Newslinks November 2012
December 2012

Regular Columns

From the Editor
by Betty Bouchie

Be Inspired
by Gary Blair

Something to Smile About...

An IS Christmas Wish
by Kevin Procter

Member Testimonial

Widgets

Are You Guilty?
by Nancy Friedman

Featured Articles

Concord Businessman Gerald R. Brosseau, II Garners Annual Award

Upcoming Webinars

Member Spotlight – Jana Olson, Amtelco

Membership Reminders

 

Amtelco Annex

IS OnCall Reminders Automatically Sends Email Reminders to OnCall Staff and Schedulers
by David Drenk

Billing Link Graphs, Custom Queries, and UltraComm PDF
by David Drenk

From the Editor

by Betty Bouchie

Friends, Family and Getting Together

The fall months include a few celebrations that encourage us to get closer to the ones we care for in our lives. In all our busy business adventures, it is important to make time for friends and family. Creating and keeping a balance between work and the non-business relationships around us is not always easy. It takes a conscious effort to make sure time is created and dedicated just to that. To quote a very old adage: All work and no play… you know the rest!

For some basic, but true, thoughts on keeping the balance, please read the article below, and enjoy your celebrations!

http://www.cioinsight.com/c/a/Workplace/10-Principles-WorkLife-Balance-301326/

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Be Inspired

Submitted by Gary Blair

Feelings of worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open, and rules are flexible – the kind of atmosphere that is found in a nurturing family.
~ Virginia Satir

If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.
~ George Bernard Shaw

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Something to Smile About...

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An IS Christmas Wish

by Kevin Procter, Extend Communications Inc.

"It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” New beginnings, renewal, a chance to start over, or keep going even stronger than before! This time of year is a time of change – a time when the sun begins to shine a little longer, a time when we see old friends and make new ones, and we have a chance to look forward into a brand new year, pondering the lessons of the year gone by. Then of course there's the big jolly old elf too, and a child in a manger who inspired St. Nick.

Within this industry, this writer has come to know many new people each year. The joy of meeting new friends and colleagues is amplified this time of year as the special greeting of "Merry Christmas” is reserved for only December (or earlier if you’re a Christmas-tie-wearing fanatic.) Of course Christmas is not the only celebration as the winter solstice approaches, but all celebrations this month seem to feature similar, warm-hearted customs.

Now, whether you’re lighting a Menorah, celebrating the birth of the Christ child, waiting for Santa Claus and his eight tiny reindeer, or putting a new shine on your Festivus pole, you're probably looking forward to handing out good wishes and possibly some gifts; you may be looking forward to receiving the same in turn.

This programmer has a Christmas wish – but perhaps Santa Claus is not the person to deliver this, as it didn’t arrive last December. Or perhaps another letter to Santa and his elves will finally do the trick!

Within IS scripting, one can set up access to a database, but that database name must be hard-coded. Thus, to change from a live environment to a testing bed, you are forced to change the hard-coded database name. Oh, it would be so nice if the name of a database could be placed into a variable and set programmatically, changing as the environment changes. It would be almost like Christmas magic all year round!

Yours truly has heard rants from people who say "just use the database built into IS”; but if a customer requests fancy reports that require custom-saved data, you want to use a freely-accessible and customizable database. In that case, programmers have no choice but to create and write to a custom SQL database. The challenge of keeping the test data out of the live data (and vice versa) would be simplified in a paradigm of soft-coded database references.

Santa-Baby, if you’re listening, please bring me a soft-coded database name for my scripts in the coming year. Last year all I got was a lump of coal. (Oh, wait, the lump of coal is what I always get for Christmas!)

No matter what you do to keep this time of year special, please have a safe and happy holiday, and if I may, have a Very Merry Christmas, and a wonderful New Year. Here’s to 2013! (Unless the Mayans were right after all.)

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Member Testimonial

"We have been struggling with Music On Hold! We tried radio, CD player, iPod, all with minimal success. Due to the fact that our server room is a busy, crowded high traffic area with 300+ servers, we needed a solution that did not require much space. We were quoted $1000+ per month to have piped in music. This was not an expense we could afford, but we really needed the Music on Hold. A conversation on the listserv caught my eye. One of the members talked about a device they used, and included the link to purchase. The very small USB device cost just over $50, and works with free software. We had it up and running in a week or two and it has worked perfectly ever since! A $50 total expense, as opposed to $12,000 per year! Now that is a cost saving!”
~Betty Bouchie, QEII Health Sciences Center, Halifax, NS

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Widgets

by Michael Goumas, ProComm

What if a customer wanted you to email their callers an application, using IS?

