Emergency Answering Service
What is an Emergency Answering Service?
Emergencies happen, and when they do happen, we don’t get informed in advance. These situations are unpredictable, and by the very definition of an emergency, need to be responded to immediately. Any business that promises 24/7, around-the-clock support and service to their customers needs to ensure that those calls are answered and processed efficiently.
The last thing a customer wants when they call your business with an emergency is to find that there is no one available to help them. Oftentimes, companies that provide 24/7 services just get a few phone calls during off-hours. This can make it hard to justify the cost of full-time or even part-time overnight help. Furthermore, many businesses can’t afford to hire dedicated staff that can work around-the-clock to take calls.
A professional 24/7 answering service will ensure that the call gets answered and directed to the right person who can help. After-hours answering services are highly cost-effective, and ensure your customers receive the right layer of support, regardless of when that support is needed.
Table of Contents:
- What is an Emergency Answering Service?
- Types of Businesses and Industries that Need 24/7 Emergency or After-Hours Answering Services
- What Problems Do 24/7 Businesses Commonly Face?
- How Can an Answering Service Help Solve Your Businesses Problems?
- Why Your Business Should Consider Hartley and Associates for Your 24/7 Needs
Types of Businesses and Industries that Need 24/7 Emergency or After-Hours Answering Services
Many businesses can benefit from professional 24/7 emergency or after-hours answering services.
- Dental services
- HVAC companies
- Information technology (IT) support
- Legal services
- Medical services
- Private security
- Property management
- Vending machine repair
- Veterinary services
Whether you are looking for a dental emergency answering service, after-hours medical answering service, veterinary emergency answering service, home-care 24-hour answering service, or a specialty answering service, we believe that Hartley and Associates can provide the level of service that your 24/7 company deserves.
What Problems Do 24/7 Businesses Commonly Face?
Operating a 24/7 service comes with a very unique set of challenges. Business owners and managers take on stresses and often worry about their ability to take care of customers that call during off-hours.
Challenges faced by 24/7 businesses:
- Hiring staff – Though there are certainly some people who love to work overnight and thrive in that environment, most workers appreciate the opportunity to work a job that aligns with the natural circadian rhythm. It’s almost impossible to get a good sleep during the daytime when the sun is trying to work its way in, telephone calls are more frequent, and there are the hustle and bustle in other rooms of the house. Furthermore, those who work overnight shifts often sacrifice “normal” activities they have to miss because they prioritize their sleep. For these reasons, many people aren’t interested in an overnight shift. And those that are interested, expect to be paid higher wages for doing so.
- Shift schedules – It can take some time to figure out how and when to staff your resources, especially if you need to cover after-hours support. Businesses that operate during bankers’ hours don’t need to worry as often about shift overlap because there are often other workers available to cover lunches and time when others need to attend critical meetings. Plus, working nine to five only represents eight hours of the day, which leaves 16 additional hours that need to be covered.
- Management of overnight workers – Managing third shift employees can be challenging, especially if you are in a business where you only need a telephone answering support. Though most employees can be trusted to handle themselves during the evening, professional development and guidance can be more complicated if the management staff is not there to observe them.
How Can an Answering Service Help Solve Your Businesses Problems?
Professional after-hours answering services can help businesses address all of the above-listed concerns. Hartley and Associates serve as a buffer, screening your business’s calls and dispatching those calls or contacting you for emergencies, based on your provided protocol. Specialty answering services are designed to reduce or eliminate the challenge of 24/7 and 365 days-a-year staffing.
When looking for an after-hours answering service, business owners need to be thoughtful in who they hire. After all, not all answering service companies are the same. Business managers should look for the following traits in any answering service company.
- Happy operators – The person answering emergency calls for your company serves as an extension of your business. Not only do you want an emergency call taker to be professional and expeditious, you want to know that they are happy and satisfied in their job. When your operators are friendly and kind, it can help diffuse a challenging situation and help put the caller at ease. At Hartley and Associates, we take excellent care of our employees to make sure that they not only have the tools and training to do their jobs, but they are happy doing the job too.
- 24/7 availability – Though this might seem like the obvious, you must ask the right questions to ensure that the professional answering service company you are talking to does indeed provide 24/7 availability and not just after-hours support. Though 24/7 availability is after-hours, after-hours alone does not guarantee that 24/7 availability. At Hartley and Associates, we offer 24/7 call support and dispatch services for our clients.
