Newslinks
February 2011

Regular Columns

From the Editor
by Betty Bouchie

Be Inspired
by Gary Blair

Something to Smile About...

The Telephone Doctor
by Nancy Friedman

Featured Articles

Laissez les bons temps rouler!
by Trisha Stenberg

Your Table Awaits
by Marci Imes

Promote Your Services at the 2011 Conference!

Properties of an Input Element
by Nick Trentadue

SMS Text with E-Confirm Conundrum
by Kevin Procter

From the Editor

by Betty Bouchie

It’s time for …. BAMM!

What’s cooking in your business? Just like a person needs to be well fed, so does a business. It’s not good enough to just plod along doing the same thing every day. That might be considered the "bread and water” diet. You can exist on it, but if you want to grow and flourish, you need some spices, some zest and lots of good healthy food! It’s time to gain a little weight in the education area and join your peers in New Orleans for a fantastic fare of food for the mind, body and soul! To get you in the mood, I have attached a little recipe you may enjoy.

http://whatscookingamerica.net/Bread/Hushpuppies.htm

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Be Inspired

Submitted by Gary Blair

"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well."
~ Virginia Woolf

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Something to Smile About...

Why Engineers Don't Write Recipe Books

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

1. 532.35 cm3 gluten
2. 4.9 cm3 NaHCO3
3. 4.9 cm3 refined halite
4. 236.6 cm3 partially hydrogenated tallow triglyceride
5. 177.45 cm3 crystalline C12H22O11
6. 177.45 cm3 unrefined C12H22O11
7. 4.9 cm3 methyl ether of protocatechuic aldehyde
8. Two calcium carbonate-encapsulated avian albumen-coated protein
9. 473.2 cm3 theobroma cacao
10. 236.6 cm3 de-encapsulated legume meats (sieve size #10)

To a 2-L jacketed round reactor vessel (reactor #1) with an overall heat transfer coefficient of about 100 Btu/F-ft2-hr, add ingredients one, two and three with constant agitation. In a second 2-L reactor vessel with a radial flow impeller operating at 100 rpm, add ingredients four, five, six, and seven until the mixture is homogenous. To reactor #2, add ingredient eight, followed by three equal volumes of the homogenous mixture in reactor #1. Additionally, add ingredient nine and ten slowly, with constant agitation. Care must be taken at this point in the reaction to control any temperature rise that may be the result of an exothermic reaction.

Using a screw extrude attached to a #4 nodulizer, place the mixture piece-meal on a 316SS sheet (300 x 600 mm). Heat in a 460K oven for a period of time that is in agreement with Frank & Johnston's first order rate expression (see JACOS, 21, 55), or until golden brown. Once the reaction is complete, place the sheet on a 25C heat-transfer table, allowing the product to come to equilibrium.

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Laissez les bons temps rouler!

by Trisha Stenberg


New Orleans offers a plethora of world-class cuisine, music, art, architecture, and rich history and culture!

  • Explore the outdoors at the zoo, aquarium, or insectarium.
  • Golf at one of the year round golf courses.
  • Enjoy the symphony or just the music of the street.
  • 100 square blocks of art, shopping, and entertainment.
  • Outstanding restaurants, including Jacques-Imo’s, Emeril’s, Bourbon House, Commanders Palace, Galatoires, and over 1000 more options!

The Roosevelt
A Waldorf Astoria Hotel

  • Located adjacent to the French Quarter, one block from Bourbon Street.
  • Moments away from the Canal Streetcar Line, Harrah’s Casino, and the Mississippi River attractions.
  • Amenities include the Guerlian Spa, Sazerac Bar, and Domenica, Chef John Besh’s signature Italian inspired restaurant.

Reservations can be made by calling 1-800-WALDORF or 504-648-1200. Ask for the group rate for National Amtelco Equipment Owners.

Getting here…

  • Fly into Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY).
  • The Roosevelt New Orleans is a short 20 minute drive from the airport with cab, car, and shuttle service readily available.
  • You can also let the concierge know when you are arriving and the hotel will arrange transportation.

What to pack…

  • Casual business attire is appropriate for all sessions and lunches.
  • Typical March weather brings highs in the 60s and 70s with temperatures cooling off at night.
  • Pack a bathing suit to enjoy the roof top pool!
  • Wireless internet is available if you wish to bring your laptop.
  • Make sure to bring plenty of business cards to share!

