Thirty-eight years ago, A Better Answer, Inc. (t/a ABA), a 24-hour telephone answering service, opened its doors in a rented apartment above the Boyd & Fulford Drug Store on Main Street, Bel Air. There were 13 customers, 3 employees, telephone bills, insurances, two 557 cord switchboards, a stray cat and a dream that ABA would be successful. Now thirty-eight (38) years later, ABA continues to provide 24-hour coverage and it is estimated that ABA touches the lives of more than 3,000 people every day of the year.
ABA’s client base includes medical practices in fourteen area hospitals as well as physician services surrounding the hospitals. Attorneys, plumbers, property management companies, manufacturers, industrial firms, computer specialists, oil companies, restoration firms, electricians and HVAC companies make up the commercial list.
When the federal government mandated HIPAA compliant regulations, ABA developed and carried out HIPAA compliant employee training and reporting programs.
“HIPAA regulations put the answering service industry right up front with medical offices, physicians and hospitals. It became mandatory that our employees attend HIPAA training programs, become accredited tele-receptionists and continue to professionally take delicate and accurate messages from callers”, according to Patricia Scott, owner of ABA.
Today, the cordboards are gone and the ABA staff takes messages via computer and dispatches messages via internet protocol to homes, hospitals, alpha, text and secure messaging. When a message is delivered via text, ABA receives a reply that the message has been delivered successfully.
Special “apps” are required, ensuring secure delivery compliant with HIPAA federal regulations. Realizing the importance of uninterrupted service, ABA has a 15-KVA generator system and an Eaton Uninterruptable Power System, keeping ABA operating when the surrounding area is dark due to power outages. Scott proudly states, “The lights never go out at A Better Answer”.
Scott attributes much of the company’s success to the longevity of employees and their willingness to learn new programs. Half of ABA’s tele-receptionist staff have been with the company more than 10 years, one more than 30 years, another 29 years and a third more than 16 years.
“There’s lots to say about the mature worker in this business,” according to Brian Scott, who started with the company while attending John Carroll High School. Now completing his 34th year with the company’s administrative office, he emphasized the reliability of the mature worker. “We seek mature individuals with life skills who understand people’s needs under stressful situations.”
Older staff members carefully follow on call schedules according to Scott’s older son, Richard who has been with the company over 20 years. “We process thousands of calls daily to physicians, hospitals and providers of hospital equipment. Accuracy and proper processing of emergency calls makes the real difference. Seconds mean a lot in what we do,” according to Scott.
Recognizing the importance of staying competitive in today’s emerging markets, ABA has updated its telephone switch from digital to full voice over internet protocol (VOIP),and includes message logging on every call. Other features of the company are the Centuri-Soft advanced voice mail program plus no cost long distance provisions.
A Better Answer, Inc. (t/a ABA) is located on Fulford Avenue, Bel Air, Maryland.
A residential carpet cleaning and pressure washing company, notes that ABA operators are polite and “Thank you for all your efforts”.
HVAC and plumbing specialists are “very satisfied with the service”.
“We have been with ABA since 2009. Their staff gets excellent messages for our business”.
We have worked with a few answering services since we started our business in 1998 and A Better Answer is BY FAR, the best experience we’ve ever had with an answering service.