I am training a new person today (actually all week), and it made me realize how long it’s been since I trained someone. Even though I’ve trained many operators over the last 25+ years, I found I was rusty.
Then I realized what a great problem to have! The answering service I ran for someone else during most of those 25 years had a constant turnover problem. It was the bane of the owner’s existence. Advertising for openings, listening to voicemails from prospective employees, interviewing over the phone, then interviewing in person (if they bothered to show up), just sucked up a massive amount of the owners time. When someone was hired, I think the average time they’d stick with us was about 6 months.
When I started my company, of course, I had the benefit of learning from this experience. I knew constant turnover cost time, money, and — most importantly — it hurt quality of service. A new person will always make more mistakes than an experienced operator. It’s just the way things are.
Therefore, I put a very high premium on not just finding the best people, but doing everything I could to keep them happy. It’s not easy — the job is often not easy — and of course the economics mean you can’t pay people $75K a year, either.
However, as an answering service owner, there is quite a bit you can do. You may not be able to pay a lot, but it doesn’t have to be dirt, either. I’ve always made it clear to my people that A) their pay will increase based on their work and longevity, and B) their pay will increase if the company is successful. As we’ve grown, I think I’ve delivered on that promise. So, the money is important (my former boss did not share in this belief). There are other really important things, too. Like treating people with respect, and providing flexible hours.
I have some amazing people working for me. I know that part of it has been luck, but I like to think my approach has also made a difference. In over three years, I have only had one person quit-One.
If you want someone who sounds like they’re happy to answer your phone, it doesn’t hurt if that person likes their job. Give us a try
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