All posts by Admin

Consider Content Marketing for Your Answering Service

Provide Valuable Information Your Clients and Prospects Will Appreciate 

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan-content marketing

In past columns, we looked at how to make your answering service website stand out and the main pages every site should have. Now let’s switch our focus to content. You know what to put on your homepage, services, get started, about us, and contact us pages. But what if you want to incorporate a blog on your website? 

Coming up with good, fresh content on a regular basis is a challenge for TAS owners and managers who are already too busy. So if you’re going to make it a priority, you want to make it count. Avoid blogging about random topics that don’t provide value to your readers. You want to post what matters. This means content marketing.

What Is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is providing information that your audience will appreciate, find useful, and see as beneficial. It is not advertising. And it is not the place for self-promotion. Also, your content marketing piece will seldom end with a direct call to action.

Though this will frustrate advertise-focused people, the goal of content marketing is to provide value to readers. In doing so you establish yourself or company as a credible source a practical content they’ll want to read month after month.

Find a Theme

To guide your writing and direct your vision, you need a theme for your blog. That way your audience will know what to expect, and you’ll meet their expectations every time. What should your theme be? That’s a great question. 

What are you and your team knowledgeable about? This is an ideal place to start. There are two general areas to consider: answering service content and client-focused content.

Answering Service Content

For content marketing focused on the answering service industry, you’ll certainly be writing about what you know: answering services. Just remember this is not a place to promote your business. This is a place to provide intelligent and actionable content that will help clients better use their answering service and prospects better understand how to select one.

When you do this honestly, you help everyone who uses, or may use, an answering service, even if it’s not yours. But if this is the case, don’t despair. Your excellent posts about the industry positions you as a go-to expert. And eventually they’re bound to go to you.

Client-Focused Content

You can also do content marketing around the topic that’s of interest to your clients or a large group of your clients. Think of this as a value-added service. If you are medical answering service, cover topics of interest to healthcare practitioners. If you specialize in the service industry, right about that. If most of your clients are small businesses, provide them with valuable information about running their company.

The Goal

Regardless of the theme you pick, the goal is not to sell your services but to position yourself as a thought leader and earn their trust. Over time, your content marketing pieces will help drive business your way. And even if you have a regular reader who loves what you write but never uses your service, you can take solace in knowing that your words are benefiting the industry as a group. 

Everyone wins with content marketing.

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 2019 Issue of TAS Trader

Consider Content Marketing for Your Answering Service

Provide Valuable Information Your Clients and Prospects Will Appreciate

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, author, blogger, publisher, editor

In past columns, we looked at how to make your answering service website stand out and the main pages every site should have. Now let’s switch our focus to content. You know what to put on your homepage, services, get started, about us, and contact us pages. But what if you want to incorporate a blog on your website? 

Coming up with good, fresh content on a regular basis is a challenge for TAS owners and managers who are already too busy. So if you’re going to make it a priority, you want to make it count. Avoid blogging about random topics that don’t provide value to your readers. You want to post what matters. This means content marketing.

What Is Content Marketing? Content marketing is providing information that your audience will appreciate, find useful, and see as beneficial. It is not advertising. And it is not the place for self-promotion. Also, your content marketing piece will seldom end with a direct call to action.

Though this will frustrate advertise-focused people, the goal of content marketing is to provide value to readers. In doing so you establish yourself or company as a credible source a practical content they’ll want to read month after month.

Find a Theme: To guide your writing and direct your vision, you need a theme for your blog. That way your audience will know what to expect, and you’ll meet their expectations every time. What should your theme be? That’s a great question. 

What are you and your team knowledgeable about? This is an ideal place to start. There are two general areas to consider: answering service content and client-focused content.

Answering Service Content: For content marketing focused on the answering service industry, you’ll certainly be writing about what you know: answering services. Just remember this is not a place to promote your business. This is a place to provide intelligent and actionable content that will help clients better use their answering service and prospects better understand how to select one.

When you do this honestly, you help everyone who uses, or may use, an answering service, even if it’s not yours. But if this is the case, don’t despair. Your excellent posts about the industry positions you as a go-to expert. And eventually they’re bound to go to you.

Client-Focused Content: You can also do content marketing around the topic that’s of interest to your clients or a large group of your clients. Think of this as a value-added service. If you are a medical answering service, cover topics of interest to healthcare practitioners. If you specialize in the service industry, right about that. If most of your clients are small businesses, provide them with valuable information about running their company.

The Goal: Regardless of the theme you pick, the goal is not to sell your services but to position yourself as a thought leader and earn their trust. Over time, your content marketing pieces will help drive business your way. And even if you have a regular reader who loves what you write but never uses your service, you can take solace in knowing that your words are benefiting the industry as a group. 

Everyone wins with content marketing.

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:

TAS Sales Rep: 40-year-old, multiple-location, answering service seeks outgoing, highly professional, hard-working, and self-motivated sales representatives. Previous sales experience is preferred. Strong written and verbal communications skills are required. Must be comfortable with phone sales, computer-literate, and capable of creating written sales proposals. Email resume to Janet Livingston at janet@callcenter-salespro.com.

Operations Manager: 32-year-old TAS in sunny Central Florida looking for an operations manager. Experience is a must! Send resume to jeanpearson49@gmail.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.

TAS Directory: Promote your TAS online, now only $199 a year. Overhauled and redesigned, make FindAnAnsweringService.com part of your online marketing plan. Email Valerie for details.

Seeking Acquisition: We’ll pay cash for your TAS! Completely confidential. A Courteous Communication has been in business for 32 years. Contact Doris at 800-785-6161 or Doris@courteouscom.com; visit www.courteouscom.com.

TAS Sales Rep: 40-year-old, multiple-location, answering service seeks outgoing, highly professional, hard-working, and self-motivated sales representatives. Previous sales experience is preferred. Strong written and verbal communications skills are required. Must be comfortable with phone sales, computer-literate, and capable of creating written sales proposals. Email resume to Janet Livingston at janet@callcenter-salespro.com.