What’s on the Menu?

  • Pre-Conference Workshops
    Intelligent Series, Supervisor, 1Call
  • Keynote Speaker
    "The Telephone Doctor”
  • Conference Tracks
    Operations, Technical, Marketing & Management
  • Amtelco University
  • NAEO Business Meeting
  • Social Events

Appetizers

  1. Intelligent Series Workshop
    By member request, the pre-conference IS Workshop at the 2011 Annual Conference will feature some of NAEO’s most knowledgeable programmers with 100% Intermediate and Advanced programming, including a session on Amtelco’s Contact Based Architecture. Bring your questions and your laptops!

  2. Supervisor Workshop
    By popular demand, supervisors can register for the pre-conference workshop on "Using Infinity to Manage Your Staff” where they’ll learn about maximizing efficiency and improving customer service within your call center. In addition to learning about Amtelco software, attendees can expect an open forum to ask questions on how to best handle employee and client tribulations.

  3. 1Call Workshop
    Don’t miss this exciting agenda with topics such as "What’s New with Infinity in Healthcare?” and "Expanding Infinity’s Capabilities throughout Your Healthcare Organization.”

Main Course

Nancy Friedman, President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training, will present "Your One Bowl Recipe for Success."

"Set aside and cool may work with your cake, but it doesn’t work with customers. They need quick action," says Nancy Friedm

There is a mass of grey average out there. You know it and we know it. You can remain in that mass of grey average and be like all the others or come along with the Telephone Doctor and raise the bar.

A La Carte

The NAEO Education Committee has developed a program for every employee in your organization!

  • Operations Track with sessions on Managing Employee Development, Employee Accountability & Documentation, Creative Scheduling Options and more!

  • Technical Track with popular sessions such as Infinity Best Practices and new sessions such as Server Virtualization, Best Practices on SQL Server and IS Backup, Web Portal and more!

  • Marketing & Management Track includes sessions on Financial Analysis, Creative Marketing Strategies, and "If You Want to Grow, You Have to Let it Go!”

Amtelco University
Spice up your business! Learn innovative techniques to control, organize and manage your daily activities while you upgrade your service offerings, enhance your quality reputation and add revenue to your bottom line.

  • Web Scripting
  • Secure Messaging and Paging
  • On-Call and Appointment Reminder
  • And more!

NAEO Business Meeting

  • Open to ALL NAEO Members, including employees and owners.
  • Board of Director Candidates
  • Election Results

Social Events
If you have never attended an NAEO Conference, know that you are encouraged to attend the "First Timers” reception at 6 p.m. on Sunday evening in the world famous Blue Room, and there you will be welcomed and befriended by our Board members and others – so don’t let shyness get in the way.

Immediately following the "First Timers” reception, join us for the opening reception pool side on the roof top!

Dessert

Wednesday Wrap Up

  • Amtelco Presentation
  • Round Tables with topics including:
  • Building Lasting Relationships with Customers
  • Ways to Attract New Employees
  • Business Continuity Planning
  • Social Marketing
  • CRM Solutions
  • And more!
  • Lunch with the Presidents of ATSI and CAM-X
  • Best Idea Session
  • Unveiling of the 2012 Conference Location
  • And more!

See you soon!

Should you have any questions in preparation of attending the conference or during the conference, don’t hesitate to ask any NAEO Board Member.

We’re looking forward to a great conference that you won’t want to miss!

To register or for further information, please go to www.naeo.org. The early bird registration rate ends February 14, 2011.

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Your Table Awaits

by Marci Imes, Advantage Answering Plus, Inc.

On March 13, you’re invited to attend and enjoy a first-course choice of a morning Supervisor Training or IS Training course, or a mid-day 1-Call Hospital Workshop.

If you prefer some lighter fare, you’ll find just what you’re looking for at Sunday evening’s Opening Reception, which will include New Orleans specialties, music, fun, and the opportunity to catch up with old friends and make new contacts.

Between courses, you’ll be encouraged to take the opportunity to learn even more about your equipment and its capabilities, how to reward and retain your valued staff members, as well as how to enhance the customer service that you now provide.

Let’s not forget dessert! Wind down your experience right by indulging in topics ranging from Operations to Technical and Marketing, ensuring that your business gets a healthy start when you return relaxed and refreshed.

Secure your reservation and book your airfare now.

Your table awaits.

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Promote Your Services at the 2011 Conference!

