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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Beaches of South Walton, FL
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    55

    Default Anyone have any comments on call centers?

    Hello - I was wondering if anyone has had any experiences they would share about using a telephone call / scheduling service?

    My wife runs our office, and does a great job of scheduling about 600 inspections a year for 3 inspectors, but she's getting tired of the thankless job (her opinion) and the lack of face to face interaction. Personally, I'd be happy if I never had to deal with people, so I am not the one to replace her - plus I am our lead inspector, so my time is better spent in the field.

    SO, I was considering alternatives and was wondering if anyone would mind sharing comments about professional call centers, or any suggestions you may have about managing office duties.

    Thanks in advance, and be careful out there -

    Similar Threads:
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    JD Johnson
    Beach To Bayou Property Inspections

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
    Posts
    5,847

    Default Re: Anyone have any comments on call centers?

    Quote Originally Posted by JD Johnson View Post
    Hello - I was wondering if anyone has had any experiences they would share about using a telephone call / scheduling service?

    My wife runs our office, and does a great job of scheduling about 600 inspections a year for 3 inspectors, but she's getting tired of the thankless job (her opinion) and the lack of face to face interaction. Personally, I'd be happy if I never had to deal with people, so I am not the one to replace her - plus I am our lead inspector, so my time is better spent in the field.

    SO, I was considering alternatives and was wondering if anyone would mind sharing comments about professional call centers, or any suggestions you may have about managing office duties.

    Thanks in advance, and be careful out there -
    It is just an extra expense. You will find folks that love them and folks that don't. Me, I just don't see the need but I'm also a solo inspector that does around 300 inspections a year. My office phone is transferred to my cell and I answer the calls as needed. If I'm busy or just don't want to answer the call, it goes to voice mail and I return the call as quick as I can. Can't say I have ever lost a job by letting the call go to voice mail.

    I enjoy talking to the callers, even though about 30% of them are trying to sell me something.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Rockwall Texas
    Posts
    4,519

    Default Re: Anyone have any comments on call centers?

    Once I had a call service for a couple of years and realized the business seem to be declining. I later found out that a couple of the gals that answered the phones was telling people I was so busy and was referring out work to another guy who was slipping them a few bucks on the side.

    Both got fired and the company lost my account with them.

    I then made the choice that no one would answer my phone other than myself. You call my number you get me, not someone that doesn't really care if you get the job or not.

    I try to never let a call roll over into voicemail either as many people will not talk to a recorder. I used to have an old answering machine years ago that taught me a valuable lesson. This was before we had cell phones and pagers (remember those). I would leave out in the morning and come home that evening and rush in to see all the calls on the display. Somedays there would be like 40+calls but only 5 would actually leave a message. All those other calls was just lost revenue.

    Answering service? Not for me.

    rick


  4. #4
    Brent Simmerman's Avatar
    Brent Simmerman Guest

    Default Re: Anyone have any comments on call centers?

    Rick
    Do you still answer your calls when your on an inspection? or let voicemail get it?

    Brent


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Lake Barrington, IL
    Posts
    1,363

    Default Re: Anyone have any comments on call centers?

    What? Use an answering service and miss the telemarketing calls?

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Rockwall Texas
    Posts
    4,519

    Default Re: Anyone have any comments on call centers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Simmerman View Post
    Rick
    Do you still answer your calls when your on an inspection? or let voicemail get it?

    Brent

    Most of the time I will take the call unless I directly in front of a client. If I can't get to the call right that moment I automatically hit redial on my phone and call that person right back.

    Most are surprised that I do so but I usually catch them before they call that next inspector.

    I have a recorder on my Nextel phone so I can just hit it, record their information such as the address and information.

    Works for me.

    rick


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
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    Default Re: Anyone have any comments on call centers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Simmerman View Post
    Rick
    Do you still answer your calls when your on an inspection? or let voicemail get it?

