April 2014

Regular Columns

From the Editor
By Kelli Harrigan

Something to Smile About

NAEO Celebrates 30 Years at Our Annual Conference

Be Inspired
by Gary Blair

Something to Smile About...

IS Tip: A Fully Equipped Sandbox
by Kevin Procter

Stepping Up Your Game
by Gary Pudles


Featured Articles

NAEO 2014 Technology & Communications Survey
by Kurt VanderScheer

Board Spotlight: Mike Crossman, VP at Alliance Communications

Join the Certification Committee
by Jamie Hay

Upcoming Webinars


 

Amtelco Annex

Infinity VoIP PBX Provides Quality and Performance
by David Drenk

Combined SMS Setup Pages
by David Drenk

Kelli Harrigan

From the Editor

By Kelli Harrigan

Never Stop Learning!

Every year, the NAEO Annual Conference is a reminder to me of the immense value of constantly seeking out new ideas and learning opportunities. This year, as always, I walked away with a wealth of new ideas (and a ton of notes!) from both the educational sessions and the casual conversations held during breaks, lunch hours, and receptions. Thank you to Trisha Johnson and her conference committee for pulling off another great experience for our members! If you didn’t have the chance to attend this year, start planning now for next year’s conference — which will be held at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, FL, March 8-March 12. The value of attending these conferences really cannot be overstated. Having attended many myself over the past 30 (gasp!) years, I can attest to the fact that you will absolutely get a return on that investment!

Of course, this month, no letter from the Editor would be complete without spending a moment to thank the incomparable Hall of Fame award winner, Betty Bouchie, who has been at the helm of this newsletter for the past several years. Betty has done a remarkable job of putting together a timely, entertaining and informative monthly newsletter with the help of her volunteer authors, and I hope I can follow in her footsteps and keep meeting the standard she has set for us!

Congratulations to Betty on her retirement, and on her induction into the NAEO Hall of Fame at our annual conference — a well-deserved reward for years of service to NAEO members! We hope to see you again soon, Betty!

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Something to Smile About

Is it possible that we could be backwards in “working to be happy”?

Trisha Johnson

NAEO Celebrates 30 Years at Our Annual Conference

by Trisha Johnson

2014 Conference Logo

It’s that time of year again! Coming back from conference, full to the brim with new ideas and deciding where to start to implement them all! Well, take a deep breath, meet with your team, talk about the things you learned, and make a plan! Because this is where the value of attending NAEO really comes into play!

If you attended the conference, then you learned quickly that Everything is Bigger in TEXAS! 204 attendees got together to Rope in the Ideas, and 47 of them were first-time attendees! Fantastic! We started off with 38 attendees at our IS Training Workshop where they spent a day and a half in hands-on intensive training on Intelligent Series. On Monday night, we gathered the first-time attendees and introduced them to our Board of Directors and a few of our committees, while we got them started on a fun networking game to help them meet people early in the week to make the most of their time in Dallas.

Monday continued with our Opening Reception on the rooftop pool deck, where everyone got together for some good food and met up with old friends while making a few new ones! Ideas were already beginning to flow and be shared and we hadn’t even gotten to our keynote yet. Tuesday morning, as the IS Workshop was completed, Amtelco hosted their every popular “Amtelco University” and shared information on recent releases as well as tips and tricks on using the systems you already had. We also hosted a 3-hour Strategic Planning session led by leaders of our industry.

Tuesday afternoon we started our sessions with keynote speaker Cy Wakeman, who received rave reviews from all in attendance as she talked to us about Reality Based Leadership (http://www.realitybasedleadership.com). Cy taught us how to ditch the drama, return sanity to our offices and turn excuses into results. We closed out the educational portion of the day with breakout sessions from Cy, Amtelco, and the first of a two-part session on finding the right sales person. Tuesday evening, we all got together for a Wild West Party hosted by our Vendor Sponsor, Amtelco, for more networking and music from our very own Bobby Bennett and the Borrowed Bandits Band!

