Dealing with Owner Life Cycle Changes
By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD
A problem faced by telephone answering service owners (like all business owners) is addressing life cycle changes: dealing with shifting priorities as we age. While some people may have both the drive and ability to run a business for the remainder of their lives, most get to a point where they want to scale back: not handling day-to-day issues, taking longer vacations, semi-retiring, or not working at all. These are all various forms of letting go. Yet letting go is often hard for someone who sacrificed to launch or grow a business. As the longtime owner, you may make every key decision and oversee all activities.
If there is a family member or key employee interested in taking over the business, this may be the best solution to help you achieve your goals, providing there is enough time to make an orderly transition. Alternately, adopting a new management style is another option. However, many TAS owners find themselves in a position where their kids don’t want the business and they can’t change their management style, so they opt for the only other solution – they sell the business.
Whatever path you choose, the key is to carefully consider all the options and make an informed decision after taking time to make the best choice for your situation. Whatever you do, don’t put things off and then be forced to make a rash decision.
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 email@example.com.
Blogging Service: Need content for your blog? Let Peter DeHaan provide it for you. Rates start at $25 per post for non-exclusive content and $100 per post for exclusive content. Themes include TAS case studies, customer service stories, general business, and more. Contact Peter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 616-284-1305.
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 email@example.com.
Equipment For Sale: Full CMC Cabinet with SCMC/TP (version 9.0) plus Dispatch Server, Voice Processor, 4-U SDB (the KVM doesn’t work). The lower cabinet has 14 DID/Loop Start cards and the all the standard processor cards to function. Components/spares include: 1 Data Multiplexer / OP Interface card; 1 Switch / ACD Gen card; 2 BICs; 1 BIC CPU Master; 1 BIC CPU Slave; 1 SWC CPU; 2 Power Supplies; 3 spare DID/Op Con Cards; 13 OpCon Boxes. Contact Andy at 612-490-7150 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seeking Acquisitions: Cash is king! Solid, 45-year old TAS looking to grow. We keep staff and business in place. All conversations confidential. Contact Susan at 908-770-3779 or SEMH0429@yahoo.com.
Are You “Phonogenic?”
By Barbara Bradbury
We use the telephone to speak to our clients and customers every day, so we should be pretty good at it, right? Consider these questions before you respond:
- Do you answer the phone with a smile in your voice?
- Is the information you provide clear and understandable?
- Do you take down telephone messages completely and accurately?
- Are you tactful and courteous?
- When requesting information, are you able to get the complete story on one call?
- Do you treat every call as important?
- Do you answer in a tone of voice that tells the caller you are wide-awake and alert?
- Do you handle every call with a pleasing and friendly tone of voice rather than one that is curt or indifferent?
- Do you speak at a moderate rate?
- Do you use a natural tone?
- Do you ask necessary questions in a pleasant, businesslike manner and wait for the caller to reply?
- When necessary, do you screen calls tactfully?
- Do you practice good enunciation: are you easy to understand?
- Do you emphasize the right words for clear meaning?
The answer to each question should be yes. Work to improve those that aren’t.
Barbara Bradbury is VP special counsel at AnswerPlus, Inc.
Telephone Answering Service News
Date Change Allows Magnificent Venue for ASTAA 2015
The historic Gettysburg Hotel (circa 1797) will host the Fall ASTAA Conference. By moving the dates up, from October 12–14 to October 6–8, ASTAA secured this spectacular hotel with the charm of the past and the amenities of today. It has become tradition for ASTAA attendees to enjoy a pre-conference event, and in honor of Abraham Lincoln, this year’s event will take place where Lincoln finished writing the Gettysburg Address, at the Wills House located next to the Gettysburg Hotel. Conference sessions will tie into this historic place and the events that took place here and changed our nation forever.
Amtelco’s MergeComm Automates Dispatching
Amtelco introduces MergeComm, which brings automated dispatching to answering services. MergeComm dispatch scenarios can be triggered by agents, customers, and external systems, such as Amtelco’s miSecureMessages, POP3 and SMTP email, phones, EMR-HL7 healthcare interfaces, SMS modems and aggregators, and Web services. Processes can provide dispatch services that include scripting, directory, status, on-call schedules, automated dispatching, retries and escalation, reporting, monitoring, and EMR-HL7 integration. Notifications can be sent to appropriate personnel by miSecureMessages, email, pagers, phones, smart devices, SMS, and Vocera Badges. MergeComm’s ability to integrate with an answering service system and its ease of operation offers savings and expands earning potential.
TAS Marketing Reports Sales Stats for 2014
TAS Marketing’s Steve Michaels reported that multiples for sales of telephone answering services slipped a little last year. For 2014, sales for accounts only had an average multiple of 10.9, with a high of 11.5 and a low of 4.3 (distress sales were not included in the average). For the entire going concern, the average multiple was 13.2, with a high of 19.65 and a low of 8.6. In 2013, sales for accounts only had an average multiple of 12.6; the high was 13.2 and the low was 12. For the entire going concern, the average multiple was 14.2, with a high of 18 and a low of 11.5.
Quotes for the Month
“There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept.” –Ansel Adams
“You don’t deteriorate from age, you age from deterioration.” –Joe Weider
“When you’ve seen one shopping center you’ve seen a mall.” –Unknown