Want to reach out to your fellow members and offer your services? NAEO's Annual Conference in New Orleans, March 13-16, is a great time to do it!

If you have an ingredient to help your fellow members kick up their call center menus, here is your chance! Any member is welcome to submit vendor bag materials for products or services that do not compete directly with Amtelco. If you would like to submit something for placement in the NAEO vendor bag at our annual conference, please send your request to conference@naeo.org for review no later than Friday, February 4. All submissions are subject to approval by the NAEO Board.

All materials must be prepared, paid for and shipped to the conference location by the company desiring to share information in the NAEO vendor bag. NAEO is not liable for any costs incurred for materials not included.

If you know of a non-NAEO member who would like to reach out to our membership, please have them contact conference@naeo.org for further information.

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Properties of an Input Element

by Nick Trentadue, Tel*Assist

The Intelligent Series Supervisor palette allows programmers many options to customize scripts. This article will focus on inputs and their properties. Each available input has properties that can be modified. Below are a few of the properties that can be modified on a standard Textbox input:

General Tab

The most commonly used properties on many inputs are name, label, and description; however, there are many other available options that can be useful in certain situations. For example, changing the "Columns” property from "0” to "2” reduces the size of the element on the script. This allows you to arrange multiple elements onto one line of a screen and define the width of the input.

Other available options on the "General” tab include:

  • Default Value – The value of an element by default. The element must appear on a screen, to an agent for the default value to be set.
  • Max Characters – A limit on the number of characters that can be entered by an agent.
  • Columns – Changes the width of an element.
  • Rows – Changes the height of an element.
  • Check Spelling – Enables spell check on the data entered by an agent. This option is often used on a "Memo” input.
  • Validate Immediately – Validates data immediately rather than waiting until the end of the screen.
  • Required – Element cannot be left without data.
  • Readonly – Element cannot accept data.
  • Validate screen before doing actions – Validation is completed before programming actions will be.

Format Tab

Many inputs allow you to define the format of the data entered. Choices include:

  • None – Leave data formatted as it was entered
  • Lower – Convert data to all lowercase
  • Upper – Convert data to all uppercase
  • Proper – Convert data to proper casing
    • Options are available to help to define the format of the data once "Proper” is selected. After selection, checkboxes will appear, allowing you to enable or disable this each option.

Summary and Action Tab

If you use the Amtelco provided message summary, there are a few options to help define the layout of the data under the "Summary” tab. I have found, however, that creating custom message summaries is the most efficient way to display the data taken by an agent.

The "Action” tab allows programmers to set certain actions to occur when an agent presses Tab or Enter.

Input Specific Property Options

Other input elements have different property options available.

The properties of a "Checkbox” element allow you to define the checked and unchecked value of the element.

The "Save Formatted” property option is found on input elements with specific data types. In the example below, the "Date Time” input can be formatted from the "Format” tab. Then, by selecting "Save formatted,” the data will not only format on the screen while the agent is taking a message, it will also remain in that format on the message summary.

Input properties allow programmers the unique opportunity to make subtle, yet important changes to the data entered by agents. With use of these key elements within the I.S. Supervisor palette, many modifications and improvements can be made to your scripts.

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SMS Text with E-Confirm Conundrum

by Kevin Procter, Extend Communication Inc.

Being a computer geek is a great way to make a living! You get to wear cool shirts bearing messages that only other geeks understand, you can point to occasional social ineptitude as a risk of your profession, and sometimes, you get to see if you can train Amtelco products to do cool tricks!

Today, I'm going to tell you about the latter item – although sharing my cool shirts would be fun too.

Caveat: I'm a relative Newbie to the Amtelco world, having been involved in scripting for only eight months. I do, however, have a long history of geek-dom. And I work for a wonderful company.

Here's what we needed to do: Save a Message Summary, then send the message to our customer via SMS with e-confirm. Normally when we receive an e-confirmation from the text we sent, the e-confirm receipt marks the message delivered. We needed to receive e-confirmation WITHOUT delivering down the message summary.

For my first stop in finding a solution, I posted to the NAEO list and received a great idea from Scott Harbin, of Call Management Resources Inc. Scott postulated that I could save a copy of the message into a sub account, and then use an auto action to deliver.

Now, I had tried to send this message from a sub account, using a direct dial string in the script. That didn't work, so I took Mr. Harbin's idea and saved a copy of the message into the sub account. In my script, immediately after the message summary was produced, I used the "Save Message" element to save a shortened message into a sub account.

