Jacqui Frost

For Service Above And Beyond

As standard not premium ...

Posted on: 01/08/2013   By: Jacqui Frost

Nearly every Telephone Answering Service works on the same premise. We will ask you, the customer, how you want us to handle certain situations and then follow those instructions. The good ones might ask you who might call, what they are likely to want and what you would like us to do in that situation ...

With The Office Genie, going above and beyond for our customers is all part of the service.

With The Office Genie, going above and beyond for our customers is all part of the service.

Now having defined the rules, how those rules are actioned separates the Telephone Answering Services from the Telephone Call Handlers. There are those that follow those rules to the letter - without thinking - and then there are those who think for themselves and step outside the rules to the benefit of the client and their customers. Let me frame this within the story of The Good Samaritan.

There are four people in this story. The Good Samaritan who goes more than one step further than anyone could expect him to. The Levite and The Priest who are both sticklers for the rules although both live to assist others and could be expected to help given the situation. And then there is our traveller - the caller with the problem.

If you don't know the story:

  • The traveller gets mugged, beaten and left for dead.

  • The first two people to walk by are the Levite (a ceremonial worker in the temple) and a Priest (pastor, minister, etc.) both of whom you would expect to want to help.

  • However, in this situation they crossed the road to avoid any penalties; there were strict rituals involved regarding cleansing yourself after contact with a corpse. To avoid having to go through this before they entered the church they preferred not to check the traveller was alive!

  • So it was left for the 3rd person to help the traveller. The Samaritan loaded up the traveller onto his donkey, took him to a nearby inn and left enough money with the innkeeper for medicines and a room until the traveller recovered.

  • The Samaritan also popped in on his way back having completed his journey to make sure the traveller was recovering ok. This is a step further than anyone expected of a Samaritan.

So back to Telephone Answering then. I want to tell you about a specific situation we recently found ourselves in. We signed up a short term client, who wanted us to answer his phones whilst he took a 2 week holiday. He left us a short, simple, easy to understand brief:

"Nothing will be that urgent - tell the customers I am on holiday and will call when I get back. Mega urgent such as building burning down should be text to my son. I don't want any messages whilst I'm away I need a real break. I will collect messages when I get back from my holiday. No one can get in touch with me!"

Simple enough, and most customers are lovely and say "I hope he enjoys the holiday I will ring him in a couple of weeks". But what do you do when the caller rings up and says "It's Tom from the couriers, I'm outside, I've got 4 boxes. Can someone let me in please?" Following the brief what do you do? Do you follow the rules like the Levite and say I am sorry there is no one there for 2 weeks. Do you consider it urgent and stick within the rules like the priest and text the son, then hope and pray he gets it and that Tom will wait? There are Answering Services out there that would stick with those options as that would be within the brief.

Our Genies however are true superstars and we consider ourselves to be Telephone Call Handlers. So we take the role of the good Samaritan and go way beyond what could be expected. We took the drivers number, asked him to wait for a moment whilst we located someone to let him in and promised a call back within 5 minutes. We then CALLED the son, asked if he was available and when he would be able to get to the premises. We then called Tom back and asked if he could wait 10 more minutes. Finally, we called the son back and confirmed the driver would wait.

This is stepping completely outside the brief as there were 3 calls, no texts. All well worth it though when we get an email from the owner the next morning thanking us for going beyond as this was an urgent delivery he had forgotten about. It means he can get the items to his customer quicker than he had quoted which, of course, also makes him look good!

So for an answering service that will always try to help both you and your clients and will step beyond the brief if we believe it can help, call us on +44 (0) 1604 529170 or click here to ping over an email to find out more.

Until next time ...


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