The Key Things Never Change
By Peter Lyle DeHaan, Ph.D
Since its beginning, every year brings changes to the telephone answering service (TAS) industry. And the scope of change seems to increase each year. However, not everything changes. Some things stay the same. Though these four keys may fluctuate in importance from year to year, they are always on the forefront of our efforts to provide answering services to organizations and individuals.
Timely Communication: We exist because there is need to respond quickly: to answer the phone as soon as possible and provide information to our clients when and how they need it.
Professional Service: We are representatives of every client; they expect us to be professional. In many cases, we are their public face, be it part of the time or all of the time.
Personal Touch: A decade ago or so, the need for personal touch fell into question in some circles. Self-service and automation would surely prevail. That didn’t work out so well; a backlash occurred. When self-service and automation fail, people are the answer; that means us.
Cost-Effectiveness: Although TASs vary in their billing strategies from low-cost provider to premium boutique, the common factor is that our service must be cost-effective when compared to other options. If we cease to be cost-effective, the first three items don’t matter.
Yes, there are changes afoot, ranging from technology to staffing to legal to financial, but what remains is our four keys: timely communication, professional service, personal touch, and cost-effectiveness. May we never lose sight of them.
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of TAS Trader. Check out his latest book, Sticky Customer Service.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 $100 per post for exclusive content. Themes include TAS case studies, customer service stories, general business, and more. Contact Peter at email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
ASTAA and Donna West Move Mountains
During the last week of April ASTAA held a supervisor workshop entitled, “You Can Move Mountains,” presented by Donna West, with help from Dr. Seuss. The event sold out early and attendees gave the workshop high scores. “Each year I bring something new back with me,” said one attendee. “My fav was proper wording for angry clients with complaints.”
Another said, “I don’t believe it could have been any better. It was very informative and will help me in the future to make some supervisory decisions that I may not have had the knowledge to make prior to this workshop.” Still another added, “The interaction and group work was wonderful. I look forward to the next one.”
Supervisors had plenty of time to contribute, as well as “homework assignments” to complete with a small team. And they had fun doing it. “The training is much more effective than in a classroom setting. I felt more comfortable asking questions and making comments during this seminar,” said one attendee. “Seeing how enthusiastic Donna is about what she does, makes me love listening to her.”
The goal in providing this workshop is to teach employees things every TAS owner wants them to know but doesn’t necessarily know how to communicate it. Topics included the importance of proper scheduling; curtailing overtime; how to handle specific employee issues, like call outs and conflicts; the importance of documentation; attention to a hostile environment; and the cost of a lost customer. How supervisor actions contribute to the bottom line was a common thread throughout.
ASTAA will present another supervisor workshop in April 2016 that will concentrate on supervisor interaction with customers. The “You Can Move Mountains” workshop will repeat in September 2015 at the STA meeting in Nashville. For more information, contact Dan L’Heureux at firstname.lastname@example.org or 763-473-0210.
Telephone Answering Service News
Professional Teledata Welcomes David Screeton
David Screeton joined Professional Teledata as telephony engineer. David brings thirty years of telephony experience with him to Professional Teledata. His duties include support for the eQueue phone switch, the Manchester co-located equipment and network, the in-house eConn phone switch and network infrastructure, phone and network equipment for remote employees, premise installed eQueue and Millennium phone switches, and network infrastructure at customer sites. David is certified on Nortel Meridian PBX systems, Executone and Samsung keysystems, and has much experience with IBM blade servers, HP and Nortel switches and routers, and POS systems.
Amtelco Introduces Intelligent Series 4.2
Amtelco introduced v4.2 of its Intelligent Series (IS) suite of TAS applications. Included is a new automated dispatching feature, MergeComm. Dispatch scenarios can run automatically based on an inbound trigger such as an email, scheduled to run on a recurring basis, or initiated by a call center agent, Web user running a Web script, or a third party application. HTML message formatting provides a professional email and fax output for clients. Additionally, IS system scripts reduces the need for repetitive script editing for clients that share the same requirements. IS mobile extends the functionality of Amtelco’s IS Web to Apple users.
Quotes for the Month
“The best portion of a good man’s life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.” -William Wordsworth
“The world is full of people whose notion of a satisfactory future is, in fact, a return to the idealized past.” – Robertson Davies
“If you jump off a Paris bridge, you are in Seine.” –unknown