How Well Do You Know Your Answering Service’s Clients?
By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD
I recently read a fiction book set in the late nineties. In a small but pivotal part of the story stood a telephone answering service. The author was mostly accurate in describing how an answering service functions, though his depiction of the industry highlighted several negative stereotypes as the norm.
The FBI investigated one of the answering service’s clients, a professional assassin. They laid out two options to the answering service’s owner: cooperate with us and we will ignore your involvement in your customer’s crime or don’t cooperate and be charged as an accessory to murder, over two dozen of them, and risk spending the rest of your life in jail.
The owner decided to cooperate. Though she had never met the man who signed up for the service or the woman who they contacted with messages, the owner did admit she thought something was suspicious. She assumed her client was involved in some low-level fraud, but nothing to the level of a hitman. Since they paid their bill every month, quickly and reliably, she was willing to ignore whatever business they might be in.
A few days later, her client – the hitman – paid her a visit. The gist of the conversation, aided by the threatening presence of a handgun, was if you tell the FBI who I am, my associates or I will kill you.
Talk about a no-win situation.
This story, of course, is a work of fiction. But I share this scenario because I know that – despite the majority of answering services who would carefully avoid such a client – some services will take any client who can pay his or her bill. Maybe it’s time to rethink that strategy.
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of TAS Trader. Check out his latest book, Sticky Customer Service.
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Is Self-Talk Leading You To Success?
By Jason Gazaway
Have you ever talked to yourself or asked yourself a question? You know what I am talking about. We all do it. We debate thoughts in our heads. This can be helpful when wrestling with ideas. Other times this can be harmful, even debilitating. What self-talk we allow to repeat in our heads will eventually affect our perception of situations, people, and even ourselves.
Negative self-talk causes a skewed point of view. If we say destructive things or dwell on bad memories, we will eventually begin to believe them. This creates a toxic mindset that turns our focus from possibilities, opportunities, and hope, and points our attention to problems, issues, and self-pity. A victim mindset forms and quality of life decreases.
On the other hand, positive self-talk creates a mental atmosphere that is uplifting, encouraging, and inspiring. This type of mental talk is self-motivating and strengthening. You begin to believe in yourself, that you can do something. You shift your focus to the possibilities with a “yes I can” attitude.
How do you make this shift? You start. Sounds simple, right? But, it is true. You silence negative self-talk by using positive affirmations. You counteract and disqualify the bad with the good. It is about lining up our words and self-talk with what we are working towards and who we want to be or who we know we were created to be. This can be about our health, relationships, or business.
In June I ran my first half-marathon. Though I am a runner, trust me when I say that there was a lot of negative self-talk going on through the training process. The days where I let the negative self-talk prevail were the days I did my worst and quit early. The days I told myself I could do it, and even visualized myself finishing the race, were my best times. I felt energized.
What we say in our heads, especially about ourselves, has a profound effect on our behaviors. We have to change how we think in order to change how we behave. Dealing with and eliminating the negative self-talk will open a new door in life. Believe in yourself, speak life into situations, and focus on your destiny.
Jason Gazaway serves as the marketing communications specialist for VoiceNation and as a marketing consultant for Georgia Calls. With over fifteen years of experience managing digital and traditional marketing campaigns, he handles all marketing communications, public relations, and branding projects for both organizations.
Telephone Answering Service News
John Freire Recognized with Allen Kalik Award: John Freire of Direct Line Tele Response received the 2016 Allen Kalik Award. The announcement was made during the annual PINetwork User Group Meeting. The Allen Kalik Award was implemented in 2011 after the passing of industry leader and Professional Teledata’s late president, Allen Kalik. Honoring Allen, this award recognizes individuals whose unselfish dedication and leadership have led to the advancement of PIN.
“It was a personal honor and pleasure to be able to present the Allen Kalik award to John Freire,” said Phyllis Shaw, education committee chair of the PINetwork User Group. “John gives so much of his time to our group and is always available to share his knowledge with us. He is someone who thinks outside the box, and pushes us all to the next level.”
“I am honored and humbled to receive this award,” said Freire. “Allen was always giving back to PIN and eager to share his expertise and knowledge with anyone who was interested in learning.” Freire is the IT director at Direct Line Tele Response.
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Quotes for the Month
“I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I don’t know the answer.” -Douglas Adams
“True friends are those who really know you but love you anyway.” – Edna Buchanan
“To write with a broken pencil is pointless.” –unknown