Everything old is new again?

Reply Fri 7 Apr, 2006 07:36 pm
I don't really want to go into specifics but lately I have had one particular business forward all of it's incoming calls to my cel phone.

I know quite a bit about this particular business but as I am not at it's physical location but intead working in my garden there are some things that I cannot do or answer for particular callers.

So I lie.

I say that I am the "answering service" once they get into areas that I can't help them with. I give them directions to get their questions answered, or I promise to get a message to someone and get a response and call them back with said response, or, like today, I even said I would "get a key" to the physical location and meet them there at their convenience and blah blah blah.

So people think this is cool. Some of them have tried to hire me to be their "answering service" too because I am "so good at it".

I'm thinking that I might have a viable business on my hands being an answering service, giving basic information, scheduling appointments, and blah blah blah.

Is this an old idea whose time has returned?

People seem to like it because it is so personal - not voice mail, not e-mail, not some other crap but a real live person.

What do you think?
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Reply Fri 7 Apr, 2006 07:39 pm
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Reply Fri 7 Apr, 2006 07:41 pm
I think, if you have a good ground plan, you can take that and run with it.

Work at home with the phone on your ear, and a note pad in your hand.

You are great with words. I can see you really doing well with that.
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Reply Fri 7 Apr, 2006 07:44 pm
yeah, I like answering services. When I call a doc's office and the doctor isn't there, it makes me feel better to at least have the sympathy of the answering service person. Even though they can't really help, they're just so nice about it.

The doctor can't really help either, and they're not even nice about it...
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Reply Fri 7 Apr, 2006 07:49 pm
Yes, if you can hire help as good as yourself. I bet whatever they use for a switchboard these days is still expensive, and if you get into relaying and/or patching radio calls, the costs are going to go up.
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Reply Fri 7 Apr, 2006 09:00 pm
At this point I'm not even thinking employees so that isn't a concern.

I am thinking....

Lining up 3 or 4 companies/people/whatever.

Each would provide me with a cel phone to which they would forward their calls when they were out of reach.

Each would provide me with many hours of training so that I would understand the basics of their business.

I would answer their phones on given days between given hours.

I would charge a small monthly fee plus a percentage of actual business I accounted for.
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Reply Fri 7 Apr, 2006 09:01 pm
Sounds reasonable to me.
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Reply Thu 6 Jul, 2006 10:17 am
Proving that everything new is really old: http://www.callruby.com/
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Reply Thu 6 Jul, 2006 02:12 pm
I think it's a great idea.

A few years ago I worked on the weekends for a couple of months at the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center....They had a fully automated system, giving directions, times, blah blah blah...but most people really wanted people to give them the information directly.

I have a couple of questions for you as to how you'd handle a few scenerios...
There were quite a few times where I'd be giving directions to one person, and would have to field 3 or 4 others with the same exact question. Most people would be calling from their cell phones on their way to the place, and while most people were nice, some of course complained that even though there were 4 people in que, I didn't talk to them when they wanted.

How would you handle multiple calls?
Also, what about when you're out and about? Noise and other people in the background, you're driving, etc.

And mo...you know they'll be times when he absolutely MUST tell you something when you're working.

I do love the idea though.
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