You would have to set it up to email the application through UC as a document on demand. The document would reside on UC and you would have to Imbed commands in your message summary to do it.

See https://service.amtelco.com/doclib/PDF%20files/Infinity5-30_Binders/232m070-071_Applications/232m088.pdf for more….

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Are You Guilty?

by Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor

What unprofessional behavior irritates you the most when, as a consumer, you are interacting with another company? At Telephone Doctor we hear a lot of what bothers the public.

It’s important to know that customer service that is perceived as rude is not always intentional and often is the result of absent-mindedness or carelessness on behalf of an employee. Either way, bad customer service can translate into lower sales and lost business.

Based on Telephone Doctor surveys, we’ve compiled 15 customer service NO-NOs. They are listed below along with Telephone Doctor’s guidelines on how to do it better. Believe me, there are plenty more. These are at the top of the list.

If any of your folks are guilty of these, it’s time for some action. Otherwise you may have an image problem that could sabotage your effort to produce and market great products.

15 TOP NO-NOs

1. Employees are having a bad day and their foul mood carries over in conversations with customers. (Yes, everyone has bad days every once in a while, but employees need to keep theirs to themselves.)

2. Your employees hang up on angry customers. (Ironclad rule: We never hang up on anyone. When we hang up on someone, we label ourselves as rude.)

3. Phone calls or voice mail messages are not returned. (All calls are to be returned or have calls returned on your behalf.)

4. Employees put callers on hold without asking them first, if they are able to hold... as a courtesy. (Ask customers politely if you can put them on hold; very few will complain or say "No way!”)

5. Employees put callers on a speakerphone without asking if it’s OK first. (It’s the nice thing to do, as a courtesy.)

6. Employees eat, drink or chew gum while talking with customers on the phone or face-to-face. (Chew away from the customer. And save that stick of gum for break time by yourself.)

7. Employees make personal calls (or text) on cell phones while working with customers. (RUDE, RUDE, RUDE!)

8. Employees forget to use the words "please,” "thank you,” or "you’re welcome.” (Your mother was right. Please use these words generously. Thank you.)

9. Employees hold side conversations with friends or each other while talking to customers. (A big customer frustration.)

10. Employees seem incapable of offering more than one-word answers. (One-word answers come across as rude and uncaring.)

11. Employees use a lot of words that are grounded in company or industry jargon that many customers don’t understand. (If you sell tech products, for example, don’t casually drop in abbreviations such as APIs, ISVs, SMTP or TCP/IP.)

12. Employees request that customers call them back when it’s "not so busy.” (Customers should never be told to call back. Request the customer’s number instead and you call them back.)

13. Employees rush customers, forcing them off the phone or out the door at the earliest opportunity. (Rushing threatens customers - take your time.)

14. Employees obnoxiously bellow, "What’s this in reference to?” effectively humbling customers and belittling their requests. (Screening techniques can be used with a little more warmth and finesse. If a caller/customer has mistakenly come your way, do your best to point them in the right direction. And yes, with a smile.)

15. Employees freely admit to customers that they hate their jobs. (This simply makes the entire company look bad. And don’t think such a moment of candor or lapse in judgment won’t get back to the boss.)

In defense of employees, customers can be rude too. And customer service jobs can often be thankless with little motivation or incentive to do the job right.

Sadly, yes, customers can be rude and get away with it. Employees cannot if they want to help their companies succeed and keep their jobs as well. It is what it is.

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Concord Businessman Gerald R. Brosseau, II Garners Annual Award

Named Lyndon State College’s Outstanding Young Alumnus

Gerald R Brosseau II

LYNDON CTR., VT.: Gerald R. Brosseau, II has been named the winner of Lyndon State College’s 2012 Outstanding Young Alumni Award. The award highlights graduates who have completed their degree within the past 10 years and have distinguished themselves professionally in their field of study. Brosseau received the award during the College’s annual scholarship awards ceremony held November 1.

Brosseau is the president and director of operations for Always On Call. The Concord, New Hampshire, based business is a 24-hour-a-day nationwide telephone answering service. The business handles nearly 1 million calls a year for companies in five countries. Clients range from Concord-based business professionals to publicly traded corporations including SCI, Ameriprise Financial, Dow Chemical Corporation, Dow Corning Corporation, and ESPN Radio. The company’s largest niche is in funeral service, currently serving 85% of all New Hampshire funeral homes.

