December 2010

Regular Columns

From the Editor
by Betty Bouchie

Be Inspired
by Gary Blair

Something to Smile About...

IS Tip: Turn on Please!
by Jennifer Terragni

The Telephone Doctor
by Nancy Friedman

Featured Articles

Ahhhh...Something Smells Delicious
by Marci Imes

32 Hour Based Scheduling
by Dawn Newborn

From the Editor

by Betty Bouchie

Sharing and Caring
It is the time of year when many people start thinking about others. Maybe what they can give to others, or possibly what they will receive from others. Our workplace betterment committee is thinking about what we, as a group, can give to others. This year, we are supporting a charity called "Blanket of Hope.” We are making and/or donating blankets for two shelters, one for women and children and one for men. At a time when many are sending warm wishes, we want to send a different kind of warmth.

Check out this interesting article on the effects of caring and sharing with others.

May you have a warm and caring December!

"Three keys to more abundant living: caring about others, daring for others, sharing with others".
~ William A. Ward

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Be Inspired

Submitted by Gary Blair

"Life has taught me that respect, caring and love must be shared, for it's only though sharing that friendships are born".
~ Donna A. Favors

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Something to Smile About...

New Dictionary Definitions

  • ADULT: A person who has stopped growing at both ends and is now growing in the middle.
  • BEAUTY PARLOR: A place where women curl up and dye.
  • COMMITTEE: A body that keeps minutes and wastes hours.
  • DUST: Mud with the juice squeezed out.
  • HANDKERCHIEF: Cold Storage.
  • INFLATION: Cutting money in half without damaging the paper.
  • MOSQUITO: An insect that makes you like flies better.
  • RAISIN: Grape with a sunburn.
  • SECRET: Something you tell to one person at a time.
  • TOOTHACHE: The pain that drives you to extraction.
  • TOMORROW: One of the greatest labor saving devices of today.
  • YAWN: An honest opinion openly expressed.
  • WRINKLES: Something other people have....similar to my character lines.

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IS Tip: Turn on Please!

by Jennifer Terragni, American Medical Alert Corp

Do you have one of those operators who never turns on or off when you need them to? Good news! There is a fun solution to this! Below is a simple script that can be designed to toggle on/off through the script. By activating this script and parking it to an operator, the operator will be forced to end the script and turn on or off based on specifications.

All you need is one screen (make sure to disable the cancel button!) and a few other fields. In this scenario we wanted to track which supervisor has activated and sent this account to an operator, so we added a set field for a delivery status. (All of these fields can be added by the Palette or through Add/Remove actions.)

Initially we did not want the operators to know that they will be turned on/off the system. Taking this into consideration, we set up the display like so:

We didn’t want the manager or the programmer to be turned on/off by testing so we added an extra expression to make sure they wouldn’t be:

Sometimes you have to get a little creative to express what you need. Imagine what other scenarios IS programming can help with!

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Ahhh…Something Smells Delicious!

by Marci Imes, Advantage Answering Plus, Inc.

In looking over the conference agenda and the speaker line-up, I must say that your Conference Committee is preparing for a delicious and nutritious multi-course experience in New Orleans, just for you!

Whether you are looking to enhance the operations side of your business, tune-up the technical side, or develop your sales and marketing efforts there are special courses to satisfy you, and as added spice, you can season your plate with any combination of the fourteen roundtables offered. Talk about a gourmet event!

This event will held at the world-famous Roosevelt Hotel (insert hyperlink here) and will begin on Sunday evening, March 13th at 6 p.m. and conclude on Wednesday, March 16 at 4 p.m. As an optional add-on, a full-day Supervisor Training, a full-day IS Intermediate Training, and half-day 1Call Hospital Workshop will be presented on Sunday.

As the hotel has a retro-formality to it, you may want to pack a fancy outfit for the Opening Reception on Sunday night. Of course, it is not required, but it would give you an excuse to add some flash and dash to an already stellar event.

As 2010 winds to a close, now is the time to set your table for 2011. Make plans to invite your key staff members to this most special event, and know that they will come back having tasted the possibilities and will be eager to whip up a new batch of success within your office using the recipes and tips provided.

The official agenda and registrations forms are due to be available just after the first of the year. Registration fees and further information can be found on our website,, as well. Make plans today and look forward to this "not-to-be missed” opportunity for your business.

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32 Hour Based Scheduling

by Dawn Newborn, Vice President, Omni Enterprises, Inc.

I have been asked to share this with NAEO as well as submit an article, so I thought I would go ahead and share my concept with everyone. It may help someone in these tough times.

First of all, I use 32-hour base schedules for all fulltime people for two reasons. First, I can be three or four people short and never "feel" it. Second, it changes the mindset for your employees. It seems no one ever will volunteer to work more than 40 hours a week but EVERYONE is willing to work more than 32. Allowing them to choose changes their mindset and makes them more flexible, subconsciously.

To make it easier, I group employees in groups of four. Four works best, is the weekend rotation. It is any combination of: off weekend, work weekend, off Saturday and off Sunday. Also, when I make one week schedule, I just use the same schedule and rotate through the next three weeks. The schedule does not change just the employee in that weekly spot.

These groups can be full time or part time, but I usually like to keep full time and part time in groups of four. That makes it easier.

I also make sure this change is done through volunteering only. I explain the benefits to the employees. They will have more stability in weekends off, we are less likely to need them to work when off, and we can post schedules months in advance. Everyone will volunteer. If not that is fine. Just hire someone that will and let them know the direction the company is going. Everyone on the team must be willing to contribute.

Here is a sample weekly schedule. You can see the days I take away to make a 32-hour schedule and how easily you would rotate through these schedules.

Grey days are extra days to assign hours. X days are too many days in a row and grey days with numbers show how many days in a row. I will only give half days on those days.

Sys ID #




















I hope this gives you a fresh prospective on scheduling.

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It's All About Tone of Voice and the Words We Use

by Nancy Friedman

Your mom was right. It's not always what you say, but how you say it.

Next to "Nancy, what's the best way to answer a phone?" the second-most often asked question is "Nancy, how important is the tone of voice?"

Answer: VERY

Several times I've been told things that weren't that bad; however, the tone of voice and the words were all wrong. I walked away not wanting to do business with that company anymore.

True Story: After purchasing an item in a store recently, at the check out counter the clerk told me the amount, and I wrote the check. He took it and looked up my account on his database. Without looking up at me he said, "If you're gonna write a check, I have to see a picture ID."

I perceived his "tone" to be very threatening in my perception (and perception is reality). I'd been a customer with them a long time and this was the first time I'd been asked for ID. I immediately made a decision not to return there any more. Why? Because of his tone of voice and the words he used.

There were several ways he could have told me he needed an ID. Especially since he saw from the database (which he found prior to my handing him the check) I had been at that store many times before.

He could have said, with a smile, which changes the tone, "Mrs. Friedman, I see you're on the database and shop here often. Most folks know you on sight. I've only been here three days and haven't met everyone yet. If I can get your driver's license this time, next time I'll recognize you."

Gosh, you can feel the difference just by reading the words. More importantly, you could hear the difference in his tone.

On the other hand, I went into the jewelry store the other day to pick up an item. When I said to the owner, who does know me, that I was here to pick up my watch, I could sense he seemed to blank out on my name. With a big smile he said, "Good, glad to get it. By the way, which name will that be under?" Great save and a class act.

Practice on finding the most positive tone and words when you talk with customers. And yes, smiling will help you with the tone!

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