ATSI Recognizes Top Answering Services

The 2019 ATSI Call Center Award of Distinction (AoD) Recipients are:

  • Answer Quick, Louisville, TN
  • Call 4 Health, Delray Beach, FL
  • Connections Call Center, Squamish, BC
  • Extend Communications, Inc., Brantford, ON
  • First American Payment Systems, Fort Worth, TX
  • Nationwide Inbound, Freeport, IL
  • Telelink, St. John’s, NL
  • Time Communications, Roseville, MN

And the answering services that earned the ten highest scores in the 2019 ATSI Award of Excellence (AoE) are: 

  1. Alliance Wireless Communications, Kingston, ON
  2. Alphapage, LLC, Denver, CO
  3. Answer – Southern States, Hopkinsville, KY 
  4. Answer Midwest, Inc., Alton, IL
  5. AnswerTel of Athens, Inc., Athens, AL
  6. Carolyn’s Communications Inc., Snellville, GA
  7. Connections Call Center, Squamish, BC
  8. King’s Telephone Answering Services, Shreveport, LA 
  9. Main Line TeleCommunications, Aston, PA 
  10. Rochester Telemessaging Center, Rochester Hills, MI

Congratulations to these fine organizations and all who participated in the AoD and AoE programs this year. You’ll notice that Connections Call Center is on both lists. They earned the highest scores in both programs. [Look for a full list of ATSI AoE winners in the next issue.]


Industry News

Ansercomm Acquires Academy Messaging: Ansercomm announced that they acquired Academy Messaging of Hackensack, NJ. Ansercomm has helped businesses since 1964 with 24/7 answering services serving the United States and Canada. Academy Messaging of Hackensack, NJ is a 60-year-old answering service, giving Ansercomm a third call center location in addition to their Maple Shade, NJ and North Lauderdale, FL operations. Ansercomm president, Anthony Greenfield says, “The acquisition gives us an additional bank of live operators. In today’s digital world, customers still want to speak to a person at some point in the sales and service process, and that’s what we do.”

Szeto Technologies Expands Leadership Team: Szeto Technologies announced that Robert Bidewell and Garrett Bidewell will join the Szeto family as they expand and continue to grow. Robert and Garrett bring over twenty years of collective experience as owners of several thriving answering services in Alberta, Canada. Robert will collaborate with engineers bringing his experiences and know-how with telephony installations and technical skills. Garrett brings his strengths in marketing and business to the company. Szeto Technologies looks forward to working with these new team members and welcomes them to their family.

Amtelco Introduces Genesis Service Level Reports: Amtelco’s Genesis provides reporting on service level statistics for each agent ID, agent ACD skill, agent skill group, and client account. There is also a service level report grouped by interval. Service level reports include color-coded indicators of thresholds that aren’t met or exceeded. Benefits of these reports for the answering service include improved customer satisfaction and better business management.

NAEO Summer Series: The National Amtelco Equipment Owners (NAEO) users’ group Summer Series will offer three separate tracks: IS 101 for beginners, IS 102 for intermediate to advanced programming, and a supervisor leadership path. Sessions will run simultaneously from 9-5 each day from Monday, July 29 through Wednesday, July 31 in Atlanta, Georgia. While the IS 101 and 102 tracks are specific to Amtelco software, the leadership track would be beneficial to supervisors and operations managers of answering services and call centers with any equipment. Learn more at https://www.naeo.org/event/2019-summer-series.

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


Quotes for the Month

“Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence.” -Hal Borland 

“Life is an adventure in forgiveness.” –Norman Cousins

“When you’ve seen one shopping center you’ve seen a mall.” -unknown

Look to Fine-Tune Your TAS Processes

Seek to Provide the Fast Responses Your Prospects and Clients Expect

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan-customer service

We live in an I-want-it-now culture. People, in general, and your answering service clients, specifically, expect quick responses to their inquiries. If they don’t get what they want when they want it, they’ll seek solutions elsewhere.

That’s why we need to look at our various answering service processes and seek to fine-tune them. The goal is to develop new ways of doing things so we can respond quicker with our present and future clients.

Here are some areas to consider.

Streamline Sales

How long does it take from the time a prospect clicks a button for more information until they’re interacting with a person who can help them? Though it’s a good practice, an automated response doesn’t count, nor does someone texting, calling, or emailing that someone will get back with them in a few minutes. What matters is contact from a salesperson who can answer questions and move toward a successful close.

The patience of prospects is extremely short. The chances of success decrease noticeably as response times increase. For many situations, a five-minute response time is the new standard. Making prospects wait even thirty minutes, dramatically decreases the chance of someone connecting with them and closing the deal. That’s why some companies push for a one-minute response time. Most prospects will wait sixty seconds before they contact another company.

This means you need to figure out a way that the information on the clicked form goes immediately to a salesperson who can contact them right away. Any other steps or delays is unacceptable.

Streamline Onboarding

Once you sign up a new client, what’s your process for getting them setup so you can take calls? This doesn’t mean giving them a generic solution now and fine-tuning it later. This means a fully functional, working answering service solution.

In pursuing this goal, the objective is to balance speed with accuracy. Don’t program their account so quickly that it contains errors. But don’t take so long that they give up on you.

This means sending the information collected by the salesperson directly to the programmer. Even if you sell customers on the paradigm that “it will take us three business days to set up your account properly, because we’re focused on quality,” still look for ways to do things faster and better.

Streamline Customer Service

Now you’ve turned a prospect into a client. Ideally, they’ll never have any customer service issues, but they will.

When it comes to responding fast to customer service inquiries, there are two considerations. The first is how quickly the client can share their concern with someone who can act upon it. The second is how quickly the customer service agent can implement and communicate the solution to the client. Address both these issues, looking for ways to fine-tune your processes to respond with speed and accuracy.

Streamline Other Areas

Sales, client onboarding, and customer service are the three big areas to address first. But when you’re finished with those, this doesn’t mean you’re done. There’s more to do. In accounting, look at the timeliness of sending invoices, handling receivables, and processing payables. What about dealing with technical issues? First restructure procedures that address problems affecting more than one client. Then look at simplifying the process to resolve the technical concerns of one client.

A related issue is in your agent hiring and training procedures. Though this isn’t a client-facing concern, it does directly affect your answering service’s productivity and profitability.

Be Ever Streamlining

Once you’ve fine-tuned the processes in all these areas, now you can sit back and take it easy, right? Wrong! Always seek ways to do things faster and better. Don’t accept the status quo, and don’t assume that if something was good enough last year, it’s good enough now.

Always seek to do things faster and better. Other answering services are. If you want to keep up, so should you.

