The Impact of Industry Consolidation on TAS User Groups and Associations

TAS industry user groups and associations need you now more than ever

In the last two posts we looked at the impact of TAS industry consolidation, first on the answering services themselves and then on the vendors that serve our industry. While most people shudder at the thought of industry contraction, we noted several positive aspects of consolidation on those answering services that remain. When it comes to TAS vendors, however, there is more pressure on them, with fewer answering services left to buy their products and services. Yet, when we support our vendors, we support ourselves and prepare for the future.

The third segment of industry stakeholders is TAS user groups and associations. Like vendors, these organizations feel the pressure from industry consolidation. In general, they end up with fewer members and fewer volunteers. This puts stress on already lean organizations, who now need to make limited resources stretch even further.

Though this is the reality our industry organizations face, there is likewise hope for them for today and a more vibrant existence for tomorrow. But this all hinges on the answering services. Quite simply, the involvement of answering services in industry organizations will shape their future.

In considering this, we must first look at the purpose and mission of these organizations. This will guide us in what we need to do.

TAS User Groups

First, let’s consider user groups. User groups form around a vendor and serve the vendor’s customers. With good leadership and an active membership, the future of user groups will track with their vendor. There is generally a direct connection between the strength of a vendor and the viability of the associated user group.

This doesn’t matter if the user group is under vendor control, receives some vendor support, or is independent from the vendor. Each of these arrangements will work fine if there is a positive relationship between the vendor and the user group.

Having a positive relationship is key. Although the impetus for some user groups was born out of frustration over a lack of vendor responsiveness, most groups have moved beyond this and realize they can help each other.

In addition to supporting your vendor, another way to aid your user group is to be involved and contribute to it. This will help ensure its long-term sustainability.

TAS Associations

Unlike user groups, general TAS industry associations aren’t aligned with a vendor. They have a more generic purpose. Historically, some associations focused on certain geographic regions, while others sought to provide services and support to the overall industry.

These groups are perhaps more at risk because of industry consolidation. They more acutely feel the pressure of reduced membership and reduced member involvement. Good leadership and dedicated staff can only take these groups so far. They need to have a purpose that will attract answering services and staff to their programs and offerings.

In recent years, most all TAS associations have sought to pivot their purpose to meet changing industry needs. Some have done this well, and others have struggled. But in large part, how this unfolds is up to you.

How to Respond

For user groups, and to a larger extent TAS associations, their future is in your hands.

If an industry organization is important to you and your company, then take steps to ensure its ongoing survival. This means becoming a member, attending events, and providing volunteer assistance.

[Next time we’ll explore further what you can do to support these TAS industry organizations and help ensure their ongoing success.]


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