Telephone Answering Service Vendors

Telephone answering services have a long history, dating back to the 1920s. In those early years, enterprising entrepreneurs began opening localized telephone answering services around the United States, primarily focused on the needs of the medical community.

In those days and until the 1980s, calls were answered using various electromechanical devices and messages were handwritten. With the advent of the microprocessor, a new breed of entrepreneurs began harnessing computer technology to automate, control, and organize portions of the call handling process. As technology has advanced so to has the equipment and software that powers today modern telephone answering service.

The following list includes the leading vendors or telephone answering service equipment and software:

1Call Division of Amtelco provides call center services, PC-based PBX consoles, soft agent, secure communications, emergency notification (HICS), event notification, appointment reminders, and communication systems for healthcare organizations.Amtelco’s Intelligent Messaging, an advanced messaging module, is a core component of the Infinity system. It uses scripting to guide agents through gathering and dispatching the information that each client requires. Operators simply follow the steps presented by the message scripts. The account of each clinic or doctor can be completely customized as the information is gathered from the patient or caller. The manner in which that information is dispatched or passed on to the doctor’s office or clinic can also be customized.

Scripts can branch according to the type of call, the time of day, the day of week, and other factors. Scripts can look up and insert previously collected information, such as account numbers, addresses, and phone numbers, without operator involvement. Scripts can dynamically link to other modules, such as Intelligent on-call scheduling, Intelligent directories, information pages, and client fields. In addition, they can automatically retrieve or update the information in the other modules.

Infinity Intelligent Messaging can reduce training time, virtually eliminate messaging errors, and improve customer satisfaction. Infinity offers detailed reporting, fax capability, and built-in voicemail. Amtelco’s Intelligent Messaging is software-based, incorporating Microsoft SQL Server 2003.

For more information, call 800-356-9148, email info@1call.com, or visit www.1call.com.

OnviSource’s OnviCenter 6 brings individual call handling components together into an affordable solution for medical answering services and medical call centers. It incorporates essential functions for optimized call handling, such as intelligent and automated call distribution, voicemail, unified communications, IVR, telemessaging, and message dispatch.

Medical answering services also benefit from OnviCenter 6 products that automate and optimize interactions with patients and callers, enabling operators to deliver superior customer experiences to doctors, clinics, and hospitals. OnviCenter 6 offers cost-effective workforce optimization applications like call recording, screen capture, speech analytics, and workforce scheduling to ensure quality, satisfy compliance requirements, and manage labor costs. Optional customer interaction management applications, such as automated agent workflows and revenue-building business applications like order-entry and payment processing, are also available.

For more information, call 800-311-3025, email sales@onvisource.com, or visit www.onvisource.com.

Startel’s Call Management Center (CMC) offers intelligent form routing that provides advanced scripting capabilities and enables medical answering services to script a call flow, helping guide call center staff through the call process. CMC provides flexibility to enable operators to accommodate patients and callers whose communication doesn’t follow the order of the script while applying the form’s logic. Available in both the message slip and IntelliForm, intelligent form routing can be combined with intelligent dispatching, enabling scripting to define the specific information that is to be delivered based upon the call flow.

With the enhancements available in Startel’s CMC platform, medical answering services will be able to reduce operator error while processing calls more efficiently. This results in reduced overhead and increased customer retention.

Startel’s Call Processing System (CPS) provides many of the CMC features for smaller medical answering services looking for advanced features that fit within their budget, offering them the ability to easily handle complex medical accounts while reducing the agent stress in meeting the advanced requirements of doctors and clinics.

Startel’s CMC platform has both a CTI interface as well as an interface for Startel’s 5700 Digital Switch for those that would like to utilize an ACD platform.

For more information, call 800-782-7835 or visit www.startel.com.

[From theĀ February/March 2008 issue of AnswerStat magazine]