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 June 2019 Issue of TAS Trader

Look to Fine-Tune Your TAS Processes

Seek to Provide the Fast Responses Your Prospects and Clients Expect

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan

We live in an I-want-it-now culture. People, in general, and your answering service clients, specifically, expect quick responses to their inquiries. If they don’t get what they want when they want it, they’ll seek solutions elsewhere.

That’s why we need to look at our various answering service processes and seek to fine-tune them. The goal is to develop new ways of doing things so we can respond quicker with our present and future clients.

Here are some areas to consider.

Streamline Sales

How long does it take from the time a prospect clicks a button for more information until they’re interacting with a person who can help them? Though it’s a good practice, an automated response doesn’t count, nor does someone texting, calling, or emailing that someone will get back with them in a few minutes. What matters is contact from a salesperson who can answer questions and move toward a successful close.

The patience of prospects is extremely short. The chances of success decrease noticeably as response times increase. For many situations, a five-minute response time is the new standard. Making prospects wait even thirty minutes, dramatically decreases the chance of someone connecting with them and closing the deal. That’s why some companies push for a one-minute response time. Most prospects will wait sixty seconds before they contact another company.

This means you need to figure out a way that the information on the clicked form goes immediately to a salesperson who can contact them right away. Any other steps or delays is unacceptable.

Streamline Onboarding

Once you sign up a new client, what’s your process for getting them setup so you can take calls? This doesn’t mean giving them a generic solution now and fine-tuning it later. This means a fully functional, working answering service solution.

In pursuing this goal, the objective is to balance speed with accuracy. Don’t program their account so quickly that it contains errors. But don’t take so long that they give up on you.

This means sending the information collected by the salesperson directly to the programmer. Even if you sell customers on the paradigm that “it will take us three business days to set up your account properly, because we’re focused on quality,” still look for ways to do things faster and better.

Streamline Customer Service

Now you’ve turned a prospect into a client. Ideally, they’ll never have any customer service issues, but they will.

When it comes to responding fast to customer service inquiries, there are two considerations. The first is how quickly the client can share their concern with someone who can act upon it. The second is how quickly the customer service agent can implement and communicate the solution to the client. Address both these issues, looking for ways to fine-tune your processes to respond with speed and accuracy.

Streamline Other Areas

Sales, client onboarding, and customer service are the three big areas to address first. But when you’re finished with those, this doesn’t mean you’re done. There’s more to do. In accounting, look at the timeliness of sending invoices, handling receivables, and processing payables. What about dealing with technical issues? First restructure procedures that address problems affecting more than one client. Then look at simplifying the process to resolve the technical concerns of one client.

A related issue is in your agent hiring and training procedures. Though this isn’t a client-facing concern, it does directly affect your answering service’s productivity and profitability.

Be Ever Streamlining

Once you’ve fine-tuned the processes in all these areas, now you can sit back and take it easy, right? Wrong! Always seek ways to do things faster and better. Don’t accept the status quo, and don’t assume that if something was good enough last year, it’s good enough now.

Always seek to do things faster and better. Other answering services are. If you want to keep up, so should you.

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:

Specialty TAS/Call Center for Sale: Health forces sale. Specialty TAS/Call Center started in 2005. We are the leader in our segment of the market, with an excellent reputation. Sale includes: URLs, toll-free number, trade show display if you want it, and 33 accounts averaging $25,568 monthly billing. Accounts are currently on Infinity. Contact: mycallcenter4sale@gmail.com or 628-220-0647.

Operations Manager: 32-year-old TAS in sunny Central Florida looking for an operations manager. Experience is a must! Send resume to: jeanpearson49@gmail.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.

TAS Directory: Promote your TAS online, now only $199 a year. Overhauled and redesigned, make FindAnAnsweringService.com part of your online marketing plan. Email Valerie for details.

Seeking Acquisition: We’ll pay cash for your TAS! Completely confidential. A Courteous Communication has been in business for 32 years. Contact Doris at 800-785-6161 or Doris@courteouscom.com; visit www.courteouscom.com.

TAS Sales Rep: 40-year-old, multiple-location, answering service seeks outgoing, highly professional, hard-working, and self-motivated sales representatives. Previous sales experience is preferred. Strong written and verbal communications skills are required. Must be comfortable with phone sales, computer-literate, and capable of creating written sales proposals. Email resume to Janet Livingston at janet@callcenter-salespro.com.


5 Signs it’s Time to Say “Goodbye” to Your Client

By Kate Zabriskie

Sometimes you can’t meet clients’ expectations, other times clients require an inordinate amount of time, and on rare occasions, a client’s behavior may expose an organization to undue peril. When any of these situations occur, it’s best to say “goodbye” and to do so quickly in a way that creates the least resentment on both sides.

1. They cause 80 percent of your problems but don’t cover 80 percent of your revenue: From time to time, any client could require more energy than others. Those high-demand situations are normal. What isn’t normal, however, is the perpetual squeaky wheel that routinely disrupts normal business operations.

These clients may not be the clients you want to keep. This is especially true if serving them prevents you from taking care of clients who are more profitable and easier to help. If they insist on staying anyway, consider raising their rates.

2. They’re abusive: When management allows clients to abuse employees, it’s the same as perpetrating the abuse directly. Do clients swear, yell, demean, or harass your employees? If so, it’s time to let them know their behavior isn’t acceptable.

If the bad behavior continues, the relationship should stop. Not acting could expose your company to a lawsuit, erode morale, and negatively affect your culture.

3. Their behavior doesn’t align with your ethics: You are the company you keep. If you enable your clients to act in a way that conflicts with your organization’s values or the law, it may be time to say, “Goodbye.”

Do you really want to associate yourself and your organization with those whose business practices are illegal, immoral, or questionable? When a client exposes you to unneeded risk, it’s prudent to disassociate yourself from them pronto.

4. They expose you to unneeded financial risk: If you spend more time chasing payments than performing work, it’s time to consider a new payment plan or a permanent breakup if that doesn’t solve the problem. It’s best to avoid an organization that puts your pocketbook on the line.

5. You’re no longer a good fit: Sometimes providers and their clients grow apart. Nobody has done anything wrong. The two parties are just in different places, and it’s time to say goodbye.

Conclusion: No matter the reason, prolonging a relationship that isn’t working does no one any favors. It’s usually not fun to say “goodbye,” but once you do, you’ll have more time to say “hello” to clients you want to work with.

