The April 2022 Issue of TAS Trader

Celebrate the Telephone

Answering Services Should Seek to Diversify Their Service Offerings

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

I’ve often encouraged telephone answering services to expand their service offerings. One option is to become a multichannel provider. A wise approach that aligns with the core mission of facilitating client communications is to handle additional channels. This can include email processing, text services, web-based chat interaction, and social media monitoring.

Some answering services have moved in this direction with varying degrees of success. Others have contemplated it but are yet to act. 

Another camp is those that have resisted offering other communication channels. I get that. Pursuing what is different presents challenges and is scary. 

Yet it’s important for any business—including answering services—to diversify their service offerings to better prepare for the future. Whatever your perspective of this multichannel strategy, here are some ideas to help you move forward and realize success.

Select One Channel

Don’t pursue a multichannel strategy by diving into every opportunity at once. Strategically select one option and resist the urge—no matter how tempting—to let another channel distract your attention.

Which channel are you most comfortable pursuing? Though this is a good place to start your deliberation, don’t stop at this point. Next, evaluate the strength of your existing staff. Which channel best connects with their inherent skill set? Third, check with your vendor to see which option they can best and most easily provide through your current system. You’ll want to integrate this new channel in with your existing answering service platform. A last step, which could also be your first one, is to check with your existing client base and gauge their interest for each channel option.

Ideally, you should select the channel that your existing staff has the skills to address, will work on your current platform, and you can market to your established client base.

Proceed With Care 

Once you’ve selected a second communication channel to pursue, plan carefully before you proceed. Don’t announce this new service and solicit customers expecting to figure it out as you go. Train your staff. Test your platform. Anticipate potential problems and adjust as needed. Do all this before you sign your first client to this new channel.

Market the Channel

Once you’ve done all the needed preparation, now is the time to promote this new service. Start with your existing client base. Perhaps even handpick clients who will be predisposed to work with you and help you fine tune your offering.

After you’ve added the service to all your existing clients who are interested in it, begin a proactive sales and marketing campaign to solicit new business specifically for this channel. As a bonus, you can cross sell them on your voice channel.

Master This Channel

As you gain success in the second channel, resist the urge to add another one too quickly. Excel at this channel before you consider diversifying further into a third one. Don’t rush it. But don’t coast either. 

Repeat When Ready

Once you’ve achieved operational and financial success on your second channel, you’re ready to replicate the process with a third one. You may desire to expand quickly and repeat your success. But it may also be wise to take a strategic pause to settle into a new rhythm of offering two channels before you proceed to add a third. Just be sure not to remain there too long. 

Keep moving forward to diversify your service offerings and become a multichannel provider. Your future will thank you.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of TAS Trader. Check out his latest book, Sticky Customer Service.


Featured Sponsor: MAP Communications

Map Communications: seeking TAS acquisitions

Put up to 45% more cash in your pocket by selling to MAP versus another party. Section 1042 of the IRS Code lets you take advantage of indefinitely deferring taxes by selling to MAP’s Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). Receive an all cash (no note) deal while your employees become part of a large established ESOP with real career opportunities! Dozens of past sellers to MAP include Stericycle Communications Solutions, Answer Center VA Beach, and very recently A-Courteous Communications in Orlando.

Visit MapCommunications.Com/Calc and enter your own sale price to see the significant tax advantages gained by selling to MAP. Call Grant Sibley 800-955-9888 or email gsibley@mapcommunications.com for a confidential conversation.


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.

Call Center Manager Wanted: Erlanger Health System, a nationally-acclaimed, multi-hospital health system, based in beautiful Chattanooga, TN, is looking for a Call Center Manager for the Medical Call Center. The Call Center Manager will provide leadership and oversight for the Medical Call Center. Please view job description at www.erlangercareers.org (Job ID33102)  to submit application.

System for Sale: Complete Amtelco Infinity 1st link special edition rackmount system, 4 years old with new spares. Great as a super assortment of spare components, main system, or redundant fail-safe system with $12k in new spare components included. Plus, all cables and odds & ends from original install. Let’s talk: 330-307-4721 or jjsh211@aol.com.

Professional Liability Insurance: The member-exclusive, ATSI-endorsed professional liability insurance program protects you against claims-related errors and omissions arising from your professional services. This comprehensive solution commonly known as errors and omissions liability insurance (E&O) covers defense costs and settlements and provides a valuable layer of additional coverage. Contact: ATSI-questions@alliant.com or 855-393–ATSI. 

Established TAS looking to rent seats on a hosted Amtelco System, preferably Genesis. Contact Rob at rob@americastas.com.

Looking to Sell Your TAS? I have personal connections with buyers ready to act. Completely confidential to ensure trustworthy, private transactions. Competitive fees put more money in your pocket. And professional services provide the best results. Contact Ron Violante to learn more: ronaldviolante1@gmail.com or 330-565–8364.

Put up to 45% more cash in your pocket by selling to MAP versus another party. Section 1042 of the IRS Code lets you take advantage of indefinitely deferring taxes by selling to MAP’s Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). Receive an all cash (no note) deal while your employees become part of a large established ESOP with real career opportunities. Dozens of past sellers to MAP include Stericycle Communications Solutions, Answer Center VA Beach, and very recently A-Courteous Communications in Orlando. Please visit us at MapCommunications.Com/Calc and enter your own sale price to see the significant tax advantages gained by selling to MAP. Call Grant Sibley 800-955-9888 or email gsibley@mapcommunications.com for a confidential conversation.


Industry News

Amtelco Workplace Honored: Amtelco received a Top Workplaces 2022 honor by The Wisconsin State Journal Top Workplaces. The list is based solely on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey administered by Energage, LLC. The anonymous survey uniquely measures fifteen culture drivers that are critical to the success of any organization. “Companies need to authentically represent their brand to job-seekers,” said Eric Rubino, Energage CEO. “The employee experience needs to be on the mission-critical list. Leaders who embrace a people-first culture will benefit greatly. By giving employees a voice and showcasing your authentic culture through employer branding, organizations can attract those job seekers who complement their culture. Culture drives performance.”

AnswerNet Acquires Quality Contact Solutions: AnswerNet, a full-service provider of inbound, outbound, automated, and global BPO contact center services has acquired Quality Contact Solutions and its subsidiary QCS At Home. The acquisition was officially finalized on December 31, 2021. As a result, AnswerNet retained all employees of Quality Contact Solutions. Chris Grothe, Quality Contact Solutions’ vice president of operations, was appointed to oversee the company. Quality Contact Solutions specializes in telemarketing call center solutions that achieve sales results for its clients. Their areas of expertise include B2B outbound marketing, B2C outbound marketing, TCPA call center consulting, and outsourced telemarketing quality assurance.

Send us your TAS articles and news for consideration in the next issue.


Quotes for the Month

“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” -Peter Drucker

“There are two ways to live life. The first is as if nothing is a miracle. The second is as if everything is a miracle.” -Albert Einstein

“A backward poet writes inverse.” –unknown