Answer Midwest Employee Spotlight: Jen

At Answer Midwest, we love serving our clients! We uphold a strong attitude of always serving the client to the greatest extent of our abilities and making sure that all of their needs are fulfilled. Our exceptional, talented, and expert staff members always do a fantastic job in serving the clients we have, no matter what time of the day or night. Our Employee Spotlight this month is definitely no exception when it comes to helping clients! This month, we’re pleased to feature Vice President Jen!

Jen has been with Answer Midwest since 1991 and started as an operator in her college days. Since then, her responsibilities have kept increasing each year until 2001 in which she became a partner of Answer Midwest. Now she’s the official Vice President of the company. “Of course, I do a little bit of everything,” Jen said. “While I am officially responsible for accounts payable and most anything relating to finances, I also oversee and have my hand in everything else from human resources to technology to doing dishes and taking home towels to wash. That’s the joy of working in a business that you care so deeply about – you do whatever needs to be done.”

Jen and her family moved frequently when she was growing up, which gave her an incredible opportunity to live in several states and cities. “I had a fantastic childhood and was able to experience living in Florida, Kansas City, Denver, and Illinois,” Jen noted. “I developed friendships and memories all along the way. I have pretty amazing parents who have loved and nurtured me all along the way and taught me to be a responsible adult. I am so thankful that they didn’t just give me everything I wanted but made me realize the value of work and the importance of being a person of integrity.”

It wasn’t until her grandfather passed away that her family moved back to the Godfrey area to live close to her grandmother. “After getting married in 1994, my husband and I lived in Missouri for 13 years,” said Jen. “We’ve just recently moved back to the Alton area to be around family.”

Jen graduated from Greenville College, a small Christian college located in Greenville, Illinois. “I dearly loved going there,” said Jen. “It was like living in Mayberry – just my style.”

After Jen graduated college, she received her series 7 license and spent several years working at Edward Jones on the trading floor. “I learned very quickly that that is just not my style – I am an easy-going person and not a fan of high stress,” Jen remarked. “It was clear to me that working here in the family business would allow me to take the values that I held and build a company around them, and I have been able to do just that.”

Jen thoroughly enjoys what she does at Answer Midwest, but she truly loves working with people and finding opportunities to help them. “I love being able to help a client who needs advice or who is looking for ways to improve their business,” Jen said. “I also love my coworkers. They really make coming to work each day a pleasure!”

Jen is happily married to her husband and will be celebrating their 20th anniversary next month. They have two children, Truman and Ellie. “I know I’m biased, but they are without a doubt the best kids ever,” Jen beamed. “I always tell them I want to be just like them when I grow up.”

Whenever Jen isn’t busy helping clients, she enjoys decorating her home and spending time with her family. “I’m honestly not sure what free time is, but I love what I do, so it all feels like fun to me!” she said.

Want to know more about Answer Midwest? See what we can do for you! Call us at (618) 463-9093

Do You Need a Personal Receptionist? The Solution Is Answer Midwest!

Receptionists are often the unpraised workers that make an office run smoothly. Think of Pam Halpert from “The Office” or Joan Harris from “Mad Men.” These are the characters that hold the office together, seamlessly and gracefully.

We are sure that there have been times in which you have considered adding a receptionist to your office team, someone to help the office run more efficiently. Maybe you thought that you couldn’t afford one. Answer Midwest offers a budget-friendly solution. Here are four ways that our answering services can be the perfect answer to your receptionist dilemma!

Budget-Friendly – First, think of how much it would cost you to operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Keep in mind that you would have to include your workers’ salaries and the expenses of keeping the physical business open the entire day and night. Most companies don’t desire to do this anyway. Our services are available to you 24/7/365 at a fraction of the cost! Your business can focus on being efficient while the phones are taken care of for you at all times.

Reliability – A typical receptionist will require sick time or vacation time. Our operators are there for you whenever you need them! They know about your business and can answer questions, manage appointments and act as an information center to your customers. Your clientele will never get a voicemail or have to wait for a response ever again! This is great news for customer service and building loyalty within your business.

Constant Professionalism – Our Answer Midwest operators are part of your team. They are trained in tasks you would require of your employees and they always answer in a friendly and professional manner. Our well-qualified operators give your business a sense of credibility that answering a call from your cell phone does not. We take detailed messages that can be emailed or even sent as a text message to your phone if you are busy in a meeting, leaving your schedule uninterrupted.