Kate Zabriskie is the president of Business Training Works, Inc., a Maryland-based talent development firm. She and her team help businesses establish customer service strategies and train their people to live up to what’s promised. For more information, visit www.businesstrainingworks.com.

[Read the full article, which contains additional information.]


Industry News

Amtelco’s Newest Genesis IS Release Rated Avaya Compliant: Amtelco announced that its Genesis Intelligent Series solution is compliant with key Avaya IX Workplace Calling solutions from Avaya. The Genesis software switching solution provides the Intelligent Series applications with advanced software-based telephony. Genesis provides an all-inclusive, enterprise-wide call center with skills-based automatic call distribution (ACD), built-in speech recognition, text to speech, and voice services to improve call routing and management. Users can keep metrics with customizable reporting, enhance accountability with call logging and video screen capture, connect remote agents, and manage automated dispatch and on-call scheduling. Genesis can operate in a virtual server environment or in the cloud, enabling businesses to grow without adding additional hardware, helping save time and money.

Utility Expands Customer Interactions: OnviSource announced that an electric utility company successfully deployed OnviSource Inspecta feedback, notification, and response management software. This allows them to intelligently automate outbound customer surveys and feedback. It also cost-effectively manages customer notification and response related to critical service events and other general communications. The electric utility can better manage, measure, and improve customer engagement and the overall customer experience.

Inspecta offered automation and management of surveys, notifications, and responses, as well as new telecom and VoIP-based technologies to reduce the telecom expenses and response time.

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


Quotes for the Month

“The trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit.” -Moliere

“Never harbor grudges; they sour your stomach and do no harm to anyone else.” -Robertson Davies

“A plateau is a high form of flattery.” -unknown

The Essential Pages Every TAS Website Should Have

An Effective Website Doesn’t Need to Be Big, but It Does Need to Cover the Basics

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan-answering service

In Does Your TAS Have a Great Website? we looked at how to make your website stand out as an essential marketing resource for your answering service. The tips offered aren’t revolutionary and comprise best practices for website design. Unfortunately, too many websites in the industry fall short of meeting these essential requirements. Though some answering services can fix their failing websites by updating them, other sites need a complete overhaul.

Regardless of where you are in the process, every website should have five essential pages. Though this discussion is specifically for answering services, the principles apply to any website for any industry.

1. Homepage

Your homepage should embrace visitors and draw them in. It should give them a reason to stick around and explore the other pages on your site. Don’t make your homepage about you. Seriously.

Focus on your audience. Make it about them. This is hard to do well. To see if your words resonate with your audience, ask someone who doesn’t know you or your business to read your homepage and tell you what they think. Adjust the text as appropriate to hone your message to resonate with visitors, that is your prospects.

2. Services

Next you need a page that lists your services. Don’t provide too many options or you will overwhelm them, and visitors will bounce, searching for a more user-friendly site. Ideally, give them two options. That will make it easiest for them to decide. The more options, the harder you make it for them to choose, and if it’s too complicated, they’ll choose to go elsewhere.

Only listing two service options, however, presents a challenge. Three would be okay, four at the most.

Don’t attempt to list every option you offer on this page. Instead, include the popular ones and the ones you want to sell. Then add something about contacting you for custom solutions. In most cases, you should include pricing for each service option. The only exception might be if you are a premium provider and don’t want to get into pricing until after you’ve sold them emotionally on the value of your service.

3. Get Started

The next page should explain how easy it is for a prospect to become a client. Businesses that have used answering services will know what to expect and will skip this page. So write the content for someone who has never used an answering service. Spell things out for them in an easy-to-follow list.

They may not be familiar with call forwarding. Explain it. They won’t have any idea as to which billing package they should select. Give them guidelines on how to figure it out. The goal is to make the process of hiring you simple, easy-to-understand, and painless.

End this page with the call to action, designed to move them from prospect to new client. This may include a sign-up form or a phone number to call.

4. About Us

After these pages, include a section that talks about your answering service. The goal is to make your service shine, while hinting at how your unique characteristics will benefit your prospects. Talk about anything that will make your answering service stand out. This could include how long you’ve been in business, awards you’ve won, or your leadership in the industry or your community.

Every answering service talks about their great staff, so you should too. Share your vision to serve your clients. As appropriate, talk about your quality service, easy-to-understand invoices, or the outcomes your clients can expect.

Don’t be afraid about making this page too long, but make sure it’s easy for visitors to scan. If they’re interested, they’ll read whatever you put there. At the end, list client testimonials. Though you can sprinkle selected testimonials throughout the site, one on each page, listing them all here is a great idea.

5. Contact Us

The final page should tell prospects how to reach you. At minimum there should be a phone number, but most people expect an email address as well. Also list your social media pages. This, however, assumes they’re up to date and you’re active on them. Unless you’re trying to obscure where you’re located, include your mailing address. If you have multiple offices, this is a great place to list them.

Though your essential contact information—phone number and email address—should prominently appear on every page at least once, include all options here. Some prospects will immediately look for a “contact us” page.

Other

There are a couple of other items to include on your website. These are not part of the main five essential items and don’t deserve one of the main navigation tabs, but they should be someplace. One good location is in the header that appears on the top of every page.

Client Portal: Assuming you have a client portal, add a login link for your clients.

Employment Opportunities: If you’re like most services, you’re on the outlook for quality staff. Include a link for employment opportunities. On this page, sell them on the desirability of working for your answering service, and make it easy for them to apply

Blog: Some answering services have a blog. This is an option you should only take if you’re committed to posting regular, valuable content. For most answering services, a blog is a time-consuming item that they don’t have time for.

However, a blog is a great long-term move that will engage your audience, improve your SEO rankings, and make you stand out in the industry. (Unlike “client portal” and “employment opportunities,” you will want to list your blog as one of your main navigation tabs.)  To learn more about the value of a blog, explore content marketing.

Conclusion

Use these tips to improve or overhaul your website. This will attract more visitors. It will help you turn more prospects into clients. You’ll sign them up faster and keep them longer.

That’s what the right website can do for you.

