Our Definition of a Snow Day – 16,470 Calls

A snow day means different things to different people.  For kids, it means, NO SCHOOL!  For those of us that head to work, it means cleaning off the car and navigating treacherous roads, snow plows (big and small) and then figuring out how to get your car into the parking lot once you arrive safely at work.  For an answering service it means, Game On!

Winter Storm Stella

Winter Storm Stella was no exception.  As weather conditions worsened in the Upstate NY area, offices began to close up to allow their employees the opportunity to get home and off the roads.  In our company, just the opposite was happening.  People were being asked to come in because when a storm hits, the phones start ringing.  And they don’t stop!  We have teams in 5 offices and they all rolled up their sleeves and took on the task of being the voice on the other end of the line.

We have a remarkable team of professionals.  Our Customer Service Representatives, Supervisors and Managers were energized by what they knew was coming.  They proactively geared up for the storm and organized to make sure shifts were covered.  They went above and beyond to help each other.  They were car pooling with those that couldn’t get transportation, they picked people up that couldn’t get out of their driveways or manage the road conditions.  Others worked extra shifts to help distribute the load for their colleagues and yes…  we had 2 people spend the night in the office because they couldn’t get home.   Did any of them complain?  Nope.  Even more remarkable was the level of understanding that our clients gave our teams.

When we face these kinds of challenges, it becomes all about, ”Let’s see how good we can be.”  And when we got the stats about the numbers of calls we handled, we truly impressed ourselves.  Stella set records for snowfall totals all over Upstate NY and set a record with us too.  We handled the largest volume of calls in one day in our company history ~ 16,470.  Our prior record was 14,099, which was set back in January 2012.

This is what exceptional looks like.  Congratulations to all who stepped up, well done to those who spent the night, hats off for the positive “can do” attitude that was pervasive across our offices.  Enjoy the “thank you” lunches this week and THINK SPRING!


The ABC’s of the Telephone Answering Services

ANSWERING the phone sounds easy and it is, until you have multiple competing activities going on around you.  BUSINESSES should be aware that 80% of callers will hang up if their call goes to voicemail or a machine (Fortune Magazine).  The COST of losing new business or your existing business because you can’t handle the easy task of answering the phone, should make you shutter.  Customers can DEMAND good service because there’s always someone out there ready to deliver when you can’t.

A live telephone answering service can provide the ultimate customer service EXPERIENCE.  Think about the FINANCIAL impact that personal touch can have when you welcome a new customer aboard or can support an existing customer with a human voice on the line.  People are fatigued with automated services and express GRATITUDE when they hear a “real person” welcome them.  Many of our clients ask themselves, “HOW did I go so long without you?”

We all like INDIVIDUAL attention when we’re looking for a solution or searching for services.  An answering service may be able to get the JOB done and set your business apart from the other guy that either doesn’t answer the phone or makes you navigate the telephone key pad.

Answer Watertown taps into your KNOWLEDGE of what type of support your customer needs and we become your voice. Many people aren’t aware they’re talking with an answering service. We’re that good!  When you call for information, we’ll LISTEN more than talk, so that we gain the understanding of your needs.

We understand that people are very MOBILE and aren’t always at a desk.  You NEVER have to miss a call or OPPORTUNITY to give your customers and clients the human img_3554experience.  We’ve got that covered!

Each account is custom PROGRAMMED.  Just like snowflakes, no 2 are alike!  An answering service can ask the same QUESTIONS  you would to help ROUTE the call and provide the same STELLAR service.

TIME is precious and we all need to UNDERSTAND and VALUE what it means to new and existing clients.  No one wants to WAIT and WONDER (…Double U gets Double Credit) if anyone out there is going to call them back.  We’ve all been there and done that!  Your customers deserve an XENIAL atmosphere in which to do business with you.  Answer Watertown answering service has YEARS of experience (and the awards to prove it) in providing just that.

Z is the last letter of this alphabet but don’t let the opportunity of working with an answering service like Answer Watertown be the last thing you do today.  CALL or EMAIL us for more information and we’ll make doing business with us as easy as ABC!

Answer Watertown Has Moved To a New Location (February 2016)


Answer Watertown staff in their new office.

Answer Watertown is pleased to announce that it has relocated its answering service offices to 522-A Bradley Street, Watertown, NY.  The move was necessary to provide additional office space to support an increased number of staff and conference areas.  The space went through a renovation to accommodate the needs of an answering service, including mandatory separation of the Operators’ room from other areas.  The process of moving involved company-wide preparation since the goal was to guarantee continuity of service for all clients.  All the hard work paid off and the team is settling into the new location.


2015 Service Award

We would like to recognize and congratulate Roy, a member of our Watertown team, who received our 2015 Service Anniversary Award for 10 years of service.  He is part of an exceptional group of professionals and his dedication to his career allows our company to provide outstanding customer service.

Screenshot952015-12-17-14-58-20-1We applaud his leadership and mentoring of new Representatives as they come aboard.  It’s his expertise in understanding the sophisticated technology we use, being knowledgeable about thousands of accounts and being able to treat each caller and client with respect and professionalism that allows us to pass on our excellence to all members of the team.

