By Donna West
With Thanksgiving approaching, it is time to consider all we have to be grateful for. One such item is our vendors. There has rarely been an industry that is as closely knit as the telemessaging industry. It is also safe to say that there has rarely been an industry that is as closely integrated by a small group of vendors as ours. We are family. We are almost an incestuous family, since our vendors are in some cases our competitors, and our competitors – with whom we share so much – have occasionally become our vendors. Yet, it works, and works well.
That is because we are so focused (I love that word) on education. We have formed “user groups” with most of our vendors, and those few, smaller vendors who don’t have a user group do have a group of sharing, caring clients who are the “go-to” people for that vendor. Education – helping one another to learn more about our equipment, our processes, and our customer needs – is what binds us together. ATSI tries to lead in offering educational opportunities, but we all help educate others every day.
It is safe to say that those of us who have been in the industry for any length of time probably have closer, or at least as close, friends in the industry than in our neighborhoods. We may even have close friends in the ranks of our vendors, people we seek out at the ATSI convention (and other conferences) and with whom we spend a bit of quality time, sharing a drink or a meal together. When one of us has something to celebrate, or something to mourn, we are as likely to receive emails, cards, and gifts from our vendors and their employees as we are our colleagues and peers. We are there to support one another.
When a vendor mourns a loss, we all mourn their loss. Likewise, the accomplishments of our vendors please and excite us, and we are genuinely happy for them, whether they are our vendor or not. Moreover, we are honestly thrilled for our competitors when they receive accolades and awards.
One thing we all seem to recognize is that there is plenty of business out there for all of us. It is by helping one another grow and improve our services, that we are truly expanding our industry’s opportunities. The more excellent teleservice companies our industry can boast, the more our services will be needed. The more unique benefits we can offer our customers, the more our services will be recognized for the business tools they are. Potential customers will only see the possibilities we can offer them if they know about us. We are the best we can be because others have given thought, shared their ideas, and reached out to help competitors in this industry. Our vendors are brave enough to take part in and encourage this spirit of sharing.
At this time of Thanksgiving we, the members of ATSI, salute you, our vendors, for your honesty, your integrity, your generosity, and your commitment to helping us build our businesses. That we all flourish when one flourishes is truly a fact of life. Thank you for all the times you’ve gotten up in the dark of night to reach out to a client in need. Thank you for listening to us when we don’t always articulate our needs correctly. Thank you for striving to keep up and for the difficult tasks you face in this frightening economy. Although we may grumble at times, we do know we would not be successful without you. We appreciate you!
[From Connection Magazine – November 2009]