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 May 2019 Issue of TAS Trader

The Essential Pages Every TAS Website Should Have

An Effective Website Doesn’t Need to Be Big, but It Does Need to Cover the Basics

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan-April 2019

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

In Does Your TAS Have a Great Website? we looked at how to make your website stand out as an essential marketing resource for your answering service. The tips offered aren’t revolutionary and comprise best practices for website design. Unfortunately, too many websites in the industry fall short of meeting these essential requirements. Though some answering services can fix their failing websites by updating them, other sites need a complete overhaul.

Regardless of where you are in the process, every website should have five essential pages. Though this discussion is specifically for answering services, the principles apply to any website for any industry.

1. Homepage

Your homepage should embrace visitors and draw them in. It should give them a reason to stick around and explore the other pages on your site. Don’t make your homepage about you. Seriously.

Focus on your audience. Make it about them. This is hard to do well. To see if your words resonate with your audience, ask someone who doesn’t know you or your business to read your homepage and tell you what they think. Adjust the text as appropriate to hone your message to resonate with visitors, that is your prospects.

2. Services

Next you need a page that lists your services. Don’t provide too many options or you will overwhelm them, and visitors will bounce, searching for a more user-friendly site. Ideally, give them two options. That will make it easiest for them to decide. The more options, the harder you make it for them to choose, and if it’s too complicated, they’ll choose to go elsewhere.

Only listing two service options, however, presents a challenge. Three would be okay, four at the most.

Don’t attempt to list every option you offer on this page. Instead, include the popular ones and the ones you want to sell. Then add something about contacting you for custom solutions. In most cases, you should include pricing for each service option. The only exception might be if you are a premium provider and don’t want to get into pricing until after you’ve sold them emotionally on the value of your service.

3. Get Started

The next page should explain how easy it is for a prospect to become a client. Businesses that have used answering services will know what to expect and will skip this page. So write the content for someone who has never used an answering service. Spell things out for them in an easy-to-follow list.

They may not be familiar with call forwarding. Explain it. They won’t have any idea as to which billing package they should select. Give them guidelines on how to figure it out. The goal is to make the process of hiring you simple, easy-to-understand, and painless.

End this page with the call to action, designed to move them from prospect to new client. This may include a sign-up form or a phone number to call.

4. About Us

After these pages, include a section that talks about your answering service. The goal is to make your service shine, while hinting at how your unique characteristics will benefit your prospects. Talk about anything that will make your answering service stand out. This could include how long you’ve been in business, awards you’ve won, or your leadership in the industry or your community.

Every answering service talks about their great staff, so you should too. Share your vision to serve your clients. As appropriate, talk about your quality service, easy-to-understand invoices, or the outcomes your clients can expect.

Don’t be afraid about making this page too long, but make sure it’s easy for visitors to scan. If they’re interested, they’ll read whatever you put there. At the end, list client testimonials. Though you can sprinkle selected testimonials throughout the site, one on each page, listing them all here is a great idea.

5. Contact Us

The final page should tell prospects how to reach you. At minimum there should be a phone number, but most people expect an email address as well. Also list your social media pages. This, however, assumes they’re up to date and you’re active on them. Unless you’re trying to obscure where you’re located, include your mailing address. If you have multiple offices, this is a great place to list them.

Though your essential contact information—phone number and email address—should prominently appear on every page at least once, include all options here. Some prospects will immediately look for a “contact us” page.

Other

There are a couple of other items to include on your website. These are not part of the main five essential items and don’t deserve one of the main navigation tabs, but they should be someplace. One good location is in the header that appears on the top of every page.

Client Portal: Assuming you have a client portal, add a login link for your clients.

Employment Opportunities: If you’re like most services, you’re on the outlook for quality staff. Include a link for employment opportunities. On this page, sell them on the desirability of working for your answering service, and make it easy for them to apply

Blog: Some answering services have a blog. This is an option you should only take if you’re committed to posting regular, valuable content. For most answering services, a blog is a time-consuming item that they don’t have time for.

However, a blog is a great long-term move that will engage your audience, improve your SEO rankings, and make you stand out in the industry. (Unlike “client portal” and “employment opportunities,” you will want to list your blog as one of your main navigation tabs.)  To learn more about the value of a blog, explore content marketing.

Conclusion

Use these tips to improve or overhaul your website. This will attract more visitors. It will help you turn more prospects into clients. You’ll sign them up faster and keep them longer.

That’s what the right website can do for you.

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:

Operations Manager: 32-year-old TAS in sunny Central Florida looking for an operations manager. Experience is a must! Send resume to: jeanpearson49@gmail.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.

TAS Directory: Promote your TAS online, now only $199 a year. Overhauled and redesigned, make FindAnAnsweringService.com part of your online marketing plan. Email Valerie for details.

Seeking Acquisition: We’ll pay cash for your TAS! Completely confidential. A Courteous Communication has been in business for 32 years. Contact Doris at 800-785-6161 or Doris@courteouscom.com; visit www.courteouscom.com.

TAS Sales Rep: 40-year-old, multiple-location, answering service seeks outgoing, highly professional, hard-working, and self-motivated sales representatives. Previous sales experience is preferred. Strong written and verbal communications skills are required. Must be comfortable with phone sales, computer-literate, and capable of creating written sales proposals. Email resume to Janet Livingston at janet@callcenter-salespro.com.

Call for Submissions

Because the first article of this issue is twice the length as usual, we won’t have a second one this time. However, were looking for content for the rest of the year.

Will you help?

Please email Peter with your thoughts about the industry. If you’re not a writer, that’s okay. We’ll polish it and make your piece shine. You may even be able to repurpose something you’ve already written, such as a blog post or excerpt from a client letter. Just remember that our audience is other answering services, not answering service prospects.

Together we can work to make the industry better.

Thank you!


Industry News

TAS Marketing Celebrates 40 Years: Since 1979, Steve Michaels and his wife Chris have supported the industry selling various products such as the ACI teleprinter system, the AVI training program, and the DC 7 call management system, along with launching Connections Magazine. (Now published by Peter DeHaan.)

Recently the team has been one member short due to cancer, but Chris is on the mend and should be back at her desk in June. TAS Marketing sells six to ten businesses per year, now totaling almost 500 businesses sold. As a service to the industry, Steve publishes a newsletter “TAS Tips.” Reach Steve at 800-369-6126 or tas@tasmarketing.com

MiSecureMessages Secure Messaging App 4.2.0 for iOS/Apple Devices: Amtelco released version 4.2.0 of the miSecureMessages secure messaging app. Version 4.2.0 features enhanced functionality with Apple Watch. Apple Watch Series 3 and 4 users with Watch OS 5 or later can read and reply to secure messages. A new Apple Watch menu displays which accounts contain new messages.

