NAEO Newslinks

December 2016

Regular Columns

Get Inspired
by Gary Blair

2017 NAEO Conference

A Story of Migrating to IS from Infinity
by Jeff Farber

Featured Articles

Behind the Scenes at NAEO
by Eric Ewald, NAEO Executive Director

NAEO Member Spotlight

Webinar Recap

Amtelco Annex

Select a Contact by Contact ID with the Search by ID Option
by David Drenk

Gary Blair

Get Inspired

by Gary Blair

Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.

Hamilton Wright Mabie

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2017 NAEO Conference

I am pleased and excited to invite you to register for the 33rd Annual NAEO Conference at the Hilton Palacio del Rio Hotel in San Antonio, Texas.

Registration & Conference Details

San Antonio, a picturesque city in the heart of Texas, home to the legendary Alamo and world famous River Walk, hosts a vibrant mix of culture, cuisine, legendary architecture and moving history. The city’s heritage and traditions are rich, as are its modern pleasures. With a cosmopolitan blend of top-notch golf courses, remarkable dining and nightlife options, art galleries, spas, theme parks and shopping, there’s no shortage of authentic experiences — most of which are just steps from hotels.

This year’s conference theme embraces the future of our industry, “Trailblazing the Future.” We want to explore the advancements in technology, while sharing with each other and helping our industry to grow and prosper more than any of us could do on our own! There will be abundant opportunities to share with your fellow members and to learn from one another during your time in San Antonio. You should come prepared ready to learn, share and grow!

On Sunday, our Advanced Technical Workshop will go in depth with Crystal Reports! Please see the registration page for details. Sunday afternoon, Amtelco will hold Amtelco University where attendees will learn tips, tricks, techniques and interesting ways to use their premise based Infinity and cloud services.

Opening Reception on Sunday evening will give everyone a chance to reconnect with old friends and acquaintances as well as meet many new faces. We are looking forward to seeing all of you there.

Monday morning, the conference will kick off with Amtelco Presents. Lets get those ideas trailblazing! We have a full agenda including our keynote speaker Jack Smalley with his presentation, "The Most Valuable Leadership Tool is a Mirror." He is sure to make you look twice in the mirror at your leadership style. Please see our keynote bio page for details. Sunday afternoon, Amtelco will hold Amtelco University where attendees will learn tips, tricks, techniques and interesting ways to use their premise based Infinity and cloud services. Don’t miss the NAEO Awards, Recognition and Business meeting. This day would not be complete without Round Table topics which will give you time for interaction and diversified ideas to get you moving into the future.

Tuesday will be packed with a variety of breakout sessions. Attendees will now have the option to follow 4 individual tracks throughout the Conference that are focused around 1) Owner/Management, 2) Operational, 3) Technical and 4) I.S. related content. Each track will offer the same high level of charismatic presenters, with sessions jam-packed with the type of juicy ideas, solutions, and takeaways that we have all come to expect from an NAEO event! You will need your energy on this day and won’t want to miss a thing. If you are interested in several sessions, maybe it’s time to send more staff to learn from this amazing experience.

Wednesday will feature an Amtelco Presents Q&A, the popular Future Directions session, and a closed-door Owners Forum. We know you will leave San Antonio with many new ideas, new friends and contacts, and be reenergized to pursue excellence in your call center when you trailblaze into the future! Don’t wait — register now!

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Jeff Farber

A Story of Migrating to IS from Infinity

By Jeff Farber
A-B Communications

We purchased the Intelligent Series (IS) in 2009 and wanted very much to convert. But we hit many stumbling blocks in our way. As each year passed, we had failed to get the process started. We bought a few businesses and we let a few other critical projects take precedence over our migration. Luckily, the Intelligent Series had gone through several major improvements since the iteration we originally had installed — so when we got around to converting, we had an improved feature-rich system at our disposal. Finally, in 2014, we acquired some additional accounts and decided to go cold turkey importing them as IS accounts. While it was a challenge to bring in new unfamiliar accounts and start using new processes, we finally made the commitment to get this important project done.

The first big step was the promotion of our key supervisor to programmer. Luckily, Andy is a gadget guy armed with a Windows phone and a Surface tablet. And he is a gamer, thus a computer junkie, and a quick learner. Until we reached this critical point, what held us back and delayed our migration was that we didn’t commit the resources (primarily Andy) to the conversion. We had the right person and we gave him the necessary time to perform the work.

