By Wayne Scaggs
I moved to California in 1971 with thirty-five dollars in my pocket, no transportation, and no education. I only knew one person with whom I could stay for a little while. I carried with me my grandmother’s wisdom: “Don’t take advantage of people because you can; it is much better to help them if you can.”
Almost twenty years later, in 1990 I was driving to work listening to Les Brown (a motivational speaker). He encouraged listeners to make a difference in their industry. I thought “Yeah, right. I’m just a customer service manager in a company on the decline, and I’m supposed to make a difference – ha!” But I never said, “I can’t.”
I looked for ways to make a difference. I stopped using the word but and replaced it with and. What a transformation that made! I strove to complete whatever I started and did the best I could. It was important that I do what I said I would do, even when it hurt or was costly at the time. I still feel that way.
As opportunities presented themselves, I took on all I could. As the opportunities got bigger, I got stronger; my confidence grew. I prided myself with the knowledge that I could fix anything another person had built. This made me certain we could make the Tascom system viable and keep our customer base. We did lose a few customers, but for the most part we were doing okay for a company whose parent corporation had decided to cease development on the Tascom product line.
Then came 1994, the year everything changed. I asked the parent corporation if I could buy Tascom. What I received was an outdated system the size of three refrigerators and a wonderful, outstanding customer base. I became a business owner, and the transition seemed to age me overnight.
I bought the company on November 1, 1994. Two weeks later I attended my first Tascom User Group (TUG) meeting as Tascom’s owner. Seared into my memory is the combination of jubilation and fear. I experienced the elation of a standing ovation for buying Tascom and terror because I had no money to cover payroll in two weeks. Since I’m writing this twenty-two years later, you know that we made it.
Though some customers left, we continued to work to improve Tascom. We kept our word, and introduced the first TAS system with a Microsoft SQL database to house the Tascom information.
The next transformative year was 1999. I must have made a difference because I was inducted into the ATSI Hall of Fame. Also that year my local Chamber of Commerce awarded me Business Person of the Year, and the Toastmaster club of which I was president won first place in the world for the achievements our club accomplished that year. Yes, one person can make a difference.
In 2000 I hit a brick wall, and for the next eighteen months, I went through my own personal midlife crisis. I had to remember that this too would pass, and the sun would shine again. (When you get knocked down, get up.)
Well, the sun did shine again. In 2006 Alston Tascom introduced the hosted system, the first in the industry to provide a complete telemessaging platform in the cloud with all the functionality of a premise-based system and a guaranteed service level in excess of 99 percent uptime. It was a fraction of the price point and unmatched by any premises system in the industry.
Alston Tascom is poised to continue to make a difference in our industry. We no longer have customers; we only have clients who we put first. We deliver our ADAM soft switch with a shared, matured SQL database, and we share our cloud and hosted systems. We have your reservation for our personal and priority care of your business. I’ll end with a quote from Wayne Dyer: “Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at will change.”
Wayne Scaggs is the president of Alston Tascom, provider of call center database information and network telephony systems.