We’ll dazzle your customers. That is a bold statement. How do we know we will do it every time?
Every decision we make about running our small business is made with that principle in mind. We will dazzle your customer. Enhancing the caller experience and impressing you and your clients is our top priority. We are constantly innovating and improving to find new ways and things that dazzle.
We dazzle by having a team of Virtual receptionists that are quick to go the extra mile. This is by far the largest investment we make in the business. We have a 28 day billing cycle, it matches our payroll cycle. Virtual Receptionists represent you, and we want to make sure we represent you the right way. Not only that, we take it one step further to make sure we are not only representing you, but that your customers are truly dazzled.
Below are just a few of programs we have adapted, to ensure that the virtual receptionists answering your calls are cheerful and always ready and able to dazzle
Being a Small Business Owner isn’t Easy
No one wakes up one day, and says to themselves “Hmm…what shall I do today? I know! I will be a terrible boss!” However, bad bosses and companies that treat their employees poorly exist. It happens. It happens so often in fact that there a bunch of movies about it. One of my favorites is Office Space. No one wants to be a Bill Lumbergh, something happens to to make them behave that way, or make their employees feel so undervalued.
As small business owners we are the largest employer in the united states, it is our responsibility to make the lives of our team better. No one work’s just because they want to work. There is something in it for them; they get to do something they enjoy, give back to the community, make money to support their families, whatever the reason it is certainly not selfless. People work because they need something.
Can you imagine trying to do it all yourself?
Without our employees helping us provide services and products to our customers, our small businesses couldn’t function.
I know I sure couldn’t answer 2,000 + calls per day. That is 1.3 calls per minute. We need our employees. I know I do especially. In the answering service industry, I need more than just a warm body in chair. We need a cheerful and friendly professionals who are knowledgeable about hundreds of different businesses, and able to dazzle the people they speak with.
We need our employees & they need us
Employment is a reciprocal relationship. Both parties need something. Your small business does not have to be like Initech, the Company from Office Space. You can be an innovative, fun place to work without being a giant like Apple or Google.
Just remember as the largest employer we have a duty to our team. We need to not only give them what they need, in some way we need to make their lives better. In doing so, they will make our lives better. Maybe that is coming in on their day off, taking an extra on call shift, or staying late.
Just remember it is incredibly reciprocal. It took me a long time, year in fact, to really understand the nature of an employer and employee relationship.
What would make your life better? What would you enjoy? I asked myself these same questions. After years of mistakes, and failed initiative after another we finally figured a few things out.
Answering Service Work Is Not Easy
A common misconception many people have about working at an answering service is that it is easy, well it’s not. It’s hard, tiring, and very irritating.
People think answering the phone is easy, that any idiot can do it. Maybe your right, but it takes more than just answering a phone to keep a small business competitive. Apollo’s Virtual Receptionists do way more than just answer a phone.
They have to know unique information about hundreds of business. Talk to people who are upset and take their frustrations out on them. Plus to top it all off they have to work really strange hours. As we are a 24/7 answering service so we never close.
Thinking about it from that perspective is pretty negative, and sounds way harder than you thought it was doesn’t it? As Dale Carnegie put it “Try to honestly see things from the other person’s point of view.”
If it is so awful, why do people do it?
We find the positive, or cheerful point of view. Our team of Virtual Receptionists love their jobs, because every day they get the privileged of helping hundreds of different people solve unique problems.
Perspective is paramount. Yes, they might listen to someone who is furious because the air conditioning Guy came by this morning, and it is 5pm, and it is still hot in their house. The caller is angry, I mean wouldn’t you be? Our team takes that bad situation, and turns it around, we help that caller get the house cooled off, so his baby with asthma can get to sleep before bedtime.
Plus we offer great benefits, and constantly strive to make work as fun and enjoyable as possible. This way we make sure our virtual receptionists are Happy so that they are prepared and ready to deliver the ultimate caller experience, one that truly will Dazzle.
How we keep our Answering Service Team Engaged to Deliver The Ultimate Caller Experience That Dazzles
We are a hybrid environment. Half of our team works remotely, and the other half works in our headquarters in Houston, Texas. Any new initiates have to be avaliable for everyone, regardless if they work from home or in the office.
We had some old practices that worked great. But, only for in-person environments. Depending on your small business model you can implement some or all of these to help your team stay engaged with all their responsibilities, and great the ultimate customer experience.
This works anywhere! It’s not professional, but we are all people. We can’t be professional all the time. So when not on the phone, we encourage our team to let loose. Tell jokes, make funny faces, share funny animated gif’s, or anything else that keeps smiles around the workplace.
