Six Steps to Surviving an Acquisition
By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD
I’ve been involved in buying over a dozen telephone answering services. While some parts of the transition were fun to plan and easy to handle, the employee aspect was always the hardest. Despite my hard work to successfully integrate new operators into our existing workforce, they often thwarted my best efforts and ended up quitting in spite of themselves.
If your TAS is acquired, here are six steps to help secure your future with the new company:
- Stay Positive: Change is hard, and change is scary, but complaining won’t make it go away. No one likes to be around negative people; having a positive attitude is your first key to success.
- Treat It as a New Job: Regardless of what stays the same, this is a new job, with different procedures and new expectations. Accepting this quickly will ease your transition.
- Avoid an Us Versus Them Mentality: Staff from the acquired answering service invariably bands together and opposes everyone else, a.k.a. the enemy. While understandable, this “us versus them” mentality is divisive and harmful. The solution is to simply change from exclusive language to inclusive wording. “Us” means all of us, and there is no “them” anymore. This makes you a team player. Then avoid anyone who persists saying “us” and “them.”
- Be Willing to Learn: Yes, you amassed years of experience with the prior company, but some of that doesn’t apply now, and some may need to be unlearned. Be open to learn whatever you can, whenever you can. This can be hard, especially if you have more experience than your trainer, but set your ego aside, and be easy to teach.
- Look Forward: When your old TAS was sold, there was a time to mourn what was lost and revel in how things used to be. Work through this; don’t dwell there. No amount of wishing will bring it back; focusing on the past will keep you from realizing new opportunities.
- Put Potentially Toxic Relationships on Hold: Staying connected with former co-workers who, for whatever reason, are not part of the new team, is a bad idea. They will try to pull you down and make you as miserable as they are. Simply tell them, “Right now, I need to focus on my new job; once things settle down, maybe we can hang out again.”
Implementing these six steps will help turn you into a dream employee in the mind of your new employer.
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of TAS Trader. Check out his latest book, Sticky Customer Service.
How to Boost Your Website’s Selling Power with the Tail of a Rat
By Arthur Cronos
Consider these statistics: First, the average person who visits a website never returns. Second, the average buyer usually makes a significant purchase only after twelve “touches.” This is how people get comfortable with something new. At first it’s strange; prospects are wary. As they interact with it several times, they become more comfortable. If it’s a purchase, then around encounter number twelve, they decide to buy. From this, you can assume that most of the people who might buy from you leave your website – never to return and never to buy.
Recall the bell curve from statistics, with many occurrences in the middle that taper off on either end. I call these ends the rat’s tail. The rat’s tail on one side of the bell curve is the person who visits your website once and buys. (The people in the middle of the bell curve require twelve touches, while people on the other side require many more.)
What about these other people? Unless you now know who those other visitors are – so you can touch them at least eleven more times – your website has failed.
Most of the money you spend on advertisements, search engine optimization, AdWords, and newspaper ads is wasted. This is because your website lets them all wander away, and now you can’t touch them eleven more times.
What if you discovered who these people were when they first visit? What if you captured their name, address, email, or phone number? What if you followed up with them eleven more times?
The secret is to build a “capture and follow-up” system. This works for the most profitable companies in the world, and it will work for you, too. Next month, I’ll explain how to build such a system.
Arthur Cronos ran Network Answering Service in San Francisco, then worked at Startel and wrote several books.
Telephone Answering Service News
Tascom User Group Holds Annual Meeting
The annual TUG (Tascom User Group) meeting was held November 6–7, 2014, at the Los Angeles County Fairplex grounds in Pomona, California. At this user meeting, they celebrated the Tascom product’s thirty-five years of providing workhorse systems, which includes twenty years of ownership by Alston Tascom, Inc. The meeting started with a pre-conference day of touring the hosted system datacenter in downtown Los Angeles followed by the Tascom office and development lab in Chino, California. The conference brought re-energized users together, who freely shared ideas. They also celebrated the ADAM softswitch that has been in production and ongoing deployment for eighteen months.
Shawn Griswold Join Professional Teledata
As Professional Teledata continues to grow, they are pleased to welcome Shawn Griswold to the Manchester office. Shawn Griswold, senior software quality assurance engineer, spent fourteen years working in software quality assurance, five of them as a software systems engineer for the Telecommunications Division of Compaq and HP where he designed and ran test environments in SS7/TDM and SIP/VoIP platforms. Shawn’s duties with Professional Teledata include testing and verifying software releases, incorporating functional, boundary, and load testing. He also works on reproducing customer issues for diagnosis and is improving a development process that includes bug tracking and test case management.
Towne Answering Service Receives Gold Certification
Towne Answering Service has received the Gold 24/7 Call Center Certification award for the third time. Towne was the first center certified on the PInnacle platform and is an active member of the PINetwork. The certification indicates Towne Answering Service has met or exceeded high standards in the areas of business practices; life safety; operations, including normal and emergency procedures; and personnel hiring, training, and ongoing evaluations through a peer review program focusing on 99.9 percent annual run time.
Amtelco’s Rick Freitag Receives Employee of the Year Award
Final assembly and test technician Rick Freitag of Amtelco’s Production Department is the recipient of the company’s William J. Curtin Employee of the Year award. This distinction, conferred annually at year’s end, is awarded in honor of Amtelco founder William J. Curtin II and is the most cherished award available to employees. Freitag was recognized for his commitment to advancing the quality assurance and testing program for Amtelco’s miSecureMessages encrypted text messaging and pager replacement technology. Freitag will celebrate his thirtieth anniversary with Amtelco in February.
Quotes for the Month
“The more sand that has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it.” –Jean-Paul Sartre
“Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life.” –Sophia Loren
“A boiled egg is hard to beat.” –Unknown
Startel Equipment Wanted: I am looking for a used Startel Transporter or Comm Server for our Startel 2700 system. Please email to firstname.lastname@example.org with details.
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.]