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Serving the Tampa Area for Over 30 Years
(813) 933-1660
✓ 24/7 Answering Service
✓ Virtual Receptionist
✓ Sales Lead Capture
✓ Appointment Scheduling
✓ Employee Call-in Lines
✓ Customer Surveys
Part of the AnswerUSA Group

Answer Bay Area Moves Location

 June 6, 2011 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TAMPA, FL – Answer Bay Area, Inc. ( ABA ), an answering service based in Tampa , Florida has moved its location to 7819 North Dale Mabry.  ABA has been in business serving the west coast of Florida since 1978.  ABA is a full-service call center and does business under the names Answer Bay Area, Answer Medical and Answer USA.

“We have seen our business expand despite the slowdown in the economy and need to have more space for our staff,” says Gardner McLean, President of Answer Bay Area.  “In a down economy, more businesses look to us to assist in helping them look professional and put a personal touch on the relationships with their customers, instead of the impersonal use of automated attendants and voice mail.”

ABA ’s clients will have no interruption in service and will benefit from the continued investment in new technology and focus on customer service.  In 2010, ABA was honored with the exclusive 2010 ATSI Award of Excellence.  The Award of Excellence is a program that provides independent testing of quality in customer service levels.

Ray Schremp, Vice President of Operations adds: “Our staff is our most important asset and we have provided them with a better work environment.  We also have used state of the art networking tools to ensure the safety and security of our staff, and have provided a complete backup plan to ensure continuous service to our clients in the event of failure of a phone company, of a weather related closing, or of a loss of any equipment.”

For more information regarding Answer Bay Area, please visit the corporate website www.answerbayarea.com or call 813-933-1660.

Namelines:
Gardner McLean, President
Ray Schremp, Vice President

FLBS Acquires Elite Communications Answering Service

July 28, 2011 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BRANDON, FL — Answer Bay Area’s parent company, Finger Lakes Business Services, Inc. (FLBS), has purchased the assets of Elite Communications Answering Service, Inc., an answering service based in Brandon, FL. Elite has been in business serving the Tampa Bay area since 1992.

Elite Communications is a full-service answering service located in Brandon, FL and was established in 1992. Elite’s clients will have no interruption in service and will benefit from Finger Lakes Business Services’ continued investment in new technology and focus on customer service. In June, Finger Lakes Answering Service of Auburn and Communications Group of Syracuse were both honored with the exclusive 2011 ATSI Award of Excellence for the 7th consecutive year while Answer Bay Area won for the second consecutive year.

Ray Schremp, Vice President of Operations says: “This acquisition will provide the Elite clients with a larger staff and one that has proven to be at the top of the industry in customer service. We are beginning the process of programming all the client data into our telephony system and training all of the Elite staff on our equipment. We are excited by the opportunity to work with Elite’s customers and build long-lasting relationships with them.”

Elite Communications is the 10th answering service acquired by FLBS. The company previously purchased Finger Lakes Answering Service in 2002, Ithaca Answering Service in 2002, Communications Group in Syracuse in 2003, Executive Support Services in Oswego in 2006, Nunn’s Communications in Rome in 2010. The company previously purchased four out-of-state answering services: Answer Bay Area in Tampa in 2009, the Communications Center of Steamboat Springs, CO. in 2006 and Greeley Telephone Answering of Greeley CO. in 2007, and Mountain West Communications in 2008.

“We have had a prior relationship with Elite, being their backup service in the event that something like a hurricane forced them to shut down, so we knew about their business,” says Gardner McLean, President. “When the former owner decided that his operation was too small to continue on its own, we were glad to jump at the opportunity to include Elite in our stable of businesses. We had been looking to expand our presence in Florida and this fits right in with our current Tampa operation. We have hired all the staff of Elite and expect that we will be handling all the Elite customer calls in our Tampa office within a few weeks.”

According to industry sources, this places Finger Lakes Business Services in the top 3% of all 4,000 answering services in the country in terms of size, with over 1,200 clients and 75 employees. Elite joins existing call centers: Finger Lakes Answering Service, Communications Group, Answer Bay Area, Nunns’ Communications, Communications Center of Steamboat Springs, Executive Support Services, and Greeley Telephone Answering under the Finger Lakes Business Services corporate umbrella.