No Worries – When you are out of town or if bad weather strikes, we are always there to take the calls that you can’t. You no longer have to be worried that you will miss out on business or opportunities. We can increase your accessibility and responsiveness during these times, keeping your customers happy! Our services are crucial to a successful business.

Call us at (618) 463-2430, and follow us on Twitter @AnswerMidwest!

Answer Midwest Employee Spotlight: Bailey

Here at Answer Midwest, we love taking care of our clients’ customers and fulfilling their needs. This wouldn’t be possible without our amazing staff, who always help out with enthusiasm and a smile on their faces, no matter what time of the day or night. Our Employee Spotlight this month showcases Assistant Dispatcher Bailey!

Bailey has been with Answer Midwest for a year and has recently been promoted to Assistant Dispatcher. She takes incoming calls and provides customer service for a variety of companies. As a dispatcher, she also follows the clients’ protocol in making sure that their messages are delivered to them as they desire. “Our business always tries to help the customer to the best of our ability,” she said. “We always want to have a nice tone, positive attitude, and make sure that the caller feels comfortable and that their needs have been addressed!”

A native of East Alton, Bailey attended Roxana Schools and is a graduate of Roxana High School. She is currently working on her second year of college at Lewis & Clark Community College and plans on getting an associates degree in science and will begin working on her elementary education degree.

Bailey was drawn to Answer Midwest when one of her friends mentioned working here. “My friend thought that I would be good at customer service and thought that I would be friendly to the customers. I immediately applied and ended up getting hired,” she said. “I love the people I work with, and I like coming to work and knowing that I will be working in a positive environment. Since I am a full-time college student, it’s also very nice that they are willing to work around my school schedule!”

Ambitious and hard-working, Bailey is in the process of completing the training for another promotion to Main Dispatcher. She is hoping to receive this promotion in the next few weeks!

Her ambition doesn’t just stop at her job. Bailey drive and motivation have led her to Jamaica for a week to do mission work in which her group helped rebuild an orphanage, conducted street ministry and taught at different schools. “It was an incredible experience to engage in the culture there,” she said. “I will always remember that trip as one of my best summers ever!”

Bailey also went to Washington D.C. three years ago for a conference in leadership training. “I stayed for a week and went to seminars and got to sight-see all the different monuments,” she noted. “The last day of the conference was July 4th, and the group and I got to see the fireworks on the Potomac River in a Double-Decker boat. It was a great way to finish up the conference and celebrate our freedom.”

When Bailey isn’t assisting our clients’ customers or handling calls, she can be found spending time with her big family, her amazing friends, and her golden retriever-lab mix Ollie and her Calico cat Angel.

Want to know more about Answer Midwest? Call us at (618) 463-2430

7 Essential Customer Service Tips to Help Your Business Build a Loyal Client Base!

Do your employees practice good customer service on the phone?

The way you address a customer on the phone could help you build customer loyalty or it could drive the customer away from your company. Keep your customers coming back to your company by using these 7 customer service tips every day!

Double-Check for Your Customer – Whenever you’re able, try to use the phrase, “Let me double-check that.” Even if you know that the certain item is out of stock or if there is no room left for appointments tomorrow, tell the customer on the line that you will double-check to make sure, just in case. It will make them feel that you really care about their needs!

Use the Golden Rule – We all know this rule – “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This rule is a fantastic rule to live by and works perfectly in the working world as well. Pretend the customer on the phone is you. What would you want to happen? What would make you happy? Try to make it happen for your customer.

Involve Yourself – A good way to make your customers happy is to get involved in what they are saying. If you’re assisting someone in obtaining information about a product, mention how nice their choice is, for example. When customers feel as if you’re on their side, they will be pleased!

Keep Your Focus – It can be easy to be distracted on the phone, but you need to listen to exactly what your customer is saying, no matter what. Don’t type unless it pertains to what you’re doing. Don’t read something while you’re taking care of a customer’s needs. Stay focused on the call, take notes if necessary, and help however you can!

Ask Questions – Be an active participant in the conversation by asking questions! Listen for one or two words that you can ask the customer about, or even ask them to expound on their needs by saying, “Tell me more.” Once you get the customer talking, you will be able to help them much more efficiently and are sure to have a satisfied customer.

Avoid Long Holds – Whenever it’s possible, do your best to avoid making your customer wait for long periods of time. If you have to put your customer on hold, explain why and keep the hold period as brief as you can. Be sure to thank them when you get back on the line!

