By Peter L DeHaan, PhD
Two common ways to grow a telephone answering service are through acquisitions and via sales and marketing. A third way is to provide additional services. With the announcement that Frontier will offer texting on business landlines (see their announcement in the News Section), TASs will have the opportunity to offer more services.
In some cases, the need to handle text messaging will occur by default when text-enabled Frontier customers sign up for an answering service. Another opportunity resides with Frontier customers who feel pressured by their customers to accept text messages but aren’t prepared to receive and respond to those messages. The reasons could be many: a lack of the needed technological infrastructure, not enough staff, a desire to focus on other activities deemed more important, unable or unwilling staff, or the perception that texting is a distraction.
Regardless of the motivation, answering services can screen, respond to, and reroute text messages, just as they do with phone calls now. Of course, working out the technical details of interfacing telco texting services is another issue, but it should be relatively easy to figure out on newer, Web-enabled systems. While this opportunity may not be a good fit for every TAS, it is worth considering.