By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD
In Michigan, as well as in many other parts of the United States, winter has wearied everyone. It’s lasted too long, been too cold, and piled on too much snow. Everyone I talk to longs for this season to end. Even those who adore winter weather have ceased their praise for lower temperatures and blankets of white adorning our landscape.
Finally, signs of winter’s retreat are emerging. Despite a dusting of snow over the weekend, the daytime temperatures are now mostly above freezing, and the stockpiles of snow are disappearing. Now, at last, I feel it’s safe to reminisce.
One December several years ago, I made an offhand comment to some of the answering service staff: “What we need is a good snowstorm to drive up call volume and pull us together.” A few weeks later, my wish came through – and then some.
Over the New Year’s weekend, it snowed and snowed…and snowed: fifty-two inches over a five-day period. Call volume shot up – higher than ever before – and stayed there. At the peak, we were getting one call every second, not that we could answer them all. Our staff pulled together, doing far more than I could ever ask: working double shifts, sleeping at the office, skipping breaks, and cutting meals short. I even took calls – at least the easy ones I couldn’t mess up.
When it was over, we all had war stories to share. Overtime had jumped, but billing increased even more. Overall the result was good, but I never want to repeat it.
In all my adult life, that was the first and last time I wished for snow.
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of TAS Trader, covering the telephone answering service industry. Check out his book How to Start a Telephone Answering Service.