Do Extra – Before you hang up with your customer, be sure to ask if there’s anything else you can do for them. If they say no, then be sure to thank them for calling and invite them to call again if they have any other needs to fulfill.

Don’t Subject Them to Voicemail – Your customers take the time to get on the phone and call you, so why would you want to subject them to the dreaded voicemail? Give your customers a person to talk to when they call your business! They will be much happier talking to a person instead of a machine.

Put these skills and techniques to use now and see what happens. You might be amazed at the results!

Don’t have time to answer the phone? Want to take make sure your customers are taken care of after hours, too? We at Answer Midwest can help! We operate on a 24/7/365 basis and will answer your calls in an efficient, friendly, and professional manner for you! Call (618) 463-2430 to learn more about who we are and how we can serve you!

Let the Answer Midwest Difference Help Better Your Company!

As a business owner, you know that some days it’s hard to get work done. Many days, your phone is ringing off the hook all day long and you’re getting constantly inundated with countless emails… and you still have plenty of work to get done! You might be at your wit’s end and exhausted by all these interruptions, but what can you do? You can pick up the phone and call us to help make a difference in your company!

How can the Answer Midwest difference help you make your company even better? See these eight ways we can help you today!

Prompt and Personalized Service – We at Answer Midwest always aim to ensure that you, our client, are taken care of and satisfied with our services. Our owner, Gary Tedrick, takes great care to guarantee that you receive prompt and personalized service through the Answer Midwest operations. You won’t find this kind of service with any of the other guys!

Exceptional Staff – Our operators receive specialized training designed specifically with you in mind! They are trained to answer your calls to your specifications and always with a friendly demeanor. In essence, our operators become an extension of your staff!

Custom-Tailored Services – Our services are second-to-none here at Answer Midwest. Our customization services and our state-of-the-art technology allow us to adapt to any special requirements that your business might need, providing you with exactly the kind of services you need and expect.

Superb Record Keeping – When we take your calls, we don’t just jot down a note, relay the message to you, and then throw away the note. We make sure that we record and retain all of the conversations for 7 years for documentation and future reviewing. We archive our digitized call records on our storage media for 7 years, just in case you might need that information anytime down the road.

Messages Are Never Lost – Tired of having your messages being lost in the shuffle? When you use our services, you’ll never have to worry about missing a call or having any information about the call slip through the cracks ever again! All the calls and transactions are continuously monitored until you receive them yourself. That means you will never lose a call again!

Meticulous Procedures – We make sure that we’re doing our very best to serve you. That’s why we’ve made every single stage of our process to be designed to ensure efficiency and provide accuracy and accountability. That’s how much you mean to us!

We Never Close – With a rotation of exceptional staff, our doors never close! That means we’re open 24/7/365. Now you can feel confident and at ease whenever you close your office doors for a holiday or vacation, knowing that with Answer Midwest at your side you will never miss another call again.

If you still aren’t entirely convinced, feel free to check out these many wonderful testimonials that we have received from our fantastic clients here!

Ready to get started? Want to find out more about us? Just call us at (618) 463-2430 to see how we can help!

Let Answer Midwest Protect Your Business in Unexpected Weather Events!

In life, anything can happen. A few benign snow flurries can suddenly tumble down and stick to the earth in droves, racking up the accumulation numbers. A light summer storm can suddenly become a dangerous flash flood situation, or worse, turn into a severe storm with perilous rotation and the capacity for tornados and damaging winds. Even the daily drive to the office can be filled with surprises when an accident occurs on the highway or road construction suddenly begins for miles on a stretch of the road.

It’s important to be prepared for the worst so that you may plan ahead, but what about when the unexpected happens? Business owners will more than likely worry profusely about who will be at the office to answer the phones and who will serve the customers, even in the event of inclement weather. What happens when a business owner and his or her employees leave the office once the day is done only to have a brutal snow storm throttle the region overnight, rendering the roads to be totally incapacitated and impassable?

That’s where Answer Midwest comes in.

We are here 24/7/365 every single year, no questions asked. On the sunniest of days to the most horrid weather imaginable, we will be there to answer your calls and take care of business. If you are unable to answer the phone for any sort of reason, we will be there to answer as if we ourselves are sitting in your office and attend to your customers’ needs. We will be sure to answer and dispatch all of your calls exactly to your specifications to keep you and your customers happy and well-informed while you are out of the office.

