The March 2020 Issue of TAS Trader

How to Optimize Your TAS Processes

Two Tips to Streamline Your Answering Service’s Procedures

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

Last year I shared several articles about finetuning the processes in your telephone answering service. The three key areas are streamlining sales, streamlining client onboarding, and streamlining customer service. Beyond that we looked at fine-tuning billing and collections, agent hiring, and agent training.

In all cases, the goal of optimizing these areas in your TAS is to achieve the same—or better—results more effectively. To realize this goal, however, doesn’t mean working harder. It means working smarter.

To optimize any of these processes, we look at two areas: the number of steps required and the time they take.

Reduce the Number of Steps: As time passes, any process becomes more complicated. The initial steps required in the process remain, while new ones join them. As a result, most of our processes become bloated over time. Even though some of these steps are no longer required to achieve the desired outcome, or have negligible impact on the result, we and our staff persist in doing them because we always have.

We must scrutinize every process and ask if each step remains relevant. Too often what was once important no longer is. Identify those tasks and cull them. For each step consider the impact if you eliminate it. If it doesn’t warrant its continued existence, cut it out and show your staff why it’s no longer relevant. They may initially resist this change, but once they realize it will make their jobs easier, they’ll quickly embrace the streamlined process.

Shorten the Amount of Time: Removing the number of steps required to complete a task should automatically make it faster. Now look for other delays you can remove from the process. Does one person arbitrarily delay completing a task that’s part of an overall process? Since they must do it anyway, why not do it right away? 

Another opportunity to shorten how long a process takes is to look for areas you can automate. Why wait for a person to do something that a computer can do automatically? Tap technology whenever possible.

Next realize that some things don’t have to proceed in a linear manner, with some tasks or even paths allowing simultaneous execution. For example, when a client signs up for service, one person will need to program the account, while another person will set up billing. It may seem orderly to do one and then the other, but both actions can occur at the same time.

Conclusion: Like any business, an answering service thrives on processes. This ensures that work proceeds in a smooth and organized manner, producing the desired outcome. However, these processes often swell over time, becoming inefficient and unwieldy. 

Look for ways to remove steps and shorten the time it takes to complete them. This will result in achieving better outcomes and realizing the desired results faster.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of TAS Trader. He’s a passionate wordsmith whose goal is to change the world one word at a time.


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Your Business May Be Making Your Employees Sick

By Allison Sakara

According to a landmark 2018 report from the World Health Organization (WHO), the leading Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) in businesses are environmental noise, air quality, and water quality. 

Environmental Noise: Both indoor and outdoor factors contribute to the level of noise in businesses. Indoor sources of noise include ventilation systems, white noise machines, and appliances. 

In addition to hearing loss and lack of concentration, SDoH studies revealed that excess noise has other detrimental effects. For example, the relative risk for death by heart attack or stroke increases 14 percent for every ten dBA increase above the annual average of forty-five dBA daytime and thirty-five dBA nighttime. Since a typical business office functions at fifty-five dBA, it’s easy to see the negative effects that noise has on employee health.

Air Quality: As opposed to noise, poor air and water quality are more silent killers. Poor air quality is a major health concern. Artificial Intelligence (AI) analysis found an increased risk of serious stroke and fatal heart attacks when poor air quality (indoor and outdoor) is present. The relative risk for death by heart attack or stroke increases 14 percent for those breathing poor quality indoor and outdoor air.

Water Quality: Significant adverse health effects have been associated with inadequate plumbing systems from poor design, incorrect installation, alterations, and inadequate maintenance. Poorly designed plumbing systems, for instance, can cause stagnation of water and provide a suitable environment for the proliferation of Legionella.

Moreover, improper plumbing materials, pipes, fittings, and coatings can result in elevated concentrations of lead in drinking water, and inappropriate materials can be conducive to bacterial growth. Even if you do not drink the water at work (or home), water that aerosolizes while running that faucet to wash your hands or flushing the toilet can carry enough contaminants to increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.

Summary: Excessive environmental noise, poor air quality, and poor water quality can all lead to serious health conditions. When these exist in your businesses, they can quite literally be killing your employees. Now the next step is action.

Allison A. Sakara, RN, MSN, NP, PHRN, is managing member & regulatory affairs specialist with Natural Air E-Controls, LLC.

[To learn more, check out Allison’s full article.]

Industry News

Amtelco Releases miSecureMessages v6.7: Amtelco announces the ability for users to customize their away message with the miSecureMessages version 6.7 release. Version 6.7 allows users to enter a custom away message when setting their miSecureMessages notifications to “off.” Users also have the option to choose an away message from a list of pre-programmed messages.Away messages are displayed on the miSecureMessages contacts screen to other users in the same group. In addition, users will receive an auto reply when sending a secure message to the user who is currently away. To learn more, contact Amtelco at 800-356-9148 or info@misecuremessages.com.

Email us with your TAS news for consideration in our next issue.


Quotes for the Month

“Too many parents make life hard for their children by trying, too zealously, to make it easy for them.” -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“It is every man’s obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it.” -Albert Einstein

“When two egotists meet, it’s an I for an I.” -unknown