The miSecureMessages Apple app provides secure messaging and paging services for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. It receives notifications of secure messages sent from the miSecureMessages Web Service via the Apple Push Notification Service. Users can view, respond to, and initiate messages to other miSecureMessages users within their organization. Customers may update the app from their iPhone’s App Store account.

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


Quotes for the Month

“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” -E. M. Forster

“Learning is not attained by chance. It must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.” -Abigail Adams

He had a photographic memory which was never developed.” -unknown

How to Make Your Website Shine

Discover How to Make Your Website an Essential Marketing Resource

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan

In Does Your TAS Have a Great Website? we talked about the importance of having a killer website to serve as your online home base for your marketing plan.

You can hire a professional web developer to do this for you. You can also do it yourself. Either way, here are some tips to guide the process. Follow these and you’ll be ahead of most websites in the answering service industry.

Seek a Clean, Fresh Design

First, pursue a website that looks fresh and clean. If this tip doesn’t provide enough clarity, then avoid the opposite: a dated, cluttered website. Don’t try to squeeze everything in a small area. Instead use white space to make the content more inviting and readable. Stick with one common font, with black type on a white background. Anything else is hard to read, as well as trendy, which will become dated fast. Also, keep a simple color palette that matches your logo.

Provide Search Engine Friendly Content

If you want people to find your site through organic search, make sure you have at least 300 words on every page. Google needs to see that many to properly index it. This means don’t put text in graphics, which search engines can’t read. It also means avoiding making visitors click “more” to read additional text. Be sure all the text on a page is readily available without an extra click.

Avoid Industry Jargon

Most answering service websites contain industry terms that most prospects won’t understand—unless some answering service has trained them. Don’t make a prospect speak your language to do business with you. Instead speak their language. This means explaining your service in terms they can understand from a basic business perspective. Keep things simple, and you’ll close more sales and do it faster.

Make It User Friendly

your website

If someone ever asks you how to navigate your website or where to find something, this is a clue that you need to simplify its structure. Make it user friendly. Make it intuitive. Don’t hide links to needed information. Visitors should be able to find everything from your home page. The more clicks they need to make or the longer they need to search for something, the more likely they are to bounce.

Focus on Mobile First

A few years ago, website traffic reached a tipping point, where more visitors used mobile devices then computers. This means you need a mobile-first strategy when it comes to website design. Merely being mobile ready isn’t enough, though it’s a good start. View your website on a mobile device, and see how easy or hard it is to navigate. I’ve been to some websites on my smartphone and was so frustrated that I closed my browser and went to my computer. Few prospects, however, will bother to do that.

Proof Content and Test Links

I’m surprised at how often I see errors and typos on TAS websites. Website designers are weak when it comes to catching problems. You need to hold them accountable. Get as many people reviewing your website as possible. Even more valuable is asking people who don’t use answering services to give you feedback.

Prioritize Search Engine Optimization

I suspect you’ve heard of SEO (search engine optimization). If you’re like most business owners, you’re ignoring it or giving it scant attention. This is a mistake. The best website will struggle without SEO, while a less than ideal one will get more traffic if they do a good job at SEO.

SEO is part science and part art. You need someone who can master both. And just because they say they’re an expert, doesn’t mean they are. The proof is in results. As an SEO guru begins optimizing your site, you should see results within a month, two at the most. If your traffic isn’t increasing, you’ve hired the wrong person. How much should traffic increase under a good SEO program? The answer depends on how bad things are to start with, but the results must be measurable and should be significant.

Conclusion

Apply these tips when you update or overhaul your website. You’ll get increased traffic, fewer complaints, and hopefully more sales.

Next month we’ll look at the essential pages every TAS website should have.

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 April 2019 Issue of TAS Trader

How to Make Your Website Shine

Discover How to Make Your Website an Essential Marketing Resource

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan-April 2019

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

In Does Your TAS Have a Great Website? we talked about the importance of having a killer website to serve as your online home base for your marketing plan.

You can hire a professional web developer to do this for you. You can also do it yourself. Either way, here are some tips to guide the process. Follow these and you’ll be ahead of most websites in the answering service industry.

Seek a Clean, Fresh Design

First, pursue a website that looks fresh and clean. If this tip doesn’t provide enough clarity, then avoid the opposite: a dated, cluttered website. Don’t try to squeeze everything in a small area. Instead use white space to make the content more inviting and readable. Stick with one common font, with black type on a white background. Anything else is hard to read, as well as trendy, which will become dated fast. Also, keep a simple color palette that matches your logo.

Provide Search Engine Friendly Content

If you want people to find your site through organic search, make sure you have at least 300 words on every page. Google needs to see that many to properly index it. This means don’t put text in graphics, which search engines can’t read. It also means avoiding making visitors click “more” to read additional text. Be sure all the text on a page is readily available without an extra click.

Avoid Industry Jargon

Most answering service websites contain industry terms that most prospects won’t understand—unless some answering service has trained them. Don’t make a prospect speak your language to do business with you. Instead speak their language. This means explaining your service in terms they can understand from a basic business perspective. Keep things simple, and you’ll close more sales and do it faster.

Make It User Friendly

If someone ever asks you how to navigate your website or where to find something, this is a clue that you need to simplify its structure. Make it user friendly. Make it intuitive. Don’t hide links to needed information. Visitors should be able to find everything from your home page. The more clicks they need to make or the longer they need to search for something, the more likely they are to bounce.

Focus on Mobile First

A few years ago, website traffic reached a tipping point, where more visitors used mobile devices then computers. This means you need a mobile-first strategy when it comes to website design. Merely being mobile ready isn’t enough, though it’s a good start. View your website on a mobile device, and see how easy or hard it is to navigate. I’ve been to some websites on my smartphone and was so frustrated that I closed my browser and went to my computer. Few prospects, however, will bother to do that.

Proof Content and Test Links

I’m surprised at how often I see errors and typos on TAS websites. Website designers are weak when it comes to catching problems. You need to hold them accountable. Get as many people reviewing your website as possible. Even more valuable is asking people who don’t use answering services to give you feedback.

