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Always On Call
A Better Answer

December 2014

A Better Answer
214 Fulford Avenue
P.O. Box 927
Bel Air, Maryland 21014

When she had her own public relations firm, Scott Associates, Patricia A. Scott was less than happy with her telephone answering service. Determined that she could do better she began A Better Answer in 1979 with 13 clients.

From that modest beginning, Scott today has 300 clients in the greater Baltimore area that run the gamut from a one-man carpet cleaner to plumbers to a large metropolitan physicians’ group. And when her clients’ offices are closed, it is up to Scott and her staff of 18 to dispatch immediately the call to the emergency on-call person.

“When it comes to our doctors, most of the calls for them are not emergencies,” says Scott. “But we do extensive training with our staff so they are in compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. We have STARTEL, a very sophisticated voice mail system that records every incoming and outgoing phone call as required by the state of Maryland.”

ABALogoA Better Way:

• 35 years experience with general business, commercial, industrial, medical and residential clients
• Up-to-date technology
• Winner of BRAVA award, the Harford County Athena Award, as well as other recognitions
• Philanthropically invested in the community

Staff are trained to provide specific details, which has the effect of prioritizing the time of physicians by, in effect, having staff work doing triage.

A Better Answer also deals with after-hour emergency calls from apartment complexes. When a call comes in, it is up to the staff to determine the seriousness of an electrical or plumbing problem. “Our customers establish the protocols, which can often run as long as several pages, and we follow what the customers want,” notes Scott. “Any time people are in a crisis, we have someone who does a comprehensive job in a short period of time and who makes sure the emergency services are delivered effectively … and that really gives us a sense of satisfaction.”

But it is not only A Better Answer’s dedication to its clients – the Bel Air-based business sees members putting time in to better the community. Scott works with the Ladies Auxiliary at Bush River Yacht Club distributing sweaters and jackets for veterans at Perry Point Veterans Hospital. “This is a new project for us, but we have spent years participating in a veterans’ cruise,” says Scott. “Our members take these men and women out on the water and when they return, we have a luncheon and gifts for them. And I have also helped raise money for the Upper Chesapeake Hooper House Regatta Committee in Havre de Grace for the past 15 years.” I95