All posts by Peter DeHaan

Peter DeHaan is the president of Peter DeHaan Publishing, Inc., (http://peterdehaanpublishing.com) the publisher and editor of Connections Magazine and AnswerStat, and editor of Article Weekly. Peter DeHaan’s personal website (http://peterdehaan.com) contains information and links to his blogs, newsletter, and social media pages.

How Well Do You Pay Your Answering Service Operators?

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

Peter L DeHaan, publisher of TAS TraderLong ago, perhaps in graduate school, I read a management guru who advocated that a company’s highest paid employee should ethically make no more than seven times the lowest paid employee. Of course I can’t find that source now, but I remember it well.

For a telephone answering service, the two people at opposite ends of the wage scale are the owner/president/CEO and an entry-level operator. With the federal minimum wage in the United States currently at $7.25 per hour – and yes, there are sadly some answering services that still pay minimum wage – that projects to a top annual salary of around $105,000 a year. Of course it doesn’t need to be that high, but if can be.

How close does your answering service come to meeting this paradigm of no more than a seven-fold wage differential? Maybe it’s time to re-examine pay rates: decrease yours, increase theirs, or do both.

While I’ve met TAS owners who barely scraped by, some effectively making less than minimum wage for their endless hours of work, I think those players have all left the industry, either due to the sale of their business or its closure. Left are the viable players, the serious businesspeople who run great organizations and enjoy success. Many of them work diligently to maximize their paycheck, while at the same time remaining convinced they must pay their front-line staff as little as possible. “It’s the economics of the industry” they say.

I don’t agree.

What happens when the minimum wage goes up? Some states and cities already have, and answering services in those areas have adjusted to a higher starting wage. With talk of $12 to $15 dollars an hour, the low-paying answering services will be forced to make changes, too, or go out of business.

Get ahead of what is bound to come. Start increasing what you pay your answering service operators. But here’s a hint: Don’t pay more for the same caliber of employee. Pay more and expect more. Everyone wins.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of TAS Trader. He’s a passionate wordsmith whose goal is to change the world one word at a time.

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The November 2016 Issue of TAS Trader

How Well Do You Pay Your Operators?

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

Peter L DeHaan, publisher of TAS TraderLong ago, perhaps in graduate school, I read a management guru who advocated that a company’s highest paid employee should ethically make no more than seven times the lowest paid employee. Of course I can’t find that source now, but I remember it well.

For a telephone answering service, the two people at opposite ends of the wage scale are the owner/president/CEO and an entry-level operator. With the federal minimum wage in the United States currently at $7.25 per hour – and yes, there are sadly some answering services that still pay minimum wage – that projects to a top annual salary of around $105,000 a year. Of course it doesn’t need to be that high, but if can be.

How close does your answering service come to meeting this paradigm of no more than a seven-fold wage differential? Maybe it’s time to re-examine pay rates: decrease yours, increase theirs, or do both.

While I’ve met TAS owners who barely scraped by, some effectively making less than minimum wage for their endless hours of work, I think those players have all left the industry, either due to the sale of their business or its closure. Left are the viable players, the serious businesspeople who run great organizations and enjoy success. Many of them work diligently to maximize their paycheck, while at the same time remaining convinced they must pay their front-line staff as little as possible. “It’s the economics of the industry” they say.

I don’t agree.

What happens when the minimum wage goes up? Some states and cities already have, and answering services in those areas have adjusted to a higher starting wage. With talk of $12 to $15 dollars an hour, the low-paying answering services will be forced to make changes, too, or go out of business.

Get ahead of what is bound to come. Start increasing what you pay your answering service operators. But here’s a hint: Don’t pay more for the same caliber of employee. Pay more and expect more. Everyone wins.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of TAS Trader. He’s a passionate wordsmith whose goal is to change the world one word at a time.


Classified Ads:

Seeking Acquisitions: Reputable TAS, in business since 1967 and still owned by the founding family, seeks a small TAS acquisition in the USA. Ideally, you’re billing under $50k per month. Smaller is better. We’ll treat you right, and your employees and customers. Let’s talk. Contact Doug at 888-693-7935 or douganswerphone@gmail.com.

Content Marketing: Need content for your website or blog? Let Peter DeHaan provide it for you. Add exclusive content to your website to boost your marketing impact and drive organic search. Email Peter or call 616-284-1305.