The best part is that you will no longer have to rely on answering machines or automated voicemails to direct your customers into leaving you a message. At Answer Midwest, a real live person will answer every single incoming call that you might have and will serve the person on the other line to the greatest extent of his or her abilities, meaning that your business will still continue and prosper in any sort of weather condition. Answer Midwest will ensure that your customer base will be taken care of when you use our services, guaranteed!

If you haven’t signed up to have Answer Midwest take care of you and your business, please take a moment to call us here at (618) 463-2430 to find out more about us. Put your business in the hands of someone you know you can rely on 100% of the time, no matter what – Answer Midwest!

3 Ways Answer Midwest Can Help Your Business Grow!

Whether you’ve been in business for a few months, a few years, or a few decades, a growing business is always good. While you and your team are no doubt working hard to achieve your goals, satisfy your customers, and grow even more, sometimes you can get inundated with projects and calls from clients and potential customers, making it difficult and even exhausting to constantly stop what you’re doing and answer the ever-busy phone.

If you want to reduce your stress and make life easier on yourself and your employees, consider utilizing our exemplary services at Answer Midwest!

So why should you consider using our services for your business? Find out 3 great ways we can help you grow your business below!

You Can Attend to the Matter at Hand – Your customers are incredibly important to you and your business, they all need attention and most need it right now, but you can only be so many places at once. That’s why we’re here to help. One thing every business owner needs is time. By tending to your callers we give you more precious time to focus on the tasks that you have at hand. We’ve all been there, you’re desperately trying to work on a project or tend to a customer but your phone won’t stop ringing. It’s very distracting….we know. Your customers and your business need your full, undivided attention, and it’s actually possible to provide that. Let us attend to your customers and give them our undivided attention while you work hard and without distraction!

We Save You Time and Money – When you stand back and look at the big picture, a live answering service is an excellent alternative to hiring part time or temporary help or taking a current employee away from their duties to answer the phone. For a surprisingly low cost we will standby 24/7/365 to help when you need us. We also will answer any calls you may receive during holidays, saving you money you might potentially lose while you and your employees enjoy time off with your family and friends.

We Are There During Unexpected Weather – Things happen. Sometimes you or your employees get stuck in traffic or can’t make it into work because last night’s snowstorm made your roads completely impassable. With Answer Midwest at your side, you no longer have to worry about having to brave the bad weather or speed to work to answer the phones for your customers. We take care of all of your calls no matter what the weather is like out there.

We never close!

Ready to help your business grow? Want more information? Just call us at (618) 463-2430. We pick up, no matter what!

3 Ways Answer Midwest Helps You Rake in Revenue During the Holidays

It’s December, and the holiday season is finally upon us, which means that it’s not only the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also the time of the year in which you could rake in a lot of profit. With the holiday season, though, comes those days that everyone wants and deserves off, along with increasingly colder weather and a greater propensity for sickness.

How do you keep your employees happy, healthy, and safe this holiday season without hurting your sales or forcing your employees to work overtime?

Answer Midwest can help! See the 3 big ways we can help your company make some holiday money below!

Your Company Will Never Miss a Call – Statistics show that 66% of holiday calls will be sent to a voicemail, 19% will go to an automated message or no response, and only 14% of callers will hear an actual person on the other end of the phone. For many industries, it’s expected that the office will be closed during the holidays; however, most businesses still receive calls on a federal holiday, which could lead to a major sale or a much happier client. What is the cost of a satisfied client or a big sale? Much less than you might think.

Your Employees Stay Happy – The holidays are a busy, stressful time for everyone, and your employees want (and deserve) to spend time with their friends and loved ones at that time. Besides, pushing your employees to work on the holidays, even for extra money, is a good way to burn them out and push them out the door, resulting in lowered or lost productivity and revenue loss. With Answer Midwest, you can give your employees a chance to rest without your business losing money. We will help you keep your productivity levels high while you allow your coworkers to enjoy the holidays so that they may return to work with continued high productivity levels.

You Don’t Have to Scramble If Employees Are Sick – As the cold weather starts to creep in the area, people will have a higher propensity to get sick. Sadly, the holiday season is the worst time to be short-staffed and to keep your customers waiting, but with Answer Midwest on your side, this doesn’t need to be an issue. If an employee calls in sick, you can rely on us to take any calls while your other employees can continue serving your customers. We can do anything you might need us to do, all while ensuring that your customers are happy and satisfied. Just keep us informed as to who is absent, and we can take care of the rest!