Prioritize Search Engine Optimization

I suspect you’ve heard of SEO (search engine optimization). If you’re like most business owners, you’re ignoring it or giving it scant attention. This is a mistake. The best website will struggle without SEO, while a less than ideal one will get more traffic if they do a good job at SEO.

SEO is part science and part art. You need someone who can master both. And just because they say they’re an expert, doesn’t mean they are. The proof is in results. As an SEO guru begins optimizing your site, you should see results within a month, two at the most. If your traffic isn’t increasing, you’ve hired the wrong person. How much should traffic increase under a good SEO program? The answer depends on how bad things are to start with, but the results must be measurable and should be significant.

Conclusion

Apply these tips when you update or overhaul your website. You’ll get increased traffic, fewer complaints, and hopefully more sales.

Next month we’ll look at the essential pages every TAS website should have.

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.

TAS Directory: Promote your TAS online, now only $199 a year. Overhauled and redesigned, make FindAnAnsweringService.com part of your online marketing plan. Email Valerie for details

Seeking Acquisition: We’ll pay cash for your TAS! Completely confidential. A Courteous Communication has been in business for 32 years. Contact Doris at 800-785-6161 or Doris@courteouscom.com; visit www.courteouscom.com.

TAS Sales Rep: 40-year-old, multiple-location, answering service seeks outgoing, highly professional, hard-working, and self-motivated sales representatives. Previous sales experience is preferred. Strong written and verbal communications skills are required. Must be comfortable with phone sales, computer-literate, and capable of creating written sales proposals. Email resume to Janet Livingston at janet@callcenter-salespro.com.

Operations Manager: 32-year-old TAS in sunny Central Florida looking for an operations manager. Experience is a must! Send resume to: jeanpearson49@gmail.com.


10 Commandments for the Inspirational Leader: The Foundation of Business Solutions

By Michele Wierzgac

There are many theories in leadership ranging from vision to self-awareness to service. The simplest way to develop your leadership skills is to have a work ethic mixed with a solid foundation of core values.

Inspirational leaders have commandments they work with and live by. These commandments, or guidelines, lay the critical foundation for the development of leadership and business solutions.

These Ten Commandments will work as a guidebook to inspire your staff, increase workplace morale, and lay the foundation for a successful company.

1. Be truthful
2. Be consistent
3. Be empathetic
4. Be generous
5. Be strong
6. Be articulate
7. Be approachable
8. Be a brand champion
9. Be a genuine spirit
10. Be credible

As an inspirational leader, do you have commandments that you work and live by? If not, use this list as a starting point.

Michele Wierzgac is a leadership expert, keynote speaker, and author of the forthcoming book, Ass Kicking Women: How They Leverage Their Informal Networks for Success. With her high energy presentations, Michele conveys sound leadership solutions and promotes audience engagement and on-your-feet participation.

[Read the full article at ArticleWeekly.com.]


Telephone Answering Service News

Join Answering Service Forum, a Free Online Meeting Place for the TAS Industry

Rob Hudelson unveiled the Answering Service Forum for everyone in the TAS industry. There you can find “everything you always wanted to know about the answering service industry but were afraid to ask,” said Hudelson. Join the Answering Service Forum today and start exchanging ideas with others in the industry.

“I have long thought there should be a meeting and exchange place for everyone involved in the TAS industry regardless of their ability to join associations or attend conventions,” said Hudelson. “So, I created the Answering Service Forum. It’s a free place for TAS owners, managers, and employees to share ideas and ask questions.”

ASTAA to Present 2019 Sales Symposium

The 2019 TAS Sales Symposium, hosted by ASTAA will be August 7–8 at the Hotel Indigo in Baltimore MD. “This will be a full two-day class on all aspects of sales specifically geared toward answering services,” said executive director Maryellen Pruitt. “As a bonus, the last half of day two will be a panel discussion from some of the best sales people in our industry.” 

Presenters include: Stacey Brown Randall on “Generating Referrals Without Asking”; Farnoosh Brock on “Addressing Objections Effectively” and “Charging Appropriately”; Diane Helbig covering “Long Term Results from Real Time Engagement” and “Sales Management”; Michael Schmidtmann on “How to Be More Persuasive in Sales”; and Liz Dederer addressing “The Four Currencies of Conversation.”

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


Quotes for the Month

“It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world, and moral courage so rare.” -Mark Twain

“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“A boiled egg is hard to beat.” -unknown

The March 2019 Issue of TAS Trader

Does Your TAS Have a Great Website?

Regardless of How You Market Your Answering Service, a Killer Website is Key

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

There are many ways to market your answering service, limited only by your creativity and budget. Regardless of which strategy you use, you need a website. Even if you claim you’re not accepting any new clients—and I never met an answering service that meant that—you still need a website for existing clients.

And this isn’t just any website but a great one. Your website stands as your make-or-break element to close sales. Regardless of your marketing tactics, prospects expect to find a website. In most cases your website will be part of your marketing campaign. But even if it isn’t, buyers may still look for one. What they see will determine whether they say “yes” or “no.”

Impress them and they’re likely to sign up. Disappoint them and they’ll go to your competitor. And if you don’t have a website, or they can’t find it, you’ve lost their business.

What about Social Media?

Some businesses, including those in the answering service industry, insist a website isn’t necessary, that they get along just fine using social media—thank you very much. However, using social media as your online home base is foolish. You don’t own it or have any control over what happens to it.

On social media, you’re at the whim of corporate overlords. At any moment, your online social media presence could go away or your audiences’ ability to see your content could face severe limitations. All social media platforms are moving to a pay-to-play scenario, some faster than others. At the most basic level, they want to charge you to reach your audience.

Instead, use social media to point people to your website, your home base, the only online real estate that you can own and control.

What about Print?

In the old days, back before the internet, businesses did just fine without a website. They relied on various forms of print media to promote their business and gain new clients. This included the Yellow Pages, newspaper ads, and direct mail. When is the last time you’ve seen the Yellow Pages? When’s the last time you read a newspaper? And what do you do when you receive direct mail? You throw it away without opening it. Even for specific print niches that still work, today’s consumers expect you to have a website. To not have one means you’re not viable. You’re invisible.

What about Online Advertising?

Many people love online advertising. It’s easy to track and determine your ROI. You can measure your success, or the lack thereof, fast. Though the call to action for online marketing can be to call a phone number, most involve a website. And even if the goal is to have the prospect pick up the phone, having a website adds essential credibility to your offer.