2014 ATSI Award of Excellence

For Immediate Release
Monday, June 23, 2014

Answer Bay Area Wins Award in Annual Industry Competition

Answer Bay Area has been recognized in the annual international Award of Excellence competition sponsored by the Association of TeleServices International (ATSI), the industry’s trade association for providers of telecommunications and call center services including telephone answering and message delivery throughout the world. Answer Bay Area was presented with the award at ATSI’s 2014 Annual Convention held in Memphis, TN, along with recognition for earning the Award for the 10th consecutive year.

“We are very excited to have earned the ATSI’s award in 2014.  Our dedicated team of professionals, lead by Dee Starling, works very hard to ensure that we consistently deliver excellent service to our clients and their callers, year-in and year-out,” says Gardner McLean, President.

Independent judges are contracted by ATSI to evaluate message services over a 6-month period. The criteria for scoring includes: courtesy, response time, accuracy and overall service to their clients.

“The ATSI Award of Excellence is the most prestigious recognition of exemplary customer service in our industry. Award recipients demonstrated the highest level of service throughout every aspect of a caller’s experience – exceeding the award’s rigorous criteria and customer service standards. It’s quite an honor,” says ATSI President Sharon Campbell.  ATSI extends its congratulations to the staff of Answer Bay Area on their proven quality service to their customers.

Ray Schremp, Vice President, said ““We participate in the ATSI Award of Excellence program because it is a great way for us to reinforce the high standards we set for ourselves and it encourages all of our employees to work toward a common goal – excellent customer service. Excellence is not a goal that you reach and forget; it is a perpetual process of achieving the highest levels of performance on each call by every employee.”

2013 ATSI Award of Excellence

Friday, June 21, 2013

Answer Bay Area (ABA) of Tampa, FL has been honored with the exclusive 2013 Award of Excellence for the 4th consecutive year. The award is presented annually by the Association of TeleServices International (ATSI), the industry’s trade association for providers of telecommunications and call center services including telephone answering and message delivery throughout the world. Answer Bay Area was presented with the award at ATSI’s 2013 Annual Convention held in Kansas City.

“We are pleased to have earned ATSI’s Award of Excellence for the 4th year in a row. Our dedicated team of professionals, lead by Dee Starling, works very hard to ensure that we consistently deliver excellent service to our clients and their callers, year in and year out,” says Gardner McLean, President.

Independent judges are contracted by ATSI to evaluate message services over a 6-month period. The criteria for scoring includes: courtesy, response time, accuracy and overall service to their clients.

“The Award of Excellence allows the participating companies to benchmark their customer-focused culture and processes against proven standards of excellence. Winning the award brings industry and community recognition to our members’ call center staff for their valued commitment and dedication. Although winning the award is an honor, all participating companies are winners! The feedback received is a valuable component to their continual commitment to providing a world class customer service experience with every interaction performed on behalf of their clients,” says ATSI President Maryann Whitmore.

Answer Bay Area was presented with the Silver Plus Award for earning the ATSI Award of Excellence for the 4th consecutive year. ATSI extends its special congratulations to the staff of Answer Bay Area on their proven quality service to their customers.

Ray Schremp, Vice President, said ““We participate in the ATSI Award of Excellence program because it is a great way for us to reinforce the high standards we set for ourselves and it encourages all of our employees to work toward a common goal – excellent customer service. Excellence is not a goal that you reach and forget; it is a perpetual process of achieving the highest levels of performance on each call by every employee.”

How Will I Be Billed By My Answering Service?

When evaluating Answering Services, it is important that you understand exactly how you will be billed for their services. In particular, be aware that, when it comes to pricing, you may be comparing apples to oranges. In general, Answering Services either bill on a per call or per minute basis, but they may also bill on a per message, per unit or fixed rate plan. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages depending upon the types of calls you receive, the types of messages you would like taken and delivered, and how you would like them delivered.

