The May 2013 Issue of TAS Trader

The Benefits of Establishing a Partnership with a Reliable Call Center

By Robert Porter

Rob PorterCall center solutions have become one of the most important strategic business decisions for companies, regardless of size and revenue – from the entrepreneur just starting a business at her kitchen table to the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. More than ever, in our competitive global economy, companies are expected to meet the demand for real-time customer support twenty-four hours a day, every day.

For small companies, the cost of hiring additional in-house staff to meet this demand is prohibitive, and using limited staff resources to handle routine customer service needs detracts from other responsibilities essential to a business’ survival. For larger companies, hiring, training, managing, and maintaining a 24/7 customer support team creates a high fixed cost that eats into profits and draws the focus away from the business’ core competencies.

Outsourcing customer support functions offers several benefits.

Financial Savings: Outsourcing live operator service results in lower operating costs for new and established enterprises. However, while cost is a key driver of many business decisions, there are additional reasons to outsource.

Increased Value: A 24/7 customer support solutions adds value to every business by ensuring that service level agreements and customer service benchmarks are met. Consumers aren’t willing to settle for nine-to-five solutions when they can easily find a competitor who is taking care of business twenty-four hours a day. A call center partner will guarantee that revenue-generating tasks such as order-taking, new client acquisition, and lead generation are handled twenty-four hours a day, including holidays and weekends.

Convenience and Flexibility: When a desirable marketing spot or other opportunity suddenly becomes available, a reliable call center partner has the ability to ramp-up quickly and ensure that calls are answered by an informed and professional customer service team.

Expertise: When marketing unexpectedly (and happily) gains traction, generating higher than anticipated call volume, a call center partner will make sure that a live agent is available to answer the phone and help generate revenue.

Emergency Backup: In any emergency, whether it occurs unexpectedly or develops slowly, a reliable call center partner provides its clients with a robust telecommunications infrastructure and an experienced IT team. A professional call center will offer redundant systems, and in the event of an outage, they will have a plan in place to redirect calls to an unaffected center in a timely fashion.

Conclusion: The health of an industry can in part be measured by its economic growth. Despite recent downturns in the economy, the call center industry has continued to create jobs and grow. According to industry analysts, the outsourced call center industry generates over $25 billion in revenues annually. This growth is a testament to the integral role call centers play in business today and in the economy as a whole.

nCall Answering Service SoftwareWhether using a call center as a single point of contact or an after-hours solution, working with a professional call center partner allows businesses to add value while focusing on growth.

Robert Porter is the president and owner of 1-800 We Answer Call Centers. 1-800 We Answer was launched in 1969 and has grown into a nationwide provider of answering service, call center, market research, and telemarketing services, operating thirteen call centers in eight states. The company relies on a simple mission: to become the greatest communications firm in the world. Contact him at 212-868-1121 or rob@weanswer.com.

The Internet and Your TAS

By Peter DeHaan

Peter DeHaan, publisher of TAS TraderToday, harnessing the power of the Internet should be a goal of every telephone answering service. When used properly, the Internet can save time, generate revenue, increase communication, obtain and retain clients, and bolster the bottom line.

Here are some items to consider. You are likely already doing most of these, but there may be one or two items to address:

Website: At its most basic level, a website functions as an online brochure for your answering service. A yellow-page ad is limited to annual changes, but website updates can occur as often as needed. Additionally, a website can be dynamic or even interactive.
Your website can provide information for your clients, such as FAQs (frequently asked questions), service literature and instructions, and contact information (direct phone numbers and email addresses) for key staff and departments.
Is your website up to date? Is it all it can be?

Email: Email – for all staff – aids intra-company communications, such as new account notices, agent schedules, and customer service initiatives. Email is also a great marketing tool.

Blog: Connect to and interact with clients using a blog, while a closed blog can facilitate intracompany communication, especially for a distributed workforce.
Social Media: There are more social media options than anyone has time to handle, but tap one or two primary ones – Facebook and Twitter, for instance – to interact with clients, recruit employees, and support staff.

Video: Posting videos online is another great way to promote your TAS. These can be sales focused or informational. Either way, this is one more way to attract prospects and keep clients. Post videos on your website, YouTube, or another video sharing site.

The Internet contributes to the success of today’s TAS. Don’t miss these opportunities to better market services, serve clients, save money, support staff, and generate revenue.

Peter DeHaan (www.peterdehaan.com) is publisher of TAS Trader and Connections Magazine.

