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Optimize Agent Hiring

Streamline Your Hiring Process to Realize Fast Results

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan-phone interview

Have you ever offered a promising job candidate a position only for them to decline because they already accepted a job with another company? I have. I took too long. Even though they claim to have preferred to work for me, they grabbed the first job offer that came their way.

People today—including job seekers—have little patience. We live in a world that wants instant gratification, and we have little tolerance for waiting. Unless you want to continue to lose qualified candidates, you need to optimize your hiring process. Look for ways to make it more efficient so you can hire the best applicants before someone else does.

Don’t continue to follow yesterday’s hiring practices, because they’re no longer appropriate for today’s workplace. What is the average time between a job seeker first expressing interest and you hiring them? I hope your answer isn’t more than a week. Even a couple of days is too long. Can you get down to twenty-four hours? How about a same-day decision? Just how fast can you act?

Here is an idea to consider. Note that this isn’t a proven plan to follow but merely a possibility to spark your creativity:

Online Self-Assessment

Once you’ve captured a prospective employee’s attention, provide them with an online self-assessment tool that will allow them to determine if an answering service environment is a good fit for them. Present a series of questions that reflects work at your answering service. The more questions they answer “yes” to, the better fit they are. Score their answers. Then tell them: “People who score between X and Y tend to like working for our company, whereas people with lower scores may struggle to succeed in this position. Do you want to apply?” [Note: unless you take time to validate the outcome, don’t record their score or ask them their results. To avoid a legal quagmire, let them use this tool privately to determine if they want to move forward.]

This assessment occurs online and automatically without any involvement on your part.

Phone Screening Call

If they want to proceed after taking the online self-assessment, move them immediately to a prescreening evaluation over the phone. This is a standardized set of questions to rule out candidates who don’t fit your criteria, such as people wanting full-time work when you’re hiring part-timers or candidates seeking a business-hour’s position when your openings are for evening and weekends.

You should script the call flow so that any of your operators can conduct the phone screen call. Anyone who passes should move on to a phone interview.

Same Day Phone Interview

For candidates who pass the phone screen, give them the option of an immediate phone interview, or let them schedule one. Yes, an immediate phone interview. Connect them with your hiring manager or HR department. Again, this should be a structured process that will provide an instant pass/fail outcome.

Though you may prefer an in-person interview, remember that all their work at your answering service will take place over the phone, so a phone interview should be more indicative of their capabilities than an in-person meeting.

Make an Immediate Offer

For candidates who pass the phone interview, make an offer at that point. Don’t delay. Desiring to compare a group of candidates who pass the phone interview will not only take more time, but it also increases the risk of your best candidate receiving a job offer from someone else before you make yours.

Once you’ve made the offer, don’t push them for an immediate yes/no answer. Though some people will accept right away, others will want to think about it. If that’s the case, schedule a follow-up phone call.

This idealized hiring process could take less than an hour. Though it will require effort to fine-tune each step and compress it into a sixty-minute procedure, you can do it.

Now your next task is to optimize your onboarding and training process to make it just as efficient.

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 2019 Issue of TAS Trader

Optimize Agent Hiring

Streamline Your Hiring Process to Realize Fast Results

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

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

Have you ever offered a promising job candidate a position only for them to decline because they already accepted a job with another company? I have. I took too long. Even though they claim to have preferred to work for me, they grabbed the first job offer that came their way.

People today—including job seekers—have little patience. We live in a world that wants instant gratification, and we have little tolerance for waiting. Unless you want to continue to lose qualified candidates, you need to optimize your hiring process. Look for ways to make it more efficient so you can hire the best applicants before someone else does.

Don’t continue to follow yesterday’s hiring practices, because they’re no longer appropriate for today’s workplace. What is the average time between a job seeker first expressing interest and you hiring them? I hope your answer isn’t more than a week. Even a couple of days is too long. Can you get down to twenty-four hours? How about a same-day decision? Just how fast can you act?

Here is an idea to consider. Note that this isn’t a proven plan to follow but merely a possibility to spark your creativity:

Online Self-Assessment: Once you’ve captured a prospective employee’s attention, provide them with an online self-assessment tool that will allow them to determine if an answering service environment is a good fit for them. Present a series of questions that reflect work at your answering service. The more questions they answer “yes” to, the better fit they are. Score their answers. Then tell them: “People who score between X and Y tend to like working for our company, whereas people with lower scores may struggle to succeed in this position. Do you want to apply?” [Note: unless you take time to validate the outcome, don’t record their score or ask them their results. To avoid a legal quagmire, let them use this tool privately to determine if they want to move forward.]