Congratulations Roy and thank you for your years of service!


Finger Lakes Business Services, Inc./AnswerUSA Welcomes Answer Watertown

Finger Lakes Business Services, Inc. (FLBS) has completed the purchase of the Telephone Answering Service operations of S.T.A.T. Communications, Inc. (STAT).  (STAT has been in business serving the Upstate New York region since the 1950’s and continues to provide all its other services.)

This former STAT operation is now part of FLBS’ AnswerUSA Group Division and is known as Answer Watertown.  Its clients are being served from an office on Public Square in downtown Watertown, along with staff in 3 other offices (Auburn, Syracuse and Tampa).  The combination of offices provides additional support to assist with call handling.

“We are pleased to add the former STAT clients to our service area”, says Gardner McLean, President of FLBS.  “Most of the clients are located in the North Country and Utica areas, which fits nicely into our network.  We have gained a nice team of experienced staff to make the transition smooth.  We look forward to serving this new client base.”

Clients have been transitioned to the AnswerUSA system without interruption in service and are now benefiting from the continued investment in new technology and customer focus. The process of transitioning is extensive because of the unique scripting that the AnswerUSA system provides.  This includes a thorough analysis of each account and individualized programming for each client.  In addition to the STAT staff, the division has  hired several new employees  to compliment the new site.

This is the 11th answering service acquired by FLBS.  The company previously purchased operations in Auburn (NY), Ithaca (NY), Syracuse (NY), Oswego (NY), Rome (NY), Tampa (FL), Brandon (FL), Steamboat Springs (CO), Greeley (CO), Hotchkiss (CO), and now Watertown.

Answer Watertown is a full-service call center.   In 2015, the Auburn, Syracuse and Tampa offices were each honored with the exclusive 2015  ATSI Award of Excellence.  The Award of Excellence is a program that provides independent testing of quality in customer service levels.

According to industry sources, AnswerUSA ranks in the top 5% of all 3,000 answering services in the country in terms of size, with over 1,300 clients and 70 employees.  Answer Watertown joins existing call centers: Answer Finger Lakes, Answer Syracuse, Answer Bay Area, under the Answer USA Group umbrella.



Making An Impact

By:  Brie (3+ years of answering service experience)

Answer USA Group Logo 4-15-13

First impressions can be tricky, nerve-wracking experiences – I know a lot of people who rely heavily on first impressions to give them a sense of who a person is, how they operate and what to expect from them in the future. We spend a lot of thought, time and energy on first impressions. Now that I think of it, humans spend a lot of time just thinking about first impressions and worrying about how first impressions will impact their relationships with others.

In this business it is important to make a good impression on every call you take and surprisingly, most people won’t recognize your voice even if they’re a repeat caller. I’ve had cases where I had taken a call for someone and get them on the line again on a different account for the exact same type of message.  They don’t recognize that I had just been speaking with them. I see this as another opportunity to change their day.

Whenever I have someone on the line I think about how I am impacting their day. This really helps me keep things in perspective. Time really matters in this situation – I try to improve the callers day in the short time that I’m speaking with them. If I’m only going to be on the phone with this person for 1 – 2 minutes I really have to be attentive to make an impact. One of the most important parts of my process is focus – I strive to give my callers my full attention. People can tell when you are multi-tasking (even over the phone) or if you are distracted and unfocused. So many callers are appreciative when you gather and confirm details they’ve mentioned that are important to them.

Manners are extremely important to me in my personal and professional life. Working in a call center environment has changed my life for the better. I always try to use my manners and I have had compliments on my manners in my personal life. For me, it’s all about consistency – everything we do is a practice. I’ve made manners my practice – both at work and at home. A genuine thank you impacts every day interactions on a very large scale.



AnswerUAnswer USA Group Logo 4-15-13SA / qliqSOFT Secure Messaging ™

AnswerUSA Group is partnering with qliqSOFT™ to provide a secure messaging service to a Smartphone or office computer.  This service is fully compliant with HIPAA and HITECH standards, allowing clients to enjoy the ease and efficiency of text messaging without the concern for     security and PHI data exposure.

 Here is how it works:

Group members download the qliqCONNECT app from either the iPhone App Store or Google Play.

  • The qliqCONNECT app will notify the recipient of a pending message until it has been acknowledged, ensuring that no message is overlooked.
  • Also built in is the ability to notify the service that messages have been received through the app. No longer is there a need to call the service to confirm.
  • PC/Mac users can easily download the application from qliqSOFT.com

Here is why it is secure:

  • The transmission of the Protected Health Information (PHI) from our system to your phone is encrypted and secure.
  • The access to the PHI is through a password protected secure access point.
  • The PHI is protected with strong encryption on the phone and in transmission.
  • There is a built-in screen saver in the app that will require entry of the PIN after 5 minutes.
  • If the phone is lost or stolen, we have the ability to lock or wipe the qliqCONNECT app remotely.

Call us today for more information and pricing.  Let us help you receive secure, encrypted messages on your Smartphone.

Click here to visit qliqSOFT’s website.