Rethink Your Website

You should view your website as your online home base. Use social media to point to it. Social media is ancillary to marketing, not central. And if you prefer print media, the results will be stronger if you have a killer website riding shotgun. The same is true for online advertising. Without a website, you might get a lot of ad clicks but few conversions.

So, scrutinize your website. Is it as good as it can be? Or does it look tired and dated. I’ve looked at a lot of TAS websites. Most could be better. And too many are embarrassing. For the sake of the industry, and the sake of your business, that needs to change.

Hopefully you’re convinced of the importance of a website, a good website. Next month I’ll share tips on how to make yours stand out.

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:

Operations Manager: 32-year-old TAS in sunny Central Florida looking for an operations manager. Experience is a must! Send resume to: jeanpearson49@gmail.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.

TAS Directory: Promote your TAS online, now only $199 a year. Overhauled and redesigned, make FindAnAnsweringService.com part of your online marketing plan. Email Valerie for details

Seeking Acquisition: We’ll pay cash for your TAS! Completely confidential. A Courteous Communication has been in business for 32 years. Contact Doris at 800-785-6161 or Doris@courteouscom.com; visit www.courteouscom.com.

TAS Sales Rep: 40-year-old, multiple-location, answering service seeks outgoing, highly professional, hard-working, and self-motivated sales representatives. Previous sales experience is preferred. Strong written and verbal communications skills are required. Must be comfortable with phone sales, computer-literate, and capable of creating written sales proposals. Email resume to Janet Livingston at janet@callcenter-salespro.com.


5 Philosophies that Lead to a Destructive Company Culture

By Magi Graziano

Most leaders say they want a constructive corporate culture, but many are uncertain of what it really takes to shape it. Consequently, these executives and managers unintentionally lead their people toward the fatal, destructive side of the culture coin. They do this by buying into five positive-sounding philosophies:

1. Winning Above All Else: Winning is a powerful motivator. The desire to win can make things happen and bring in profits. However, a once healthy desire to “beat the competition” gone unchecked often creates opportunities for unproductive behavior and perpetuating ways of thinking that result in an organization eating itself alive.

These show up with people arguing for win/lose scenarios, as well as in-fighting for power, control, rewards, promotions, and resources. A workplace culture that values winning more than anything else can be fertile ground for destructive behavior and employment brand erosion.

2. Commanding and Controlling: In power-driven organizations, hierarchy reigns and members of the management team must take charge, control subordinates, and yield to the demands of superiors. Historically, this has been the “right” way to lead, and for many decades it worked.

This model is flawed, however, and those managed by people who pursue this approach atrophy and stagnate. In workplace cultures that rewards this type of behavior, the powerful take over and the powerless surrender.

3. Opposing Others:In oppositional workplace cultures there is often a root of overcoming obstacles that afforded the organization sustainability and success over the years. But what often got us here will not get us there. Opposition is one of those elements of culture, much like winning at all costs, that turns the organization against itself. In work cultures where members are expected to be critical, oppose ideas of others, and make “safe” decisions, people drop into fear and suppress their ideas and creativity.

4. Pursuing Perfection:In other cases, leaders’ of quality-driven organizations pride themselves with a commitment to excellence. While this intention may have been initially pure, too often the unconscious underlying behavior fostered with this value is perfection. In a culture of perfection, people do not take risks, they do not try new things, and they certainly do not put themselves or their reputation on the line.

5. Keeping the Peace and Getting Along:Everyone who is anyone in business understands the need to cooperate with others in the workplace and the need for teamwork and collaboration. However, creating a work culture where everyone must get along with little to no emphasis on performance or results, most often leads to over-the-top consensus building, perceived favoritism, a loss of focus and ambition, inconsistent accountability, and a destructive fear of conflict.

Conclusion

These seemingly-good philosophies can undermine your company’s overall mission and get you off track. Shaping constructive culture is about intentionally causing the corporate culture that exemplifies your brand promise. Intentional culture is all about monitoring what you are creating and making necessary shifts along the way to ensure you are accomplishing what you set out to do by creating the intentional culture in the first place.

Magi Graziano is the CEO of KeenAlignment, a speaker, employee recruitment and engagement expert, and author of The Wealth of Talent. Magi provides her customers with actionable, practical ideas to maximize their effectiveness and ability to create high-performing teams. She empowers and enables leaders to bring transformational thinking to the day-to-day operation. For more information visit www.keenalignment.com.

Read Magi’s full article at Article Weekly.


Telephone Answering Service News

2019 TAS Events: Though some events have already occurred, and others haven’t yet been announced, we now know most of this year’s industry calendar. Here’s a current list:

Check out our TAS Events Calendar for the latest updates and new postings.

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


Quotes for the Month

“A house is no home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body.” -Margaret Fuller

“That some achieve great success is proof to all that others can achieve it as well.” -Abraham Lincoln

“A lot of money is tainted: ‘Taint yours, and ‘taint mine.” -unknown

How to Start a Telephone Answering Service

Key Information Provided as a Service to the Industry

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan

When I consulted for the answering service and call center industries, people kept contacting me who wanted to start a telephone answering service. I didn’t feel right taking their money and tried to talk them out of it. After all, who wants to go into a business that is labor-intensive, capital-intensive, and never closes? (Though running an answering service is no longer as capital-intensive, it certainly was back then.) And the few people who insisted on hiring me, soon gave up.

Yet the inquiry calls continued to roll in, taking up too much of my time and providing no business in return. In desperation, I set up a website, StartAnAnsweringService.com and referred people to it. That little site gave all the essential information and appeased most people.

When I stopped consulting to focus on publishing, I left the website up as a service to the industry. I even added occasional updates. With no promotion, it continued to get traffic, month after month, year after year. Though it had always been my intention to turn that website into a book, I never got around to it.

Until now.

How to Start a Telephone Answering Service book

On January 29, 2019, I released my first call center book, How to Start a Telephone Answering Service. And I turned StartAnAnsweringService.com into its sales page. It even has a book trailer. On that day, How to Start a Telephone Answering Service, became the number one new book on Amazon in the outsourcing category.

For those of you in the answering service industry, you already know everything that’s in this book. But if you’re new to the industry or thinking about getting into it, this book contains valuable information. I think it’s the best information you’ll ever find on the subject, but then I’m a bit biased.

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.