This assessment occurs online and automatically without any involvement on your part.

Phone Screening Call: If they want to proceed after taking the online self-assessment, move them immediately to a prescreening evaluation over the phone. This is a standardized set of questions to rule out candidates who don’t fit your criteria, such as people wanting full-time work when you’re hiring part-timers or candidates seeking a business-hour’s position when your openings are for evening and weekends.

You should script the call flow so that any of your operators can conduct the phone screen call. Anyone who passes should move on to a phone interview.

Same Day Phone Interview: For candidates who pass the phone screen, give them the option of an immediate phone interview, or let them schedule one. Yes, an immediate phone interview. Connect them with your hiring manager or HR department. Again, this should be a structured process that will provide an instant pass/fail outcome.

Though you may prefer an in-person interview, remember that all their work at your answering service will take place over the phone, so a phone interview should be more indicative of their capabilities than an in-person meeting.

Make an Immediate Offer: For candidates who pass the phone interview, make an offer at that point. Don’t delay. Desiring to compare a group of candidates who pass the phone interview will not only take more time, but it also increases the risk of your best candidate receiving a job offer from someone else before you make yours.

Once you’ve made the offer, don’t push them for an immediate yes/no answer. Though some people will accept right away, others will want to think about it. If that’s the case, schedule a follow-up phone call.

This idealized hiring process could take less than an hour. Though it will require effort to fine-tune each step and compress it into a sixty-minute procedure, you can do it.

Now your next task is to optimize your onboarding and training process to make it just as efficient.

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.


Reactions: The Superpower You Didn’t Know You Had

By Jennifer Powers

If you want to take more control of your reality you need to take more control of your reactions. But how do you do that? Start with this simple three-step formula:

1. Observe and Resist Your Knee-Jerk Reaction: Observe how you tend to react when things don’t go your way and resist going there. Give yourself time and space to allow any negative reactions to flow through you.

By pausing, you allow your “fight or flight” mechanism time to calm down. This gives yourself a second to regain your composure. Consider taking deep belly breaths, counting to ten, or humming a tune. This will occupy the space that a crappy reaction would normally take.

2. Ask Yourself a Question: To redirect your focus, ask yourself a question. Not just any question, but one that will help you shift into a more positive mindset from which you can react. Here are a few examples to get you started:

  • What about this situation can I be grateful for?
  • What belief or opinion would serve me better?
  • How do I deserve to feel?
  • Who would love to switch places with me? 

Feel free to come up with your own powerful questions that will shift you into a positive mindset.

3. Answer the Question: You can’t skip this step. If you only ask yourself the question you are only halfway there. The shift in perspective and your ability to react from a more positive outlook occurs when you answer the question. This part may be challenging at first, but push through it because the payoff is big.

Then you can calmly respond.

Conclusion: Remember, seemingly bad things happen to everyone. You’re not alone. But you have way more power over your day than you may recognize. The moment you begin to take control of your reactions you begin to take control of your reality. 

Jennifer Powers, MCC is an international speaker, executive coach, author of the best-selling book “Oh, shift!” and host of the fun and binge-worthy “Oh, shift!” podcast. For more information visit www.ohshift.com.

[This piece is adapted from Article Weekly. Read the full article.]

Industry News

Amtelco Releases IS Social Media Monitor: The Intelligent Series (IS) social media monitor translates popular social media posts, messages, and notifications into dispatch jobs that call center agents can manage on behalf of their clients. The social media monitor polls the client’s social media accounts—such as Facebook and Twitter—for incoming activity and presents the resulting notifications to the IS server as MergeComm Web API triggers. The MergeComm triggers are presented to agents as dispatch jobs that can be scripted as needed in IS supervisor. For more information, contact Amtelco at 800-356-9148 or info@amtelco.com.

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


Quotes for the Month

Life can be perfectly satisfying without major achievements. -Alice Munro

“All the world’s a stage and most of us are desperately unrehearsed.” -Sean O’Casey

“When she saw her first strands of gray hair, she thought she’d dye.” -unknown

Don’t Forget SEO for Your Website

Your Website Isn’t Finished Until It’s Optimized for Search Engines 

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan

If you have a website for your answering service, I suspect you’ve heard of search engine optimization (SEO). It’s a critical component of every website, assuming you want people to find you. SEO means that the content of your site is optimized for search engines. If you skip this step, expect the search engines to skip you.

SEO is part art and part science. Many people promote themselves as SEO experts, promising grand outcomes. Some know what they’re doing and produce great results. Others talk a good game but can’t deliver. Even more irritating, some SEO experts disagree on best practices. The final frustration comes from the reality that SEO best practices change often.

