Newslinks lite July 2012
August 2012

Regular Columns

From the Editor
by Betty Bouchie

Be Inspired
by Gary Blair

Something to Smile About...

IS Tip: Word Find
by Kevin Procter

Stepping Up Your Game: Tips for Good Customer Service
by Gary Pudles, AnswerNet

Seven Lingering Effects of Bad Customer Service
by Nancy Friedman

Featured Articles

Ways of Using Contact Based Dispatch
by Michael Goumas

Webinar & Workshop Opportunities

NAEO 2013
by Jessica Schipull

Amtelco Annex

Option to Turn a Remote Operator’s State to "Off” When Audio Is Lost
by David Drenk

Log Changes Made to Client Accounts Using the Save Client and Save Client Script Dialog
by David Drenk

Infinity 101
by John VanWalsum

From the Editor

by Betty Bouchie

Turn up the Heat — on Customer Service

I don’t know about where you are, but where I am it is mighty HOT!!!! Even the "cool” of the evening is not cool! The hot summer months make me lazy. I want to spend time outside, at the beach, at the cottage or even in a nice air-conditioned shopping mall. There are many like me. Unfortunately, sometimes that could lead to less-than-stellar customer service, as we struggle to keep our mind on work and not the next time we can get to the beach. Summer is also a good time to remember that we in the message service industry are not the only ones who want to spend time outside. Business people go on vacation and trust us to handle their customers in the same amazing way, no matter what the weather. So, as the outside temperature heats up, maybe it’s time to turn up our own heat and provide all of those people left working with the very best customer service we can give!

I like the lead story in the linked article below. Would your calls result in the same reply?
http://www.profitsplus.org/monthly_article_customer_service_at_its_best.htm

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Be Inspired

Submitted by Gary Blair

Some people change their ways when they see the light; others when they feel the heat.
~ Caroline Schoeder

Know what your customers want most and what your company does best. Focus on where those two meet.
~ Kevin Stirtz

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Something to Smile About...

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IS Tip: Word Find

As Seen on the NAEO List Serve

by Kevin Procter, Extend Communications Inc.

Word List:

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Gary Pudles

Stepping Up Your Game: Tips for Good Customer Service

by Gary Pudles, AnswerNet

Good customer service is at the heart of any business. You can use any mix of marketing tactics, from coupons to celebrity spokespeople, but it's all for nothing unless you provide your customers with the attention and support they deserve. Think about it—without time and attention given to customer service, all the money spent up front on new business is wasted if that business doesn’t stick around. Even worse, the damage to your reputation could cause really big problems in the future. Think about any time that someone has said to you, "Oh, Smith Industries? Never again—here is what happened…” Don’t let "Smith Industries” be you.

If you suspect your service can use some work or you just want your staff to sharpen their skills, here are a few simple tips you can use to deliver memorable customer service:

  • Keep your promises: Companies often promise something to a client that they can’t fulfill. Whether guessing the date of delivery, or underestimating the overhead costs, over- or under-promising causes big problems for your customer service department. Tell your staff to be honest and set realistic expectations. Promote healthy communication with your existing clients so that if you run into an obstacle, you can feel comfortable sharing the issues and realigning their expectations.
  • Be there: Want to frustrate your customer and guarantee they will leave you? Send a complaint call to the wrong department or a voicemail box. Now they are not only upset about the original issue, but may now be irate because they aren’t able to speak to someone who can help. It is the ultimate way to add insult to injury. Consider using a telephone answering service to help manage and route your calls. That way, your customer always getting a warm, professional, live person when they call. Even if they need to wait for help, a sympathetic ear and a smile in someone’s voice can diffuse a tense situation.
  • Train your staff: Untrained staff is like a litter of new puppies—incredibly eager to please, yet causes chaos and mayhem in your home. So, just like you would stop puppies from chewing on your expensive shoes, stop new hires from destroying your business’s reputation. Give them the tools they need to succeed. Have a training plan so you and your team are prepared. Role play, ask questions, ensure that new staff members understand the rules, the goals and expectation. Make sure that they also understand pitfalls. Good direction and training means they will handle customer service issues the way you would want them to.

Customer service is a priority for a successful, sustainable, profitable business. Instilling pride in customer satisfaction in your employees will guarantee happier customers, who stay longer and spend more.

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Seven Lingering Effects of Bad Customer Service

by Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor

While researching our Customer Service Nightmares book we read letters and emails, and listened to voice mails from hundreds of customers. We found seven common denominators that we wanted to share.

