Answering services provide a shared service, with their team members working for multiple clients. One agent will handle a call for one client, then answer a call for a second, and then go on to the third. In a way it’s like juggling. But instead of juggling balls, they’re juggling phone calls.
Does juggling impress you? Do you know how to juggle? But not all juggling is good, not when it comes to phone calls. Here’s what can happen when juggling phone calls.
Things Get Dropped
In juggling there’s a lot of things happening at once. It’s easy to lose track of something and have it fall to the floor or get mishandled. When watching a juggler, you might expect a mishap to occur. If they’re juggling balls and one falls to the ground or rolls away, the juggler can pretend it’s on purpose or joke about it. If they’re juggling eggs, the outcome is a mess. If they’re juggling bowling pins, the result can be painful. And if they’re juggling chainsaws, disaster can occur.
Each scenario is entertaining, ranging from amusement to amazement to fear. When it comes to your business having an answering service that tries to do too much for too many clients in too many industries, the outcome is never good. In juggling phone calls, a call can get dropped. A message can be mishandled. Or a caller might be mistreated.
Nothing Receives the Attention it Deserves
Watch a juggler and pay close attention to their eyes. Where are they looking? Though their gaze flutters from one object to the next, they’re not looking at the catch or the throw. They’re looking in the air at the object’s arc and trajectory. When they’re juggling three items, four, five, or more, each one only gets a small bit of attention for a brief time.
With an accomplished juggler, this quick glance is usually enough to produce a successful act. Yet things can go awry quickly, especially the more objects they attempt to juggle.
Now apply this image of juggling phone calls to your answering service. The more calls they attempt to juggle, the greater the likelihood that something will go awry. With each call receiving fleeting attention, the result isn’t pretty, and the outcome is in doubt.
One Little Hiccup and Everything Falls Apart
Beginning jugglers work with one ball, tossing it in the air with one hand and catching with the other. If they mess up, one ball falls to the ground. No big deal. When they juggle two balls—actually most beginners use beanbags because they don’t roll away when they hit the floor—one oops causes them to lose both balls. But let’s assume there juggling five. If any single element of their act goes awry—a hiccup, if you will—many balls, perhaps all five, come crashing to the ground.
In our answering service scenario this juggling of phone calls could result in mishandling multiple calls. This might include losing messages, dropping calls, or contacting the wrong people. None of these are good when they occur, but this is exactly what will happen when your answering service is juggling too many phone calls.