In Infinity call-taking, and for that matter dating back to switchboards, our best operators memorized the client information and how to step through a call. With the Intelligent Series, the programmer steps the operator through the call, so account memorization is not needed and can be, in fact, a hindrance. Andy knows all of our accounts, from the directory of contacts (and more importantly, how the on-call schedules are set up) to how to step through the taking of a message.

Andy directed a small team of people who participated in the conversion.

Nattie does our Infinity Info Pages. We typically use three Info Pages, and more if the account has a lot of detailed information. One of our Info Pages contains the General Information about the Client. For this page, we use content Nattie places into Shared Client Fields such as Customer Name, Address, Office Hours, Phone Numbers, and so forth. The other pages are fully personalized for each Client, including Account Behaviors, Greetings, and any other specifics that we feel we still need available for our Operators. Once Nattie completes an account’s Info Page, we immediately activate it, even though the account is still an Infinity account.

Daniel is a recent college graduate with a biology degree, and is a family friend. That makes him a perfect short-term helper for a call center project, right? Daniel has only general computer skills that any student would have picked up, but he is a quick learner and, luckily, one who works fast and with high quality. Daniel was given the task of converting the Infinity Directories.

We do some database work, so we badly wanted to speed up the process by importing our records using the IS Transformer. But, because of the way we have Infinity structured, it is not a practical utility except for Directories that have more than 30 entries. However, had we not decided to change our contacts from UPPERCASE to Proper Name case, and had our Infinity phone numbers been stored in any of the 12 primary Directory fields instead of in the Directory Info card using the Infinity Dial Character, we could have used the IS Transformer extensively. Consequently, we entered our directory information account by account, although we used some procedures to ensure data entry quality.

Daniel used Unified Reports in Infinity Supervisor to view a Directory.

He then highlighted the Directory as he viewed it in the report window and copied it to his computer’s Clipboard.

In the screen shot below, notice that UPPER CASE already has been changed to Proper Name case and now the Infinity Dial Character can be deleted for the whole Directory.

Daniel used a really neat utility called Notepad++ when doing the directory transformations. We pasted the Directory information into Notepad ++, then we highlighted the whole directory content again and changed the case from UPPER CASE to Proper Name case. We also were able to perform basic Find and Replace functions to remove all Dial Characters in seconds.

With the data modifications completed, we created a new IS Subject from a template that had pre-configured directory Fields, Views, Roles and Statuses, and added the Contacts one by one from our Notepad++ data. We copied and pasted the Names, Phone Numbers and Dial Strings to avoid any typos. We used the Contact-Based Dispatch process in which we set the default status type and pre-set number of attempts and intervals between attempts for each Contact.

Immediately following the completion of the Directory Import work, we started entering our IS OnCall Schedules, with Roles, and escalation contacts. When the on-call data entry began, so did the need to maintain the synchronization of the schedule between Infinity and IS for that particular client.

The Contact-Based Dispatch component really wasn’t difficult to learn. Amtelco provides default statuses, All Methods and Unavailable. We determined that we needed additional statuses based on the methods by which our customers are reached. We used the words ON and AT for additional legibility when an operator views the current status on-screen while call taking, and when dialout details are printed. The statuses we use appear in the screen shot below.

The hardest part of this work was to provide Daniel, who has never learned the process of call taking or dispatching, with the default parameters used for programming the number of messaging attempts and duration between attempts. While some of this information was found on the Infinity Info Card associated with a Contact, some of it was included in the dial string found in the Infinity Service List or System List, which required a lot of detective work to uncover.

I’d like to point out one of the BEST features of IS — the ability to perform a test call using Test Drive in the Easy Script Editor. With Test Drive, we can simulate the programming of the number of attempts and escalation to another contact type and backup person to ensure the accuracy of our work.

The extra work of maintaining duplicate on-call entries provided the encouragement we needed to complete the IS scripting for that account, so we could ignore the account details in Infinity. Our target time frame, after we completed the directory and on-call entries, was to finish the script within a few days.

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Eric Ewald

Behind the Scenes at NAEO

by Eric Ewald, NAEO Executive Director

Many NAEO members have been around long enough to gain a good understanding how NAEO “works”. This understanding increases with time and involvement, particularly when a member begins volunteer leadership service on a committee or the Board of Directors. This type of service exposes members directly to the NAEO governance structure, leadership and staff.

NAEO is an IRS 501(c)(6) trade/professional association. Technically, NAEO is a corporation much like the good companies that make up the membership. The key difference is that NAEO is a nonprofit corporation and as such does not pay income taxes and profits stay with the corporation (i.e. they are not distributed to any shareholders).