In his acceptance speech, Brosseau credited LSC for giving him the understanding to grow, manage, and make decisions in a small business. He lauded the business department professors for going "beyond the textbook” and demonstrating how fundamentals are practiced with real world experience. Brosseau related how his "road to success” has been paved with many obstacles: financial, professional and personal. He advised the attendees to develop a plan and "make sure the people around you are willing to appreciate your vision and sacrifices.”

Always On Call won two awards for outstanding service from the Association of TeleServices International (ATSI) and the Canadian Call Management Association (CAM-X), ranking among the top 1% of answering services in North America. They have won both the CAM-X and ATSI award of excellence for the past five consecutive years.

In 2009, Gerald was appointed to the National Amtelco Equipment Owners Association (NAEO) Board of Directors for a three year term serving as the Education Committee Chair, the Conference Committee Co-Chair, and the NAEO Foundation Committee secretary. He was the recipient of the 2011 NAEO President’s Award for outstanding contributions to the organization.

Brosseau graduated from LSC with a BS in Business Administration, BS in Small Business Management & Entrepreneurship with a minor in marketing in 2006. He is a member of the Greater Concord New Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Concord Young Professionals Network, the Association of TeleServices International, the Canadian Call Management Association, the Southern Telemessaging Association, the New Hampshire Republican Committee and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

Lyndon State balances liberal arts and nationally recognized professional programs that integrate theory with hands-on experiences to prepare individuals for success. Nestled in northeastern Vermont, the college of 1,400 students is well known for its tradition of enthusiasm, community service, and friendliness.

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Upcoming Webinars

Reports (Custom) - Further customization of reports
Wednesday, December 12, 2012 | 2:00 pm EST

Presenter: Kurt VanderScheer
Moderator: Hettie Dunwoody

The need for custom reporting is growing in our industry. Learn some new alternatives and ways of processing reporting from IS and external software. General concepts and new reports.

Application and Maintenance
Wednesday, January 16, 2013 | 2:00 pm EST

Presenters: Pat Dye and Adam Haines
Moderator: Hettie Dunwoody

This webinar is to explore and answer the top questions received by the Amtelco Field Service team, in turn discovering the power of the Application Maintenance Edition 6.0.

https://service.amtelco.com/INFINITY/Inf5x/KnowledgeBase/BooksManuals/Maintenance6.0.pdf
Amtelco Tech Helper login required to download or view the document.

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Member Spotlight

Jana Olson, Amtelco

1. Could you tell us how and when you started working with Amtelco?
I started with Amtelco as a software trainer in 1997 while I was looking for a job in my field, and the rest is history. I spent the first few years traveling as a trainer and eventually with the install team to learn and grow into the project coordinator position.

2. What does your job entail?
I work with new systems and upgrade projects until they go live. At times, I’m involved as a technical reference during the sales process, or assist in the transition to the service/support phase after an upgrade or cutover. I do a little bit of everything most days, from verifying the order content and part numbers before our production team orders and builds, to coordinating installation and training for projects, to conference calls with customers and often their other vendors. I’m currently part of the Billing Link support team as well.

3. What is your most favorite thing about your job?
I have two favorites – people and education. I feel lucky that I get to meet and spend time with so many of our wonderful customers. And the constant variety of projects and tasks coupled with the ongoing learning as new technology, features, and products develop really means life is never dull.

4. When did you become involved with NAEO and why?
Initially I was asked to help with the Ambassador program, and that has grown into becoming the Amtelco liaison to the membership committee. Amtelco’s Field Engineering and NAEO complement each other so wonderfully on the path to success; I love to be part of bringing those two elements together for our users.

5. When did you start in the telephony industry and what did you do before?
Amtelco is really my start in the telephony industry. Before Amtelco, I was headed toward something that would use my language degrees: an internship with trade show coordinator based in France, followed by a job in the samples department of a paper company that imports specialty papers from Europe.

6. What is one thing about you or your work that is different or unique?
I don’t think I’m that unique, really, unless coffee consumption counts! One of the things I love about Amtelco is I’m surrounded by people who willingly go the extra mile to ensure a successful installation or upgrade and create long-lasting relationships with our users.

7. Tell us a little personal information about you, your family and your hobbies or interests.
If I’m not at work, you will likely find me outside and on the go. Whether it is running, hiking, skiing, gardening or some other outdoor event with my husband Steve, our boys Bennett and Ross, and dog Max, I like to stay pretty active. Most of those will find me lugging a camera as I work on photography skills. I do actually slow down and unwind from time to time – ideally with a good glass of wine and a book or some knitting in front of a fire. Life is good!

