The September 2016 Issue of TAS Trader


Is Your Answering Service Glass Half-Full or Half-Empty?

By Peter L DeHaan, PhD

As I talk with owners and operators in the telephone answering service industry, some have concerns and others share excitement. I understand those who are pessimistic. After all there is much to worry about. I also understand those who are optimistic. They see ongoing changes to the industry, as well as threats from within and without, as occasions to celebrate.

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan

These folks have figured out how to market and to sell, not just to offset attrition but to grow organically. Others embrace acquisition, either for the art of the deal or as a means to pick up new clients from acquisitions who fail their newly acquired clients. Still others have figured out how to manage staff successfully across multiple locations or to truly scale their business in a way that works in actual practice. Last are those who manage what they have with excellence: maximizing value, thrilling clients, engaging staff, and making a nice profit in the process.

Regardless of which camp you are in, the half-full contingent or the half-empty group, now is a great time to begin preparing for next year. Don’t wait until December 31 to begin your strategic plan for the new year. And whatever you do, don’t confront the upcoming year without a plan.

  • Look at what you do well and ask how you can do it better. Every TAS has at least one thing they do with excellence. Don’t lose sight of that.
  • Then look at where you struggle and seek ways to turn it into a strength. Every TAS also has at least one thing they can do better. Don’t think otherwise.
  • Last look at your biggest pain point and make a plan so it hurts a little less. You can do that.

Do these three things and make next year your best one yet. Start preparing today.

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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Resolving Conflict at Work

By Jason Gazaway

One thing guaranteed in life is conflict. No matter how much you try to avoid it, it will come up at some point, but it’s not whether you win or lose, it is about how to get the best results, the right results in any situation. The goal is to resolve the disagreement, struggle, or conflict to eliminate the friction between people.

Conflict arises from differing personalities, viewpoints, mindsets, and even past experiences. Conflict abounds in all areas of life: politics, religion, marriage finances, work, and even play. Everything we see is about one person or group wanting to get their way while the opposing person or group desires to get theirs. Both sides feel they must be heard and that their view is the right one. At some point one side digs their heels in and stands firm, and the other side becomes defensive. Emotions erupt.

There are times conflict can be avoided but when it cannot, it helps to have some tools to be the “bigger person” and work to resolve it rather than striving to be the “right one.” When thinking about a business or company setting, here are some ways to resolve conflict rather than to inspire it:

  • Remain Calm: This sounds like common sense, but it is harder to do when under pressure. Remaining calm helps you and the other person think clearly and respectfully. Emotions tend to get the best of us when we’re not calm.
  • Listen: This is not to find a foothold so you can pounce. This is a listening so you can understand mindset. Seek to understand where the other person is coming from and their viewpoint. It might not change your mind, but it will help you understand the situation better.
  • Communicate Effectively: This means focusing on the positives, not being aggressive when you talk, and be open. Again, we cannot let our emotions get the best of us in any situation. We have to communicate in a way that is logical and not overflowing with emotion. Remember to stay calm.
  • Value the Other Person: Focus on the best result for the situation and everyone involved and not just to get your way. We have to remember the other person is human and has emotions, too. Sometimes showing the other person you care and value them can defuse the whole situation.

Resolving conflict is important not only for business relationships but for personal ones as well. Learning how to manage conflict, as well as yourself, is important to having contentment and working towards the best results in all situations. Plus, it gives you satisfaction in handling the situation and everyone involved with respect, honor, and care.

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

Dexcomm Acquires Vision Communications: Dexcomm Answering and Communication, headquartered in Carencro, Louisiana, has acquired the telephone answering service division of Vision Communications, a subsidiary of EATEL. All other service divisions of Vision Communications will remain unchanged.

“We look forward to building relationships with even more customers in Louisiana and across the country,” commented Jamey Hopper, president of Dexcomm. “Our new customers can expect award-winning customer service delivered on state-of-the-art technology with a personal, compassionate touch.”

Tessie Toups will continue as the primary Vision account representative. “I am excited to work for a prestigious and professional company, and look forward to providing the best possible service to all of our customers,” Toups said.

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

 Quotes for the Month

“The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise man grows it under his feet.” -James Oppenheim

“It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.” -George Washington

“The roundest knight at King Arthur’s round table was Sir Cumference.” -unknown