Is your company ready for the holiday season? If not, give us a call today at (618) 463-2430 for more information. Let us help you relax a bit more this holiday season while keeping customers content!

The Secret to Superior Customer Service as Told by Answer Midwest

When was the last time you had a negative experience when calling a business? Perhaps you had minor frustrations with the person on the other side of the line. Maybe you had such a horrible experience that you vowed to never do business with the company ever again.

If you’re a business owner, you probably know how imperative proper phone protocol and thoughtful call answering is to your business. A good phone call can make a current client even happier (which might prompt them to tell their friends and clients about you), and it can even garner new prospects to use your services in the future.

We at Answer Midwest have been making ongoing investments in training, quality service, and the latest technology to ensure that we provide the highest levels of customer service possible. Throughout the years, we have found the real “secret” to our success in providing superior answering services, which can be boiled down to the following three phone answering components:

Smile Through the Phone – Believe it or not, a caller can sense your mood through the phone within the first few seconds of the call. Everyone is allowed to have a bad day once in a while, but remember that your bad day is not the caller’s fault. Each time the phone rings, answer it with a smile. Your caller can’t help having a positive experience with you, and the experience will reflect as a positive experience with your company! Making the effort to answer each call with a good attitude and a happy demeanor will go a long way toward building a positive image for your company.

Be Helpful – When a client or prospective client calls you, they should be able to sense that your main goal is to be as helpful as possible in addressing their needs and answering their questions. Most phone calls go well beyond the simple “yes” and “no” answers, and many times callers don’t know the exact questions to ask to get what they’re looking for. Meet them halfway by asking frequent questions such as the following:

  • How can I help you today?
  • What else may I help you with?
  • Have I addressed all of your needs?
  • Were my answers helpful to you?

These probing questions will often reveal additional information that will enable you to serve the caller even more efficiently. They will also appreciate your genuine interest and persistence in solving their issues.

Focus on Each Caller 100% – Remember how you feel whenever you try to call a company and feel like you’re just an annoyance? Try to keep this feeling in mind when you’re answering the phone. No one wants to be “processed,” and few things are more irritating than calling a business in which you can instantly tell that they are reading from a script that will be read to countless other callers during the day. Instead, give each caller your 100% focus and make your responses to their concerns or questions genuine. The voice on the other end of the line is an individual with his or her own problems and questions. When the phone rings, do all that you can to put all other distractions and business to the side and give them your undivided attention.

These principles are simple in action, yet so many organizations can easily overlook them and ultimately wind up losing business in the shuffle because of it. Don’t be one of them – take action and incorporate these principles into your phone answering procedures today!

If you’re too busy to dedicate time to answering your phone, don’t worry! Just call us at (618) 463-2430. We pick up every time and are dedicated to providing your callers with customer service that’s second-to-none!

Is Your Company Ready When Disaster Strikes? Answer Midwest Can Help!

We never really think about disaster much at all until it happens. While some regions are more prone to certain disasters than others are, anything can happen at any time. A fire can break out, a nasty storm front can bring tornadoes and flash flooding, and serious unexpected power outages can occur at any moment.

As hard as it is to believe, it has been just a little over a year since Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New Jersey on the evening of October 29, 2012. The storm ravaged the coastline of New Jersey and New York, and more than 23,000 people had sought refuge in temporary shelters and more than 8.5 million customers lost power.

During that difficult time, businesses big and small were suffering from the hurricane as well. Tens of thousands lost their offices, inventory, and their equipment during the storms, and millions lost power and were struggling to keep their businesses running.

Disaster recovery is a preventative measure that every business should take the time to implement in their strategic planning process. In the unfortunate event that a disaster strikes your business, it’s important to make sure that your customers can reach you even if you don’t have power and your phone lines are down. Your business must stay up and running and your customers must be taken care of, no matter what.

We are the solution for your business!

Answer Midwest will provide you with 24/7/365 availability when you and your customers need it the most. We will act as your receptionist at any hour of the day or night, and make sure your business is running smoothly in any circumstance. We will be sure to answer all of your calls to your specifications and keep your customers well-informed and happy while you focus on immediate tasks such as reconstructing your operations, searching for a new business location, or speaking with your insurance agent. You can rest assured knowing that your customer base will be taken care of when you use our services.

If you’ve reevaluated your business strategy plan and have found that you’re not totally prepared for an unexpected crisis, please take a moment to call us here at Answer Midwest at (618) 463-2430. Put your business in the hands of someone you can trust when disaster strikes – Answer Midwest!