Where Are Your Clients Located?
Align Sales and Marketing Strategy with Client Geographic Distribution
By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD
Since you can target online ads to specific markets, conduct a geographic analysis of where your customers are located. Let the results inform future ad targeting.
Here are some considerations:
Local Market: Though there’s no longer a technical reason to go with a local answering service, some businesses prefer to work with nearby vendors. Their reasons for doing so vary, but the main factor in your favor is that their preference to buy local gives you an automatic advantage over everyone else who’s marketing to them from a distant location. Use this fact to your advantage when targeting your local market.
Highly Reached Markets: Is there another state or city where you already have a lot of clients? Explore the reasons why this is the case. Look for ways to capitalize on these reasons in future online marketing initiatives. Another benefit is that when it comes to closing the sale, some prospects will be impressed if you can list other businesses in their area that you already serve.
Under Reached Markets: Now consider other states or regions where you have few customers or none. Is there a reason for this? Let this explanation inform your decision about targeting these areas. Maybe you never marketed to that area. Or perhaps you did, but the results disappointed you. If so, see the next item.
Conduct a Test: Your current geographic distribution of clients is a culmination of past factors. This may not be indicative of future success. Therefore, some periodic wide-scale testing is in order.
Conduct an online ad campaign targeting your ideal client, but don’t specify any geographic area. Then look at the results.
If you receive a greater click through rate in a particular geographic market, this area may be positively predisposed—for whatever reason—to be interested in switching answering services at this time. It doesn’t matter why; not really. The key is that your message resonates with them right now. So target that area. Continue to do so for as long as you see results.
Time Zone Targeting: I once mused about having an answering service with 25 percent of my client base in each major US time zone. This, I reasoned, would smooth out each day’s traffic peaks and valleys that occur when most all clients are on the same schedule. Now, with geographic online ad targeting its feasible and practical to pursue this specific time zone mix—assuming you see reason a to do so.
Conclusion: Answering service sales and marketing tactics change over time. A current marketing favorite is online advertising. But this is only half of the equation. The other half is the sales part. More on that next time. Until then, happy marketing.
3 Benefits of Moving Your TAS to the Cloud
By JoAnna Montgomery
The legacy guard in the telephone answering service industry for decades has been desktop software, often with expensive hardware that could go bad at any moment. This limits managers and agents to working in an office with data being local, creating a critical point of failure.
However, with recent innovations, call centers are moving to the cloud to cut costs and avoid these downfalls. Cloud-based solutions allow agents to work anywhere, anytime, from any computer that has an internet connection, without missing a beat.
The simplicity and convenience of cloud-based TAS technology far surpasses the old, outdated legacy software that used to be the best thing out there. However, times are changing.
Consider these three benefits of cloud-based solutions.
1. Flexibility: Agents can login from anywhere there is a computer and an internet connection. This not only provides a better employee experience by giving them the option to work from home, but it also expands your agent pool as you can hire from locally to nationwide or even worldwide.
Experienced TAS agents can be difficult to come by when you are in a centralized location or if you are in a labor market that doesn’t offer many candidates to choose from. A survey by Enterprise Technology Research projects that permanently remote workers will double worldwide this year to 34.3 percent compared to the percentage pre-pandemic 16.4 percent.
The trend is moving towards remote work, and it’s escalating even faster due to Covid. Therefore, having the flexibility of remote work makes your business much more desirable to employees.
2. Decentralization: With cloud-based solutions, there is no longer a single point of failure since agents can work remotely anywhere with an internet connection. This protects you from hardware going bad or office closures due to Covid or some other reason. If one agent is sick or can’t work, someone can login easily as a backup or replacement. With a decentralized workforce, you can potentially save on costs such as rent, utility fees, and commuting.
3. Upgrades and All-Inclusive Options: Fully cloud-based software can easily be an all-in-one solution. While most traditional TAS software requires you to shop around for multiple vendors for different items such as phone service, texting service, hardware, desk phones, and reporting, good cloud-based software can include many or all these items.
Cloud-based solution providers can also push out the latest updates and features in real time without having to upgrade any software or change out hardware. This will also naturally lead to lower startup costs as well as lower maintenance costs over time.
Summary: Moving to the cloud is an easy decision for any telephone answering service. Outdated hardware is a ticking time bomb that can disrupt your business. The cloud provides the flexibility, decentralization, and lower costs that modern work forces require.
JoAnna Montgomery is a research and content analyst at Electronic Voice Services (EVS7), a Dallas-based software company providing cloud calling solutions for the telephone answering service industry. EVS7 helps answering services transition to all-inclusive flexible modern software.
Would you like to share your insights with the answering service industry? You can. Send us your TAS articles and news for consideration in the next issue.
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Peter Lyle DeHaan Releases New Book: Sticky Customer Service
Peter Lyle DeHaan released his newest book, Sticky Customer Service: Stop Churning Customers and Start Growing Your Business, on June 17.
In Sticky Customer Service, unearth practical, action-oriented insights to help turn customer service from an embarrassing weakness into a business strength. “Though Sticky Customer Service addresses all aspects of customer service,” DeHaan said, “the telephone takes center stage.
“Most businesses give more attention to customer acquisition then customer retention. This is backward,” DeHaan adds. “It’s much easier and less costly to keep existing customers than it is to find new ones. Yet the actions of most businesses prove that they don’t understand this.”
Sticky Customer Service is book one in the Sticky series. Future titles include Sticky Leadership, Sticky Sales and Marketing, and Sticky Living.
Sticky Customer Service is available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover. Get your copy today.
AnswerNet Acquires TPV.com
AnswerNet acquired TPV.com, a third-party verification service. Third-party verification services, also known by the industry acronym TPV, use humans and technology to confirm consumer sales transactions after an in-person or phone sale. The service protects consumers and providers by uncovering and clarifying potential contract or agreement ambiguities prior to the delivery.
“We are extremely excited to welcome the entire TPV team to the AnswerNet family,” said Gary Pudles, AnswerNet president and CEO.
Founded in 1997, TPV.com’s core competency is independent third-party verification services for businesses nationwide. The acquisition finalized on June 30, 2021.
AnswerNet is a full-service provider of inbound, outbound, automated, and BPO call center services. Founded in 1998, the company has thirty sites with 2,000 full-time employees across the U.S. and Canada.
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Quotes for the Month
“You can’t hold a man down without staying down with him.” -Booker T. Washington
“Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.” -Mother Teresa
“A successful diet is the triumph of mind over platter.” -unknown