Mastar.com can help you startup a TAS for as low as $500 to begin. Single station $1,500 up to 5 stations for $5500 and you own it! Revisit our site; other startup apps now available. Contact Rod Minarik:  rodmastar@gmail.com or 541-606-9272.


 How Well is Your Answering Service Training Working?

By Janet Livingston

As I work with answering services, I see a lot of great things happening. I also see some struggles. Training is one of them. While most answering services have invested a great deal of thought, time, and energy into training, they don’t always meet their objective of producing quality agents at a cost-effective price. Some create admirable agents but at a high cost. Others keep their training costs down but see inconsistent results. And a few struggle in both areas.

Maybe it’s time to look outside your answering service for some cost-effective training expertise. Here are some ideas to consider:

Webinar Training: Hour-long webinars can provide focused training on specific answering service related job skills. Live webinars allow for on-the-fly adjustments, polling attendees, and a chance to submit questions. However, these webinars can also be recorded for later viewing by other staff. Over time an answering service can compile a library of relevant training topics.

Online Seminars: Think of an online seminar as a long-form webinar. It could last half a day: three to four hours, either morning or afternoon. Or the seminar could be a one-day intensive. When done live, the presenters can adjust their instruction to meet the pace and needs of the participants. Recording it allows for future access.

Workshops: A further refinement removes the online element of the seminar and turns it into an in-person event, which greatly enhances the learning potential. This can occur onsite at the answering service or offsite in a central location, which allows multiple answering services to participate and share in the cost.

While none of these options will address 100 percent of the instruction an agent needs, each solution can provide a consistent source of quality training at a low price point. Don’t expect your in-house trainers to do all the training. Supplement their efforts with some outside help. In the process you will cut your training dollars and increase the quality of the results.

You can keep doing training the way you always have and achieve the same outcomes or you can pursue advanced instruction methods to produced better-trained agents for less money.

Janet Livingston is the president of Call Center Sales Pro, a premier sales and marketing service provider and consultancy that provides custom training solutions for all levels of telephone answering service staff. Contact Janet at contactus@callcenter-salespro.com or 800-901-7706 to learn more about arranging specific training for your organization.


Telephone Answering Service News

Amtelco Announces miSecureMessages v6.5: Significant features are added in miSecureMessages (MSM) version 6.5, developed in collaboration with miSecureMessages Certified Partner program and MSM app users. Contact-based licensing, instead of device-based licensing, means miSecureMessages clients pay only for the number of contacts they have, not the number of devices they have. Other features include:

  • Easier registration makes the mobile device app easier for call center clients to use.
  • Client permissions give call centers the ability to grant specific permission-based client access to the miSecureMessages administration web thereby reducing labor costs.
  • Canned responses for groups add flexibility for commercial accounts. Each client organization can have a separate list of responses.
  • Added reports address both system administrators and clients.
  • Time zone of reporting is adjustable in system settings.
  • Performance improvements increase the speed of the app and server.
  • Custom app menu links allow call centers to provide clients with web links accessible from the app’s menu, such as to Amtelco’s miTeamWeb or the call center’s support web page.

Amtelco works with call center partners to help market miSecureMessages to their clients. The MSM Certified Partners Program is unique in the industry, continues to grow, and currently has hundreds of successful members.

Focus Telecommunications is Certified Gold: Focus Telecommunications has re-certified for the Gold 24/7 Call Center Certification Award after originally qualifying November 2004, reports ATSI (the Association of TeleServices International). Donna West, president of Focus Telecommunications said, “I am delighted that this certification product is available along with other ATSI products that help to demonstrate a standard of quality to our clients and industry as a whole.”

Tom Reandeau, vice president of operations added, “Focus has been a long-time supporter of the ATSI certification program and along with the site certification, we also participate in the Agent, Advanced Agent, and Supervisor Certification Programs as well as the Award of Excellence and Award of Distinction for Call Centers, which helps to codify our commitment to excellence.”

Email us with your TAS news and articles for consideration in our next issue.


 Quotes for the Month

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“Here is the test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you’re alive, it isn’t.” -Richard Bach

“When fish are in schools they sometimes take debate.” -unknown


 

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How Well Do You Know Your Answering Service’s Clients?

