Do You Like Snow?
By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD
In Michigan, as well as in many other parts of the United States, winter has wearied everyone. It’s lasted too long, been too cold, and piled on too much snow. Everyone I talk to longs for this season to end. Even those who adore winter weather have ceased their praise for lower temperatures and blankets of white adorning our landscape.
Finally, signs of winter’s retreat are emerging. Despite a dusting of snow over the weekend, the daytime temperatures are now mostly above freezing, and the stockpiles of snow are disappearing. Now, at last, I feel it’s safe to reminisce.
One December several years ago, I made an offhand comment to some of the answering service staff: “What we need is a good snowstorm to drive up call volume and pull us together.” A few weeks later, my wish came through – and then some.
Over the New Year’s weekend, it snowed and snowed…and snowed: fifty-two inches over a five-day period. Call volume shot up – higher than ever before – and stayed there. At the peak we were getting one call every second, not that we could answer them all. Our staff pulled together, doing far more than I could ever ask: working double shifts, sleeping at the office, skipping breaks, and cutting meals short. I even took calls – at least the easy ones I couldn’t mess up.
When it was over, we all had war stories to share. Overtime had jumped, but billing increased even more. Overall the result was good, but I never want to repeat it.
In all my adult life, that was the first and last time I wished for snow.
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of TAS Trader. Check out his latest book, Sticky Customer Service.
TAS of the Month
Call 4 Health is one of the nation’s leading medical and home healthcare call centers, providing professional and accurate service to its national clientele. With compassion and empathy as its key principles, Call 4 Health offers its customers the utmost attention while operating twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
“Our entire team is very excited to be honored as the TAS of the month by TAS Trader as we approach our seventeenth anniversary,” said Call 4 Health CEO Joe Pores. “We had a vision seventeen years ago of being a leading medical call center known in the industry as ‘the compassionate call center,’ and we have been working tirelessly towards that goal ever since. It is astonishing to see the growth and expansion that has occurred over the years.”
Wealth Building with Your Answering Service, Part One: Creating Growth
By Arthur Cronos
This is part one of a three-part series to build wealth, covering three essentials often overlooked by busy TAS owners. Most of us focus on creating cash flow to pay bills, but few consider building long-term wealth. The series will address:
- Creating growth
- Creating systems to replace yourself
- Creating a workable exit strategy
These three essentials work together to create wealth; they also create cash flow. But most important, they change your focus so you won’t be caught off guard years from now, with the bills paid but little to show for your efforts.
How to Create Growth: Do you ever ask, “Why don’t we get more new clients?” The answer will become clear if you look at this a different way. Pretend calls aren’t being answered. Then ask, “Why don’t we answer the calls?” If calls aren’t being answered, we must allocate resources: time, money, training, a method, and supervision. We know what’s required to get calls answered, right?
So it’s surprising that we are mystified when we don’t have enough new clients, because the answer is the same. To get new clients, we must allocate resources: time, money, training, a method, and supervision.
Add up the money you spend on operations (phone lines, equipment, and operators). Then add up what you spend on marketing. You’ll most likely find that marketing receives far less. Why then do you expect more results?
You Are in the Marketing Business: Being in business means exchanging something for money. Therefore marketing is your business, and answered calls are simply your deliverable. You don’t get to answer calls until marketing brings in clients.
You’re in the marketing business. So get good at it.
This view reflects a useful reality. Accept this, and your business can thrive. Without it, management by abdication will stumble along, yielding the same results. An unfunded, undeveloped, unmanaged department can’t provide good outcomes.
The idea of “build it and they will come” doesn’t work. Marketing is more important than ever. Due to Internet-expanded reach, competition has turned services into commodities; the public believes all services are the same and it’s just a question of price. When only price is used to sell, profits plummet.
How to Get Off the Merry-Go-Round
- Realize you are in the marketing business.
- Make a good marketing plan. Develop a system. Get help if you need it. You figured out how to get phones answered; now do the same for marketing.
- Allocate funds and time. Fund your plan, and then measure and manage the results.
Then your business will grow.
Arthur Cronos ran Network Answering Service in San Francisco, then worked at Startel, and wrote several books.
Telephone Answering Service News
NAEO Intelligent Series Programming Seminar: From August 4–6, 2014, NAEO’s Education Committee will be offering a three-day, hands-on training seminar on Intelligent Series Programming. The Embassy Suites Hotel at the St. Louis Airport is hosting this event for commercial and medical answering services, hospital switchboards, and contact centers. Speakers include industry experts and NAEO board members Theran Mossholder and Gerald R. Brosseau, II; Amtelco training manager Susan Kirkpatrick; and Amtelco software expert John Van Walsum. Whether you are new to Intelligent Series or looking to cross-train co-workers and build a programming department, you’ll gain firsthand invaluable knowledge to efficiently and consistently program or convert your clients to Intelligent Series. Registration opens April 21 at naeo.org.
Sound Telecom Discussed Benefits of Live Chat; To help businesses grow, Sound Telecom released an information article, “10 Benefits of Live Chat for Ecommerce Companies.” The piece describes the most positive effects of live chat and its key features. It also explains how successful live chat operations can be implemented by collaborating with a reputable answering service to execute the program. Online shoppers have the ease and convenience of leaving a website whenever they feel like it, which is like having business walk out the door. Using live chat allows customers to get answers to questions about products and services in real time.
Quotes for the Month
“Persons appear to us according to the light we throw upon them from our own minds.” –Laura Ingalls Wilder
“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” –Albert Einstein
“Show me a piano falling down a mine shaft, and I’ll show you A-flat miner.” –Unknown
Seeking Acquisitions: Reputable TAS, in business since 1967 and still owned by the founding family, seeks a small TAS acquisition in the eastern US. Ideally, you’re billing under $20k per month. Smaller is better. We’ll treat you right, and your employees and customers, too. Let’s talk. Contact Doug at 888-693-7935 or email@example.com.
Mastar.com TAS systems: Get Free 3:1 Emergency Remote TAS on a Memory Stick; email/text/TAP; app optional run on iPads. Contact Rod at 541-606-9272 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Posted by Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD for TAS Trader, a telephone answering service e-publication from Peter DeHaan Publishing Inc.]