One would think that Thanksgiving Day would be relatively quiet at a professional answering service. After all, we all understand most businesses and medical offices are closed and we don’t expect retail establishments to be open until at least the afternoon.
WHY then do we schedule extra people to handle the expected rush?
Let me tell you about some of the calls that come in on Thursday morning.
The lady in Building B, apartment 307, is panicking. Her oven won’t heat.
“I have 14 people coming for dinner this afternoon and I have to get this turkey in the oven right now. But it is not heating! It’s as cold as when I turned it on 15 minutes ago. I just don’t understand this – it worked last Thanksgiving.”
A Focus agent pages the building’s maintenance person, who calls in to find out what the problem is. When we deliver the message, he laughs: “I’ll bet you a nickel she hasn’t had that oven on since last Thanksgiving. It’s probably her circuit breaker. I’ll head over.”
The lady in Building F, apartment 501, is also frantic. Her garbage disposal isn’t working, and the dishwasher is flooding.
We politely ask if the disposal is clogged.
“Well, it might be,” she replies. “I was peeling potatoes and onions for the casserole I’m taking to my mom’s house. I put it in the oven and went to get dressed and now there is a huge mess. I tried the disposal, but it won’t come on. Please send someone. I need to be there in half an hour, and I can’t leave this mess!”
The maintenance person is paged again. He’s on his way to Building B when he receives the message regarding the overflowing dishwasher.
“Building F is on the other side of the complex,” he exclaims. “And I’m walking. I’ll get there as fast as I can. If 501 calls back, tell her I’m working a flood, and suggest she check her circuit breaker until I can get to her.”
Moments later, another call from Building F arrives – apartment 401: “I need someone over here right away,” a man hollers before we can even offer a greeting. “Something is going on upstairs. Water is pouring from my kitchen light, and it looks like the ceiling is getting ready to cave in.”
Based on previous messages, our agent realizes the maintenance man is already en route to the apartment directly above 401. We promise to call him, but explain that help is on the way, and urge the resident to keep watch.
Maintenance is paged for the third time. The ceiling situation is divulged.
“Tell him I’m on it,” he says. “But ask him if he can put a trash basket on the floor under the light – and not to turn it on!”
As predicted, the next call is from the lady with the oven that “worked last Thanksgiving.” The maintenance man has still not arrived, she screams, and she MUST get the turkey in the oven.
We gently break the news that he was redirected to a flooding kitchen, and suggest she try checking her circuit breaker in the meantime.
“Where is my circuit breaker?” she asks.
We page the maintenance man.
Another call is coming in; this one from another gentleman in Building B.
“I just want you to let management know that all the power is out in our building,” he reports.
No word, however, on whether or not it worked last year.
Multiply these scenarios tenfold, and you’ll begin to see why Thanksgiving morning is the only holiday when a professional answering service adds team members to its schedule.
The team at Focus Telecommunications is eternally grateful for your patronage, and we wish everyone a happy holiday season. Give us a call for any of your outsourced call center needs, at 800-886-6696.