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

Peter L DeHaan, publisher of TAS TraderI recently read a fiction book set in the late nineties. In a small but pivotal part of the story stood a telephone answering service. The author was mostly accurate in describing how an answering service functions, though his depiction of the industry highlighted several negative stereotypes as the norm.

The FBI investigated one of the answering service’s clients, a professional assassin. They laid out two options to the answering service’s owner: cooperate with us and we will ignore your involvement in your customer’s crime or don’t cooperate and be charged as an accessory to murder, over two dozen of them, and risk spending the rest of your life in jail.

The owner decided to cooperate. Though she had never met the man who signed up for the service or the woman who they contacted with messages, the owner did admit she thought something was suspicious. She assumed her client was involved in some low-level fraud, but nothing to the level of a hitman. Since they paid their bill every month, quickly and reliably, she was willing to ignore whatever business they might be in.

A few days later, her client – the hitman – paid her a visit. The gist of the conversation, aided by the threatening presence of a handgun, was if you tell the FBI who I am, my associates or I will kill you.

Talk about a no-win situation.

This story, of course, is a work of fiction. But I share this scenario because I know that – despite the majority of answering services who would carefully avoid such a client – some services will take any client who can pay his or her bill. Maybe it’s time to rethink that strategy.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of TAS Trader. He’s a passionate wordsmith whose goal is to change the world one word at a time.

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The October 2016 Issue of TAS Trader

How Well Do You Know Your Answering Service’s Clients?

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

Peter L DeHaan, publisher of TAS TraderI recently read a fiction book set in the late nineties. In a small but pivotal part of the story stood a telephone answering service. The author was mostly accurate in describing how an answering service functions, though his depiction of the industry highlighted several negative stereotypes as the norm.

The FBI investigated one of the answering service’s clients, a professional assassin. They laid out two options to the answering service’s owner: cooperate with us and we will ignore your involvement in your customer’s crime or don’t cooperate and be charged as an accessory to murder, over two dozen of them, and risk spending the rest of your life in jail.

The owner decided to cooperate. Though she had never met the man who signed up for the service or the woman who they contacted with messages, the owner did admit she thought something was suspicious. She assumed her client was involved in some low-level fraud, but nothing to the level of a hitman. Since they paid their bill every month, quickly and reliably, she was willing to ignore whatever business they might be in.

A few days later, her client – the hitman – paid her a visit. The gist of the conversation, aided by the threatening presence of a handgun, was if you tell the FBI who I am, my associates or I will kill you.

Talk about a no-win situation.

This story, of course, is a work of fiction. But I share this scenario because I know that – despite the majority of answering services who would carefully avoid such a client – some services will take any client who can pay his or her bill. Maybe it’s time to rethink that strategy.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of TAS Trader. He’s a passionate wordsmith whose goal is to change the world one word at a time.


Classified Ads:

Seeking Acquisitions: Reputable TAS, in business since 1967 and still owned by the founding family, seeks a small TAS acquisition in the USA. Ideally, you’re billing under $50k per month. Smaller is better. We’ll treat you right, and your employees and customers. Let’s talk. Contact Doug at 888-693-7935 or douganswerphone@gmail.com.

Content Marketing: Need content for your website or blog? Let Peter DeHaan provide it for you. Add exclusive content to your website to boost your marketing impact and drive organic search. Email Peter or call 616-284-1305.

Mastar.com can help you startup a TAS for as low as $500 to begin. Single station $1,500 up to 5 stations for $5500 and you own it! Revisit our site; other startup apps now available. Contact Rod Minarik:  rodmastar@gmail.com or 541-606-9272.

Accounts for Sale: 49 accounts, 29% medical, billing $11,000 per month avg. Asking 12x average billing, $132,000 with half down, balance on terms or 10% discount for cash. Prefer to sell to someone in the Pacific Northwest. Contact Tom: 509-593-5239 or tschmerer@gmail.com.

Seeking to Acquire TAS: Looking to purchase an answering service or call center. Please contact me if you are selling! gm@answerally.com.


Is Self-Talk Leading You To Success?

By Jason Gazaway

Have you ever talked to yourself or asked yourself a question? You know what I am talking about. We all do it. We debate thoughts in our heads. This can be helpful when wrestling with ideas. Other times this can be harmful, even debilitating. What self-talk we allow to repeat in our heads will eventually affect our perception of situations, people, and even ourselves.