1. Grateful for the Chance to Vent

Over and over again, those who responded thanked us for the opportunity to tell us how they were mistreated. They wanted to tell their stories to someone who would listen. They were pleased for the opportunity to get even. They seemed to regard this exercise as a form of non-violent revenge!

In summary, we were "The Telephone Doctor Customer Service Court of Appeals." Remember the old 3 to 11 ratio — a customer will tell 11 people, even strangers, about a bad experience but will only tell 3 people about a good one.

2. The Viral Syndrome

Years ago, customers told jokes about a company who gave poor customer service. Customers were venting their frustrations about their last bad customer service experience and making jokes out of the experience.

Today they just need to go to the Internet and find a "complaint" site. Woe to businesses that offend their customers with poor service. These organizations become the butt of today's new era of jokes! And sadly, it's carved in stone and remains there forever.

3. The Memory of an Elephant; Customers Don't Forget

When customers told me about their experiences, we heard a lot of "This happened three years ago." Or "Let me tell you what happened five years ago." One woman recounted dealing with a local bank from 20 years ago — a bank that was absorbed by a bigger bank and no longer exists! But she's still angry from that long ago.

If businesses are counting on customers to forget rudeness or ineptitude, don't "bank" on it!

4. "You're Not Going to Believe This"

We are in shock at how we're treated, or what was said to us, or emailed to us. "You're not going to believe this!" or "I can't believe how they treated me!" or "Can you believe what he said to me?" are part of the conversation when talking about bad customer service.

Those abused by poor customer service can never seem to accept the fact that it happened. They remain shocked and continue to agonize!

5. No Return, No Deposit

In only a very few cases did a complaining customer indicate that he went back to shop at an offending store. One customer (and his father before him) had been buying a certain brand of battery for years that had proven a true value. When the clerk wouldn't honor his $5 coupon on a $50 purchase for the $49.99 battery, the customer said he wouldn't buy at that store again, to which the clerk said "OK."

On the way out of the store, the customer realized he wanted the battery, refused to be rebuffed by the rude, inept salesperson, and went to see the manager who worked out a satisfactory compromise.

The other respondents, though, emphatically told us they'd never go back after their aggravation. No return means no deposit (of future sales).

6. FREE Advertising: The Kind You Don't Want

Most of those respondents who recounted their customer service nightmares assured us they'd told their family, friends, co-workers, and anyone else who'd listen about the bad service incident. They seemed enthusiastic in denouncing the offending organization and urged everyone not to patronize them! I've been on an elevator where a "stranger" gets on and starts to rip on the doctor's office he just came from. It happens.

7. Hell Hath No Fury Like a Customer Scorned

Most effects of bad customer service are summed up with this phrase!

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Ways of Using Contact Based Dispatch

By Michael Goumas, ProComm

To me, Contact Based Dispatch is more of a mindset than just the process. I plan out each account from the directory and on-call to finishing with the scripting. I plan from the client’s requirements and then build the directory roles and then plan the escalation table for each on-call schedule.

I always plan that each role only has one person assigned at any one given time. To have more will "confuse” the script and ask the operator or dispatcher which one they want. My whole idea for the contact based dispatching was to give them one person to contact at a time while leaving the dispatching open to exceptions if there happen to be any.

All calls have to go through the dispatch screen to be completed (unless you don’t have to dispatch). Whenever I get to the dispatch screen, I read the contact that was selected in the message and I "redraw” the message summary.

I have also resolved to having almost all of my dispatching screens look almost identical.

I have the following on almost all of my accounts

  1. Contact button
  2. Deliver button
  3. Other actions button
  4. Re-queue (basically, sending back to dispatch in a specific amount of time) button
  5. Dynamic message window
  6. Fax "flag”
  7. Sometimes the fax flag is replaced by an escalation timer

Contact button:
Most of the time the contact button pulls the person’s contact tree, based on their current status. There are times when the person on-call is using an on-call pager that is shared. An example is that Michael Goumas’s status is setup in the directory and it is "On on-call pager”. Now the status tree itself will only have my cell and home number and no on-call pager on the contact. What I do is program it to ask when dispatching in this instance, to check the status. If it is on On-call pager it then prompts the operator/dispatcher "Do you want to use the on-call pager?” If yes, it digital or alpha pages the on-call pager. If No, it then pulls Michael Goumas’s contact to dial list. This way I can change the on-call pager account-wide, There are other times where (referring to #7 above) the escalation time is at 0, it will escalate to the next contact automatically. This also "records” the last method attempted to be dialed in a field.

