Sunday, January 4, 2009

A Look Inside An Answering Service

If you are like me, you want to know what life is like in a call center. If your imagination is a bit outdated, you may picture an operator with a bun in her hair pulling random wires out of a telephone board. The current version of an answering service is much more technically advanced with computer terminals, operators on headsets, and all types of other fun stuff. So, without further ado, here is what life looks like inside a call center!

Will Answering Services Survive The Economic Downturn?

In these tough economic times, it is difficult to predict what businesses will remain and which ones will fail. If you have a superior business model and a world changing product, you are dommed to failure if no one is purchasing what you are selling. Though the United States is battling through a tough economy, the answering service / call center industry seems to be doing surprisingly well. Please review this article titled "Answering Service Sales Soar in Bad Economy"

Summary:In general, the answering service industry does prosper in tough economic times through an increase in businesses outsourcing duties that would ordinarily be managed in house.

With tough economic times, many companies are closing their doors, losing customers, or restructuring how they do business. Yet according to one expert, the answering service industry is actually thriving in this economic downturn. While economic indicators continue to nose dive, answering service and call center sales are reaching record highs.

Outside of the walls of the answering service industry, employers are slashing jobs in alarmingly higher numbers. In fact more workers lost their jobs last month than projected. The number of job cuts was so high that November 2008 has just went down as one of the worst months in modern history for American workers and businesses. United States businesses have cut jobs every month during 2008. The first six months of the year people were losing jobs at a very moderate pace. In the second half of the year, the financial crisis worsened causing a more drastic reduction in staffing. The horrific economy coupled with a weak housing market has American companies bracing themselves for a longer and difficult recession.

The layoffs and job cuts have benefitted the call center industry because companies still have the need to answer their phone calls live. Companies who have opted to cut staff and utilize voicemail have suffered due to the dropped call ratio of automated answer versus live answering. The call center sector has benefitted from employee cutbacks by providing an affordable outsourcing solution. While many companies are closing in house call centers, some are sending the calls overseas, to India or the Philippines, most companies are outsourcing to existing United States call centers. The idea is to be able to cut costs without sacrificing any aspect that could hurt sales or customer retention. This reason alone is the major factor on why the United States answering services and call centers are thriving more so than their overseas counterparts.

Although the industry is seeing a growth in the amount of customers, the call volumes of many of their existing clients are dropping. While the economy is not hurting the answering service industry, it is affecting its customer base. When clients businesses suffer, their phone rings less, therefore they pay less. Yet, every call in these economically challenging times is extremely valuable. With their clients businesses suffering and facing economic uncertainty, a whole new set of challenges face the answering service owner. Billing and collections have moved to the forefront as far as tasks in a call center. Customer retention teams are in place to stop clients from making a mistake and cancelling their service. The answering service industry is fortunate that it thrives in a recession as well as prosperity. As observed in the last few months, the answering service can be a struggling businesses greatest asset.