The sub account is addressed with a variable (as in the image below). My programming philosophy is to set as much soft-coded information as possible within the script. It makes later changes much easier and more efficient. It also makes setup for testing very simple.

So now we have a copy of the message saved into a sub account. We need to get it set into a text message with e-confirmation. I accomplished this by adding a service list entry with a saucy little auto-action. As you can see below, the service list is called CustomerText. I set it to Auto-Page and gave it a dial string.

The final step was to set up multiple sub accounts and program my script to save a copy of the message to the appropriate account. Now, anytime an undelivered message appears in a sub account the auto-action sends an SMS message to a specific text destination. Voila! Problem is solved, with eloquence.

In the short time I've been in this industry, I've taken pride in finding ways around problems that our customers' needs present to us. I have a great bunch of people to work with here at Extend Communications, and together we usually come up with some ingenius solutions to each problem. Ocassionally, however, I do need to access other resources, and the NAEO list, featuring great peope like Scott Harbin, is invaluable. The NAEO community has been and will continue to be a very pleasant place for computer geeks to hang out and share information. If only we had some cool shirts.

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A Short Course on the Art of Apologizing

by Nancy Friedman

  • Gee, I'm so sorry
  • Sorry 'bout that
  • My apologies, I didn't mean to

There are probably dozens of ways to deliver an apology, and many more ways to accept one.

How important is an apology? Why do we apologize? And what words seem to work better than others?

You get the picture. When you look up the word "apology," the definition reads:
To express or make an apology; acknowledging failings or faults.

And the words "I'm sorry" and "I apologize" are not always interchangeable. For example, when a parent passes away, we normally say, "I'm so sorry to hear about your loss."

"I apologize your father passed away" just doesn't seem right.

However, both can be easily used in an apology to acknowledge a failing or fault.

When you bump into someone at the mall, instinctively, most of us say, "Oh I'm so sorry" or "I apologize, I wasn't watching where I was going." In this case they're interchangeable. Think for a moment what you're thinking when someone does bump into you and they don't apologize? Hmmmm?

On a recent bumpy flight the pilot came on and said: "I apologize for the bumpy flight." He also could have said, "Sorry folks, for the bumpy flight." Again, 'interchangeable.'

Apologies in Business vs. Personal

It seems as though personal apologies might be a little easier than a business apology. In my opinion, that's because we normally know the person fairly well in the personal setting and can figure out what to say and do a little easier. Often, we can even send candy, flowers or something else in a bribery fashion, so to speak.

However, when something happens in a business setting and the customer is irate and is in need of an apology, that's a different story. In many cases we don't get to meet all of our customers, and if we do it's normally on a pretty limited basis. Most of the time it's a phone call. And then, of course, even if we are more familiar with the business customer, where is that line in the sand? Dare we cross over it?

For an apology in the business arena, we suggest using the word "apologize." It's a classier word that raises the bar. To just be "sorry" for something can easily diminish the effectiveness of the apology.

"Mr. Smith, I apologize for sending the wrong invoice. That's got to be very frustrating."

To simply push it away with, "Sorry about sending the wrong invoice" takes the sensitivity and meaningfulness away.

Finally, what if you're not wrong and the customer still perceives you as wrong? Do you still need to apologize? Of course you do. It doesn't matter if you're right or wrong. When the customer perceives you're wrong, you're wrong.

For those who say "the customer is always right," we ask you to change that to the mentality we use: "the customer always thinks they're right." That's the perception we need to deal with.

Timing of Apology

The immediacy of an apology is key. Whichever you use, "I'm sorry" or "I apologize," do not delay. The sooner those words are used, the closer they are to the happening, the more effective they are.

Don't wait to say I'm sorry or I apologize. They're like please and thank you: important and very relevant.

Easy Rule of Thumb on When to Use Which Word

You're "sorry" when you step on someone's toes (a human emotion).

We "apologize" when the customer is unhappy. He perceives we have done something wrong; we failed. (An incident)

Ineffective Apologies

You hear it all the time, "Sorry 'bout that." That's a cliché, not an apology. Lose it.

Say it fully: I'm sorry I gave you the wrong change. "Sorry 'bout that" doesn't cut it.

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© 2011 National Amtelco Equipment Owners. All Rights Reserved.
NewsLinks is distributed quarterly to NAEO members.

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