Amtelco kicked off our Wednesday in their first general session where they showed us how “When you have Infinity and IS, you can always say YES!” The day continued with three different breakout tracks throughout the day, with topics ranging from How to Measure the Culture in Your Office to Customer Service Basics, How to Keep the Right Sales Person, Cloud Computing and more! We also had our Business Meeting on Wednesday, where we had the best attendance on record, and were thrilled to see so many faces as we talked about how the past year has gone for the organization; we also elected Lisa Phillips and Mike Crossman to the Board of Directors and re-elected Lina Masri Cunningham to her second term.

Everyone enjoyed a free night in Dallas on Wednesday and we started off Thursday with another general session hosted by Amtelco, adding to the information they shared with us the prior morning. This was followed by our final breakout sessions on Culture, Cloud Computing, and Remote Staff. We then moved to our Round Table sessions— where you had more than a dozen topics you could sit and discuss with your peers to help improve your business. Finally, the conference closed out with our Best Idea Session, where everyone shared some of the best ideas they learned throughout the week. Please keep an eye out for the Webinars coming soon, where we will share some of the ideas for those of you who couldn’t make it to that session.

If you missed Dallas, then you may not know that next year the Annual NAEO Conference will be held at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, Florida! I hope to see everyone there, as your Conference Committee is already working hard to make it an unforgettable experience for all! For those who were there, it was FANTASTIC to see everyone and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! Thank you for your support as the conference would not be a success without the attendees who come and share.

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Be Inspired

Submitted by Gary Blair

Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal, and are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great a fool as a knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom.
~ Charles Spurgeon

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IS Tip

A Fully Equipped Sandbox

by Kevin Procter, Extend Communications Inc.

Aside from winning the big prize for first timers and taking home the loot, this writer picked up some great exciting relationships as well as some things to which I can look forward in the IS world with the newest features of the IS server.

An item that sparked my curiousity, however, was a suggestion in one of the IS Workshops that test-driving a script in IS Supervisor was enough of a test.

Yours truly suggested that one needs to see exactly what the operator sees when they run a script. This suggestion was met with explanations that “test drive” is already showing me what the operator is seeing.

If we look at an operator's system, they probably have a certain size screen in front of them; they have info pages that are displayed at certain times in the script, and they also have a message summary that is persistent.

When writing a script, it is very important that the programmer is seeing exactly what the operator is seeing. A proper test bed should be set up — especially with more complicated scripts — which allows the programmer to drop the live script into use without writing anything to a live system. The operator should be able to use a test system without any worry about sending out a message to a live person, calling a customer, or writing to a client's billing account. Further, when they turn to the live system, they should have exactly the same experience excepting that all communication is then real.

We do have a test system like this around this programmer as I type. We can take live accounts, drop them into the test bed and make changes which can then be tested freely and fully without worry, through Telephone Agent. Thus, programmers see exactly what the operator sees.

If your system does not provide this kind of fully immersive testing environment, I would strongly recommend that you develop such a place — a sandbox if you will — where your operators can play. Further, a sandbox where your programmers can play and break things as they push the envelope and come up with new and creative ways to more efficiently solve problems and provide ever-better services to your customers.

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Gary Pudles

Stepping Up Your Game

Goal Setting

By Gary Pudles, CEO of AnswerNet

Many companies have challenges setting and accomplishing goals because no one in the organization knows who is in charge of a particular task or job. Have you ever left a meeting feeling like there was lots of talk, but no plan to actually accomplish anything, much less any ownership? This "knowing/doing gap” is an exercise in frustration, which will lead to poor results, finger-pointing and eventually become a morale problem.

A way for your organization to avoid the “knowing/doing gap” and be a goal-oriented enterprise is to make sure that every job and every activity has a person responsible for seeing to its completion. Each task — from preparing the financial statements to taking out the trash — needs to have a single name next to it. As Vern Harnish explains in his book Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, "If you can conceive of a job, put someone’s name in it.”