- Customer support – Though you hire an answering service to take care of your customers, who will take care of you, the client? At Hartley and Associates, we ensure that our clients receive the support that they need. We practice what we preach and ensure that you receive the level of support that you deserve.
- Features – Answering services, especially emergency 24/7 answering services, are not a one-size-fits-all solution. We know that your business is unique, and for that reason, you deserve an approach that fits what you need, not just what is convenient to the professional answering service company. Be sure to ask the right questions to make sure you receive the service you desire. For example, answering services can help book appointments for your business. The right company can review your calendar and availability to schedule appointments. Many other customizable answering service solutions can be appealing to business owners, including call handling, live answer, voicemail, wake-up service, personalized greetings, and more. Just because you are hiring for after-hours support, it doesn’t mean that your professional answering service can’t help with your needs during the day. At Hartley and Associates, we can help you with your answering services needs around the clock.
- Minimal wait times – When your customer is experiencing an emergency, they need to reach a live person right away. Waiting can feel like forever, especially for those calling for a medical, dental, plumbing, or HVAC concern. When seeking an answering service, be sure to look into their service levels, and ask about their average time to answer. And ask how they ensure proper staffing to answer calls quickly.
- Referrals – A successful 24/7 answering service will be more than happy to share references for you of other companies that are using their services. Hartley and Associates are pleased to provide you with referrals to assess that what we have to offer is indeed what you are looking for.
What Technology and Software does Hartley and Associates Use?
At Hartley and Associates, we operate our business using the latest equipment and software. Our state-of-the-art technology enables us to provide highly customized service accurately and reliably. To ensure we are providing service 24/7/365, we invest in robust, redundant backup systems that deliver near 100% uptime.
We are constantly vigilant in assessing the health of our servers and disk drives. That’s why our NOC (network operations center) continuously monitors and measures our systems to ensure we have the disk space and memory to function at full capacity. And our NOC is continually scanning for spyware and viruses to avoid crippling downtime and data loss, as well as ensuring all software upgrades are installed without interrupting service.
24-hour-system-monitoring is just one of the many behind-the-scenes ways we keep things running smoothly here at Hartley’s — so we can keep answering your phones without interruption.
Why Your Business Should Consider Hartley and Associates for Your 24/7 Needs
Hartley and Associates got their start in the answering services business by providing after-hours medical answering services. For more than 30 years, Hartley’s has been serving the medical community by ensuring that urgent patient and hospital calls are handled with care, efficiency, and accuracy. Since then, we’ve taken everything we learned in supporting medical professionals, and we’ve applied the relevant insights to other industries.
If you are considering answering services to benefit your company, then Hartley and Associates is the right partner for you. Many of our clients hire us because they need support every day, all-day, including after-hours support for emergency-related calls. Hiring additional resources to oversee the phones at night can be expensive. An after-hours answering service can serve as an extension of your team at a fraction of the cost of hiring. With Hartley and Associates handling your phones, you’ll ensure you’ll never have to worry about missing a call because someone called in sick, quit, or went on vacation.
Hartley and Associates provide the following benefits to your 24/7 business.
- Proficient answering representatives – You want to ensure that the answering service representatives know what to do when your customers call with an emergency. And, you want to know that those representatives will treat your callers professionally and expeditiously.
- 24/7 availability – As we know, emergencies don’t happen when it is convenient for you or your employees. It would seem that emergencies happen at the worst of times. Thus, you need to ensure that whoever is answering your calls is always at the ready. This is hard to do on your own. But for an emergency answering service such as Hartley and Associates, this is just second nature.
- Paging and dispatch services – A core function for an emergency answering service means that a live receptionist needs to dispatch a particular provider or department call. As in the case of a medical emergency, a professional after-hours receptionist will need to know how to dispatch a call to emergency personnel. Hartley and Associates receptionists are trained on how to do this and have the technology to ensure that your caller gets through to whoever is needed on the other end of the line.
- Minimal wait times – When there is an emergency, especially a medical, dental, plumbing, or HVAC concern, your caller wants to get help right away. At Hartley and Associates, we have multiple trained professionals ready and able to take your calls, ensuring that your caller is helped as quickly as possible.
- Best in class technology and software – Your business can’t afford to miss a call due to a technology update or upgrade, and the last thing you want is for an answering service that can’t take your calls or messages because of excessive downtime. At Hartley and Associates, we ensure that our equipment is ready and able to take your calls at all times. And like we said before, 24-hour-system-monitoring is just one of the many behind-the-scenes ways we keep things running smoothly.