News

1-800 We Answer Acquires TMR Inc Market Research Group
1-800 We Answer, www.weanswer.com, a call center network that handles millions of calls for thousands of clients and has grown 1,000 percent in the last twelve years, recently acquired TMR Inc. Market Research Group. The acquisition helps 1-800 We Answer to enhance its reputation in the customer service sector. TMR is an industry leader in telephone interviewing and consumer, industrial, and medical data collection and analysis. TMR shares 1-800 We Answer’s vision of providing dependable, cost-effective solutions to clients and will help the live operator service further distinguish itself as a leading communications solutions provider.

Robin Bailey of The Legacy Connection Awarded
Robin Bailey, owner of The Legacy Connection, received an “Enterprising Woman of 2013” award from Enterprising Women magazine, honoring women business owners worldwide who have demonstrated that they have fast-growth businesses, mentor or actively support other women and girls involved in entrepreneurship, and stand out as leaders in their communities. Bailey has owned The Legacy Connection for fifteen years and has grown the company significantly in terms of revenue, staffing, and services. Through her efforts, the company has also received significant international recognition in the teleservices industry, earning the Award of Excellence for seven years from both ATSI and CAM-X.

Sound Telecom Turns Trade Show into Social Media Blitz
Sound Telecom teamed with Kevin Price, nationally syndicated columnist and radio host, at Inc.’s GrowCo 2013 convention in New Orleans. “As our management team was hashing out the idea of interviewing and videoing participants, I was interviewed on the Price of Business on 1110 AM KTEK in Houston, Texas,” said Michael LaBaw, Sound Telecom’s founder and CEO. “Afterwards Kevin explained his ‘Star of the Show’ program. I was amazed at how close it was to what we wanted to accomplish but had no idea or expertise to pull it off. We hired Kevin to join us at GrowCo, and a friendship and partnership was forged.”

Amtelco’s New Infinity Reporting Feature
The Infinity operator-grouping feature provides settings for assigning an employee ID and a statistics group number to operators for sorting operators’ activities in reports. The latest version of the message detail reporting (MDR) op login report and the MDR op interval report include a “grouping options” parameter that allows for grouping the report data by op group, employee ID, or none. Infinity Intelligent Series reporting allows for scheduling Infinity reports and creating custom reports, including all of the Infinity call tracker event (CTE) and MDR reports. Each report can be run on command or scheduled to run hourly, weekly, daily, or monthly on the days and times specified.

Royce Mitchell III Receives 2013 Allen Kalik Award
During the PINetwork’s Annual Conference, Royce Mitchell III, of ITAS Solutions was presented with the Allen Kalik Award by last year’s winner, Ken Goldenberg of Direct Line Teleresponse. The Allen Kalik Award was implemented in 2011 after the passing of industry leader and president of Professional Teledata, Allen Kalik. As a way to remember Allen for his contributions to the telecommunications industry and the PINetwork Group, this award recognizes individuals whose unselfish dedication and leadership have led to the advancement of the PInnacle community. “Allen Kalik was an inspiration to me personally,” said Royce who has been in the industry since 1993.

Telescan Spectrum Data Manager’s New Call Routing Feature
Telescan released Spectrum Data Manager R1-13. Featured in this update is a new approach to call routing that provides new opportunities for controlling call distribution, managing staffing, and creating revenue through new services. The new call routing feature is based on existing concepts of account priority, operator skill level, and operator capabilities with respect to client classes, but more flexibility is now possible. Advantages include more efficiently using operators, isolating operators by training level, preventing “call starvation” during busy times, routing calls to operators performing administrative during call traffic spikes, segregating call traffic, and tapping new revenue streams.

NAEO Announces Intelligent Series Workshop
NAEO’s (National Amtelco Equipment Owners) education committee invites members to an exclusive three-day intensive workshop for Intelligent Series programmers from August 5–7, 2013, at the Embassy Suites Airport Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia. Join industry experts on day one to understand the basics of how to program IS from “scratch” and learn the core fundamentals. Day two will be a hands-on approach to intensive script-building using various actions, methods, and tips and tricks to develop template accounts and scripts. Day three will encompass advanced programming, such as database and website integration into scripts, scripted dispatching, and Amtelco’s contact based dispatch architecture.

—-

[Posted by Peter DeHaan for TAS Trader, a telephone answering service e-publication from Peter DeHaan Publishing Inc.]