By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD
As TAS Trader wraps up its fifth year, many changes have occurred since our launch in early 2009. As an industry, we’ve seen a great deal of consolidation. Although it’s just a guess, I suspect the number of telephone answering services in the United States now stands at about 50 percent of what it was then. Of course, the average size of those that remain has grown a lot. Sensing opportunity, new players have entered the industry, too. The vendors that serve us have undergone changes as well: consolidation, diversification, strategic partnerships, and entering or exiting the industry. Overall, this is good for the industry.
However, the biggest change has been technology: VoIP, hosted service, ubiquitous Internet connectivity, remote operators, distributed call centers (my favorite oxymoron), off-the-shelf hardware, software apps, fiber rings, handheld devices, and smartphones.
Ah, smartphones and handheld devices.
I started TAS Trader as an e-publication with two formatting goals: make it easy to read on a computer screen and make it easy to print for those who like a hard copy. In 2009, our 11″ x 8½” PDF-formatted layout made a lot of sense.
But in 2013, the tipping point came, with more people now reading email on smartphones and handheld devices than on computer screens. This means our trusty format is no longer serving the majority of readers. Starting in January 2014, our once innovative version of TAS Trader will retire. Taking its place is an email version, designed for mobile users while still being easy to read on a computer screen or print out.
We’ve already converted our archives to this new format https://www.tastrader.com/category/issues)/, which you can read, forward, and print. Plus, like text documents, they are easier to search and will aid in SEO (search engine optimization).
The best news is you won’t need to do anything to receive the new version of TAS Trader. It will arrive via email just as it always does, and copies will be available online just like always. For all the things that are changing, some things remain the same.
Happy holidays! And we’ll see you January 14 with TAS Trader 2.0!
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of TAS Trader, covering the telephone answering service industry. Check out his books How to Start a Telephone Answering Service and Sticky Customer Service.