What exactly is an emergency? Wikipedia’s definition of an emergency is a situation that indicates an immediate risk to life, health, property, or environment. In most cases, emergencies dictate the need for urgent intervention so that a situation will not worsen. In some cases, however, mitigation isn’t possible. In these cases, the applicable industry agencies need to provide care or attention to the aftermath of the event.
Many industries offer what many of us would call emergency services. In these industries, though there are times that callers have general questions, there are other times where callers have urgent situations, and time is of the essence. In these cases, those calls must be answered and routed promptly.
What Industries Have Common Emergencies?
The medical industry probably comes to mind more than any other when one thinks of emergencies. The truth is, however, that emergencies transpire in multiple industries.
Medical – Let’s address this one right away. The medical industry certainly has plenty of emergencies where an emergency answering service would be useful. Though medical providers will always tell callers to dial 911 in the case of an emergency, often, patients want to talk to a doctor to see if what they are experiencing truly is a medical emergency. Medical answering services can aid in increased patient satisfaction but can also assist in life-or-death situations.
Legal – There are times when callers need to speak to an attorney. In certain child custody cases and even certain divorce cases, time can be of the essence.
Heating, Plumbing, and Air Conditioning – When your home isn’t adequately heating or cooling, it can create discomfort for those that live there. In particular, if a heater goes out on a freezing day, this can lead to dangerous circumstances. Similarly, if you experience a plumbing issue, you may also need immediate intervention so that the problem doesn’t worsen.
Home Repair – Though most home repair emergencies occur because of heating, plumbing, or air conditioning malfunctions, those that need to help clean up from a malfunction are not the same as those that would repair them if they were able to get to the problem in time.
These industries mentioned above are just some of the examples of industries where an emergency can transpire. And for business owners and managers in these fields, it is not possible to tend to the phones 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. These industries need help answering calls and route those calls to the appropriate place in a reasonable amount of time.
7 Qualities to Look for in an Emergency Telephone Answering Service
If you think that a telephone answering service will benefit your company, you have come to the right place. Hartley and Associates has been offering professional answering services, including emergency answering services, for more than 30 years. Many of our clients hire Hartley professionals because they need support every day, all day, including after-hours support for emergency-related calls.
- Proficient answering representatives – When your customers call with an emergency, you want to make sure that the answering representatives know what to do and are professional and expeditious in their actions.
- Availability 24 hours a day, seven days a week – Emergencies don’t happen just when convenient for you and your employees. It seems that emergencies occur when they are the least suitable for everyone involved. This means that you need to look for an emergency answering service that can answer calls at any time.
- Paging and dispatch services – Sometimes, answering a call isn’t going to be enough. A critical part of emergency answering services includes the live receptionist’s ability to dispatch a call to another department or page a provider. For example, with a medical emergency, the answering service may need to dispatch a call to emergency personnel. Or, perhaps there will be a need to page an on-call doctor or a plumber. Whatever the emergency, you will want to make sure that your answering services provider can do more than answer the phone.
- Minimal hold times – In an emergency, no one has time to sit on hold. And this isn’t about immediate gratification. Think about the amount of damage that can be done every moment that a burst pipe goes unaddressed. Or, consider the dire consequences that could transpire if a caller is having an undiagnosed heart attack. The best answering services providers will have multiple agents, ready and able to take calls as they come in.
- Attention to detail – Though it is not expected that answering service professionals know how to diagnose a medical situation or talk a customer through how to turn off the water main, it is vital that they can pick up on the details. In most cases, just having the live receptionist’s undivided attention will be enough to ensure that the call is routed correctly and deserves the right amount of attention. If the answering professional is multi-tasking, they may miss a critical detail and not handle the call as needed.
- HIPAA/HITECH Compliance – Medical answering services are not the same as traditional answering services. If you are in the medical industry, you want an answering service that is trained and compliant in HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and HITECH (Health Insurance Technology for Economical and Clinical Health Act). Not only is Hartley’s staff trained in HIPAA and HITECH compliance, but our offices and equipment meet all privacy rules and regulations as well.
- Robust Technology with Near 100% Uptime – Think about this in terms of your company website. If your site is down, you are losing customers. If customers can’t access your site due to a 404 error or something similar, they will take their business elsewhere by going to another place that can get them what they need. When it comes to emergencies, callers need to know that you will be there for them. Thus, when seeking an emergency answering service, you need to make sure that they have the infrastructure in place to answer your calls at all times. Downtime can have serious consequences.
Why Hartley’s for your Emergency Answering Service?
When it comes to hiring an emergency medical service, the answer is Hartley and Associates. Hartley’s has been providing emergency answering services for medical professionals for over 30 years. With our knowledge and experience, we can ensure that patients are handled with care, efficiency, and accuracy.
Contact us toll-free at (866) 918-8700 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our professional answering service representatives will be happy to talk to you about how we can help with your emergency answering service needs.