To begin this process, start with an Accountability Chart. It will feel rudimentary, but you will soon discover that much of what needs doing doesn’t have an accountable person doing it! Divide the chart into three columns: The first column lists the activity, the second column identifies the department or group responsible for the activity and the third column has the name of the accountable person. (See sample in figure 1)

Every department, every program, every deliverable and every task must have a name next to it. That is the person ultimately responsible for completing that task. And, as Harnish says in his book, “there can be no To Be Determined’s.” Be disciplined and specific when assigning accountability.

Once you complete your accountability chart, make sure that all persons named on the chart are aware of their responsibility. This is the first step toward reaching your goals and creating an accountable organization. See more here.

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Kurt

NAEO 2014 Technology & Communications Survey

by Kurt VanderScheer, NAEO President

RESULTS & ANALYSIS

Earlier this year the Future Directions Committee (FDC) conducted its first annual Technology & Communications survey. What follows is a brief summary of the survey results. You can download the full analysis from the Download Library at the NAEO.org website.

The NAEO Technology & Communications survey was designed to assess the current and future technological and communications needs of NAEO members. Developed over several months, the survey touches on key ares of technology including IT infrastructure, telecommunications, and Amtelco products and services.

The majority of survey respondents were members at an executive or ownership level from a single-location company. IT infrastructure, as expected, is a significant investment with most respondents keeping their systems current while at the same time utilizing new technologies such as virtualization and cloud computing. Communications infrastructure appears to be split evenly between legacy (PRI-ISDN, T1, etc.) and VoIP services. Respondents utilize a wide range of Amtelco products and services. However, most members use Amtelco’s flagship product( Infinity/Intelligent Series) along with ancillary products Unity Logger and UltraComm. Members voiced a strong desire for Amtelco to integrate with the products that are key to their success such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Work Force Management (WFM), and mobile technologies through open standardized interfaces and APIs.

I would like to thank the Future Directions Committee for developing this insightful tool and the NAEO membership for their participation. It is my hope that this and future surveys will help the FDC provide guidance to Amtelco in developing products and services that will meet the needs of their customers in the coming years. Again, the full analysis is available online at NAEO.org.

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Mike Crossman

Board Spotlight

Mike Crossman, VP at Alliance Communications

Q: Mike, when did you start working in the telephony industry?
A: I first started working for Alliance in April of 1985, working as subcontracted employee in the Security division, eventually becoming a full-time employee of Alliance. I became more involved in the communications side of things, working in the mobile radio and paging division, then progressed into the telephone answering service and call center as both the company and I grew.

Q: What does your job entail?
A: My present position at Alliance is VP. I oversee operations of our Communications division as well as the Security division. That being said, I still enjoy getting involved in the hands-on technical aspects of the company and pinch hit as an IT guy.

Q: What is your most favorite thing about your job?
A: I love the variety that working with Alliance in this industry offers. The opportunities and challenges keep the job from ever growing old. Being part of the family that is Alliance, watching as we as a group grow and move through life.

Q: When did you become involved with NAEO and why?
A: We became NAEO members about 2 years ago when we changed platforms from OnviSource to Amtelco. Alliance has a strong tradition of being part of the bigger answering service community and I believe in the strength of membership. Alliance is part of ATSI, CAMX , MPLUS and NAEO. The benefits of being part of NAEO were evident from the moment we joined — with such a helpful and caring community of members, we were able to make a monumental change seamlessly. Many members stepped forward to offer us advice and were there to help us when we needed it.

Q: As a new member of the NAEO Board of Directors, what are your goals for your term?
A: My goals would be to further build NAEO by encouraging membership while utilizing my strengths to help mentor new Amtelco users. I will do my best to come up with new ideas that make NAEO a value to its membership and help foster education.

Q: What is one thing about you or your work that is different or unique?
A: I am always looking for the next trend, the new way or the best way. I live by the motto of adopt, adapt and improve. If it is a good idea I will adopt it, adapt it to the way we do things and, if I am able, improve it.

