NAEO Newslinks-August09
August 2009

Betty Bouchie

From the Editor:
Common Sense
by Betty Bouchie

We all have it, right? No! What I consider "common” depends on who I am, where I was born or raised, what language I speak, customs I follow, my gender and so many other factors. What is "common sense” to me, is what I commonly believe/understand is the same as people who are the same as me. We have things in common.

In the current working world, there are a number of overlapping generations. Think about the Baby Boomers, and then think about Generation Y. What these two groups would consider "common sense” for their generation might be quite different. In a work environment, it is up to the leadership to define what is acceptable or "common” for the work place, and for the work. But first, we must understand that "common” isn’t "common”.

A few thoughts on common sense from that wonderful resource, Wikipedia.

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Be Inspired

"When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world."

~ George Washington Carver

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Something to Smile About...

The weather in Nova Scotia this summer has been quite soggy. I have to say, my day brightened when I read this post. Enjoy....

A curious fellow died one day and found himself waiting in the long line of judgment.

As he stood there he noticed that some souls were allowed to march right through the pearly gates into Heaven. Others , were led over to Satan who threw them into the burning pit. But every so often, instead of hurling a poor soul into the fire, Satan would toss a soul off to one side into a small pile.

After watching Satan do this several times, the fellow's curiosity got the best of him. He strolled over and asked Satan what he was doing.

"Excuse me, Prince of Darkness," he said: "I'm waiting in line for judgment, but I couldn't help wondering, why are you tossing those people aside instead of flinging them into the Fires of Hell with the others?"

"Oh those," Satan groaned: "They're all from Nova Scotia. It's only halfway through summer and they're still too cold and too wet to burn."

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New Dates for NAEO’s 2010 Conference – March 21-25, 2010!
byKelli Harrigan

NAEO’s Annual Conference was originally planned to take place earlier in March, but due to a scheduling change at the Marriott, NAEO has agreed to move our conference back a bit. We were able to get a few more concessions as part of our deal, including adding on a bit of meeting space so that we can hold some additional workshops, so we hope it is a win-win for everyone. The new dates will beMarch 21-March 25, 2010 in sunny (we hope) Newport Beach, California – mark your calendars now!

Your NAEO Conference and Education committees have been hard at work planning for our conference in fabulous Newport Beach, CA. One of the exciting developments this year is that we will not only have an IS Training Workshop at the conference (March 24-25), but we will also be hosting a Supervisor Seminar at the beginning of the conference as well (March 21-22). All of this in addition to the excellent agenda that the education committee is hard at work on.

You can check out the hotel highlights here and if you are interested in seeing what else there is to do while in Newport Beach, visit for ideas.

Watch for more details at and in your mail and email!

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NAEO…Planning for the Future
byCori A. Bartlett

Your NAEO Board of Directors is here to work for you! Thank you for your participation in our recent NAEO member survey! Your input makes it possible for us to formulate a path, not only for this year, but for the future direction of NAEO.

The NAEO Board of Directors has met, analyzed survey results, brainstormed, developed and fine-tuned a Strategic Plan to guide the Board of Directors for the next three years. The greatest challenges facing NAEO and our industry in general were considered in developing this plan. Ways to improve NAEO, including delivering increased value to our members, were also considered in developing this plan.

It began with re-examining the Mission and Vision of NAEO and the desire to be an outstanding users group supporting organizations of all sizes and settings that fosters camaraderie and develops a collegial community that serves as a resource to assist in maximizing the use of our Amtelco products and services, as well as, establishing group buying discounts and keeping abreast of rapidly changing technology.

The following have been identified as our goals:

Goal: Improve communication between members and NAEO
Goal: Use better planning between Board and committees
Goal: Strengthen the relationship between NAEO and Amtelco
Goal: Keep members abreast of rapidly changing technological environment
Goal: Enhance member value

In keeping these goals in mind, some of the projects that are currently in the works include:

  • Creating a wiki to serve as a repository of information
  • NAEO Foundation 501c3 being created to support the Operator Relief Fund as well as any future educational or charitable work
  • Educational experiences are being improved by working with Amtelco to provide training that includes both Amtelco experts and our NAEO "real world” experts
  • A Future Directions Committee has been established to proactively identify future challenges and technology and to work with Amtelco to develop solutions to such
  • The Disaster Recovery Program that was started last year is being tweaked to include a very specific plan/template for our Call Centers
  • Group buying discounts are being researched for such items as ACH transactions
  • A new Membership plan is being developed to help attract and assist new members and existing members in receiving the most out of their NAEO membership
  • Cost savings plans are being investigated and implemented regarding NAEO hard goods (server), as well as, travel and education

It has been truly a pleasure working with the NAEO Board, together with our members this year, in developing these strategies. We hope to deliver all that our members expect and more, now and in the future.

Cori A. Bartlett
NAEO President 2009-2010
Alliance Communications

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ANI screening
byMichael Goumas, ProComm

Are you tired of getting those telemarketers hitting every account? Do you have the Captain and his horn calling your call center in the wee hours of the night?

We decided to weed out those calls from the operator screens. They are annoying calls and should not take up valuable call slots or valuable operator time. This feature is available in 5.5+

First we set up an account that we could switch those calls that we wanted to screen out. I just picked 999901. You could choose whatever account you want.

The only thing you have to set is the Source Setup. You are going to set the Day and Night behaviors. I only have it set for Night behavior but you can decide to set the Day behavior as well. Just set the Standard behavior to Hangup.

