Does Your Answering Service Use Social Media?
By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD
On our website, TAStrader.com, we have a TAS directory.
Presently we have 135 answering services listed. Of those 68 of them, just over half, have social media pages, including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
- Facebook is the most popular at 87 percent of those with a social media presence and 44 percent overall.
- Twitter follows Facebook as the second most popular at 75 percent of those with a social media presence and 38 percent overall.
- LinkedIn trails both at 65 percent of those with a social media presence and 33 percent overall.
- In an interesting subset, 53 percent of those with a social media presence use all three, which is 27 percent overall. That means just over a quarter of answering services use Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Based on this, I make the following observations.
Half Not Social: First, half of the answering services do not have a social media presence. Though social media takes time, it is important. At the very least, think of social media as a discovery vehicle that allows people to find you and then directs them to your website, your home base. In this analogy, social media serves as an outpost.
Facebook Most Popular, But is it Best? Next, Facebook is the most popular social media platform for answering services. However, this is likely because it’s the most common social media platform and the best understood. That doesn’t mean it’s the most effective. In fact, most people I talk to are frustrated with Facebook and wonder if it’s worth the effort.
Think Strategically: For driving traffic to your website, I think Twitter is far more effective. And if you work to actually interact with people and engage your audience on social media, LinkedIn—the social media platform for businesses—is where to invest your time.
Take Action: I encourage you to spend some time considering your social media strategy. Do you need to up your game? What changes should you make? How can you use social media to drive traffic to your website?
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5 Reasons Why You Should Pursue Strategic Rate Increases
By Janet Livingston
Smart answering service managers make strategic rate increases each month, adjusting the rates of their least profitable clients. This is preferable to making annual across-the-board increases, which affect clients unevenly. And it’s certainly better than not doing any rate increases at all, which could move an answering service toward insolvency.
Here are five reasons why an answering service should pursue strategic rate increases each month:
1) Turn Unprofitable Clients into Profitable Ones: No matter how careful, your rate plans will never fully align with the actual work required to service an account. Therefore, some accounts on the same rate plan may be unprofitable, while others will be profitable. It’s not uncommon for up to half of an answering service’s accounts to be unprofitable, which the other half subsidizes. Identify the least profitable accounts and raise their rates to make them profitable. Now you have fewer unprofitable accounts and more profitable ones. Repeat this each month until every account is profitable.
2) Protect Profitable Clients: Some answering services do across-the-board rate increases. Though this seems fair, it actually penalizes already profitable clients by raising their rates even more. You don’t want to lose one of those clients. By only increasing the rates on unprofitable accounts, the profitable ones remain untouched.
3) Grow Revenue Incrementally: Increasing rates for some accounts each month means that every month the revenue from your existing client base will grow. Now increase rates on another group of accounts the second month, and a third group the third. But these aren’t increases that last for one month. Instead they are month-over-month improvements. A rate increase that produces an extra thousand dollars this month will produce an extra thousand dollars next month and every month after that, for as long as those accounts remain on service.
4) Condition Clients to Expect Rate Increases: Too many answering services are afraid to raise rates, so they keep existing accounts on old, lower plans. Periodically increasing charges prepares clients to expect rate adjustments when needed, which produces less fallout when increases do occur.
5) Maintain a Healthy Business: For a business to remain healthy, it must charge customers more than what it costs to provide service, yet too many answering services fail in this area. They persist in servicing some clients even though they lose money on them every month.
A healthy answering service should make money on every account, every month. And it takes strategic rate increases to make that happen. Don’t be afraid of raising rates. Embrace strategic rate increases as an essential element of being in business—and staying in business.
Janet Livingston is the president of Call Center Sales Pro, a premier telephone answering service consultancy, which helps clients grow their revenue. Contact Janet at email@example.com or 800-901-7706.
Telephone Answering Service News
Pulsar360 Strategic Partners in the TAS Industry
Pulsar360, Inc., a provider of hosted cloud PBX and premised-based systems, SIP trunks, BCDR, and carrier services, received the Internet Telephony Product of the Year Award for 2017 and the Hosted VoIP Award of Excellence. “We are extremely honored and excited to be recognized two years in a row by Internet Telephony for our SIP trunking, PBX hosting, and premise-based PBX solutions,” stated Michael Dozier, president and CEO. “At Pulsar360 we are constantly innovating and improving our products to meet the demands of our clients and partners.”
Pulsar360 has experience serving the telecommunications requirements of SMB to enterprise business customers and the telephone answering service (TAS) industry, currently providing services to 120 TAS customers. They provide up to 20 percent burstable trunking to TAS clients at no additional charge, as well as trunk, DID, and toll free number redundancy. They operate four data centers, with redundant infrastructure for all their service offerings, and have a presence in five additional geographically dispersed data centers. In addition, they offer a business continuity disaster recovery solutions designed for the TAS industry.
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Quotes for the Month
“Surplus wealth is a sacred trust which its possessor is bound to administer in his lifetime for the good of the community.” -Andrew Carnegie
“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” -Steve Prefontaine
“We’ll never run out of math teachers because they always multiply.” -unknown