We actually encourage silliness so much that we have a whole channel, or room dedicated to it in our team chat app. This is a great outlet to allow everyone to be silly, and let their true personalities shine.
Smiling is a key part of the work we do, you cant see it on our faces, but you can definitely hear it in our voices.
Listen To Music
This works anywhere, too! We listen to music, in and out of office. At-home team members are also allowed to listen to music.We don’t just listen to regular radio, or repetitive CDs or MP3s. There is a LARGE variety of music we listen to using Pandora One and Spotify. We keep a good mix of stuff playing in the office including Ska, R&B, Reggaton, Classic Rock, Pop, and everything in between. We mix it up, so no one gets bored.
The music is always different, and the team is constantly being exposed to new music. Sometimes we get really adventurous and discover things with entire new sounds, and beats, and our operations room starts moving! The team starts doing little dances in their chairs. Yes, while answering your phones, even! We are excellent at multitasking. This really helps keeps the mood of the team upbeat, which increases the overall caller experience.
Lunch – Works Anywhere
Another thing we do is provide lunch. Nothing large or expensive. But, if someone forgets their lunch or is in a hurry, they do not go hungry. We have sandwich-making accouterments on site at all times. Team members can make a sandwich whenever they need to eat. How do you feel when you are hungry? Some people can get extremely grumpy and irritable when they are hungry. A peanut butter and jelly solves this problem. It helps keep our team energized, and ready to take calls.
We also provide pizza every other Thursday, during our biweekly meetings. We tried many other foods, nothing seemed to go over as well as pizza. As in, there would be a lot left over. The weeks we bought pizza the lunch was devoured. So we now we stick with pizza and call our biweekly meetings Pizza Thursday. Check back later in this series for more information on Pizza Thursday and our Star Program.
We always decorate for something. Decorating is something that many people enjoy to do, plus it is nice too look at. We decorate for all holidays, even the small ones. This helps keep this office festive. We allow the team to pitch in too, and it gives them something to do during our slow times. Plus, they have something to be proud of. Something they contibuted to around the office. The decorations stay up all month reminding them of it.
You do not have to spend a ton of money to decorate, I buy many decorations the day after the holiday. Then, we use them the following year. We also make some of our decorations like we did with our pumpkins. Just another small way to keep the team excited and innovative. We do not allow our team to decorate their stations, as they are shared work areas. However if your team has dedicated work areas, you could have them decoration their station based on the season or holiday, and allow the team and your clients to vote for the one they like the best! A little competition can really motivate a team! Check back later in this series for more information on our contests, and competitions.
There is a time to be serious, and there is a time to let loose and be funny. Most of what we do is serious, detailed, and tedious. It helps to let loose and have a good laugh. The human brain needs a rest some times. We encourage laughter, it keeps the team positive, and happy! The team shares funny stories, and incidents that have happened to them or their families with everyone one. I show off hilarious Facebook pictures and tell jokes!
My favorite joke of all times is: “What does a fish say when it hits a wall? Damn!” Every time it makes me smile. A single smile goes a long way. If someone is having a bad day, a smile or even a laugh can change their entire mood and the tone of their day! It is important our team members are not grumpy or in a bad mood, because we do not want to represent your company in that manner. If anyone appears irritated they are immediately taken off the phones, until their attitude improves. We try all kinds of things, sometimes I even make funny faces. If their mood is still off, they are sent home. Attitude is contagious!
Buy company “flare”, and use it for your team, not just marketing purposes! Your team will love it! Plus when they see it or use it, it helps remind them of their purpose with your company! We have all kinds of flare, hoodies, T-shirts, bags, cups, mugs, key chains, etc. Some of it is handed out as gifts, while other items are earned through rewards. The team chooses to wear and use their company flare! They like it! Today everyone in the office is wearing a company hoodie, and two people are wearing company T-shirts! We even have flare that is brightly colored, which signifies that team member did something really great! It keeps the office fun, and it reminds the team why they are here, seeing our slogan and logo branded all over the place.
One thing we do is celebrate everyone’s birthday. It really makes the team member feel special. We have birthday board. Each month we put all the team members who have a birthday during the month names on the board! We make sure to also provide cupcakes for the team member with an upcoming birthday at our biweekly meetings! We get creative with the cupcakes. A few weeks ago we had strawberry, before that, we had Tres Leches, and before that German Chocolate! We get to know out team and find out what they like!
Another simple thing we do is give out small toys. This keeps work fun. The team always has something to fidget with. We do it all from stress balls, mini slinkys, toy airplanes, bouncy balls, whistles, fake teeth, etc. We give out these toys randomly, just because, no reason, really. When we give them out the team gets so excited, and they trade with each other, and are in excellent moods all day!