Negative self-talk causes a skewed point of view. If we say destructive things or dwell on bad memories, we will eventually begin to believe them. This creates a toxic mindset that turns our focus from possibilities, opportunities, and hope, and points our attention to problems, issues, and self-pity. A victim mindset forms and quality of life decreases.

On the other hand, positive self-talk creates a mental atmosphere that is uplifting, encouraging, and inspiring. This type of mental talk is self-motivating and strengthening. You begin to believe in yourself, that you can do something. You shift your focus to the possibilities with a “yes I can” attitude.

How do you make this shift? You start. Sounds simple, right? But, it is true. You silence negative self-talk by using positive affirmations. You counteract and disqualify the bad with the good. It is about lining up our words and self-talk with what we are working towards and who we want to be or who we know we were created to be. This can be about our health, relationships, or business.

In June I ran my first half-marathon. Though I am a runner, trust me when I say that there was a lot of negative self-talk going on through the training process. The days where I let the negative self-talk prevail were the days I did my worst and quit early. The days I told myself I could do it, and even visualized myself finishing the race, were my best times. I felt energized.

What we say in our heads, especially about ourselves, has a profound effect on our behaviors. We have to change how we think in order to change how we behave. Dealing with and eliminating the negative self-talk will open a new door in life. Believe in yourself, speak life into situations, and focus on your destiny.

Jason Gazaway serves as the marketing communications specialist for VoiceNation and as a marketing consultant for Georgia Calls. With over fifteen years of experience managing digital and traditional marketing campaigns, he handles all marketing communications, public relations, and branding projects for both organizations.


Telephone Answering Service News

John Freire Recognized with Allen Kalik Award: John Freire of Direct Line Tele Response received the 2016 Allen Kalik Award. The announcement was made during the annual PINetwork User Group Meeting. The Allen Kalik Award was implemented in 2011 after the passing of industry leader and Professional Teledata’s late president, Allen Kalik. Honoring Allen, this award recognizes individuals whose unselfish dedication and leadership have led to the advancement of PIN.

“It was a personal honor and pleasure to be able to present the Allen Kalik award to John Freire,” said Phyllis Shaw, education committee chair of the PINetwork User Group. “John gives so much of his time to our group and is always available to share his knowledge with us. He is someone who thinks outside the box, and pushes us all to the next level.”

“I am honored and humbled to receive this award,” said Freire. “Allen was always giving back to PIN and eager to share his expertise and knowledge with anyone who was interested in learning.” Freire is the IT director at Direct Line Tele Response.

Email us with your TAS news and articles for consideration in our next issue.


Quotes for the Month

“I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I don’t know the answer.” -Douglas Adams

“True friends are those who really know you but love you anyway.” – Edna Buchanan

“To write with a broken pencil is pointless.” unknown

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Is Your Answering Service Glass Half-Full or Half-Empty?

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

Peter L DeHaan, publisher of TAS TraderAs I talk with owners and operators in the telephone answering service industry, some have concerns and others share excitement. I understand those who are pessimistic. After all there is much to worry about. I also understand those who are optimistic. They see ongoing changes to the industry, as well as threats from within and without, as occasions to celebrate.

These folks have figured out how to market and to sell, not just to offset attrition but to grow organically. Others embrace acquisition, either for the art of the deal or as a means to pick up new clients from acquisitions who fail their newly acquired clients. Still others have figured out how to manage staff successfully across multiple locations or to truly scale their business in a way that works in actual practice. Last are those who manage what they have with excellence: maximizing value, thrilling clients, engaging staff, and making a nice profit in the process.

Regardless of which camp you are in, the half-full contingent or the half-empty group, now is a great time to begin preparing for next year. Don’t wait until December 31 to begin your strategic plan for the new year. And whatever you do, don’t confront the upcoming year without a plan.

  • Look at what you do well and ask how you can do it better. Every TAS has at least one thing they do with excellence. Don’t lose sight of that.
  • Then look at where you struggle and seek ways to turn it into a strength. Every TAS also has at least one thing they can do better. Don’t think otherwise.
  • Last look at your biggest pain point and make a plan so it hurts a little less. You can do that.

