By Donna West
No yearly trade show for vendors to show their wares
No single place for us to travel to see equipment
No annual educational meeting for us to build relationships and share ideas
No organization to help our vendors set standards so we can all compete on a level playing field
No international identity – and most importantly —
No voice for our industry
Without the Association of TeleServices International, there would be no central place for consumers to find out more about our services. We would have to invent this same organization all over again. Fortunately for us, our predecessors did create the ATE (Associated Telephone Exchanges) in 1942, during the infancy of this industry, which became Associated Telephone Answering Exchanges (ATAE) in 1958 before becoming ATSI. The founders had the common goal of improving business and supporting one another. Today, that is expressed in the current ATSI Mission Statement as follows:
To enhance the value of association members’ businesses by:
- Promoting fair competition through the pursuit of appropriate regulation and legislation
- Providing research into and development of our industry and its current and prospective markets
- Providing support services
- Providing educational opportunities and resources to address the challenges and trends affecting our operating environments
- Encouraging and maintaining high standards of ethics and services
ATSI holds true to these values and purposes and has developed or is the promoter of many products and services that help its members to be more competitive and more successful.
To measure overall quality and educate its employees, ATSI provides:
- ATSI certification programs for sites, agents, dispatchers, and supervisors
- ATSI Award of Excellence and the Award of Distinction programs
- ATSI Certified Agent of the Year program
- Preemployment applicant testing, professional telephone techniques, and teleservices training
ATSI offers products to help us grow:
- Marketing tool kit
- Sales training seminars
- Marketing in Minutes, including Ask Mark publication
- ATSI promotional presentations (commercials)
- “Spotlight On – Communications”
There are business development offerings, such as the owner’s forums and book forums. Additionally, ATSI offers:
- Training seminars for operations personnel, customer service, and sales representatives
- Model contracts and HIPAA contracts
- Errors and Omissions (E & O) Insurance Program with ongoing legal “hotline” support
Additionally, ATSI bands together to tackle government regulations and make our voices heard when legislation may not be in the best interests of our industry. ATSI also offers tools to tell us how we’re doing, such as its customer satisfaction survey program, financial benchmarking program, and chart of accounts. To keep members informed and tied together, ATSI contributes to Connections Magazine and publishes TeleCommunicator and Answer OnLine.
Lastly, ATSI provides the ATSI Community Web Forums, the new and improved communications tool that replaces its list-serve, where our peers answer our questions, share concerns, provide support and empathy, give suggestions for running our businesses better, and reach out to assist in disasters.
Other industry organizations are important, but ATSI brings us all closer together and we are stronger for it. There is strength in numbers, and increasing our numbers will make us even stronger. If you are not a member of ATSI, call a board member today, and tell us why.
ATSI members are “Learning by Association” – sharing ideas is what we’re all about.
[From Connection Magazine – June 2009]