Once this is set you can now go set up the ANI Screening table.

Infinity Supervisor > System Settings > System Forms and Lists > ANI Screening

You can now place the phone number into the table and put the account that you set up to take those calls you do not want to see. In my case it is 999901.

Be very careful about this table. If you don’t pay attention to the number you can accidentally shut off one of your accounts if for some reason they transmit their ANI to you instead of the caller’s ANI. I know because I did this once. Now I double check each number I put into the table.

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Keeping Communication Alive
by Marie McGuire, AnswerTel

Have you ever had "I didn't know that!", "when did Dr Jones quit using a pager?", or "I didn't see that memo, it must have been when I was off”? One way to prevent these excuses is to set up each employee an account and have all New Info's and Employee Memos go to those accounts. If a message needs to be sent to all employees, write it in one account and it will distribute to all employees. If a client has new information, either write it on that account and copy it to the New Info account, or write it in the New Info account and copy it back to the client's account if you want a history to be kept with each account.

If you are using IS, it's very easy to create a list branch option for New Info which goes to a screen and by using Advanced Expressions, the system can pull in the date and time, which operator took the info, the account name and number and the operator can fill in what new information is and who gave it. When the ticket is closed, a summary can be copied to the New Info account which is distributed to all staff. Staff can then use the New Info account to update the client info cards, directories, or what ever is needed.

When setting up the employee accounts, it's much easier to have a range of account numbers and use those. We use 1002 as our New Info account and have a brief explanation in the Info Page.

Go to Message Distribution and set the list.

1. Name the List
2. Add the account numbers to be included on the list.
3. Choose which Distribution List to receive the messages and/or specials.

It is then the responsibility of the employee to read the messages at the beginning of each shift and periodically throughout the shift. No more "no one told me."

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Take the Telephone Doctor I.Q. Quiz
by Nancy Friedman, the Telephone Doctor

It's just plain old common sense, Nancy, isn't it?

YUP! That's exactly what it is, but as you and I know, common sense isn't all that common. All too often we at Telephone Doctor hear horror stories of how folks have been treated.

Let's see how well you all do with this simple little "common sense" IQ test. Enjoy and pass it around throughout your organization. (And even outside your company!) So have fun, enjoy the quiz and good luck!

Nancy Friedman
Telephone Doctor

1. "How can I help you?" is not necessary in the initial greeting after your name because:

No one cares if you can help.
It will erase your name.
It's too many words.

2. When I'm not able to help a customer, I should:

A. Tell them honestly and thank them for their business and hang up.
B. Give whatever information I can, right or wrong. Wrong information is better than no information.
C. Advise the person help is on the way and get someone who can help.

3. When I'm having a bad day, I should:

A. Not bother coming into work.
B. Leave my troubles at the doorstep like the song says.
C. Tell all my co-workers my troubles to get it off my back.

4. Chewing gum at work is:

A. OK.
B. A bad breath refresher.
C. Downright rude and obnoxious. FUGETABOUTIT!

5. A mirror at my desk will:

A. Keep my ego in check.
B. Remind me to smile BEFORE I pick up the phone.
C. Give me bad luck if it breaks.

6. Customer service skills are important because:

A. Everyone needs a refresher.
B. Everyone is bad at it.
C. It's just common sense, isn't it?

7. Internal customer service means:

A. The IRS is coming.
B. The customer is giving me a stomach ache.
C. Treating my co-workers as customers.

8. When leaving a voice mail message I should:

A. Leave my phone number twice and slowly.
B. Leave a good clean joke to keep them smiling.
C. Not leave a message. Just call back till I reach them.

9. Handling irate customers can be:

A. Easy. I probably wasn't busy anyway.
B. The opportunity to give the company a second chance to make it right.
C. Fun. I finally get to yell back.

10. Asking questions of the customer will:

A. Aggravate them.
B. Show I'm interested in helping and that I'm being proactive.
C. Be considered being too nosy.

I.Q. Quiz Answers

1. Correct answer is B. Anything after your name...erases your name. And on initial greetings, your name is very important. You have answered the phone to help them. It's a given. Those words are best used after the greeting and within the conversation.
2. Correct answer is C. Let your customer know help is on the way. That's the most important part.
3. Correct answer is B. Don't bring your problems to the office.
4. Correct answer is C. No gum at work - ever. End of subject. If you have bad breath - use mouthwash.
5. Correct answer is B. The old Telephone Doctor adage "smile BEFORE you pick up the phone" is the way to make every phone call or customer contact a great one. Remember, it's hard to be rude when you're smiling.
6. Correct answer is A. Everyone can use a brush up course. There's a great saying: "When you're through learning - you're through." Never stop taking those little basic skill lessons you're offered. Even if you do know it all, look how good you'll feel about that!
7. Correct answer is C. We need to treat our co-workers as well as we're going to treat our external customers. Remember: We Are Customers To Each Other. We sure don't need any internal conflicts between co-workers and departments.
8. Correct answer is A. Voice mail was meant to take an effective message. Give details and speak conversationally so the person receiving the message will enjoy it. Leave your phone number twice and slowly. Make voice mail work for you, not against you.
9. Correct answer is B. Getting a second chance is golden. And irate callers, while certainly not pleasant, can be the challenge of the day. And they can be satisfied.
10. Correct answer is B. Good questioning skills are very important to excellent customer service. They help you be proactive.

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