NAEO is not a “typical” organization. I would never call a group of people in a neat industry with their own organizational culture “typical”. NAEO does, however, operate in a fairly typical fashion for a nonprofit trade association. The organization is led by a Board of Directors that makes important decisions about the goals of the organization and resource allocation with needed and respected input from committees and members. NAEO has a headquarters and staff via an association management company, Ewald Consulting (with offices in Saint Paul and Chicago). About a dozen staff members work with NAEO in some capacity, e.g. financial accounting, member services, conference planning, communications and project support work for the Board and Committees. It is important that this work is done consistently over time, as NAEO volunteers enter and “term-out” of volunteer leadership positions.

The volunteer leadership positions are where NAEO does a great job of leveraging purchased/paid labor and headquartering with many, many volunteer hours. This is done to keep the cost of membership down and to get needed input and involvement from people who the organization was built to serve. Our staff work directly with particular volunteers and committees; for example, our accounting staff work directly with the Treasurer, Communications Specialists work with the Communications Committee and Conference Planners work with the Conference Committee. All of the volunteers with NAEO are not only nice to work with — they do a tremendous amount of great work for the organization. There are about 12 specialized staff working for NAEO, but all of their time totals to about one FTE.

I, along with Gigi Jaber, work directly with the Board of Directors supporting them with input and experience from an association management perspective and various project work. The Board meets three times a year in person and monthly on the phone between those meetings. Directors meet in person at the conference, in the fall and late winter/early spring. These are day-long and fairly exhausting meetings; they are also invigorating, as many ideas are developed and plans are formed. The monthly meetings are used primarily as progress check-ins in between larger planning meetings and to address any issues. Having worked with over a hundred organization boards in a direct service and consulting/training capacity over 24 years, I will proudly share that NAEO has creative, fun and hard-working volunteer leadership. They are “doers” who not only meet as a board and committees to chart course and make decisions but they also do a lot of lifting.

NAEO is a good model for combining staff and volunteer thoughts and work. I encourage every member to seriously consider a volunteer position at a time that works for them. What you get in exchange is being on the front lines of a great industry, deep collegial relationships and the good feeling that comes from contributing to a fantastic community effort. This makes the work a good investment and creates a nice balance in the work of the organization. I am looking forward to seeing you all in San Antonio!

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NAEO Member Spotlight

Member Company: Children’s Omaha
Contact Person: Holly Ritchison
Position: Manager of Communications Center

How many years has Children's Omaha been in business?

Children’s Hospital & Medical Center was founded in 1948.

Where is Children’s Omaha located?

8200 Dodge Street, Omaha, Nebraska.

How many years has Children’s Omaha been an NAEO member?

I believe Infinity was purchased in 2008 and we have probably been an NAEO member since inception.

What is the #1 benefit that NAEO has to offer your company?

NAEO enables Amtelco users to interact with other hospitals. Oftentimes, you are dealing with a challenge or problem that others have been through, so you can gain knowledge from the actual users of the Amtelco products.

Is there one challenge specifically that NAEO members have helped you overcome? Please share details.

Programming emergency codes and ensuring there are backup plans in the event Infinity is down is crucial to our department and the hospital. Getting feedback from other users has been very helpful.

Has NAEO contributed to your leadership skills and experience? If so, how?

We haven’t really utilized what NAEO has to offer in this regard.

Have you been on the NAEO board or on one of the committees? If so, which ones?

No, I have not been on the board; however, I’m a member of the HUG committee.

Have you attended any NAEO Conferences or Summer Series Workshops? If yes, which one(s)?

I’ve been involved with Amtelco here at Children’s and for many years prior at a commercial answering service. I’ve attended many conferences as well as workshops.

If you have attended any NAEO Conferences, which was your favorite and what was your favorite memory?

It’s nice to reconnect with others. I do prefer the smaller venues as they make networking easier.

Do you have any encouraging words for other potential members of NAEO?

I think it is imperative that you become a member of NAEO if you want to make the most of the Amtelco products you’ve purchased. Amtelco is a great company... but because they are not the end user, you can really learn great things from the organizations that are part of this group.

The NAEO Member Spotlight subject is chosen randomly from our membership base. The hope is to provide a glimpse into the rich diversity of our membership, the varied backgrounds from which it springs and share some great stories and experiences from our most valued asset — our members. If you are interested in being featured in our Member Spotlight, please email membership@naeo.org.

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Webinar Recap

Topic: Let's Chat about Chat


Date: December 14, 2016

 

Kevin Beale, Jaimie Guidry and Michael Goumas demonstrated different options for inner/outer office chat.

