The Secret to a Great Answering Service Experience

Dec 14, 2018

I’m well aware that there are tons of answering services out there, all of which perform a similar basic function: answering your phone calls. That’s also where the similarities end, though. The key to a great answering service experience lies in the people who represent your business every time the phone rings. That’s precisely where PATLive thrives. You wouldn’t let someone who didn’t know what they were talking about handle your business calls and neither would we. That’s why we’re so meticulous in the process of hiring, training, and coaching every virtual receptionist that joins our team—your business deserves it. Here, I’ll explain what goes into the process of hiring, training, and coaching our team into customer service experts.    

Recruiting the best

When we hire a new virtual receptionist, we looking for individuals who possess the right combination of professionalism, busy savvy, energy, organization and personality to represent our clients. No pressure! That’s why we hire only the top two percent of applicants to join our team. Before someone is hired, they’ll have completed an extensive computer literacy assessment and an in-depth interview process. We don’t just look for experience and a resume. We want people who understand the value of excellent service, enjoy being on the phone and of course, people who fit well with our team.


New hires enter PATLive’s two-week training program as bright-eyed, curious beginners. Fourteen days later, they emerge as customer service experts ready to represent our clients to all of their callers. This is all thanks to our dedicated training staff, all of whom started out as live receptionists themselves! During those two weeks, our new recruits are getting to know our facilities and becoming acclimated to our process in a variety of ways. There’s a little bit of good old classroom learning, hands-on experience with our technology, and plenty of time spent shadowing other receptionists to see and hear exactly how it’s done. And of course, they’ll answer a few calls themselves in a monitored environment. Only then, once they’ve passed their comprehensive exam, are they ready to join the ranks.  

Coaching for quality 

First, a metaphor.

Picture a houseplant. You just brought it home from your local nursery. Carefully, you nestle it into a hole you dug in your garden, where it’ll stay for the foreseeable future, purifying the air around you and maybe even flowering once spring comes around. You don’t just stop taking care of it then, do you? You continue to care for it. You water it, fertilize it, trim its dead leaves to encourage healthy growth. Do you see what I’m getting at?  

You might think we’d be satisfied once our Live Receptionists (hired for their exemplary attitude, experience, and personality) complete their two week training course, but we don’t stop there. In addition to our training staff, we employ a team of coaches whose sole duty is to make sure our receptionists deliver the experience our clients deserve whether they’ve been with us for two weeks or two years.Regardless of tenure, receptionists regularly meet with our quality coaches to discuss their performance and offer constructive feedback. Of course, our coaching staff might also be found passing out candy and snacks or organizing a costume contest in our office because as it turns out, smiles can travel over phone lines.    

That’s all there is to it!

Sounds simple, right? Informed by nearly 30 years of experience and over two million calls annually, we’ve learned a thing or two about delivering exceptional customer service. We invest heavily into our process because it makes a difference. The effort required to hire, train, and continue to educate and coach our all-star live receptionists pays off every time one of our client’s callers has a perfectly stress-free phone experience. Interested in seeing what PATLive’s virtual receptionists can do for your business? Try us out free for 14 days!


Jamie Lowary