men of an apartment complex is receiving calls that should wait until the next business day. This is where the directory of apartment maintenance issues comes into play. This process all but eliminates unnecessary calls to the maintenance team.
Reporting & Accountability: The office receives 2 emails daily. One is the detailed summary report of emergency calls taken and dispatched and the other is a list of the routine calls for the next business day. The emergency report shows when the call came in, when it was dispatched and to whom. Detailed information show the time and number for each text message sent or phone call made. All calls are recorded and can be emailed to our client for backup documentation for any tenant concern.
Case Study 1: Customer since 2006
A large union manufacturing plant needed a “disinterested third party” to take call-ins for their employees who would be tardy or absent from work. They had several requirements to satisfy the union regulations. For example, they needed to use a phone number separate from the manufacturing plant and provide each employee who called in with a unique confirmation number for verification. We created a employee call-in system that gives special attention to message delivery. Faxes are sent 3 times daily and 30 minutes prior to the beginning of each shift, therefore giving shift supervisors a heads up about staffing. We also send a daily report in CSV format to the HR department. This has allowed our client to build a database of all previous call-ins and add to it over the years. They can sort the data by employee name to see how many times and when a particular employee called in. We are able to back up any HR question about a call-in with a voice log of the employee’s call when necessary.
Reporting & Accountability: The shift supervisors are made aware of employee call-ins prior the beginning of each shift, the employees receive a confirmation number for their call and HR receives additions to ongoing record keeping of all absent or tardy employees for payroll and disciplinary action if needed. Even the union is happy.
Case Study 2: Customer since 2010
We provide a custom solution to a distributor of heavy construction equipment and portable power (generators). Our client’s corporate headquarters estimates that 15% – 25% of all business occurs outside of regular business hours. For after hours calls, we blend an automated attendant system with live operator services to support the corporate office plus 10 store locations.
We begin by sorting calls that are about customer-owned equipment versus rental equipment, then further sort between parts and service. We patch callers directly to the correct person in the company who can take care of their problem, rather than taking and dispatching messages. This approach provides the best possible customer service and prevents the caller from calling a competitor. The average sale value of each customer is quite high so it is important to treat each and every one with the best possible care.
For example, after a disaster occurs (i.e. a tornado, hurricane, loss of an electricity, etc), if a commercial-size generator can be ordered and delivered with a single phone call, that is PRICELESS. It does not take long for a large retailer or grocery store with a freezer full of meat to realize they need power on an emergency basis. We help our client connect quickly with potential and current customers so they can be superheroes in tricky situations!
Reporting & Accountability: At the beginning of this project, we only had a single contact person to send calls to. After reviewing our documentation and listening to our recommendations, our client agreed to provide us with a 2nd and 3rd person to contact. This improved their ability to provide quality customer service after hours.
Case Study 1: Customer since 2007
We are the daytime backup and after hours call center for the corporate headquarters of an energy supply company. By blending information from 1 static database of departments, 1 active database of staff members, and their office and voice mail extensions, we are able to answer and transfer calls to approximately 400 employees and 30 departments. If someone calls in and needs the fax number for the 3rd floor conference room, we have it handy. If someone calls in over the weekend and needs the lights turned on the 7th floor, we know who to contact. Should there be a disaster and the media calls the corporate headquarters, we know who gets that type of call.
Credit is due to our customer, who updates their staff and contact list several times per year. Without updated information, this system would not work as well as it does.
Reporting & Accountability: Keeping records and statistics of calls we process allows our client to know when calls come to our answering service. Since their calls often come in from different time zones, this service allows our client to adjust when their phones are staffed by their own people versus our operators.
Case Study 2: Customer since 2015
A water district became concerned about the safety of a lone employee who would do testing at the river, move machinery and keep an eye on the water supply equipment after hours. We devised an account that automatically checks in with this employee hourly after business hours and round the clock on weekends and holidays. First, we send a secure message to the rotating on-call cell phone. If the message is opened and read (we receive notification that the message was read) within 10 minutes, we know the person on site is OK. If the message is not read, our operator receives a pop up message alert. We then call the office phone which rings bells all over the complex. If we do not hear from the person on-site within 5 minutes, we then dispatch and escalate as a possible “Man Down” on-site at the water district complex.
Reporting & Accountability: Email reports are sent daily to the water district detailing every time we checked on their employee and when that employee responded back to us.
Case Study 3: Customer since 2014
We are not in the traditional alarm monitoring business. However, when the data center of a current customer asked if we could monitor the email alarms from a computer room environmental monitoring station, we were intrigued. We would need to figure out a way to differentiate between routine “testing alerts” and “trouble alarms,” all sent via email. Our IT department worked with the data center to develop a custom program which would screen out the routine notifications and pass only “trouble alarms” to the operator for dispatch. Our system ignores routine testing notices and allowed only high temperature, high humidity, power outage and other computer room environment alarms to be processed and dispatched. The number of facilities monitored has tripled since we figured out a solution to this unique problem.
Reporting & Accountability: Both the data center and Business Centers receives the same initial email alert simultaneously. Some are routine and scheduled alerts which are to be ignored. Others are important alarms, which must be dispatched. We work closely with the data center to make sure that the right alerts are acted upon and dispatched.
ADDITIONAL INDUSTRIES WE SERVE:
- Machinery & Equipment
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Call Business Centers Of Missouri, Inc. today at (314) 469-0500 to find out how you can get started with customized, cost-effective communications.
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