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Membership Reminders

Membership Renewal

November and December…two of the busiest months of the year for all of us. Holidays, year-end planning and seasonal call volume increases keep us on our toes. This is also a busy time of year for NAEO. Over half of our membership renews during these two months. The Membership Committee is working to make the process as quick and easy as possible. The primary contact for each member company will receive a renewal notice by email at 90 days prior to the renewal date, a hard copy by mail at 60 days and another email at 30 days. If you are the primary contact for your company, you can update your company profile and renew online in a matter of minutes!

Visit www.naeo.org and click on the Member Login link in the upper right corner and follow the instructions on the page. For further assistance with the renewal process, see the "Primary Contact How To Guide” or contact the NAEO office at management@naeo.org or (800) 809-6373. Remember to let us know if the primary contact for your company has changed so the renewal notices are directed to the correct person.

The Membership Committee will also contact renewing members by phone and email to touch base. We appreciate any time you can give us to discuss member benefits, answer your questions regarding the renewal process and to hear your suggestions on how we can continue to bring value to our membership.

Amtelco Service Contract Discount Program

The Amtelco Service Contract Discount Program provides NAEO members an opportunity to save 10% on their service contract with Amtelco. For many members, this discount pays for a good portion, if not all, of their NAEO membership dues! This members-only program trains technicians or managers to maintain Amtelco equipment. After completing the course, a passing grade on the Internet-based test qualifies members to begin saving with their next service contract renewal. The value to member companies does not stop at the 10% savings. The process of completing the program ensures technicians or managers are better prepared to handle technical issues in the call center, saving valuable time and resources during a crisis. The service contract discount test is available for download under the Resource Center at www.naeo.org.

Members-Only Portal

Have you visited the Members-Only Portal at www.naeo.org? This section of the website gives you access to valuable information.

  • Searchable Online Member Directories
  • Download Library
  • Past Annual Reports
  • Past Issues of Newslinks
  • Amtelco Service Contract Discount Test
  • Operator Training Program
  • Site Certification Information
  • Webinar Archives
  • Disaster Recovery Templates

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david drenk

IS OnCall Reminders Automatically Sends
Email Reminders to OnCall Staff and Schedulers

by David Drenk

The Intelligent Series (IS) OnCall Reminders feature can send automatic email reminders about incomplete on-call coverage and notify people who have an upcoming on-call shift. The settings for OnCall Reminders are located in the IS OnCall Schedule Properties on a Reminders tab. The two types of OnCall Reminders are Unassigned Shift Reminders and Shift Reminders.

Unassigned Shift Reminder

The Unassigned Shift Reminder settings let you specify the number of hours or days advance notice to give of unassigned shifts in the on-call schedule. If there are unassigned shifts scheduled to begin within that time period, an email notification will be sent to the email addresses specified in the E-mail Addresses field. The addresses can be specified by selecting contacts from the IS Directory or by entering a list of email addresses.

Select the "Enable” check box to turn on the Unassigned Shift Reminder feature.

Include Shifts

Click the drop-down list and select the number of hours or days notice you want to give of unassigned shifts in the on-call schedule.

If there are unassigned shifts scheduled to begin within that time period, an email notification will be sent to the addresses specified in the E-mail Addresses field.

Email Addresses

Email addresses can be added in two ways: by selecting contacts from the IS Directory, or by entering email addresses manually.

Click the "Add Contact” button to select contacts from the IS Directory.

The Contact Locator pane is displayed.

The Contact Locator pane displays the descriptions of listings in the current Directory Subject. If a listing has an Email Contact Method assigned to it, the email address is listed beneath the description.
Select the check box next to the email address of each contact person that you want to notify. The contact person must have an Email Contact Method assigned to their directory listing in order to receive reminders.

  • To see more directory contacts, click the Next hyperlink.
  • To return to the previous list of directory contacts, click the Previous hyperlink.

To search for directory contacts by any searchable field, type the first part of the text to search for and then click the "Find” button.

When you have selected the email address of each contact that you want to notify, click the "Save” button.

The description of each of the selected contacts is added to the E-mail Addresses field.

To exit the Contact Locator pane without adding contacts, click the "Cancel” button.

To enter email addresses that are not in the IS Directory, click the "Add Address” button.

