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2016 Award for Answering Service Quality
Blog Feature

By: Aaron Boatin on June 27th, 2016

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2016 Award for Answering Service Quality

Recognition & Awards

2016 ATSI award for best telephone answering serviceAmbs Call Center was just awarded the 2016 ATSI Award of Excellence for answering service quality. It marks the 6th consecutive year that our team has earned the award. We couldn't prouder of the team of dedicated people that made it happen!

 “Winning the ATSI Award of Excellence for a sixth consecutive year demonstrates the true commitment to excellence that AMBS has. I am proud of the entire staff for our continued dedication to providing the highest level of service to our clients.”

-Cedric Roney, Quality Evaluator for Ambs Call Center

The Award is presented annually by the Association of TeleServices International (ATSI). ATSI is the industry trade association for call centers across North America and the United Kingdom. This year, the award was presented at the 2016 ATSI annual conference in Tampa, Florida.

Secret Shopper Program for Answering Services

award_for_telephone_answering_service.pngThe ATSI award of excellence program is a secret shopper program for call centers. Independent ATSI judges evaluate telephone answering services and call centers over a six-month period. 

The scoring criteria includes courtesy, response time, accuracy and service to their clients. 

If a company scores 80% or better in all categories, they are presented with the coveted Award of Excellence.  The program is now in its 26th year.

Answering Service Quality Criteria

Independent judges are contracted by CAM-X to evaluate message services over a six month period.  Random calls to our answering service are placed 24/7/365 to make sure that our answering service quality is consistent at all times.

Here are the areas that are covered.

Response Time

This is one of the most important items as you never get a second chance to make a great first impression. It measure how quickly the telephone call answered.

Telephone answering services must have enough staff on hand at the right times in order pass the test on this category. A successful passing score on this category is that the call is answered within 3 rings, or 18 seconds, by a person. If a call rings longer than this, points are deducted. 

Grading categories include:

  • Number of rings that the caller hears before the agent answers the call.
  • If caller is put on hold, the duration of time they are waiting.
  • If a call was on hold, were they thanked for waiting on hold?

Courteousness of Answering Service Agent

This measures how friendly and nice we are your callers. It starts with answering with a smile in our voice. Throughout the call we make sure to use at least two pleases and a thank you.

At the conclusion to the call, we give the caller a 'reassuring close' to the call. Informing them of what happens next and if there is anything else we can help them with.

Grading categories include:

  • Was the phone answered using the complete answer phrase script?
  • The answering service operator had a genuine interest, positive attitude and preferred tone intended for this account being tested.
  • The agent guides the caller throughout the call with appropriate questions.
  • Maintains control throughout most of the call with minimal dead air or evidence that caller is leading the conversation.
  • Points are deducted if the caller leads the call, rambles on or dead air is heard.
  • Did the answering service operator convey a pleasant and helpful attitude by his/her choice of words and/or tone of voice throughout the call?
  • The person answering the phone sounded interested and was helpful and composed.
  • Points are deducted if agent becomes flustered, seemed nervous or unsure, or lost control of the call during some portion of the call.
  • Points deducted if slang is used: Yup, Yep, Nope, ya/yeah (instead of yes), Gonna/Gunna, Lemme, Okey Dokey, Ya (instead of you), All Righty, Uhhhh, Cool, Ain’t, like (when used as a filler), bye-bye now, bu-buy, speak'in, etc.
  • Points are deducted if the agent habitually used a particular word (more than 3 times) during the call. Habitually means that a particular word is overused to the point of distraction during the call. Examples of unacceptable words when used habitually include, but not limited to,: Okay, Um, Alright, no problem, no worries, K, thanks, mmmmmm, crutch words such as: so, well.

Accuracy of Call

Being polite and friendly when answering your phones is important. Making sure we are gathering accurate information for you is of equal importance.

We verify spelling, telephone numbers and pertinent information. This ensures that you get clear and accurate messages

Grading categories include:

  • Agent offered to help or assist the caller.
  • Caller is advised how the message will be handled in a clear and professional manner any time during the call.
  • Spelling of caller name and other information is verified.
  • Telephone numbers are repeated for accuracy.
  • Gathering all information required by the answering service customer.

Knowledge of Customer's Business

Now that we have the courtesy and accuracy covered, the next item is making sure we are knowledgeable about your business.

It includes knowing how to handle your phone calls, which questions to ask and if needed, escalating the calls when it is urgent.  In short, we want to make sure we are delivering value to you and living up to expectations.

Grading categories include:

  • Answering service agent appears knowledgeable of the account.
  • Appropriate responses are given.
  • Navigating account information with confidence to ensure the call flows smoothly.

Overall Impression of Call

In short, it's the 'Wow' factor. We've all heard about the importance of customer service. This implies we are simply serving the customer's need and nothing more than that. What our answering service strives for is going above and beyond the caller's expectations. 

When ever possible we like to deliver extra value to our customers in the least expected ways. One of our favorite companies to emulate is Zappos, who built their business around providing its customers with a fantastic experience at all levels of engagement.

Grading categories include:

  • Did the agent sound engaged with the caller? 
  • Did the agent personalize by referring to the caller by name throughout the call Referring to the caller by name can be: first name, last name with Mr./ Mrs. / Ms, Doctor, Sir, Ma’am?

Complete List of Answering Service Quality Criteria

  1. Did they use the answer phrase with a genuine interest and positive attitude?
  2. Was the entire answer phrase clear and could be fully understood?
  3. Did they enunciate clearly and speak at an appropriate pace?
  4. Were they professional?
  5. Did they convey a pleasant and helpful attitude by his/her choice of words and/or tone of voice throughout the call?
  6. Did they use proper manners? (2 please, 1 thank you)
  7. Did they use proper business phrasing and grammar throughout the call, without slang, and without the use of "OK" and/or "Um" during the call?
  8. Did they give the impression that they were knowledgeable by giving appropriate responses and navigating information with confidence/call flows smoothly?
  9. Did they guide caller throughout the call with appropriate questions, with no dead air or evidence that the caller was leading the conversation and was not pushy or rushed when/if gaining control?
  10. Did they offer to take a message/offer to assist, explaining how the message would be handled in a clear and professional manner?
  11. Did they confirm correct spelling  and correct phone number?
  12. Was script followed per client instructions?
  13. Did they have a strong close by advising what they would do and ask be done with the message and by advising any additional scripting?
  14. How was the overall "impression" the agent left with the caller?
  15. Did agent remain professional and interested at all time, leaving the caller to feel confident that their needs would be met?
  16. Did the agent personalize by referring to the caller by name, either first or last, throughout the call (at least twice)?
  17. Did the agent sound engaged (appropriately concerned or compassionate) with the caller and did not sound mechanical or scriped??

Ambs Call Center was established in 1934 and has grown to become a provider of the latest telecommunications technologies to a wide range of industries throughout the nation. With locations in Jackson, MI Grand Rapids, MI, and Tampa, FL, Ambs Call Center helps businesses become more efficient and profitable with its 24-hour call center services.Download our free checklist

About Aaron Boatin

Aaron Boatin is President of Ambs Call Center, a virtual receptionist and telephone answering service provider. His passion is helping clients' businesses succeed. Melding high tech with high touch to provide the best customer service experience for clients is his core focus.

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