By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD
It doesn’t require much of a look at the telephone answering service industry to know that the number of answering services has been dramatically decreasing in recent years. While I don’t have an exact number and doubt that anyone does, I think everyone agrees that we have fewer players in our industry today than at any time in recent memory.
But this isn’t because the industry is in trouble. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Many business people and entrepreneurs see the opportunity to grow and make money. They are bullish about the industry. They believe in the idea of helping businesses by serving people over the phone.
These folks have been on a buying spree. Industry consolidation runs rampant. While this consolidation provides serious challenges for vendors and associations, as well as the publications that cover the industry, it does not spell doom for the industry as a whole.
Another thing we can’t verify is market size. Although the number of actual answering services is on the decline, I suspect the number of TAS customers is not. Even more so I speculate that the amount of revenue generated industrywide is on the upswing. Though I can’t prove it quantifiably, I sense that it must be true.
I don’t think the TAS market is shrinking. It’s just changing, and we need to change with it.