    Brent
    I do just as Rick does. If I'm in the room with my client or an agent and my phone ring, I walk to another room or outside if I can. If it is an awkward moment I simple mute the ring and let it go to voice mail.

    If I take a call and my client notices; I tell my client that I'm sorry for that but as you know I also answer my own phone to help keep my cost down. I have never had a single client get upset or say anything that might think that the phone ringing has bothered them.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  8. #8
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Anyone have any comments on call centers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    I do just as Rick does. If I'm in the room with my client or an agent and my phone ring, I walk to another room or outside if I can. If it is an awkward moment I simple mute the ring and let it go to voice mail.

    If I take a call and my client notices; I tell my client that I'm sorry for that but as you know I also answer my own phone to help keep my cost down. I have never had a single client get upset or say anything that might think that the phone ringing has bothered them.
    I answer my own phone. Clients or no clients around. They appreciate the fact that I answer my own phone and not just someone in my office or from a call center. People like personal service and want to feel that they are getting taken care of by you personally. I know, there are many individuals out there that use call centers as well as the franchises and they do well. It is a matter of personal preference.

    It is also a matter of cost. 25 to 35 dollars per inspection. If you can get that much more then charge it and pocket the cash. Why pay it to someone else. let me see. A few hundred, give or take (right now no where near) inspections a year times 25........ 7,500.00 a year in you pocket. I like that idea.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Lake Barrington, IL
    Posts
    1,363

    Default Re: Anyone have any comments on call centers?

    I answer my own phone - and this is mentioned on the website. I figure if they know that they're going to talk to the real thing that they'll be more willing to leave a message. Last thing I want is some part time ditz in a call center loosing a job because she doesn't know the difference between my company and some mobile pet shampoo service that she just took a call for.

    On the job I'll answer a call if I'm alone and not hurried and only then to try to get something scheduled with a later call back to get the details. I envy those of you whose wives do phone detail for you.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  10. #10
    Brent Simmerman's Avatar
    Brent Simmerman Guest

    Default Re: Anyone have any comments on call centers?

    Thanks Rick and others, I might have to go and get a phone with a recorder, that sounds like it would be very handy. I answer my own calls but have not done it while on inspections, I also feel I lose some inspections. I think I will have to explain to my clients and take some calls and see the reaction I recieve. thanks

    Brent


  11. #11
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Anyone have any comments on call centers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Simmerman View Post
    Thanks Rick and others, I might have to go and get a phone with a recorder, that sounds like it would be very handy. I answer my own calls but have not done it while on inspections, I also feel I lose some inspections. I think I will have to explain to my clients and take some calls and see the reaction I receive. thanks

    Brent
    You already have the inspection you are on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    It is time to worry about the next one. Every, or almost every call I do not take, when I call back, they are already booked.

    You are not insulating folks by saying excuse me for a moment. I have never received bad remarks during an inspection that I answer the phone or after about me answering the phone. Again. You already have that inspection it is time to book the next one. No one likes to wait. They go about their list from the INTERNET or a list from a Realtor and are going to be bagged by another inspector because you did not answer your phone.


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    2,445

    Default Re: Anyone have any comments on call centers?

    My wife runs the office. She answers the phone, can answer questions, and likely knows more about home inspections than some of the guys that are in the business. I know she has more continuing education than a pile of inspectors in town (having been to many ASHI conferences).

    She is a huge asset to our business. She goes on about her day and just forwards the phone to her cell.

    I hate answering the phone while I'm working.


  13. #13
    Ernie Schreiber's Avatar
    Ernie Schreiber Guest

    Default Re: Anyone have any comments on call centers?

    My wife used to answer the phone. I would call during the day and get voice mail. Now I answer all calls. Even if there is a client present. I seem to book more inspections in the sub-area. Normally the phone rings in the sub-area or when I am removing the dead cover.

    By the way I still pay my wife each week. Just told her it is easier if I answer the phone.


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