Do these three things and make next year your best one yet. Start preparing today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of TAS Trader. He’s a passionate wordsmith whose goal is to change the world one word at a time.

The September 2016 Issue of TAS Trader

Is Your Answering Service Glass Half-Full or Half-Empty?

By Peter L DeHaan, PhD

Peter L DeHaan, publisher of TAS TraderAs I talk with owners and operators in the telephone answering service industry, some have concerns and others share excitement. I understand those who are pessimistic. After all there is much to worry about. I also understand those who are optimistic. They see ongoing changes to the industry, as well as threats from within and without, as occasions to celebrate.

These folks have figured out how to market and to sell, not just to offset attrition but to grow organically. Others embrace acquisition, either for the art of the deal or as a means to pick up new clients from acquisitions who fail their newly acquired clients. Still others have figured out how to manage staff successfully across multiple locations or to truly scale their business in a way that works in actual practice. Last are those who manage what they have with excellence: maximizing value, thrilling clients, engaging staff, and making a nice profit in the process.

Regardless of which camp you are in, the half-full contingent or the half-empty group, now is a great time to begin preparing for next year. Don’t wait until December 31 to begin your strategic plan for the new year. And whatever you do, don’t confront the upcoming year without a plan.

  • Look at what you do well and ask how you can do it better. Every TAS has at least one thing they do with excellence. Don’t lose sight of that.
  • Then look at where you struggle and seek ways to turn it into a strength. Every TAS also has at least one thing they can do better. Don’t think otherwise.
  • Last look at your biggest pain point and make a plan so it hurts a little less. You can do that.

Do these three things and make next year your best one yet. Start preparing today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of TAS Trader. He’s a passionate wordsmith whose goal is to change the world one word at a time.


Classified Ads:

Content Marketing: Need content for your website or blog? Let Peter DeHaan provide it for you. Add exclusive content to your website to boost your marketing impact and drive organic search. Email Peter or call 616-284-1305.

Mastar.com can help you startup a TAS for as low as $500 to begin. Single station $1,500 up to 5 stations for $5500 and you own it! Revisit our site; other startup apps now available. Contact Rod Minarik:  rodmastar@gmail.com or 541-606-9272.

Accounts for Sale: 49 accounts, 29% medical, billing $11,000 per month avg. Asking 12x average billing, $132,000 with half down, balance on terms or 10% discount for cash. Prefer to sell to someone in the Pacific Northwest. Contact Tom: 509-593-5239 or tschmerer@gmail.com.

Seeking to Acquire TAS: Looking to purchase an answering service or call center. Please contact me if you are selling! gm@answerally.com.

Seeking Acquisitions: Reputable TAS, in business since 1967 and still owned by the founding family, seeks a small TAS acquisition in the USA. Ideally, you’re billing under $50k per month. Smaller is better. We’ll treat you right, and your employees and customers. Let’s talk. Contact Doug at 888-693-7935 or douganswerphone@gmail.com.


Resolving Conflict at Work

By Jason Gazaway

One thing guaranteed in life is conflict. No matter how much you try to avoid it, it will come up at some point, but it’s not whether you win or lose, it is about how to get the best results, the right results in any situation. The goal is to resolve the disagreement, struggle, or conflict to eliminate the friction between people.

Conflict arises from differing personalities, viewpoints, mindsets, and even past experiences. Conflict abounds in all areas of life: politics, religion, marriage finances, work, and even play. Everything we see is about one person or group wanting to get their way while the opposing person or group desires to get theirs. Both sides feel they must be heard and that their view is the right one. At some point one side digs their heels in and stands firm, and the other side becomes defensive. Emotions erupt.

There are times conflict can be avoided but when it cannot, it helps to have some tools to be the “bigger person” and work to resolve it rather than striving to be the “right one.” When thinking about a business or company setting, here are some ways to resolve conflict rather than to inspire it:

  • Remain Calm: This sounds like common sense, but it is harder to do when under pressure. Remaining calm helps you and the other person think clearly and respectfully. Emotions tend to get the best of us when we’re not calm.
  • Listen: This is not to find a foothold so you can pounce. This is a listening so you can understand mindset. Seek to understand where the other person is coming from and their viewpoint. It might not change your mind, but it will help you understand the situation better.
  • Communicate Effectively: This means focusing on the positives, not being aggressive when you talk, and be open. Again, we cannot let our emotions get the best of us in any situation. We have to communicate in a way that is logical and not overflowing with emotion. Remember to stay calm.
  • Value the Other Person: Focus on the best result for the situation and everyone involved and not just to get your way. We have to remember the other person is human and has emotions, too. Sometimes showing the other person you care and value them can defuse the whole situation.