IS Chat is modeled after Infinity chat in some ways, making IS operator communication individualized, as opposed to a shared chat box. Report logs of operator chats are still available and in IS chat, modification is an option within Crystal Reports. Both chat options are located in the hi-res window.

Web Chat allows the ability to add a link to your clients’ website direct to your agents. All chat conversations have the ability to be scripted for ease and efficiency for communicating via chat as well as having the entire conversation converted to a message for clients’ daily email or immediate dispatch.

The webinar was well attended and saw substantial audience participation!

Remember, if you missed the original presentation, all of our webinars are recorded and are available on the NAEO website about 7-10 days from date of presentation.

As always, the Professional Development Committee, on behalf of the NAEO Membership, extends our appreciation to all of our hosts, presenters and panelists for sharing your ideas and experiences.

Upcoming webinars include: IS Message Center Pros/Cons; Goals for 2017 from an Owners’ Perspective; F12 Settings; Mergers and Acquisitions and many more!

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David Drenk

Select a Contact by Contact ID with the Search by ID Option

by David Drenk
All rights reserved © August 2015
Contact: insider@amtelco.com

When building an Intelligent Messaging script that needs to keep track of multiple contacts and that may require the dispatcher to go back to a previously selected contact at a later point, the Contact ID can be used to select the same contact more than once. For example, you may need to follow up with the primary on-call person after the message has been escalated to another contact, or you may need to return to the first contact after all other contact options have been exhausted.

The Contact ID of the selected contact is stored in the Contact Field _Id. This field can be referenced from any script property that has a dynamic field type.

Selecting a Contact

The first step in using the Contact ID is to select a contact. This can be done using the Select Contact action, or it can be passed to the script using the Sandbox or the IS Web Directory. The selected contact is assigned to a Contact Definition.

More information about selecting contacts and Contact Definitions is provided in the “IS Directory Contact” section of the "Intelligent Series Supervisor Reference Guide."

Storing the Contact ID Using Set Field

The second step is to store the Contact ID in a field that can be accessed later. The Set Field calculation response element can be used to store a Contact ID field for later use.

The Set Field element contains two properties.

Field Name: The “Field Name” property determines the name of the field whose value will be set. Click the Field Name menu and select the name of the message field that you want to use to store the Contact ID. To create a new field, type a new field name. For example, the field name could be “PrimaryContact.”

Set to value: The “Set to Value” property assigns a value to the field. By default, the field type is Text, which is indicated by the label “Text” and the Down Arrow icon to the right of the field.

To change the field type, click the field type.

The Field Type Menu appears.

On the menu, point to “Change To,” point to “Contact Field,” and select the name of the Contact Definition that was used to select the contact.

The Contact ID field changes to a menu of Contact Fields.

Click the “Set to Value” menu and select the _Id field.

At run time, the Contact ID of the selected contact will be assigned to the field named in the Field Name property.

Searching for a Contact Using the Contact ID

Once a Contact ID has been stored, it can be used to select the same contact at any point in the scripted dispatching process. This is done by using the “Search by ID” option in the Select Contact response element.

Note: A Contact Definition continues to point to the same contact until that Contact Definition is used to select a different contact. There is no need to search by Contact ID unless you subsequently selected a different contact and need to return to the previous contact. You also can avoid the issue by using a different Contact Definition for each contact.

Select From

Select the Directory option.

The Directory Settings pane is displayed.

Directory Settings

Select the “Search for Id” option.

The Contact ID field is displayed.

Contact ID

By default, the field type of the Contact ID field is set to Text.

To select a contact using a Contact ID that was saved to a script field, click the field type.

The Field Type Menu appears.

On the menu, point to “Change To” and select Script Field.

The Contact ID field changes to a menu of Script Fields.

Click the Contact ID menu and select the name of the Script Field that contains the Contact ID.

At run time, the script will use the Contact ID stored in the field to select the same contact from the Directory. The operator will not be prompted to select a contact, except in cases where the contact’s status is “Covered By” and the Override Properties are set to “Prompt before Overriding.”

Requirements:

 

  • IS Server 4.1.5364.29595 or later
  • IS Supervisor 4.1.4924.40 or later
  • IS Messaging
  • IS Directory Contacts
  • SQL Server 2008 R2 Standard Edition or later
  • 64-bit Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 or later
  • Infinity Telephone Agent 5.60.4924.48 or later (optional)
  • Soft Agent 4.1.4924.27 or later (optional)
  • IS Web Scripting 4.1.4924.24 or later (optional)

 

Amtelco Part Number: 232MP099

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