The E-mail Address window is displayed.

Type an email address, and then click the "OK” button.

The email address is added to the E-mail Addresses field.

To add another email address, click the "Add Address” button again.

To exit the E-mail Address window without adding an email address, click the "Exit” button.

To remove an email address, select the address in the E-mail Addresses field, and then click the "Remove” button.

Click the "Save” button to save your changes to the Reminder settings.
or
Click the "Cancel” button to exit the OnCall Schedule Properties without saving your changes.

Note: By default, the OnCall Reminder Service is set to check for updates every 15 minutes, so you may have to wait up to 15 minutes for any changes you make to the Reminder settings to take effect.
When there is a shift that begins within the time period specified in the Reminder settings and that has not been assigned the minimum resources required, IS sends an email message to the addresses specified. The "Unassigned Shift Assignment” email message lists the Directory Subject, OnCall Schedule name, shift name, start date and time, end date and time, role, and minimum and maximum requirements for the shift that has not been filled.

Shift Reminder

The Shift Reminder settings let you specify the number of hours or days advance notice to give each assigned person that they are scheduled for an on-call shift. The email is automatically sent to the person who is scheduled for the shift using the Email Contact Methods in the IS Directory. This type of reminder requires the IS Directory Contacts feature.

More information about the IS Directory Contacts feature is provided in the "Directory Contacts” section of the Infinity Intelligent Series Supervisor Reference Guide.

Select the "Enable” check box to turn on the Shift Reminder feature.

Include Shifts

Use the drop menu to select the number of hours or days advance notice you want to give to a person assigned to a shift in the on-call schedule.

At that number of hours or days before the start of each shift, IS sends an email message to each person assigned to a shift in the on-call schedule who has an Email Contact Method assigned to his or her directory listing. An email message is sent only to contacts who have an Email Contact Method.

The "Shift Assignment Reminder” email message lists the OnCall Schedule name, shift name, start date and time, end date and time, and role that the person has been assigned to.

The OnCall Reminders feature requires an OnCall Reminder Service to be installed on your web server. To schedule the installation of the OnCall Reminder Service, contact Amtelco 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:

  • IS Supervisor 5.60.3925.0 or later
  • SQL Server 2000 or later
  • OnCall Reminder Service 3.2.3925.0 or later

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david drenk

Billing Link Graphs, Custom Queries, and UltraComm PDF

by David Drenk

Beginning with Billing Link version 4, three optional features are available for purchase: Graphs, Custom Queries, and UltraComm PDF. These features expand the invoicing capabilities of Billing Link by adding graphs, statistics from more SQL databases, and PDF faxing through UltraComm or Microsoft Fax.

Graphs

The Graphs feature provides users with the tools to graph billing information based on 15 invoice-related fields. Up to six columns of information can be displayed in each graph.

The data can be displayed in 27 different formats, including bar graphs, line graphs, and pie charts.

UltraComm PDF

The UltraComm PDF feature gives the user the choice of either Microsoft Fax or UltraComm to transmit invoices and form letters to the customer as a PDF (Portable Document Format) file. Because the files are sent in PDF format, they can include graphics.

In the Client Maintenance > Printing Options screen, select the check box labeled "Fax with Microsoft FAX” or the check box labeled "Fax PDF with UltraComm.” Then enter the fax number in the Fax Number field below that check box. There are also check box options to include the Call Detail data. File paths used by UltraComm PDF are configured in a new section of the System > File Locations settings called PDF Faxing.

Custom Queries

The Custom Queries feature enables the user to invoice for any statistic in a SQL database, not just statistics included in the MDR database. The SQL database may be an eCreator database, a database of SMS text messages, or any other SQL database that the user has access to. The statistic can be either time-based or count-based, with or without operator involvement.

There are more than 20 Custom Queries available to be used for any client. Any custom queries that you create can be selected for billing from the Use Formula menu.

Requirements:

  • MDR 3.00.00 or later
  • Billing Link 4 or later
  • Graphs option
  • UltraComm PDF option
  • Custom Queries option

Amtelco Part Number:
Graphs: 8319298
UltraComm PDF: 8319309

Custom Queries: 8319299

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© 2012 National Amtelco Equipment Owners. All Rights Reserved.
NewsLinks is distributed quarterly to NAEO members.

National Amtelco Equipment Owners
www.naeo.orgmanagement@naeo.org
1000 Westgate Drive, Ste. 252, St. Paul, MN 55114
800-809-6373 • Fax: 800-809-6374