Resolving conflict is important not only for business relationships but for personal ones as well. Learning how to manage conflict, as well as yourself, is important to having contentment and working towards the best results in all situations. Plus, it gives you satisfaction in handling the situation and everyone involved with respect, honor, and care.

Jason Gazaway serves as the marketing communications specialist for VoiceNation and as a marketing consultant for Georgia Calls. With over fifteen years of experience managing digital and traditional marketing campaigns, he handles all marketing communications, public relations, and branding projects for both organizations.


Telephone Answering Service News

Dexcomm Acquires Vision Communications: Dexcomm Answering and Communication, headquartered in Carencro, Louisiana, has acquired the telephone answering service division of Vision Communications, a subsidiary of EATEL. All other service divisions of Vision Communications will remain unchanged.

“We look forward to building relationships with even more customers in Louisiana and across the country,” commented Jamey Hopper, president of Dexcomm. “Our new customers can expect award-winning customer service delivered on state-of-the-art technology with a personal, compassionate touch.”

Tessie Toups will continue as the primary Vision account representative. “I am excited to work for a prestigious and professional company, and look forward to providing the best possible service to all of our customers,” Toups said.

Email us with your TAS news and articles for consideration in our next issue.


 Quotes for the Month

“The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise man grows it under his feet.” -James Oppenheim

“It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.” -George Washington

“The roundest knight at King Arthur’s round table was Sir Cumference.” -unknown


 

The Dark Side of Acquisitions

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

Peter L DeHaan, publisher of TAS TraderHaving bought more than a dozen answering services in my day, I understand the allure of chasing the sale, negotiating fair terms, closing the deal, and taking control of the acquisition. Yet the real value comes after the sale, when the acquired accounts are optimized.

Yes, you inevitably lose some, no matter how careful the transition, but the ones that remain are profitable and grow your bottom line. Even though this post-sale optimization is a critical final step, it’s not nearly as exciting as pursuing the deal. But it is more important. Critically so. Maximizing the value of a newly acquired property requires hard work, takes time, and receives little recognition. But when successful, the results pay off month after month.

Some answering services excel in deal making but flounder at exploiting the potential of their purchase. As a result, they churn the accounts they just bought. While a few of those clients will stop using answering services altogether, a majority will move on to another answering service. And that’s good news for everyone else in the industry.

Each acquisition prompts some clients to look for a new service. In some cases, many accounts will want to jump ship. This means opportunity for the rest of the industry. Look for ways to make it easy for these businesses to switch to your answering service. Speed and ease of transition is critical. They are in pain and want to move. Make it effortless, and they will choose you.

This is the upside to the dark side of acquisitions.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of TAS Trader. He’s a passionate wordsmith whose goal is to change the world one word at a time.

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The August 2016 Issue of TAS Trader

The Dark Side of Acquisitions

By Peter L DeHaan, PhD

Peter L DeHaan, publisher of TAS TraderHaving bought more than a dozen answering services in my day, I understand the allure of chasing the sale, negotiating fair terms, closing the deal, and taking control of the acquisition. Yet the real value comes after the sale, when the acquired accounts are optimized.

Yes, you inevitably lose some, no matter how careful the transition, but the ones that remain are profitable and grow your bottom line. Even though this post sale optimization is a critical final step, it’s not nearly as exciting as pursuing the deal. But it is more important. Critically so. Maximizing the value of a newly acquired property requires hard work, takes time, and receives little recognition. But when successful, the results pay off month after month.

Some answering services excel in deal making but flounder at exploiting the potential of their purchase. As a result, they churn the accounts they just bought. While a few of those clients will stop using answering services altogether, a majority will move on to another answering service. And that’s good news for everyone else in the industry.

