Your Business and the Changing Seasons

The leaves are changing, the jackets and jeans are coming out of storage and the phones are starting to ring off the hook. Welcome to fall, the beginning of the holiday season, and the craziest time of year for many businesses. Myriad companies will enjoy record sales through December. The weather makes for a busy time in the plumbing, heating and cooling and contracting industries. The countdown to Christmas has everyone scrambling to purchase gifts from retailers and gift cards from restaurants. This is the time to be fully available to your customers or risk certain social media backlash.
This is also the time that calls for family dinners, holiday celebrations and weekend getaways. We all want to enjoy the extra revenue brought on by the fruits of our labor, but how do we also enjoy our family and friends during this spectacular time of year? How does one resolve both professional and personal urgency? You could hire an extra employee to be on call and watch the extra revenue slip through your fingers. You could spend time with your family by sacrificing excellent customer service, only being available during the hours of 9-5 and weekdays. Then watch as the customer complaints pile up and the referrals stop coming in.
Or you could try hiring an answering service this holiday season. Let the operators be available to your customers every moment of every day. Watch your sales and customer satisfaction go through the roof! And your spouse, grandmother and children won’t know what to do with all of the extra time they have with you.

5 Reasons Your Business Needs Answer Midwest

The New Year is upon us again! Many business owners saw great increases in revenue, customer retention and call volume last year. The economy is continuing to do well, consumers are spending money and our heads are spinning from the chaos and long hours required to run a business over the holiday season. Although this should be a time when everyone is full of joy and cheer, the long lines at stores, waiting for service and excessive hold time on phone calls puts consumers on edge. The age old question is how do I keep my customers satisfied without hiring a team of receptionists and customer service agents? Answer Midwest has compiled a list of ways outsourcing a call center can keep revenue and customer retention up indefinitely.


1. An answering service makes you available to your customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. With 24 hour service, your customers can rest assured knowing you are there when they need you. 75% of your customers believe it takes too long to get past an answering machine and to a live person.


2. You can take a break. You can leave the office early if need be without fear of missing a call from a prospective customer. You can go on a vacation. Many of our clients at Answer Midwest have the ability to do business from overseas, out of state, from their couch. Your customers are greeted with a warm, welcoming voice and our operators give them the assistance they are seeking. We then get the message immediately to you, in whatever form you wish to receive it. Text message, email, voicemail, fax, etc. You have all of the information you need at all times to provide excellent customer care.


3. Our services are cost effective. The cost of hiring even one extra person can be overwhelming. With taxes, insurance, vacation, etc., imagine what you would pay to have a receptionist or customer service agent on staff 24 hours a day. Our services are a very small fraction of that cost, with equal payout for your company. Many business owners don’t realize just how affordable an answering service is. Give us a call to get a quote so you can see just how invaluable this service will be for your business. 618-463-2430


4. Our agents are highly trained to answer questions and take information regarding your specific industry. We work with you to create a template for exactly how you would like our operators to interact with your customers. Our conversations are always natural and professional. It is like having a customer service professional on site every hour of the day. This makes your customers excited to refer you to friends and family, knowing they are in good hands.


5. Repeat customers come back because they receive immediate assistance. They receive answers to their questions, a live person to listen their problems and immediate issue resolve. 3 out of 5 Americans would try a new brand or company for a better service experience. Be the company the customers run to, not away from.


80% of companies say they deliver “superior” customer service, while only 8% of their customers agree. Answer Midwest has proven our superior customer service year after year, and we thrive on helping our clients improve theirs. Make your focus on the customer experience in 2015 and see this year be the most productive.


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!

8 Ways Answer Midwest Will Make Your Business More Efficient

At Answer Midwest, we are here to make your work go smoother! But maybe you’re curious about how we can achieve that. Below we’ve compiled eight ways we will make you and your business far more effective, all without having to go through the costly and time consuming process of hiring new employees.

No Downtime – We pride ourselves on being available 24/7 and we mean that. We know your business can’t afford any downtime, either. As such, we will take any and all calls and make sure they get to you no matter what. Hurricane Sandy is the perfect example of this. When some of the businesses on the east coast lost power because of the storm, those businesses didn’t miss a beat thanks to our service. Your company may face days when the office can’t be open, but that’s no reason to stop serving your clientele. Answer Midwest makes that possible!

Order taking – Say you are the type of business that lives on getting orders from customers by phone. You can’t be expected to stay in the office 24/7, and it can be costly to hire one or two people to work the phones during the graveyard shift. We can help you! With our service, your customers can order your products and services around the clock whether you or your employees are in the office or not.

