The December 2020 Issue of TAS Trader

Map Communications: Make more when you sell to us!

Rethinking Remote Operators

What Was Once Optional Is Now Required

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

The potential to have remote operators work off-site from the main answering service location goes back to the 1990s, when I made a presentation about this topic at the ATSI convention. I covered the two key aspects of having a distributed workforce. One was the technology to make it happen and the other was managing a dispersed staff.

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan

The technology aspect of remote work was, at best, convoluted, not nearly as stable as being on site, and it involved a great deal of planning. It required having a data connection and an audio connection. Both had to work well to answer calls. Technology has changed much since then, with remote access being as simple and as flexible as a good internet connection.

The management concerns, however, remain unchanged. It’s still challenging to manage and supervise remotely located employees. Yes, we now have more tools to tap into to do this, but the human difficulties of managing someone we can’t see is still fraught with problems.

Given the risks associated with not having staff conveniently working in one place has caused many answering service owners and managers to dismiss remote operators as an option. In other cases, the inability to find and retain a local workforce has driven other answering services to embrace remote operators as a requirement.

Until recently, most who have pursued off premise employees have done so out of necessity, not principle. This has changed.

With lockdowns, restrictions, and limitations placed on most people across the United States and around the world, allowing staff to work from home has become the only way for them to answer client calls. For many it was go remote or go out of business.

Some who have gone down this path have celebrated the flexibility and embraced it as a new business model, perhaps one even superior to what it replaced: a centralized answering service operation. Other industry leaders, however, look at remote operators as a necessary solution that they one day hope to retreat from. They long for the days of walking into their operation room and seeing all their staff in one place, busy working.

Though returning to a centralized operation may one day be possible, we must consider that we may never be able to fully revert to this traditional operational model. We should, therefore, learn to embrace having remote operators for the long-term, whether it’s our preference or our only option.

And even if this current crisis abates to where we can again safely gather in an office, with cubicles not quite six feet apart and staff unable to wear masks, history could repeat itself with another pandemic forcing us to send people home to work.

Though having remote operators was once optional, it’s now a necessity, both for the short-term and for future flexibility.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of TAS Trader. Check out his latest book, Sticky Customer Service.

7 Rules You Need to Know for Lead Generation 

By Chris Tompkins 

Most businesses have switched to a fully remote team, and many salespeople are struggling. Evaluate your sales team’s efforts. Make sure they’ve not moved away from these seven rules. If they have, they’re only hurting their results. 

1. Be Aware of Your Services: Do you know what your core services actually are? When trying to close a sale keep your services in mind so that you can make the correct decision when it comes to pitching to your client. Provide something that adds value so you can stay relevant in their mind.

2. Pay Attention to Your Price Point: How much is your target audience willing to pay for your services? This is something you must know. If you pitch something misaligned with your market, you risk distancing yourself from potential leads. See what your competition offers.

3. Know Your Target Audience: It’s easy to target anyone with money, but this isn’t the way to go for B2B lead generation. Knowing exactly what your target market is will give you a better chance of focusing on who would most likely become a client.

4. Look at Your Competition: What is your competition doing? For example, if your competitors offer the same services you carry at lower prices, see how your target audience responds. If they react well, consider your own rates and how you can adjust so that you can have similar prices to the competition. 

5. Show That You Care: Trying to do business for the sake of doing business won’t work. For lead generation, you need to be as human as possible to your prospects. Ask them what their thoughts are. Listen to any concerns they have. Shed the “it’s all about me” persona.

6. Know Who the Head Honcho Is: It’s discouraging to have a promising conversation with a prospect, only to find out they can’t make the final decision. While it’s great to get your ideas out there, it’s essential you target key decision makers. This way, you reduce wasting time.

7. Get moving: Don’t wait for leads. Be active. Scope out leads on social media channels such as LinkedIn. It works.

Conclusion: Don’t dive into this without a plan. Use the above methods and see what difference it makes for your business. Also, examine what you’re already doing, and see how you can improve based on these seven rules. 

Christopher Tompkins, founder of The Go! Agency, helps companies harness the power of online marketing.

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Industry News

Pulsar360: full circle solutions

Pulsar360 Receives IP Telephony Award: Pulsar360 Corporation announced it 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. 

Send us your TAS articles and news for consideration in the next issue.

Quotes for the Month

“I never lose sight of the fact that just being is fun.” -Katharine Hepburn

“It is not the position, but the disposition.” –Susan Sontag

“When she told me I was average, she was just being mean.” -unknown