Each acquisition prompts some clients to look for a new service. In some cases, many accounts will want to jump ship. This means opportunity for the rest of the industry. Look for ways to make it easy for these businesses to switch to your answering service. Speed and ease of transition is critical. They are in pain and want to move. Make it effortless, and they will choose you.

This is the upside to the dark side of acquisitions.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of TAS Trader. He’s a passionate wordsmith whose goal is to change the world one word at a time.


Classified Ads:

Mastar.com can help you startup a TAS for as low as $500 to begin. Single station $1,500 up to 5 stations for $5500 and you own it! Revisit our site; other startup apps now available. Contact Rod Minarik: rodmastar@gmail.com or 541-606-9272.

Accounts for Sale: 49 accounts, 29% medical, billing $11,000 per month avg. Asking 12x average billing, $132,000 with half down, balance on terms or 10% discount for cash. Prefer to sell to someone in the Pacific Northwest. Contact Tom: 509-593-5239 or tschmerer@gmail.com.

Seeking to Acquire TAS: Looking to purchase an answering service or call center. Please contact me if you are selling! gm@answerally.com.

Seeking Acquisitions: Reputable TAS, in business since 1967 and still owned by the founding family, seeks a small TAS acquisition in the USA. Ideally, you’re billing under $50k per month. Smaller is better. We’ll treat you right, and your employees and customers. Let’s talk. Contact Doug at 888-693-7935 or douganswerphone@gmail.com.

Content Marketing: Need content for your website or blog? Let Peter DeHaan provide it for you. Add exclusive content to your website to boost your marketing impact and drive organic search. Email Peter or call 616-284-1305.


Calling All Writers and Bloggers

By Peter L DeHaan

The goal of TAS Trader is to provide content for the answering service industry from those in the industry. This means we need your help.

Please consider submitting a short article or blog post for the next issue of TAS Trader.

If you are a blogger, we welcome your posts. Just keep in mind that the writing needs to apply to other answering services, not clients of answering services.

You already have the post written all you need to do is email it to me. Easy peasy.

If you have something you’d like to share in a future issue of TAS Trader, please email me -Peter


Quotes for the Month

“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.” -John Ruskin

“We can have facts without thinking but we cannot have thinking without facts.” -John Dewey

“Did you hear about the guy whose whole left side was cut off? He’s all right now.” -unknown

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Why I’m Excited About the TAS Industry

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

Peter L DeHaan, publisher of TAS TraderA couple years ago I started offering freelance commercial writing services. Not surprisingly, much of the work I do is in the answering service industry: commercial marketing, blog posts, website content, and marketing materials.

As I research and write for my clients in the TAS industry, one theme reoccurs. I am struck with the realization that there is great opportunity ahead of us. Though these opportunities aren’t readily apparent, they do exist. It takes visionary leaders willing to try new things. Some initiatives fail and some succeed. We learn from failure and build upon success.

These opportunities often mix great staff with exciting technology to spark creative service offerings. And of course, promotion and marketing is now more critical than ever.

Ours is a resilient industry. Yes, it is changing. Consolidation continues. Our vendors innovate like never before, producing technology that provides us the means to offer exciting new services. Clients expect more and that helps us get better. The bad players are being bought out or go out of business. The good players compete and grow and make money.

While there may be less answering services to do the work, I believe there is more business awaiting us than ever before.

I am so excited about the future of the TAS industry, and I hope you are, too.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of TAS Trader. He’s a passionate wordsmith whose goal is to change the world one word at a time.

The July 2016 Issue of TAS Trader

Why I’m Excited About the TAS Industry

By Peter L DeHaan, PhD

Peter L DeHaan, publisher of TAS TraderA couple years ago I started offering freelance commercial writing services. Not surprisingly, much of the work I do is in the answering service industry: commercial marketing, blog posts, website content, and marketing materials.

As I research and write for my clients in the TAS industry, one theme reoccurs. I am struck with the realization that there is great opportunity ahead of us. Though these opportunities aren’t readily apparent, they do exist. It takes visionary leaders willing to try new things. Some initiatives fail and some succeed. We learn from failure and build upon success.

These opportunities often mix great staff with exciting technology to spark creative service offerings. And of course, promotion and marketing is now more critical than ever.