In addition to consultants, there are books, classes, and seminars that teach about search engine optimization. Though I can only touch on SEO in this short article, here are some things to consider.

Pages and Posts

Though the terminology may vary from one web platform to the next, a page is static content that doesn’t change often. Examples include your home, services, get started, about, and contact pages.

In contrast to pages are posts. Posts are the dynamic content that you publish on your blog—assuming your site has one. You use pages for content marketing.

Both pages (your online marketing brochure) and posts (your content marketing gateway) benefit from SEO. 

The Essentials

Every page or post will have a title for visitors. Write a title that will capture their attention. Beyond this, there’s also an SEO title working behind the scenes. This is for search engines. Search engines will evaluate the title and display it in their search results. Most web platforms allow you to differentiate between these two types of titles. If not, you must write a title that will work for both visitors and search results.

Next is a page or post description, called meta-description. Your visitors won’t see this directly, but it will display in search results. You want this meta-description to provide information that will grab the search engines’ attention.

The third element is a keyword or key phrase. The content on each page or post should revolve around this word or phrase. But avoid repeating keywords or phrases on different pages and posts.

There are many other SEO elements, such as headings, graphics, link strategy, keyword density, content length, and URL selection. But title, description, and keyword are the essential SEO elements.

SEO Tools

Your website designer should have handled SEO for your pages when they designed your site, but not all do. Ask if they did. Then verify. But what about the content you add, such as blog posts? They need search optimization too. You can pay someone to do this, or you can use an SEO tool, often called a plug-in. A couple of leading SEO tools are Yoast SEO and All-In-One SEO. They’re easy to use, but mastering them—just like SEO—takes time. 

Remember, your answering service website isn’t finished until you’ve added SEO.

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 August 2019 Issue of TAS Trader

Don’t Forget SEO for Your Website

Your Website Isn’t Finished Until It’s Optimized for Search Engines

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

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

If you have a website for your answering service, I suspect you’ve heard of search engine optimization (SEO). It’s a critical component of every website, assuming you want people to find you. SEO means that the content of your site is optimized for search engines. If you skip this step, expect the search engines to skip you.

SEO is part art and part science. Many people promote themselves as SEO experts, promising grand outcomes. Some know what they’re doing and produce great results. Others talk a good game but can’t deliver. Even more irritating, some SEO experts disagree on best practices. The final frustration comes from the reality that SEO best practices change often.

In addition to consultants, there are books, classes, and seminars that teach about search engine optimization. Though I can only touch on SEO in this short article, here are some things to consider.

Pages and Posts: Though the terminology may vary from one web platform to the next, a page is static content that doesn’t change often. Examples include your home, services, get started, about, and contact pages.

In contrast to pages are posts. Posts are the dynamic content that you publish on your blog—assuming your site has one. You use pages for content marketing.

Both pages (your online marketing brochure) and posts (your content marketing gateway) benefit from SEO. 

The Essentials: Every page or post will have a title for visitors. Write a title that will capture their attention. Beyond this, there’s also an SEO title working behind the scenes. This is for search engines. Search engines will evaluate the title and display it in their search results. Most web platforms allow you to differentiate between these two types of titles. If not, you must write a title that will work for both visitors and search results.

Next is a page or post description, called meta-description. Your visitors won’t see this directly, but it will display in search results. You want this meta-description to provide information that will grab the search engines’ attention.

The third element is a keyword or key phrase. The content on each page or post should revolve around this word or phrase. But avoid repeating keywords or phrases on different pages and posts.

There are many other SEO elements, such as headings, graphics, link strategy, keyword density, content length, and URL selection. But title, description, and keyword are the essential SEO elements.

SEO Tools: Your website designer should have handled SEO for your pages when they designed your site, but not all do. Ask if they did. Then verify. But what about the content you add, such as blog posts? They need search optimization too. You can pay someone to do this, or you can use an SEO tool, often called a plug-in. A couple of leading SEO tools are Yoast SEO and All-In-One SEO. They’re easy to use, but mastering them—just like SEO—takes time. 

Remember, your answering service website isn’t finished until you’ve added SEO.

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.