Q: Tell us a little personal information about you, your family and your hobbies or interests.
A: I live in a rural setting with my lovely and tolerant wife; we have 3 boys, 2 of whom are in university and the 3rd in high school. I enjoy working with my hands, whether it is building a deck or doing some home renovating. I love the sense of accomplishment that you come away with at the end of a project. I also enjoy photography and try to take as many opportunities to travel as time will allow.

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Jamie hay

Join the Certification Committee

Jamie Hay, Spectrum Communications Ltd.

The NAEO Certification Committee is actively seeking new recruits to join our incredible team. We have grown and accomplished a great deal over the past year, and are excited to keep the momentum going.

If you have a strong knowledge of Legacy Infinity — we need you!
If you have strong knowledge of IS — we need you!
If you have a strong knowledge of Amtelco peripherals — we need you!
If you have strong communication skills and a passion for teaching — we need you!
If you are looking for a way to become more involved in the fantastic organization that is NAEO — we need you!

I joined the Certification Committee last year, and cannot even begin to describe the many benefits of it. I had been a part of NAEO for several years and attended conference before, but it wasn't until I was welcomed into this incredible group of people that I truly felt at home.

You have an opportunity here to be involved in what will surely be one of NAEO's greatest member benefits from the ground floor. Stop hesitating — and join!

How? Email certification@naeo.org with your interest in joining, and our committee chair, Gerald R. Brosseau, II, will get you added to the committee list serve and see that you are properly welcomed. The rest of us committee members will also pitch in to get you up to speed on where we are at with our collective goals, and what you can do to help.

Our committee allots one to two hours maximum per month for a conference call, and communicates via email during the remainder. No travel, expense, or specialty equipment required.

We want you. We need you. We welcome you!

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Upcoming Webinars

MiSecure Messaging
April 16, 2014 | 2:00 pm ET

Presenters: Jason Miller and Colleen Curtin

Please join Jason and Colleen to learn the features and benefits of using MiSecure. Register your webinar seat today!

All webinars are free for members. Please register your information. There is a limit on the number of attendees, so register early.

david drenk

Infinity VoIP PBX Provides Quality and Performance

by David Drenk

The Infinity VoIP PBX is a full-featured Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) Private Branch Exchange (PBX) that is fully contained in the Infinity server. The Infinity VoIP PBX is a cost-effective, performance-enhancing alternative to an external PBX or other office phone system.

The Infinity VoIP PBX shares Infinity’s resources such as live operators and integrated voice mail. The digital audio resources of the Infinity VoIP PBX, for both operators and callers, are greatly improved over the audio quality of traditional analog phone systems.

The Infinity VoIP PBX moves calls faster than an external PBX and has features comparable to those of an external PBX. When operators transfer calls to Infinity VoIP PBX extension phones, the response is immediate. There is not even a minimal delay that could be caused by a flashhook and dialing. Operators also receive immediate screen notification of a busy extension.

The Amtelco XDS Technologies VoIP Board provides the hardware support and connectivity for native VoIP switching directly within the Infinity server. This eliminates the need for a separate VoIP gateway device in the system configuration.

The XDS VoIP Board is offered in multiple configurations, and can be populated with two, four or six quad-core DSPs providing up to a maximum of 192, 384 or 576 concurrent VoIP sessions. Each session is the equivalent of an operator audio port or a Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) switched VoIP telephone. The board supports all of the more popular Internet Protocol audio codecs.

SIP Trunking

The XDS VoIP Board provides the support to connect the Infinity server directly to VoIP-based telephone carriers. The connection is established using the SIP Trunking component of the VoIP protocol that enables Infinity to handle both inbound and outbound calls. With SIP Trunking, an Infinity-based call center can offer nationwide local DID (Direct Inward Dialing) service and outbound dialing, enabling the call center to have a local telephone presence anywhere in the country.

VoIP Operator Audio

The XDS VoIP Board provides the support to use VoIP-based operator audio. This can replace hardwired and dialup analog operator audio connections, eliminating the need for dedicated operator audio boards and cabling. When equipped with an XDS VoIP Board, Infinity can provide operator audio to agent workstations over the TCP/IP network using the SIP protocol. VoIP-based operator audio can be used for local agent stations and for remote operators who connect via the Internet.

