Newslinks January 2013
January 2013

Regular Columns

From the Editor
by Betty Bouchie

Be Inspired
by Gary Blair

Something to Smile About...

IS Tip
by Kevin Procter

Widgets

Featured Articles

2013 NAEO Annual Conference: It’s a New Year with New Opportunities
by Jessica Schipull

Upcoming Webinar

Member Spotlight – Alliance Wireless Communications

 

Amtelco Annex

Send Email Response Element Accepts Multiple Recipients
by David Drenk

Dialout Guard Gives Ports Time to Reset After Each Dialout
by David Drenk

From the Editor

by Betty Bouchie

Happy New Year to one and all!

I love this time of year – well, not the weather, but the opportunity! A new year, a fresh start and a chance to create a milestone and more forward from it. I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, but I do savor the chance to make things new. Review the previous year and bring forward the good stuff, leave the bad stuff and find new stuff to add. Since we all survived the Mayan calendar, let’s make a plan!

Here is an interesting and different look at New Year’s resolutions for the "techie” group.

www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2013/01/new_year_s_resolutions_for_technology_in_2013.html

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Be Inspired

Submitted by Gary Blair

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.
~Viktor Frankl


People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone.
~ Sam Levinson

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Something to Smile About...

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IS Tip

New Decisions in a New Year – Welcome 2013

by Kevin Procter, Extend Communications Inc.

Much to the Mayans’ chagrin – or rather the chagrin of those who put faith in a certain interpretation of the Mayan calendar – we're still here in 2013. The world didn’t end, it didn’t even hiccup. We had another wonderful season of Festivus and now we’re embracing a new year – a chance at new beginnings.

Along with thoughts of new starts, a script comes to mind. A customer said to yours truly, "I’d like the dispatch of this script to go to a particular contractor based on the week being an odd or even week.”

How does one figure out what week of the year we’re currently in – let alone whether the week is odd or even?

Outside of IS scripting, most programming languages require the coder to write some kind of subroutine to pass back the current week number. Using advanced functions in the IS Expression Builder, this calculation is easily built. We can find the "Week Of Year” and do some simple math on the number we receive from that function.

Here’s the basic code to find if the week is even or odd:
(Week of the year) divided by 2
If division results in 0, week is even, otherwise it’s odd.

The IS scripting code for this algebraic function is very small. The code is as follows:

Once this algorithm is executed, the program knows if we’re in an odd or even week and can process other information based on this result. Further, while this equation decides between odd or even weeks, it can be modified to make decisions based on the day of the week, the week of the month, the month of the year, even on the hour of the day.

Whenever you need new information to make a decision about time, programming can come to the rescue, and with a little thought, the calculations necessary can be put together and decisions can then be made accordingly.

Now, suppose the Mayans – or their contemporary followers – had access to computer-controlled algorithms for making date-based decisions: would it have quelled the hysteria around the end of the world? No way! That hysteria is raised well enough without Mayan input. HAPPY NEW YEAR AND WELCOME 2013!

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Widgets

by Michael Goumas, ProComm

Ability to pull medium sized directories into a script

Have you ever wanted to pull a directory into a dropdown list? Maybe it is one of those accounts where you have the possibility of choosing a person to call.

First your script needs to have a connection to the IS server.

Then you need to find the directory. In the simplest terms I have a directory per account.

If you don’t have Action Groups in your version of IS then you can code it as this:

Then you just create a DB List element

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2013 NAEO Annual Conference: It’s a New Year with New Opportunities

By Jessica Schipull

2013!! It’s a New Year with New Opportunities, so Join Us for a Grand Ole Opportunity at the 2013 NAEO Annual Conference in Nashville, TN!

Registration and Full Details

Here is a sneak peek at some of the exciting and educational topics that will be available:

  • Operations Track: "How to Create a Culture of Ownership Among Your Employees.” Are your employees thinking and acting like the owners of your business? If not, they could be hurting your business.
  • Technical Track: "Useful Apps for SmartPhones and Tablets.” Join us as a panel leads a discussion on apps that we rely on in our businesses.
  • Sales/Marketing Track: "Billing Strategies to Improve your Profitability.” A discussion of various strategies for billing, such as 28-day versus monthly, rounding, and analyzing your profitability.
  • Healthcare Track: "Turning Patient No-Shows into a Hospital-Wide Benefit” - Learn how to increase Hospital/clinic revenue by reducing patient no-shows using Amtelco’s Pro-Show Appointment Reminder System.

Also, as a very special highlight, our very own Jim Marchbank will speak about Life after TAS. Four years have passed since Jim sold his company and decided to seek new challenges. Join us as Jim shares how he found new challenges, and what he has learned that he wishes he would have known when he ran his call center!

You won’t want to miss this year’s conference! Whether you choose to go for the Breakout sessions, the pre-conference Supervisor Workshop or IS Workshop, or the priceless networking, you’re bound to come home with innovative ideas to strengthen your business and profitability.

Reservations are now open online at http://www.gaylordhotels.com/gaylord-opryland or at 866.972.OPRY (6779).

The hotel cutoff date is February 12, 2013, so make your reservations today! Ask for the group rate for the 2013 NAEO Annual Conference, or give the group code: X-NAEO3. Room rate is $194 plus tax for single/double.

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Upcoming Webinar

XLScheduler
Wednesday, February 6, 2013 | 2:00 pm EST

Presenter: Anna Wannberg Jönsson

Experience a live demo of XLScheduler and its user friendly graphical interface. You will learn about the benefits of using a Workforce Management System and get the opportunity to view some of the new features in our upcoming releases. At the end there will be time for your questions.