Congratulations to ATSI’s 2019 Award of Excellence Winners

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

Year 1
MAP Communications, Riverside, CA
A.V. Lauttamus Communications & Security, Weirton, WV
Medical TeleCommunications, Denver, CO
Intercon Messaging, Inc., Drayton Valley, AB
Answering 365, Los Angeles, CA

Year 2
Answer Ally, Sandy, OR
MASCO Services Inc., Boston, MA
Jefferson County Medication Foundation Trust, Birmingham, AL

Year 3
VoiceNation, Buford, GA
Professional Exchange Service Corp, Fresno, CA
A Superior Answering Service & Call Center, Madison, GA

Year 4
AAMCOM, Redondo Beach, CA
Answer—Southern States, Hopkinsville, KY

Year 5
Call 4 Health, Delray Beach, FL
Anserve Inc., Butler, NJ
Advantage TeleMessaging, Inc., West Reading, PA
Combined Communications, Inc., Bowling Green, KY
AnSer, Clive, IA

Year 6
Sunshine Communication Services, Coral Gables, FL
AnswerPro Limited, Mission, KS
Communication Business Service, Inc., Marietta, GA
Alliance Communications Center, Orlando, FL
Bennett Answering Service, Flint, MI
Torcom The Perfect Answer, Madison, WI

Year 7
PWC Message Center, Dothan, AL
King’s Telephone Answering Services, Shreveport, LA

Year 8
AAA Message Connection, Chattanooga, TN
Carolyn’s Communications Inc., Snellville, GA

Year 9
Ambs Call Center, Jackson, MI

Year 10
Mid-State Communications Network, LLC, Manchester, TN
Secretariats, Inc., Norfolk, VA
Phone Center Answering Service / Answer, Reno, NV

Year 11
Time Communications, Roseville, MN
Nationwide Inbound, Inc., Freeport, IL
The Legacy Connection, Tuscaloosa, AL

Year 12
Quick Connections, Greenbelt, MD
Always on Call Answering Service, LLC, Ft. Myers, FL
Answering Advantage LLC, Memphis, TN
I24 Call Management Solution, Montreal, QC
Connections Call Center, Squamish, BC

Year 13
Action Telephone Exchange, Rochester, NY
Business & Professional Exchange, Beverly, MA
Personalized Communications Inc., Duncanville, TX
AnswerOne, Brooklyn, NY
IPN Messaging Center, LaPorte, IN

Year 14
King Communications, Saginaw, MI
Focus Telecommunications, Inc., Eldersburg, MD
MedConnectUSA, Las Vegas, NV
AnswerTel of Athens, Inc., Athens, AL
Main Line TeleCommunications, Aston, PA
Alphapage, LLC, Denver, CO

Year 15
CallStar, St. Petersburg, FL
StatCall, Alexandria, VA
Central Communications, Inc., Norwalk, CT
Answer Excellence, Clearwater, FL
Messages & more, Inc., Flagstaff, AZ
Berkshire Communicators, Inc., Pittsfield, MA
ComNet, LLC, Muncie, IN

Year 16
Port City Communications, Port Huron, MI
CallNet Call Center, Bloomington, IN
Antietam Call Center, Hagerstown, MD
A Better Answer, Hurst, TX
Extend Communications, Inc., Brantford, ON
Alliance Wireless Communications, Kingston, ON

Year 17
TAB AnswerNetwork, Santa Ana, CA
Answer Quick, Louisville, TN
Corporate Message Services, Inc., Richmond Hill, GA

Year 18
Direct Line Teleresponse, Berkeley, CA
AnSer, Green Bay, WI
Answer Midwest, Inc., Alton, IL

Year 20
T.A.S. Communications, Inc., Madison, WI

Year 22
Answer United, Kalamazoo, MI
Hastings Humans, Austin, TX
Business Connections, Inc., Salem, OR
MedCom Professional Srvcs, Inc. dba Keystone Answering Srvc,
Newtown, PA

Year 23
Rochester Telemessaging Center, Rochester Hills, MI


Industry News

Amtelco Introduces Text-Enabled Landlines: Amtelco’s Intelligence Series software and MergeComm platform integrate with Infinite Convergence Solution’s (ICS) text enabled number service to allow enterprises to send short message service (SMS) messages to their customers using landline numbers. Enterprises can use the same toll-free and landline numbers for their messaging and voice customer communication, providing a better user experience.
Amtelco partners with ICS to provide SMS aggregator services to send and receive SMS text messages using a secure web connection to the internet. Amtelco customers that have already purchased ICS’s SMS aggregator services can text-enable landlines for no additional charge. ICS provides SMS messaging to landlines based on a per message fee.

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


Quotes for the Month

“If you have the knowledge, let others light their candles in it.” -Margaret Fuller

“Art is science made clear.” -Jean Cocteau

“If you jump off a Paris bridge, you are in Seine.” –unknown

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