The TAS Industry Helps People Communicate
Move beyond a Mindset of Answering Calls to Facilitating Interactions
By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD
This year has been a challenging one no matter how we look at it. Our status quo as an industry—to whatever degree we ever had a status quo—has been shaken. Everything seems to have changed. Our response has been as it always has been, to adapt, to adjust, and to accelerate into a new tomorrow.
To do this, we re-examined our staffing, from hiring to training, from scheduling to supervising. We’ve sent people home to work, whether for the short-term or for the conceivable future. And we fine-tuned our sales and marketing efforts to redefine success in an unfamiliar environment where all the rules have changed. Coupled with this, of course, is morphing how we must manage our answering service and our staff in a way that’s consistent with these new ways of doing business.
It’s also an appropriate time to look at the why of telephone answering service.
It’s easy to think of ourselves as being in business to answer telephone calls for our clients. Though true, it’s also a limited perspective. A more insightful view is to think of ourselves as being in business to help people communicate. This may use the telephone, or it may tap other communication channels. Don’t lose sight of this.
People today communicate through email, text messaging, and social media. They also increasingly visit websites to solve problems, place orders, and safely and securely connect. None of these involve the telephone, which is an essential and predominant channel in our industry and much of what we do.
Yet when we reimagine ourselves as facilitating interaction instead of just answering calls, we open a door to new possibilities. We then become a telephone answering service that processes emails, handles text messaging, and monitors social media for our clients. We’re connected to their websites for text chat and assisted browsing opportunities. And, yes, we also answer the telephone.
This is our future, and our future is here.
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. Read more of his articles at PeterDeHaanPublishing.com.
Generational Business Fails and What to Do About Themare Communications
By Kate Zabriskie
Anyone in a family business knows that according to many statistics, the chance of the business surviving declines with each generation. What causes the drop-off? Consider these common issues in family businesses:
1. No Innovation: The people currently in charge are running the business as usual but not innovating.
Strategy: Nothing mandates a company to home grow its top talent. If you’re not suited to the top spot, hire it out. You won’t look weak, you won’t have to give up control of your legacy, and you’ll look smart and humble as you position your organization for future success.
Nervous about an outsider? Be specific about what you’re looking for, focus on culture, and find someone who is good at the parts of the business where you don’t excel.
2. Flexible Rules: The rules don’t apply to everyone the same way. Blood relatives and spouses take advantage of family membership. It negatively impacts culture, morale, and attitudes.
Strategy: Addressing this requires some tough love and may hurt feelings. When you decide to address the problem, have your data ready, and come prepared with plenty of examples.
3. Commitment Problems: Some of the family work on vacation and others vacation at work.
Strategy: Make rules and goals visible and measurable. Ensure everyone knows what’s expected. Then, review goals and any rule violations regularly. If that doesn’t work, it may be time to talk about a pay-for-performance structure, a split of some sort, or even a buyout.
When tackling this challenge, consider your interactions outside the business. Do you still want to have Thanksgiving with these people? Regardless, the greater relationship ecosystem should inform your decisions.
4. Attitude: The kids want to join the business but see it more as a meal ticket than a career.
Strategy: Many families that have successfully passed the stewardship of their enterprise from one generation to the next know the value of putting people to work outside the business before they earn a spot on the inside. While nothing is wrong with a short summer stint or afterschool job, if junior hasn’t started as a full-time employee, consider creating a work requirement. If you adopt this strategy, not only will you get someone who has had to earn a paycheck without the cache of the family name, you will have someone who has seen something different than your way of doing business.
5. Lack of Interest: The next generation has little to no interest in the business.
Strategy: Sometimes it’s best to hear “no” the first time. Do you care more about the business or about your children having the opportunity to pursue their own professional passions and goals? The bottom line, when your offspring want to jump ship, hear the message and throw them a life raft.
Conclusion: If you’ve encountered a problem in the family business, you know that these knots rarely untie themselves. Now is the time to start planning a correction strategy and setting a timetable to execute it.
Kate Zabriskie is the president of Business Training Works, Inc., a Maryland-based talent development firm. She and her team help businesses establish customer service strategies and train their people to live up to what’s promised. For more information, visit www.businesstrainingworks.com.
Seeking Acquisitions: We’ll pay cash for your TAS! Completely confidential. A Courteous Communication has been in business for 32 years. Contact Doris at 800-785-6161 or Doris@courteouscom.com; visit www.courteouscom.com.
Equipment for Sale: Startel CMC version 15.2 / Soft Switch 2.0. 10 stations (keyboards, phones, and headsets included). $10,000. Contact Tim Brandt 210-504-3004 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seeking Acquisition: 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 email@example.com.
Pulsar360 Receives IP Telephony Award: Pulsar360 Corporation is proud to announce that it has recently received the Internet Telephony “Product of the Year Award” for 2020. This award recognizes the most innovative and highest quality IP communications brought to market in the past year.
“We are extremely honored and excited to be recognized four years in a row by Internet Telephony, previously for our PBX Hosting and Premise-Based PBX solution in 2017 and 2018; in 2019, for our Enterprise Hosted & Premised Based Solution; and now, in 2020, for our Advanced VoIP & Telecom Solutions. At Pulsar360 Corporation we are constantly innovating and improving our products to meet the demands of our clients and partners. We take great care to ensure that our customers have the very best products,” said Bob Harrison, chief channel officer at Pulsar360 Corporation.
“In the opinion of our distinguished judges, Pulsar360 Corporation’s Advanced VoIP & Telecom Solutions have proven to be among the best IP communications solutions available on the market,” said Rich Tehrani, CEO, TMC. Pulsar360 provides SIP trunking and disaster recovery solutions for telephone answering services and call centers.
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Quotes for the Month
“Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.” -Joseph Addison
“Treasure the love you receive above all. It will survive long after your good health has vanished.” -Og Mandino
“I’ve just written a song about tortillas; actually, it’s more of a rap.” -unknown