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How Do You Train an Answering Service Agent Properly?

Is your telephone answering service provider properly training their agents? It’s beneficial to understand how your live answering partner trains their receptionists.

Image of a group of answering service agents training in a call center

The issue of quality in training should definitely come up in your conversations with answering service providers. If you are shopping for a service, you need to hit them with some questions that give you keen insight into their ability to produce a quality experience. So, you want to hit them with a zinger? Go ahead, do it! Ask them to briefly explain their agent training processes.

Do you hear stuttering followed by dead air?
Or do you have the Magna Carta explained to you?

You should hear neither. What you should hear is that your answering service vendor puts a lot of focus on hiring the right kinds of employees before training ever begins. See? It was a trick question! Well, not really. But it is true. Great service providers know that training begins with proper recruitment. Rigorous interviewing, testing and hiring processes must be in place to ensure the best candidates.

Once great candidates are found, they must have the right personality profile for the job. And what is that profile? Great answering service agents are welcoming by nature. They enjoy serving others. They like to solve problems. They care about people and they are sensitive to the feelings of others. And of course, they sound great on the phone!

It only took me about a minute to explain that to you. So you only need a couple of minutes to assess if the answering service you are talking to is even in the ballpark on this one. If they start off with, “Oh, we really work hard with those agents. We provide comprehensive training to make sure that they really understand your account… blah, blah, blah” you should already be preparing to hang up the phone.

Now, when it comes down to actual agent training, the best method to bring an answering service agent up-to-speed is focused one-on-one attention. That means that a new agent sits under the watchful eye of a master. It has to be done this way because there are a multitude of skill sets that have to be monitored, reviewed and discussed in real time. Agents prefer this method of training because they can generally hit the ground running in just two or three weeks.

Answering service agents require very specialized attention. And lots of it. Dig in here and get to know your prospective answering service vendor. If you already have an answering service and would like to see your service quality improve, pick up the phone and start speaking with them about quality and training. You’ll be glad you did.

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This entry was posted in Answering Service, Training and tagged , by Brian Gabriel. Bookmark the permalink.

About Brian Gabriel

As the Call Center Manager for Sound Telecom, Brian is responsible for overseeing the daily operations and long term success of the company while managing a variety of inbound customer support programs. He also has a hand in taking care of the Solaxis services division. Prior to joining Sound Telecom, Mr. Gabriel held management positions with several prominent Internet Services companies including and Brian started his career in advertising and sales before moving to Washington State. He joined AEI Music in 1995 and supervised their international customer service department and technical support call centers. Brian received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism with a minor in Spanish languages from San Diego State University. Brian teaches adult education at his church and actively supports Christian ministries.