Per Call Plans Questions to Ask / Things to Consider What is my current call volume including hang-ups and wrong numbers? What is considered a call? Are both Inbound Calls and Outbound Calls included? Text Messages? Emails? Faxes? Pages? If you have a billing plan that includes a certain number of calls per billing period, how will you be charged for calls that exceed my plan?

Per Minute Plans Questions to Ask / Things to Consider How long is my typical call? Can the service screen incoming calls with prerecorded message so that I have the option to reduce the number of calls that are answered by an operator? How are minutes calculated? Are they rounded to the nearest minute? 15 seconds? 6 seconds? What activity is included in my billed minutes? Most services bill for Live Operator Time, but some bill for Wrap Time (time required to complete and double-check the message after the caller hangs up to complete and double check the message) and some bill for Screen Time (time unrelated to the call when the answering service staff have your account open on their screen for various reasons. How will I be billed for text messages, emails, pages, and faxes? If my billing plan includes a certain number of minutes for each period, how will I be billed for overage minutes?

Per Message Plans Questions to Ask / Things to Consider What is included as a message (Some create a message for every call, such as “no message” or “caller will call back”)? If my plan includes a certain number of messages, how will I be billed for overage messages?

Per Unit Plans (These are the most complicated and vary from answering service to answering service) Questions to Ask / Things to consider Do they provide documentation showing how the units will be calculated?  Sometimes a call = 1 unit, but perhaps some calls (outbound call??) might = 2 units. Sometimes an email, text, page, or fax might be a unit as well. Will the bills you receive show the details behind how the total units are calculated?

Fixed Rate Plans (There are a few answering services that will provide fixed rate plans) Questions to Ask / Things to consider Will my rate increase if my call/minute count exceeds a certain level, so be sure that you understand what will trigger a rate increase? If there are automatic triggers for increases, make sure you understand if there are automatic triggers for rate decreases as well, so that an unusually busy period won’t cause the fixed rate to increase forever?

9 Things to Consider when Choosing a Telephone Answering Service

Tampa Bay Florida Area Answering Service Company and Companies:

Pricing

  • Make sure you understand how charges will be computed.  Charges can be based upon the calls or on time.  Be aware that the definition of “call” and “time” may differ from one answering service to another.  See post “How will I be billed by my Answering Service”)

  • Ask for a written proposal.  Ask whether the pricing plan you chose can be modified in the future? Does the company require you to commit to a contact?

Technology

  • Does the company provide a variety of message delivery options such as voice, text, email, fax, alpha page, or encrypted messaging?

  • How long does the company retain information?

  • Are all calls recorded and, if so, are the recordings available to you on request?

  • Does the company have system redundancy and power backup to ensure service in times of phone and power outages?

  • Can the company provide interfacing with my company’s information system or CRM if that is necessary for the handing of your calls?

Staffing

  • How does the company ensure there will be sufficient staff available to minimize long ring or hold times?

  • What type of notice will the company need from you if your call volume should increase due to special promotions, office hour changes, etc.?

Training

  • How is the staff trained?  Does the company conduct standardized training programs from the Association of TeleServices International (ATSI) or other industry associations?

  • Do all employees receive regular HIPAA training prepared by ATSI or other industry associations?

Stability & Reliability

  • How long has the company been in business?  What is the average tenure of their staff?  Is the company active in the local business community?

  • Does the company have back-up power and redundancy of critical system components?

Compliance

  • Does the company comply with local, state, and federal regulations and carry business insurance, including Error and Omissions coverage?

  • Does the company comply with HIPAA and HITECT regulations?

  • Is the company active member of an organization that keeps its membership up to date with the latest laws, regulations, and industry trends?

References / Testimonials

  • Ask for references you can call to discuss the service.  Be sure to ask for references in your particular industry or locations.

  • Check the company’s website to see if they have a testimonial page

Awards

  • Has the company earned any awards or recognition in the industry or local business community?  Does the company participate in the ATSI Award of Excellence service award?  This program assesses a company’s service level through the evaluation of test or “mystery shop” calls.