The July 2015 Issue of TAS Trader

Connections Magazine

How Was Your Holiday?

By Peter DeHaan

Peter DeHaan, publisher of TAS TraderIn the United States we celebrated a holiday a few days ago. Though the official date was on Saturday, most businesses closed on Friday to give their staff a three-day weekend. A few tacked on Monday as well, giving their employees even more time off.

Telephone answering services (TAS) aren’t able to do that. Most answering services need to schedule more staff to take extra calls for all their clients that are closed.The reality is that in the TAS industry, a holiday is a workday, often a busy one. For TAS staff, their holiday celebrations often need to happen earlier or wait until later.

Many answering services pay their staff extra to work on holidays: time and a half, double time, or even more. Some do it because they need to, while others pay more because they feel it’s fair. The agent benefits financially for the inconvenience of working while most other people have the day off for celebration and time with family and friends.

This extra pay increases the operating costs of the TAS. Hopefully extra billing will result from the jump in call volume, enough to offset the additional payroll.

So when I ask someone in the answering service industry, “How was your holiday?” what I often mean is “Did you have to work?” “How busy was it?” and “Did your extra billing cover your increased labor costs?”

Regardless, I hope your holiday was a good one.

Peter DeHaan is publisher and editor of TAS Trader and Connections Magazine.

Classified Ads:

Seeking to Acquire TAS: Looking to purchase an answering service or call center. Please contact me if you are selling! gm@answerally.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 etzelandy@gmail.com.

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.

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.

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 $150 per post for exclusive content. Themes include TAS case studies, customer service stories, general business, and more. Contact Peter at peter@tastrader.com 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 rodmastar@gmail.com.

Americans Unhappy With the Way Businesses Answer the Phone

Less than a third of Americans are satisfied with the way businesses handle their phone calls, new research has revealed. The study of 2,234 consumers, conducted by PH Media Group, discovered just 32 percent of respondents are pleased with companies’ phone manner. The study also found women are more unhappy than men.

Older people were particularly dissatisfied, with only 28 percent of 45 to 64-year-olds claiming to be happy with how their calls are handled, compared to 37 percent of 18 to 34-year-olds.

“Poor call handling is a common complaint for American consumers, but this research suggests businesses are still not doing enough to improve standards and delight customers,” said Mark Williamson of PH Media Group. “There is perhaps a tendency among companies to focus their attention and budgets on visual marketing and Internet presence, but the telephone remains a crucial aspect of branding, marketing, and sales.

“Businesses also seem to have lost touch with older customers, which should provide cause for concern given this generation are less inclined to seek information online than their younger counterparts. If companies want to have a wide appeal, it is essential to maintain high service standards across all customer touchpoints. Responding to calls quicker or establishing a set practice for answering the phone, both represent a good start.”

Telephone Answering Service News

VoiceNation’s Releases Open Source Call TAS Software
VoiceNation launched their OpenAnswer telephone answering service software on June 22, 2015. OpenAnswer is freely available to download, install, and modify. There are no licensing fees and answering service owners can have unlimited seats and scalability for their TAS operation. Since it is open source, TAS owners can share their code changes with the budding OpenAnswer user community. OpenAnswer uses leading technology and open standards without the restrictions of binding contracts, so answering services can have complete control over their operation. This is the same software used at VoiceNation’s answering service. For more information, visit www.voicenation.com/openanswer.

PIN Conference Rescheduled; Webinars Set
When a state of emergency was declared in Baltimore, PIN board directors faced a tough decision regarding this year’s PIN meeting scheduled for May 3-6. “This was not an easy decision, but the board unanimously agreed that it was the best option under the circumstances,” said board vice president Phyllis Shaw. “The meeting has been rescheduled for October 14-18, 2015, at Hotel Monaco in Baltimore, Maryland.”

In the meantime, the board has put together a series of information-enriched Webinars for both members and nonmembers.

  • July 15: “What’s New with eConn and Skills-Based Routing,” presented by Professional Teledata
  • July 22: “Upcoming PInnacle Upgrade, Part A,” presented by Professional Teledata
  • August 5: “Upcoming PInnacle Upgrade, Part B,” presented by Professional Teledata
  • August 19: “G-Lock – Beginner Session,” presented by John Freire and Nate Gefvert
  • September 2: “G-Lock – Advanced Session,” presented by John Freire and Nate Gefvert

If you would like more information on how you can attend the PIN meeting or one of the Webinars, please visit pinetwork.net.

Quotes for the Month

“Never confuse motion with action.” -Benjamin Franklin

“Beware of the man who won’t be bothered with details.” -William Feather

“Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead to know basis.” -unknown

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About Peter DeHaan

Peter DeHaan is the president of Peter DeHaan Publishing, Inc., (http://peterdehaanpublishing.com) the publisher and editor of Connections Magazine and AnswerStat, and editor of Article Weekly. Peter DeHaan’s personal website (http://peterdehaan.com) contains information and links to his blogs, newsletter, and social media pages.