Home Security companies can use an answering service in many ways. Often times the security companies have the answering service serve as an after-hours receptionist. The operators will answer phone calls, take messages and dispatch emergencies. The use of an afterhours call center comes in handy, as the service can help manage phone calls anytime of the day or night. If you are an independent security company looking to compete with the big name residential security providers, having an operator available 24 hours a day who is capable of handling everything your own staff can accomplish is an invaluable asset and will give your company a distinct edge over the competition.
The most effective way for security companies to utilize answering services is as a central dispatching station. The answering service can respond to alarms and dispatch calls and follow appropriate protocol. The idea of a central station means the call center provides a live operator designated to monitor and respond to burglar, fire and home security alarm systems. A central station can also be used to monitor heating, air conditioning and medical response systems. While most central stations act solely as a central monitoring station, many call centers double as both an answering service and a central station meaning they can perform lead capture services as well as emergency response services.
To get the most out of your account, it helps to understand a bit about the inner workings about a call center. When your telephone lines ring at the center (usually through call forwarding or direct advertising of the forwarding number), the call routes to the operators terminals who follow a series of "screen pops" that designate how the call is to be handled. In a perfect world, the operator would exclusively be answering calls for your company. Answering services are not setup to work like this. In any 8 or 10 hour work shift, the operator could be answering calls for your company and hundreds of other businesses. The trick to answering these calls effectively is to create the simplest and most versatile protocol that can be read and followed by an operator who may not have direct experience with your account. As a security company, you can't afford to miss calls. The most efficient call protocols should include:
- Online Access to your Customer Portal: When you outsource, you want your information available online through some secure CRM. When the operators answer the forwarded call, they should have quick access to your customer data so they can follow your programmed protocols. Try to use a popular easy to navigate platform rather then something with too many options that it could confuse an operator. Popular online applications include Microsoft CRM (based on the Microsoft Office interface) and Salesforce.
- Keep it Simple: When creating your script, you want to craft it so a stranger could follow it and represent your company to your own standards of excellence. Keep your dispatch instructions simple by limiting dispatch to one method (i.e. email or call patch).
- Basic Answering: Rather than answering the phones using a long phrase that could trip up operators, try something line "XXX Security Company, what's your emergency". If customers are calling you on their emergency line, they don't need to be won over by a suave answer-phrase. They need action and quick response.
- Priority Call Routing: Before you sign up with a service, make sure they offer a priority queue or priority call routing procedures. This is usually a premium service but it will ensure that when your call comes in, it is never put on hold and the operator answers the phone call immediately. In periods of high volume, calls are handled on a first come first serve basis. If you opt for a priority queue, your calls will always be pushed the front of the line - a necessity for any security firm.
Congratulations on making the important decision to outsource your telephone calls. Follow the above points for a successful relationship between your home security company and your answering service.