By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD
Since its beginning, every year brings changes to the telephone answering service (TAS) industry. And the scope of change seems to increase each year. However, not everything changes. Some things stay the same. Though these four keys may fluctuate in importance from year to year, they are always at the forefront of our efforts to provide answering services to organizations and individuals.
We exist because there is a need to respond quickly: to answer the phone as soon as possible and provide information to our clients when and how they need it.
We are representatives of every client; they expect us to be professional. In many cases, we are their public face, be it part of the time or all of the time.
A decade ago or so, the need for personal touch fell into question in some circles. Self-service and automation would surely prevail. That didn’t work out so well; a backlash occurred. When self-service and automation fail, people are the answer; that means us.
Although TASs vary in their billing strategies from low-cost providers to premium boutiques, the common factor is that our service must be cost-effective when compared to other options. If we cease to be cost-effective, the first three items don’t matter.
Yes, there are changes afoot, ranging from technology to staffing to legal to financial, but what remains is our four keys: timely communication, professional service, personal touch, and cost-effectiveness. May we never lose sight of them.
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.