Complete Classes of Service

The Infinity VoIP PBX gives you complete control of each extension phone. Class of Service options divide dialouts into 11 types, providing individual control of each dialout type. The new flexible VoIP dial plan allows for quick alterations to be made for areas where local dialing is 10-digit dialing.

Each of the 127 available dialout routes can have a programmed prefix. This prefix can automatically add digits to a dialout call, such as the access code for a long distance carrier, or the leading 1 required in 11-digit dialing.

Client Control of Behaviors

Feature codes available in the dial plan make it possible for clients to set and change the forwarding behavior from their extensions. Scheduling also can be programmed to automatically change between day and night forwarding behaviors.
Busy and No Answer calls can be forwarded from one extension to another. Phone stations can be forwarded to voice mail, a live operator, another extension, and even one of Infinity’s source Behavior actions.

DISA and RISA Capability

The Infinity VoIP PBX gives clients access to its features from outside the office with its DISA (Direct Inward System Access) feature. The DISA feature enables clients to dial in to use Infinity’s long distance lines, with the proper access codes.
The RISA (Restricted Inward System Access) feature ensures that only authorized personnel are able to dial out of the Infinity VoIP PBX. RISA can be used for tracking of long distance calls by assigning each user a RISA code, which when used is logged in Infinity’sMDR application.

Tested Phone Types

The Infinity VoIP PBX can support up to 1,000 registered telephone extensions. Each extension requires a separate concurrent user license.

Amtelco has tested and certified a number of readily available telephone instruments for use with the Infinity VoIP PBX.

  • Cisco SPA303-G1– This phone requires reprogramming of * key Feature Codes.
  • Cisco SPA504G – This phone requires reprogramming of * key Feature Codes.
  • Linksys SPA941
  • Linksys SPA942
  • Polycom IP 430 – This phone cannot use distinct rings for internal and external calls.
  • X-Lite softphone freeware – This phone requires reprograming to set the XLite SIP port as port 5060.

Other telephone types can be submitted to Amtelco’s Field Engineering Department for testing and certification for use with the Infinity VoIP PBX.

Contact Field Engineering at the telephone number listed in your service contract, or at (800) 553-7679 for contract customers and at (608) 838-6327 for non-contract customers. Whenever possible, please call between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Central Time.

Requirements:

  • Infinity 5.60.11 or greater.

Amtelco Part Number: 232S840

 

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Kelli Harrigan

 

Combined SMS Setup Pages

by David Drenk

In IS Supervisor System Setup, the CDMA Devices page, GSM Devices page, and SMS Aggregator Devices page have been combined into one SMS Devices page. The new page includes default set-up properties for supported SMS devices.

To access the SMS Devices page, open IS Supervisor and click the System icon. The System Setup pages are displayed.

Click the SMS Setup hyperlink on the System Setup Navigation Menu to display the SMS Devices and SMS Server hyperlinks. Click the SMS Devices hyperlink to display the SMS Devices page. The SMS Devices page contains a toolbar for adding and removing SMS devices and a list of SMS devices that have been created.

To add a new SMS device, click the green + icon. The Add New SMS Device window is displayed.

Select your device’s model number from the SMS Device list.

The properties for the type of device selected are displayed. The properties are set to default values that can be edited.

When you have finished setting up the device, click the Save button to return to the SMS Devices page. The new device is listed in the SMS Devices Menu.

Requirements:

  • IS Supervisor 5.60.4364.06 or later
  • IS Server 3.7.4364.19150 or later
  • SQL Server 2005 or later
  • IS Messaging
  • IS SMS Paging
  • SMS modem or aggregator
  • Infinity 5.60.11 or later (optional)
  • Infinity Telephone Agent 5.60.4364.09 or later (optional)
  • Soft Agent 3.7.4364.06 or later (optional)
  • Web Scripting 3.7.4364.1 or later (optional)
  • IS Web 3.7.4364.0 or later (optional)

Amtelco Part Number: 232MP099 and 232MP111

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