Deliver button:
This is about as easy as it gets. All this does is navigates to a DeliverMessage screen. However I have some intelligence behind this button even before getting to the screen. Since I was importing accounts from Infinity, names were not broken out as First and Last Name but just Name. And if you were delivering in Infinity and you were contacting Michael Goumas and you called me on my cell, the delivery method was Michael/cell. This button just pulls the first name from the Name field (easy as finding a space) and then fills in the last method attempted IF this was a dial out. So the script would ask "Are you delivering to Michael/cell?” If "Yes”, it navigates to the DeliverMessage screen with the field filled in with "Michael/cell”. If "No”, it navigates with the field left blank.

Re-queue button:
This is just the "older” terminology for sending the message back to dispatch. Depending on the account, and other parameters in the script, it will send back to the dispatcher in a set amount of time or a specific date/time. One account we have is that the script itself sends to the dispatcher upon taking a message. On Sunday’s the dispatcher determines if it is an absolute emergency. If they hit this button on Sunday between 9:30am and 12:30pm it asks the dispatcher if they want to hold the message for 12:30pm. If "Yes”, it sets the dispatch to return at 12:30pm. If "No”, it re-queues it to the dispatcher in 10 minutes.

Message window:
Now I said that the message window is dynamic. The message summary is actually built into the Script properties in each and every script. The reason for this is that I "redraw” the summary on every action in a script.

Some may ask, why I do it here instead of in a Message Summary element? The issue I have with the Message Summary element is that if you are calling out to the message summary from multiple places in the script, you would have to remember to change the message summary everywhere with each change. Also, in this way I can have multiple summaries inside each script.

OR

When I am drawing the message summary window I am just saying SavedSummary = MsgSummary. Then Message Summary (SavedSummary).

Now if you notice that I have the following:

  • SavedAni
  • SavedCallNumber
  • _disposition
  • History (I will get to History a little later)

SavedAni saves the ANI from the original call. I always save that because as you use multiple dispatches that can and will get wiped out.

Saved CallNumber saves the UCN from the original call. I save this as with multiple dispatches the UCN does change but I always want to know the original call when the operator took the message.

_disposition is ALL dials that were done through Contact Dispatch AND those elements putting text in the Add to disposition

The example above has me dialing the person on-call twice and notice that it does update the message window each time with Method – Agent Initials and then some text (Left message for SelectedContact)

Other Actions:

This is an example of just one set of accounts.

Patch back to caller’s phone: All this does it pulls the phone number from the script and dials the number back. This has saved a lot of time and also mistakes from just typing the phone number in.

Annotate message: I will talk about this later

Fax message: This updates the _summary and faxes it

Escalate: I have an escalation tree so the script knows the next role to contact

Select other contact: There may be times when you need to select someone other than what the script suggests. A good example of that is when you call the person on-call and he says that someone else is on-call. You can then choose "Select other contact” and choose a different person:

The last 4 options are specific to a database that I have behind 200 accounts. I have "specials” that are specific to dispatchers and also one that is specific to operators.

Fax flag:
The basic Fax flag is Yes or No. If "Yes”, in red, it shows, "Faxed”. Otherwise it doesn’t show anything.

History and Annotations:
I have an "IS Annotation System” that is entirely script based. The reason for this is, if you are using Contact Dispatch and the Dispatcher, when you resume dispatch you do not see the Infinity annotations. In the example above you see Autoselect: Winn Barrett and then New contact: Robert Rice. Those are annotations. These are read only to the operators and dispatchers. You cannot go back and edit them. If the operator or dispatchers wants to annotate the message they choose annotate from the script and it navigates to a screen for them to type whatever they want. Some scripts have a Quick Annotation that says "[SelectedContact] will call back for the message”. If they use the quick add, it annotates the message and resets the dispatch for 15 minutes giving the person we contacted 15 minutes to call back and if not we resume calling the person. Maybe the person says they will call back in 30 minutes. Well the operator or dispatcher can annotate that and then resend the message back to dispatch. Normally it will come back in 10 minutes. The dispatcher will review it and then probably resend the message back to dispatch.

To make this all dynamic, every action navigates to Screen: Dispatch. This redraws all of the elements (including the message window) and gives the operator/dispatcher all of the information up to date. The mindset change is that, if at all possible the operators and dispatchers must use the script. This way there is always communication. The dispatcher can look at the script and see if someone dialed or not, without having to resort to looking at the actual Infinity/IS history.

