The July 2015 Issue of TAS Trader

Map Communications: Make more when you sell to us!

How Was Your Holiday?

By Peter Lyle DeHaan PhD

In the United States we celebrated a holiday a few days ago. Though the official date was on Saturday, most businesses closed on Friday to give their staff a three-day weekend. A few tacked on Monday as well, giving their employees even more time off.

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan

Telephone answering services (TAS) aren’t able to do that. Most answering services need to schedule more staff to take extra calls for all their clients that are closed.The reality is that in the TAS industry, a holiday is a workday, often a busy one. For TAS staff, their holiday celebrations often need to happen earlier or wait until later.

Many answering services pay their staff extra to work on holidays: time and a half, double time, or even more. Some do it because they need to, while others pay more because they feel it’s fair. The agent benefits financially for the inconvenience of working while most other people have the day off for celebration and time with family and friends.

This extra pay increases the operating costs of the TAS. Hopefully extra billing will result from the jump in call volume, enough to offset the additional payroll.

So when I ask someone in the answering service industry, “How was your holiday?” what I often mean is “Did you have to work?” “How busy was it?” and “Did your extra billing cover your increased labor costs?”

Regardless, I hope your holiday was a good one.

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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Americans Unhappy With the Way Businesses Answer the Phone

Less than a third of Americans are satisfied with the way businesses handle their phone calls, new research has revealed. The study of 2,234 consumers, conducted by PH Media Group, discovered just 32 percent of respondents are pleased with companies’ phone manner. The study also found women are more unhappy than men.

Older people were particularly dissatisfied, with only 28 percent of 45 to 64-year-olds claiming to be happy with how their calls are handled, compared to 37 percent of 18 to 34-year-olds.

“Poor call handling is a common complaint for American consumers, but this research suggests businesses are still not doing enough to improve standards and delight customers,” said Mark Williamson of PH Media Group. “There is perhaps a tendency among companies to focus their attention and budgets on visual marketing and Internet presence, but the telephone remains a crucial aspect of branding, marketing, and sales.

“Businesses also seem to have lost touch with older customers, which should provide cause for concern given this generation are less inclined to seek information online than their younger counterparts. If companies want to have a wide appeal, it is essential to maintain high service standards across all customer touchpoints. Responding to calls quicker or establishing a set practice for answering the phone, both represent a good start.”

Telephone Answering Service News

VoiceNation’s Releases Open Source Call TAS Software
VoiceNation launched their OpenAnswer telephone answering service software on June 22, 2015. OpenAnswer is freely available to download, install, and modify. There are no licensing fees and answering service owners can have unlimited seats and scalability for their TAS operation. Since it is open source, TAS owners can share their code changes with the budding OpenAnswer user community. OpenAnswer uses leading technology and open standards without the restrictions of binding contracts, so answering services can have complete control over their operation. This is the same software used at VoiceNation’s answering service.

PIN Conference Rescheduled; Webinars Set
When a state of emergency was declared in Baltimore, PIN board directors faced a tough decision regarding this year’s PIN meeting scheduled for May 3-6. “This was not an easy decision, but the board unanimously agreed that it was the best option under the circumstances,” said board vice president Phyllis Shaw. “The meeting has been rescheduled for October 14-18, 2015, at Hotel Monaco in Baltimore, Maryland.”

In the meantime, the board has put together a series of information-enriched Webinars for both members and nonmembers.

  • July 15: “What’s New with eConn and Skills-Based Routing,” presented by Professional Teledata
  • July 22: “Upcoming PInnacle Upgrade, Part A,” presented by Professional Teledata
  • August 5: “Upcoming PInnacle Upgrade, Part B,” presented by Professional Teledata
  • August 19: “G-Lock – Beginner Session,” presented by John Freire and Nate Gefvert
  • September 2: “G-Lock – Advanced Session,” presented by John Freire and Nate Gefvert

Quotes for the Month

“Never confuse motion with action.” -Benjamin Franklin

“Beware of the man who won’t be bothered with details.” -William Feather

“Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead to know basis.” -unknown