To work for a live answering service, you will need to have certain characteristics. It is worth knowing what these are and whether or not you have the personality suited to this work.
Be patient and to remain calm with callers
Most of the work at a live answering service is likely to be straightforward: answering queries, taking and relaying messages. There will be times, though, when a customer will become frustrated and even angry. Do you find yourself easily irritated by people who are difficult or who make unreasonable demands of you? If so, then perhaps a career with a live answering service is not for you. On the other hand, there are techniques you can learn to help yourself remain calm, even if the caller on the other end of the line is being unreasonable.
Be able to communicate a message clearly
The main function of someone working at a live answering service is to communicate with callers and with clients. To find out if you are good at this, you need to concentrate on the way you speak on the phone and if your message is understood clearly by your listeners. There are some tests you could do to find this out:
- Ask yourself if people to whom you speak on the phone always understand what you are telling them, or do you find that you have to repeat yourself.
- Ask someone close to you if they think you communicate clearly on the phone.
- Record yourself speaking. Play back the recording and listen to the speed and clarity of your voice.
The important question to ask yourself is: If someone does not know exactly what I mean, will they understand what I say?
Listen with clarity
Communication is a two-way process: it is as important for you to listen carefully as it is to speak clearly. Are you a good listener? Do you concentrate on what people tell you, or do you only hear some of what they say and rush to make your own point? If you want work for a live answering service, you would have to be able to listen and understand what the callers are asking / telling you.
Be friendly and efficient
Not everyone has the ability to sound friendly on the phone. Some people enjoy this form of communication, but others do not and usually sound terse and even unfriendly because they are actually uncomfortable. If you are one of these people, you may not be suited for a career which involves talking on the phone.
Be able to think on the spot
It is impossible to predict what callers are going to ask you, so you may have to be creative at times in the way you respond to a particular caller. As an agent for a live answering service, you will have to be able to think quickly and to respond to the callers. If you find that you need to think about what people tell you, or the questions they may ask, before giving an opinion or an answer, then this may not be the career for you.