Using and Providing Hosted Services

By Wayne Scaggs

One of Webster’s definitions for “host” is “any organization that provides resources and facilities for a function or event.” With Webster’s definition in mind, have you ever used hosted services in your business? Let’s explore the possibility that more of your business is hosted than you may realize. The core of the call center industry was established on two basic hosting principles.

  • First you make a contract with the phone company to receive calls. In this case, the telephone company hosts the equipment that provides you with the telephone calls. You are the hostee.
  • Then you contract with the business world to answer their calls. You have moved from receiving hosted services to providing hosted services. You are now the host.

Other essential hosted business services are electricity, water, payroll services, news service, and television; I’m sure you can come up with many more when you think about your unique offerings.

In the teleservices call center industry, we understand hosting a little differently. We think of hosted services that can be sold and using hosted services to improve our business. Teleservices, by definition, means being a hosted service provider. You buy the equipment needed so that you can inform your clients of information that they are willing to pay you to collect and deliver to them. This is a very comfortable model and has been around since people became too busy to answer their own telephone.

With this arrangement, you had a real feeling of control and mastery of your domain – you had all the equipment in your back room and, in many cases, you were able to fix most things that went wrong. Well, at least until your clients started to demand more information and services with complex and detailed results. The equipment got smaller and more complex, to the point where most call centers were faced with hiring a technical person to keep the equipment running and thus maintain the perception of mastery.

The luxury of having your own equipment is becoming more and more costly due to all the additional overhead needed to support that equipment. Your equipment can become another resource drain in this fast-paced technical world, where technology can become outdated before even you start to see a return on your money.

You are the professional when it comes to collecting and dispatching information. No other business does it better. Few industries have endured so many challenges and still make such a difference in this world.

There is another challenge here, not only encountered in the teleservice industry: higher and higher demands require technical professionals to do their job so that the rest of us can do ours.

The question you may now have to ask is, “Can a technical professional host my business equipment so I can be comfortable again and go back to focusing on the information-collection business?” Change is difficult, and it brings risk along with it. But then again, is risk anything new to the teleservice industry?

What’s important to you? Find solutions that allow you to excel at what you do best; discover who is best at what you need and charge them with being their best.

Wayne Scaggs is president of Alston Tascom, Inc., which offers an end-to-end contact center solution using digital telephony. For further information, contact Alston Tascom at 909-548-7300,

[From Connection Magazine June 2010]

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