The February 2021 Issue of TAS Trader


How Well Do You Work from Home?

Empower Employees to Excel Regardless of Where Their Office Is

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

We are now approaching one year since many businesses sent employees home to work. Though some staff have returned to the office, either all the time or on select days, many workers continue to toil from their homes. Some have set up fully functional workspaces, while others persist with cobbled together solutions that mostly work, most of the time. These workers—or the company that employs them—persist in this mode, hoping to return to their office accoutrements any day. Until this occurs, their customers suffer through less-than-satisfactory outcomes.

When businesses first decided to, or were forced to, send workers home, many sent out Covid-19 response emails to their customers and stakeholders. These were both unhelpful and repetitive, providing little useful information. The essential message was for us to lower our expectations because their employees were working from their homes.

One email I received, however, delighted me. This company said their employees had always worked from their homes, so I could expect the same high quality of service and responsiveness I’d always enjoyed. As far as they were concerned, it was business as usual.

This business-as-usual message should have come from every organization, whether accomplished at having home-based employees or pursuing working from home as a new initiative. Yet I still hear companies apologize for their poor service and delayed responses because their staff struggles with the limitations of their home-based offices. 

On the onset of this development to send staff home, I offered tolerance for a week, even a month, as employees adjusted their perspectives and equipped their offices to provide full-functional support in all they did. Yet for them to remain mired in this mindset eleven months later is unacceptable.

Although some jobs require face-to-face interaction, most work occurs at a distance using the telephone, email, and video. Office location shouldn’t matter. And it certainly shouldn’t be an issue after all this time.

Though we hope that employees who once worked in an office will soon be able to return, the wise approach is to proceed as if this might never happen. 

If you’re working from home, look at your office configuration. Is there anything you can’t do or can’t do as well from home as you could in your office? What do you need to do to correct that? Don’t let the limitations of your home-based office affect your staff or clients any longer.

And if you have employees working from home, are they fully functional or partially provisioned? What do you need to do to close that gap? What must you do to ensure their location isn’t an issue?

It shouldn’t matter to your stakeholders where you work from. They deserve the same quality of service and responsiveness whether you’re at home or in the office.

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

Three Call Metrics TAS Managers Should Track

By Lance Brandon

As a telephone answering service (TAS) manager or owner, it’s difficult to track and discern exactly which calling metrics are the most important. However, it’s vital to have a firm grasp on specific metrics because they can determine not only your ability to run a profitable telephone answering service but also show you a pathway forward for scaling your operations. 

Call Metric #1: Average Work Duration

Average work duration determines the amount of talk time plus wrap time a typical call will take to handle. This will vary by client. A plumbing company may just require a simple warm transfer to a contractor, while a doctor’s office may require detailed scheduling information or navigating through a decision tree to find the right on-call physician. 

Example: You might notice one agent has a significantly higher work duration than the rest of the agents. This may be a sign this agent needs additional training to become more efficient. If you’re not billing by the minute, you must track this closely.

Call Metric #2: Call Outcome

What clients want most from their calls are successful outcomes. The ability to measure and track the outcome of each call is imperative to show the success of your TAS operation and being able to pitch new clients using proven data.

Example: A client may ask for a breakdown report of all their calls and expect you to have detailed results. You may also find that certain agents can successfully handle calls quickly while others get stuck or must continually follow up.

Call Metric #3: Cost per Call

Another pivotal metric for understanding profitability is the cost per call. This calling metric breaks down the costs of a single call to help with predicting expenses.

Example: You can measure this by taking the agent’s hourly wage and dividing it by their calls per hour. Then you can factor in overhead to be sure you’re charging clients enough for their calls to make a profit. 

Knowing these call metrics will make it much easier to consider questions such as how to structure billing and which operators are outperforming others.

Lance Brandon is head of sales & product design at Electronic Voice Services, a Dallas-based software company providing cloud calling solutions for the call center and TAS industry. He and his team are helping answering services transition to all-inclusive flexible modern software. 

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Industry News

Pulsar360 Posts Informational Video: Pulsar360, an award-winning VoIP solutions provider for telephone answering services, has posted a short information video that highlights some of the many services they provide to the TAS industry. 

Learn more about their service offerings and how they could help your telephone answering service save money and better serve your clients.

Pulsar360 provides a robust suite of communications and VoIP solutions for telephone answering services.

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

Quotes for the Month

“Complexity is your enemy. Any fool can make something complicated. It is hard to keep things simple.” -Richard Branson

“As a leader, you have to have the ability to assimilate new information and understand that there might be a different view.” -Madeleine Albright

“Don’t trust atoms; they make up everything.” -unknown