Shared Resources Management at AnswerFirst
With the ongoing chatter about shared resources, I thought I would write about how we at AnswerFirst manage our shared resources with the help of technology.
Here at AnswerFirst, our primary shared resource is our Customer Service Professional (CSP). CSPs are the ones on the front lines answering inbound calls, emails and chats 24/7/365, for all our clients across the board. When I explain this, people often ask, “How are you so successful working for so many different businesses, using the same pool of operators?” The answer is in the technology. Which, interestingly, is another shared resource.
The technology we employ, both on the live side and the virtual side, has allowed us not only to create standards that apply to almost all accounts, but also to customize the individual accounts intelligently through code and scripting.
We also have the ability to integrate with our clients’ systems through the use of APIs while maintaining the ability to present almost everything to our CSPs in a familiar way. In conjunction with standardizing the way information is viewed, we automate everything we can, from running scripts in the background that query information we know we are going to need, to auto-formatting and sending texts or emails upon message completion. These strategies has proven to significantly reduce errors and provide reliable results… and that’s just on the telephone answering side!
On the virtual side, we have our own live chat platform that will integrate with our clients’ websites. The responses and uses can still be customized for the individual client, but it will always present the same to our CSPs. Then there is our Inbound Email platform. Among many things, our email platform can isolate identifiers from inbound emails that can in turn be programmed to create different desired responses. For example, one identifier will have our system automatically ignore an email because the identifier renders it non-critical, while a different identifier will find the email critical and create a dispatch job for a CSP to escalate to our client’s staff for further action.
Through the use of technology, pushing boundaries and providing feedback to the developers of the technology, we pave the way to our continued success. The focus of training is steered toward processes instead of individual account nuances. That is how we can use such a large pool of operators successfully, across a wide variety of clients.
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