Our staff can handle any order taking details you need. You can rest easy knowing your customers will speak with representatives of your company who are helpful and knowledgeable. All orders will be sent to you when you want them, and in any format you choose including email, fax, phone, and more. It’s like having your own personal employees!

Medical Emergencies – Are you a doctor? If so, you know how important it can be to get calls when your office is closed. We have been handling medical emergency calls since 1946, so we are very capable of helping you. We will take any medical calls, handle any information accurately, and keep all records for seven years for insurance and legal purposes. Your patients won’t ever know that you don’t have a receptionist 24/7!

Appointment Management – Your calendar is your lifeblood. Your schedule is important to you, and so it is for us, too. Clients, patients, or patrons can call us to make or reschedule any appointments, and we will make sure your schedule is kept up-to-date!

Information Center – Do you need survey results or questionnaire responses in order to help target your marketing program? We can handle that! We will gather any important information from your clients and make sure it gets to you without having to trouble your staff to do it. You’ll get your results without having to miss a beat at the office!

Troubleshooting and Help Desk – Ever find yourself answering the same questions over and over again? We can step in and take those calls for you. If you find that you constantly need to answer certain inquiries, just let us know how you would like us to respond, and we can take those pesky calls off of your hands.

Dispatching – Get the right information to the right person the first time. Instead of forcing your clients and customers to have to wade through a maze of on-hold messages, we will make sure their inquiries get to the right person each time.

Reminders – Do you find yourself forgetting important dates? Our wake-up service will make sure you know where you need to be and when you need to be there. You won’t have to worry about forgetting schedules, medications, appointments, or anniversaries with Answer Midwest at your side!

So, are you ready to kick your business up a notch? Then call us at (618) 463-9093, we’re ready to take your call!

The Rich History of Answer Midwest

Hello, and welcome to our blog! We are very excited to be presenting our blog to you and hope that you will be back many more times to get great information and handy updates from us.

Answer Midwest has been serving customers happily for quite a long time, but we more than likely wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for Mrs. Margaret Weber accepting a very important position back in 1946. At that time, a local physician in Alton approached her and asked if she would be willing to answer his phones after office hours, hoping that by having someone real answering the phone the patients would not only be satisfied but they could also reach the physician in case of emergencies.

Margaret answered the physician’s phone through the phone in her residence and would take a message for each call she received. The physician had also left her with his detailed itinerary on where and how he could be reached in the event of an emergency. At that time, all that was needed was a telephone, a note pad, a pencil, and someone willing to work 16 hours a day and all weekend long.

The company survived and went through a series of different owners until it was sold to its current owners, Gary and Lee Ann Tedrick, in 1991. From 1946 up until 1991, a fully staffed and appointed office, including 3 operator consoles, 7 employees, and the latest state-of-the-art Telescan Advantage Plus IV paperless messaging system, have been at the service of more than 150 customers.

Gary, Lee Ann, and their daughter, Jennifer, bring a history of professionalism and diversity of business management skills to the business. Gary has a strong history of sales, customer service, and marketing, having begun in the corrugated industry with the Alton Box Board Company and moving to the telecommunications field. He had served as a systems consultant at Southwestern Bell and AT&T before moving to this family-owned business adventure.

Lee Ann has served as the administrative assistant for several business leaders in many different cities including St. Louis, Miami, Denver, and Kansas City, and she has honed her skills in creating an atmosphere of professionalism over the years.

Jen, who graduated Cum Laude from Greenville College with a bachelor’s degree in business management, worked as an assistant to the General Partner at Edward Jones & Company in St. Louis until 1994, when she came to Answer Midwest, Inc. She has worked her way up through the ranks, performing in every position available, beginning as a management partner-in-training. She is now Vice President of Answer Midwest, Inc.

We at Answer Midwest have worked diligently to improve the company as a whole since we took ownership. We have gone through several equipment upgrades and have kept our focus always on the satisfaction of our customers and on the quality of service that we provide them. We have added in-house monitoring as well as very rigorous monitoring from an outside agency to make sure that we keep the quality of services top-notch. Our dedication to the quality of service has garnered us a great deal of recognition, and we have recently been awarded the illustrious Award of Excellence for outstanding customer service for the past 12 consecutive years.

What brings us more joy and satisfaction more than any award is when a customer recommends someone to us or when a caller calls in for another company and are so impressed by what they hear that they want our services for their own business. That is a great feeling and makes all of our hard work worth it!

If you’re in need of a full-service, 24-7 live operator call-handling service company that will always provide you with top-notch services, then give us a call at (618) 463-2430! Our commitment is to YOU!