This month we sat down with Claudette Beckford, one of our veteran Answering Service pros.

How long have you been with the company and what are your main responsibilities as an Answering Service professional?

I have been with Answering Service Care since November of 1993, so it was 20 years this past November.

I take calls, I call clients, I relay messages to clients. I take messages for all of our customers who need messages taken. I act as their virtual receptionist, and do everything I can to be helpful and responsive. I make the conversation one-on-one, and really listen to them. I interact all day long with callers and our clients’ customers, clients and patients.

What are some of the things you like most about being an Answering Service Pro?

I like meeting people, and as an operator, I get to talk to various different types of people, like doctors, attorneys, real estate professionals and all of their patients and clients. If a caller is upset or anxious or worried, I calm them down a bit. I try to let them know that everything will be ok. If they are medical patients, I try to connect them with the doctor right away so that he or she can assist them further.

I like my job, and I enjoy what I do. Hopefully, I will be here for another 20 years.

I enjoy interacting with callers on the phone, and with my co-workers and managers. I enjoy coming into work every day, and even when I am on vacation, I miss everybody. I am comfortable here, this is like my second family.

What advice would you give someone who wants to be an Answering Service Pro?

You will learn a lot about a lot of different businesses, whether it be doctors, attorneys or vitamin companies. You will learn a lot about different products, and you will need to have information on various products, and be able to discuss them, and their features, pros and cons. You will also learn about what kind of information is sensitive and protected, especially in the medical field. There is also a lot of interacting with your managers and your co-workers at the answering service.

You get to know a lot about people, and have insight into their personalities. The best answering service operators are those who are patient, friendly and calm. They know when to give a caller a little extra attention, and they have empathy for the caller and understand where they are coming from. I like to assure callers that I am there for them, and it is important to me that if they are in some way upset when they call that they are calmer when they finish talking to me and hang up.

Since I have been in this role for over 20 years, I like to help newer answering service pros to understand what is going on, and I assist them whenever I can. I explain how to take a call, how to relay a call, how to speak with callers…things like that. I try to be a leader in the answering service.

What do you do when you aren’t working?

I like to do a lot of things. I play tennis, go to the beach, the gym and spend time with friends.

Editor’s note: In keeping with the Answering Service Care tradition of gifting 20-year employees with a trip for two to any destination in the world, Claudette plans to take a trip to Dubai with her sister later this year.