As I had said, I plan the account. I try to make the on-call and directory drive the script. If the contact’s status is "Patch to cell” then it tells the operator "May I place you on hold and I will get [SelectedContact] on the phone?” If "On text” and the operator chooses to "Reach on-call” the script will autotext.

I am always looking to shave seconds off of a message ticket or dispatching. The way I see it is, if I can save 5 seconds per dispatch and you have 1000 calls to dispatch, that will save a lot of time.

Other options I have using contact dispatch:

  • Create-A-Cue: I use this to create a one-time cue in the system. Think about wake-up calls or reminders or other types of calls that you would like to make visible? Setting a cue or repeat is good in Infinity but your dispatchers and operators do not have visibility to them until they pop-up. This way there is text and a dispatch time. I use this myself to create a reminder to update a directory (maybe there is an account that has doctors dropping their pagers on a specific date and going on secure messaging or texting).
  • Wake-up calls: Canned version of Create-A-Cue only for people who want to be awakened.

Please feel free to contact me for more information!

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Upcoming Webinars

Business Continuity
August 8, 2012 | 12:00 pm EDT

Moderator: Joe Adam

Presented by: Kurt Vandersheer and Joe Adam

This series of webinars will cover the NAEO Disaster Recovery Plan that was written exclusively for our NAEO members. This program was developed over a two-year span in conjunction with Barney Pelant and Associates (a leader in Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Planning).

We will discuss why your business (regardless of its size) will benefit from this program.

We will also discuss the program materials as well as what outside resources will be made available to the membership to assist with completing this program. In the first session we will briefly discuss the various sections of the plan and we will also start working through Chapter 1 of the program. For the next sessions we will cover a chapter each webinar. But don't worry; if you miss one of the webinars, you can still join the series late — just watch the recorded sessions to get caught up.

The goal of this webinar series to work through the plan as a group so that everyone will benefit from each other’s experiences and knowledge.

Business Continuity
September 12, 2012| 12:00 pm EDT

Moderator: Joe Adam

Presented by: Kurt Vandersheer and Joe Adam

This series of webinars will cover the NAEO Disaster Recovery Plan that was written exclusively for our NAEO members. This program was developed over a two-year span in conjunction with Barney Pelant and Associates (a leader in Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Planning).

We will discuss why your business (regardless of its size) will benefit from this program.

We will also discuss the program materials as well as what outside resources will be made available to the membership to assist with completing this program. In the first session we will briefly discuss the various sections of the plan and we will also start working through Chapter 1 of the program. For the next sessions we will cover a chapter each webinar. But don't worry; if you miss one of the webinars, you can still join the series late — just watch the recorded sessions to get caught up.

The goal of this webinar series to work through the plan as a group so that everyone will benefit from each other’s experiences and knowledge.

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NAEO 2013

by Jessica Schipull, Assistant Manager, MAS Communications

The excitement is mounting as preparations are being made for NAEO 2013 in wonderful Nashville, TN! The conference will be held March 16-19 at The Gaylord Opryland.

The landmark Gaylord Opryland Hotel is on the banks of the Cumberland River, and boasts 9 acres of gardens, cascading waterfalls, and an indoor River (complete with its very own Delta flatboat)! For more information, visit www.gaylordopryland.com.

With this year's theme "Grand Ole Opportunity, Where Superstars are Born & Innovation Sings," you will surely go back to the office with fantastic new ideas to incorporate! The IS and Supervisor workshops will be held all day on Saturday and continue Sunday morning. The conference will begin Sunday afternoon.

Along with the great ideas and networking opportunities, you will see old friends and meet new friends along the way! More information will be coming soon. Be sure to mark your calendar and plan to join us for this Grand Ole Opportunity!

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david drenk

Option to Turn a Remote Operator’s State
to "Off” When Audio is Lost

by David Drenk

Infinity version 5.60 adds an option to turn an operator off if audio is lost. This feature is intended for use with remote operator stations to keep new calls from being sent to operators who have lost their audio connections. The option is located in Infinity Supervisor System Setup under System Options, Op/Station, General. The check box is labeled "Turn off remote station when audio is lost.”

If this check box is selected, Infinity will change an operator’s call state from "On” to "Off” if the operator loses audio. This same option does not allow an operator to change to the "On” call state until operator audio is established. Calls are routed to operators who are in the "On” state until the operator who is without audio reestablishes an audio connection and switches back to the "On” state.