Ours is a resilient industry. Yes, it is changing. Consolidation continues. Our vendors innovate like never before, producing technology that provides us the means to offer exciting new services. Clients expect more and that helps us get better. The bad players are being bought out or go out of business. The good players compete and grow and make money.

While there may be less answering services to do the work, I believe there is more business awaiting us than ever before.

I am so excited about the future of the TAS industry, and I hope you are, too.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of TAS Trader. He’s a passionate wordsmith whose goal is to change the world one word at a time.


Classified Ads:

Accounts for Sale: 49 accounts, 29% medical, billing $11,000 per month avg. Asking 12x average billing, $132,000 with half down, balance on terms or 10% discount for cash. Prefer to sell to someone in the Pacific Northwest. Contact Tom: 509-593-5239 or tschmerer@gmail.com.

Seeking to Acquire TAS: Looking to purchase an answering service or call center. Please contact me if you are selling! gm@answerally.com.

Seeking Acquisitions: Reputable TAS, in business since 1967 and still owned by the founding family, seeks a small TAS acquisition in the USA. Ideally, you’re billing under $50k per month. Smaller is better. We’ll treat you right, and your employees and customers. Let’s talk. Contact Doug at 888-693-7935 or douganswerphone@gmail.com.

Content Marketing: Need content for your website or blog? Let Peter DeHaan provide it for you. Add exclusive content to your website to boost your marketing impact and drive organic search. Email Peter or call 616-284-1305.

Mastar.com can help you startup a TAS for as low as $500 to begin. Single station $1,500 up to 5 stations for $5500 and you own it! Revisit our site; other startup apps now available. Contact Rod Minarik:  rodmastar@gmail.com or 541-606-9272.


Do Sweat the Small Stuff

By Barbara Bradbury

Editor’s note: We shared this information in the November 2012 issue of TAS Trader, but these four tips are even more relevant today so we’re posting them again. If you have something you’d like to share in a future issue of TAS Trader, please email me -Peter

When using the telephone, we don’t have the luxury of body language or eye contact to help us connect with our prospects and clients. That’s why it’s so important to pay attention to even the smallest details. Try these tips to really connect with callers.

  1. Voice inflection determines the meaning that others take from the words we speak and helps us to build rapport. The lack of voice inflection is what can lead to misunderstandings when we communicate using email.
  2. Energy conveys our attitude, interest, and enthusiasm.
  3. Rate of speech that is too fast implies we don’t have time for our caller, while too slow can sound like we are distracted.
  4. Pitch that is too high may sound shrill, emotional, and even combative; too low can be difficult to hear or sound uncaring.

Record yourself at the beginning of your day and again at the end. Ask someone you trust to critique your telephone voice on both recordings. Does the quality of your voice tell your customers that you’re fully engaged and actively listening?

This information is courtesy of Answer Plus Communications Inc.


Telephone Answering Service News

Startel Launches Disaster Recovery Service

Unveiled at the 2016 Startel National User’s Group conference in San Diego, Startel’s disaster recovery service provides customers with a complete failover solution and peace of mind. The service enables users to back up application data in a simple, nondisruptive manner. Key features include automated synchronization of database and key files, automated database and key file backup, and a backup system that acts as a hot standby system. Synchronizations occur automatically on both the Startel Contact Management Center and Startel soft switch. “We are happy to provide [mission-critical organizations] with a service that not only minimizes downtime but also minimizes customer impact,” said Startel’s Bill Lane.

Call Center Solutions Company Unveils New Products

SA Hosted & Managed Solutions launched its new website, Youtube channel, and product offerings at the 2016 ATSI conference. SA Hosted & Managed Solutions rolled out two cloud-based technologies: xCally Motion and CallScripter Synergy. xCally Motion is an omnichannel asterisk-based contact center software that powers customer interactions via voice, chat, SMS, email, and fax. xCally software was developed in Italy by Xenial Lab and is used by more than 10,000 contact center agents worldwide. CallScripter Synergy, from IPPlus PLC, combines an agent scripting toolbox with a unified agent desktop system. SA Hosted & Managed Services announced it has been appointed by xCally and CallScripter as a distributor and technology partner in the United States and Canada.

Email us with your TAS news and articles for consideration in our next issue.


Quotes for the Month

“Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or to lose.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“Kindness is always fashionable.” -Amelia Barr

“Police were called to a day care where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.” -unknown


 

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