Call centre services in Canada have evolved quite a bit over the past half century. When Telelink started over 55 years ago we did very straight forward call answering and message taking. Fast forward to 2020 and Telelink is so much more. We now offer a suite of call center services that includes on-call dispatch, appointment booking, and tier one technical support. Not to mention the fact that our call center is a natural fit in the safety industry; we have been a leader in lone worker monitoring for the last 10 years.
Somewhere along the line, call centres got a bad rap – and we’re not defending it. Too many pushy salespeople, horrible customer service reps, and automated voice recordings gave the industry a less-than-favourable reputation. But things have changed in recent years. Nowadays, there are more inbound specialists, like Telelink. We do not offer outbound sales services like some other call centres. Choosing to cater only to inbound support, we can hire customer service representatives that are more customer satisfaction driven rather than sales oriented. We are more focused on the service we offer, and the skill set we have to hire, and our customers get the value of focused customer service pros.
So, what kind of services does an inbound call centre like Telelink offer?
Most popular call centre services
The most popular call centre services in Canada are live call answering, dispatch and message taking. Outsourcing these aspects of your business doesn’t just free up time you would have spent on the phone, it frees up time to work on your business’s core competencies. If you're a small business owner, then you know the importance of each hour of the day. If you want to focus on revenue generating activities, you must outsource some other tasks. Call centre outsourcing is a great way to achieve a consistent, professional voice on your business’s phone, around the clock, without having to hire a full-time receptionist.
Another popular call centre service is on-call dispatch. Call centres can add a tremendous amount of value to your organization when they triage calls for dispatch. Think about a plumber, for example. Their office closes at 5pm, but we all know that pipes don’t stop busting after 5pm.
Plumbers get two types of calls: urgent and non-urgent. For an urgent call, like a busted pipe flowing all over the kitchen, your call centre agent would dispatch a technician right away – any hour of the day or night. On the flip side, a customer might call at 8pm in the evening with a small leak, they have it under control with a bucket underneath so your call centre service would simply make a note and schedule an appointment for that customer for the following day – no need to pay overtime for a technician to go out after hours.
When your call centre partner can add that kind of value, your business will be poised to grow efficiently and effectively. Check out how we helped Blair Mechanical, an HVAC company out of British Columbia take on more customers and increase customer satisfaction.
Does your business rely on appointment bookings to generate revenue? Many do. And missed calls often mean missed opportunities to book appointments. Salons, real estate agents, plumbers, electricians, and many more are keenly aware of the fact that leads are not waiting around for you. If you miss their call, chances are they will go to your competitor within minutes. It’s more important than ever to have a 24/7 presence. Even if you’re not open or in the office, you must be available to your leads whenever they want information.
For as little as $90/month you can have an around the clock phone presence that ensures you never miss another lead opportunity again.
Third party reporting lines
Using a third party for your reporting lines will, in most cases, increase their use. Take Newfoundland, for example. On the topic of harassment reporting, Newfoundland & Labrador OHS has made it mandatory as of January 1st, 2020 for all employers to have a third party reporting line for harassment. Think about the implications of that – if an employee feels that they have been harassed at the workplace by a superior they might be hesitant to report the incident. The person that employee must report the incident could in fact be the harasser, or they could be close acquaintances with the harasser. A neutral third party removes these barriers.
A third party harassment reporting line makes anonymity easier, coming forward more accessible, and a healthy workplace more achievable.
COVID-19 safety reporting lines
We've all seen delivery trucks and shuttle vehicles with “how’s my driving” stickers and a number to call to report reckless drivers – these days you may find a “How’s our COVID safety?” poster at your favourite places to do business. Just as employers want to know when their drivers are doing things that reflect poorly on the company, employers want to ensure their team are following social distancing regulations. Providing a channel for feedback, whether positive encouragement, or constructive criticism, builds trust with your customers.
The process of re-opening business and becoming accustomed to new norms requires a huge effort, and a big responsibility as a business owner. Working with a call centre provides a simple solution to a challenging situation, insightful reports from your call centre partner may uncover interesting trends. For example, let’s say 50% of your calls reporting social distancing non-compliance come between 6-8pm, that may be an indication that you need to add additional staff to oversee that period of time, or take additional precautions by letting staff know it’s a problem time frame. Arm yourself with the data to make better decisions.
Sick & vacation lines for employees
There are many reporting lines that a call centre can arrange for you, but the final one we will review is the sick and vacation line. Part of any return to work plan is addressing how we handle and organize sick calls. Now, more than ever, we must take great care to be deliberate and conscious of how and when our employees are calling in sick.
For many businesses a sick call is simply noted on file, a replacement is called and nothing more is done. But times have changed.
We are noticing a trend where businesses are gathering much more information from an employee calling in sick. A simple risk assessment (to use a term our safety division uses often) script will gather the appropriate information.
Now, if an employee calls in sick you need to know if they’ve been traveling in the past 14 days, you need to know if they’ve been tested for COVID-19, and above all, if that test comes back positive, you need to know which of your other employees have been in contact with the sick person.
Sick calls are on the rise, employees are fatigued and some are scared. Taking a sick call isn’t such a simple task anymore and can be quite overwhelming for a single person to handle. Collecting the data to make informed decisions and quick action is more important than ever.
Lone worker monitoring
One of the less obvious call centre services available in Canada is lone worker monitoring. Call centres in Canada (for the most part) are open 24/7 which is a critical part of monitoring lone workers – it must be 24/7. Organizations have a duty of care to provide for their lone workers. They must provide, among other things, the lone worker a means of communicating with an outside party. Call centres are an excellent means of giving lone workers a person they can reach any time of day or night. Your call centre can escalate distress calls, dispatch authorities, and help with compliance issues like electronic audit trails.
Given social distancing guidelines, and the need to have fewer people at the workplace, there will be more lone workers this year than ever before. Anytime your employees leave the confines of your building and are alone, they are a lone worker. Every year, preventable workplace deaths happen that could be avoided with a simple alert to a monitoring centre. If your business now has lone workers, be sure to research your duty as an employer and keep them safe.
Take advantage this year
As you think about your business processes and operations with a new lens this year, consider the affordability and flexibility that a partnership with a call centre can provide. Talk to us today about some of the challenges you’re facing.