XLScheduler is a Swedish company founded in 1994; it has developed Workforce Management systems since 1997. Today, hundreds of call centers in North America and Europe use XLScheduler’s WFM system for creating optimized scheduling to meet their individual requirements.

XLScheduler WFM comes with all key functions, such as forecasting for call volumes, chats, emails, as well as true multi-skill scheduling, real-time adherence monitoring and comprehensive reporting tools.

For more information about XLScheduler, visit www.xlscheduler.com.

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Member Spotlight

By Mike Crossman

Alliance Wireless Communications, Kingston, Ontario

When asked to describe his company, Alliance Wireless Communications owner Brad French calls it "a telephone answering service company that became a paging company that re-invented itself as a telephone answering service company.”

Alliance, which traces its roots back to 1948, had been providing telephone answering services to Kingstonians for decades when Brad’s father, Jack French, introduced the pocket pager to the region. Before he knew it, they had more than 5,000 clients who trusted them to provide paging services.

As technology shifted, the company adjusted its focus. By the time Brad came on board in 1998, pagers were on their way out, so he looked to the past for inspiration and Alliance was once again in the answering service business.

Since then, the company has been answering phones for clients in Kingston and across North America.

Alliance’s commitment to service has been well documented. They’ve received the CAM-X Award of Excellence for 13 years running, and the ATSI Award of Excellence for nine years running, including earning the Number 1 ranking in both 2005 and 2006.

How has Alliance been able to maintain such an impressive record?

"We specialize in seamless service,” says Alliance Vice President Mike Crossman. "Our goal is to make callers feel that they aren’t talking to an answering service.” To reach that goal, Alliance demands a lot from its staff. Customer Service Representatives go through months of training. Every client and every scenario has a script. "Our training is intense, but it ensures that we carry ourselves with integrity, professionalism and teamwork,” says Crossman.

Alliance’s high standard means they expect a lot from their technology. "When it was time to upgrade our equipment, we chose Amtelco because of their features and flexibility,” Crossman says. He was also impressed with Amtelco’s reputation. "We used the old Leprechaun line concentrator back in the 1980s,” he recalls. "It allowed us to offer services we could only have dreamed about then. We knew we could trust them.”

Before Alliance committed to their new system, they made sure they did their homework. "I went to an NAEO meeting to see what users thought,” Crossman says. "I told them I was going to seek out the unhappy clients and get the real story.” That "real story” turned out to be a group of satisfied customers who welcomed him warmly into their ranks.

Joining NAEO before they even programmed their system turned out to be a smart move. "It was great to have the support of the other members as we got our feet under us,” says Crossman. "The knowledge that is available over the course of just a few days at a convention represents lifetimes of learning.”

That knowledge came in handy as the Amtelco team, led by tireless project coordinator Jana Olson, worked for a year to install the system.

It was worth the wait. The system, which has been fully operational as of November, is a radical departure for Alliance. "The biggest difference is that it’s logic-based,” says Crossman. Under the old knowledge-based system, CSRs had to memorize volumes of information and hope they had the presence of mind to apply them properly.

In the Amtelco system, the scripts for each scenario automatically appear on screen, complete with prompts generated by the caller’s answers. For Alliance it means a drastic reduction in training time. "Training that used to take weeks can now be done in a couple of days,” says Crossman.

Now that the installation process is over, Crossman and his colleagues are enjoying the benefits. "It’s been a long road,” he says, "but we’re better for it.”

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david drenk

Send Email Response Element Accepts Multiple Recipients

by David Drenk

The Send Email response element supports multiple email addresses. To designate multiple email addresses, separate the addresses by semicolons when entering them into the Recipient field of the Send Email properties. The message specified in the Message field will be emailed to all of the email addresses specified in the Recipient field.

The Recipient field has a variable field type, so the addresses do not have to be entered as text. The Recipients field can be changed to a script field whose value is set to the list of email addresses using a Set Field response element in another part of the script. The Recipient field can also be set to an Advanced Expression that gets the addresses from script fields or Shared Client Fields and separates them with semicolons inserted as literals.

Example of an Advanced Expression that creates a list of email addresses from script fields and Shared Client Fields

The Send Email response element provides an easy way to send email messages from the Intelligent Series (IS) server without having to use Contact-Based Dispatching or Group Dispatching.

For more information about the Send Email response element, click here.

Requirements:

  • IS Server 3.2.4002.25657 or later
  • SQL Server 2000 or later
  • IS Supervisor 5.60.3925.0 or later
  • IS Messaging
  • Infinity Telephone Agent 5.60.3925.01 or later (optional)
  • Soft Agent 3.1.3925.01 or later (optional)
  • Web Scripting 3.1.3748.17 or later (optional)

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david drenk

Dialout Guard Gives Ports Time to Reset After Each Dialout

by David Drenk

When a port is used for a dialout, the port may need time to reset before it can be used again. The Infinity Supervisor application contains a setting called the Dialout Guard Time that specifies how much time to wait before attempting another dialout to the same port. This setting is found in the System Setup pages of Infinity Supervisor under System Options, Telephony.

The default setting is zero milliseconds. If your dialouts on analog lines are not working consistently, try increasing the Dialout Guard Time in increments of two seconds (2000 milliseconds).

Requirements:

  • Infinity 5.51.11 or later
  • Infinity Supervisor 5.51.0017 or later

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