Requirements:

  • Infinity 5.60.00 or later
  • Infinity Supervisor 5.60.0000 or later

 

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Log Changes Made to Client Accounts Using
the Save Client and Save Client Script Dialog

by David Drenk

Whenever changes to a client account are saved, IS Supervisor makes a log entry that can be accessed through the IS Client Setup and Maintenance report. The Save Client and Save Client Script dialog boxes can be used to enter additional comments into the log and to adjust the duration of client maintenance time.
If the "Disable Save Client Dialog” check box is not selected in the IS Supervisor preferences, a Save Client dialog box appears whenever you save changes to a client account. A similar Save Client Script dialog box appears whenever you save changes to an IS message script.

  • The Save Client dialog box shows the changes that have been made to the client account.
  • The Save Client Script dialog box shows the changes that have been made to the script.

Comment

If you want to add comments to the client record or script record, type the information that you want to add in the Comments field.

The comments are stored in the client record or the script record and can be accessed through the IS Client Setup and Maintenance report.

Duration

The Duration is the number of minutes spent editing the client account or script, calculated as the difference between the time of the first change and the current time.

If you want to adjust this time, select the number and type a new value.

If you decide you want to use the calculated duration, click the RESET button to restore the Duration to the calculated value.

Do Not Show This Screen Again

Select this check box if you no longer want to display the Save Client and Save Client Script dialog boxes.

Note: If you disable the Save Client and Save Client Script dialog boxes, you can re-enable them in the Supervisor Configuration Utility on the Preferences page by clearing the "Disable Save Client Dialog” check box.

Click the YES button to save your changes.

Reporting

The changes that are logged in the client records and the script records can be accessed through the IS Client Setup and Maintenance report. The report shows the client account number and name, the date and time of the change, the duration, the agent name, and the changes and comments.

IS Setup

The Save Client and Save Client Script dialog boxes can be enabled or disabled in the IS Supervisor Configuration Utility. To open the Supervisor Configuration Utility, press CTRL + F12 at the IS Supervisor login screen, or select the Supervisor Settings command from the Tools menu in the IS Supervisor application.

Select the Preferences hyperlink to display the Preferences page.

  • Select the "Disable Save Client Dialog” check box to disable the Save Client and Save Client Script dialog boxes.
  • Clear the "Disable Save Client Dialog” check box to enable the Save Client and Save Client Script dialog boxes.

The Save Client and Save Client Script dialog boxes also can be disabled by selecting the "Do not show this screen again” check box when either of the dialog boxes is displayed.

Requirements:

  • IS Supervisor 5.60.3748.1 or later
  • IS Messaging (optional)
  • SQL Server 2000 or later

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Michael Quimby

Infinity 101

by John VanWalsum

Questions

1. A call can reassign to the same operator.

True or False?

SEE ANSWER

2. If one account has a call distribution table assigned, ALL accounts should have a call distribution table assigned.

True or False?

SEE ANSWER

3. Look at the 2 call distribution tables.

Medical tableNon-Medical table
Op Group 1 = 14, 14, 14, 14 Op Group 1 = 13, 13, 13, 13
Op Group 2 = 13, 13, 13, 13 Op Group 2 = 14, 14, 14, 14

There is a group 1 operator and a group 2 operator working. There are no calls in the system. Within a 1-minute period, 5 medical calls present. If each operator has a call limit of 2, which medical call in queue goes to a group 2 operator?

A) 1
B) 2
C) 3
D) 4

If the only group 1 operator leaves, which scenario applies?

A) Infinity assigns all calls to the group 2 operator in the order received.
B) Infinity assigns the group 2 operator medical calls ahead of non-medical calls.
C) Infinity assigns the group 2 operator non-medical calls ahead of medical calls.
D) There is insufficient data.

SEE ANSWER

4. Which IS feature will create a new call to Infinity call distribution table 1 when a Send To Dispatcher job is due?

A) Dynamic Linking
B) Group Dispatching
C) Infinity Gateway
D) IS Messenger

SEE ANSWER


Answers

1. True

If operator Sally is the only operator open to that call through call distribution, Infinity reassigns the call to Sally. The Network Print Capture can document all call reassigns.

2. True

This includes reminder-only accounts, too.

3. C, C

Both call slots for the group 1 operator must have a call before Infinity presents the third call to the group 2 operator.

Since non-medical calls have a higher priority number of 14 (versus 13 in the medical table), non-medical calls in queue always have priority.

4. C

Letter A is a scripting module for, among other items, displaying IS Info Pages, running separate applications, and viewing IS OnCall schedules. Letter B is an IS-specific feature used to dispatch a message to multiple people using IS Contact Methods. Letter D is a searchable operator chat component that can handle larger messages than Infinity’s Hi-Res chat.

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