July 2011

Regular Columns

From the Editor
by Betty Bouchie

President's Report
by Kelli Harrigan, NAEO President

Be Inspired
by Gary Blair

Something to Smile About...

The Telephone Doctor
by Nancy Friedman

Featured Articles

Upcoming NAEO Webinars

IS Tip: Grappel Grommets, Filbert Flanges, and Three Easy Payments
by Kevin Procter

From the Editor

by Betty Bouchie

Summer is fun!

So, it’s summer! Remember the old adage "All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy”. Break loose and have a little fun after work, or maybe even at work. Every Friday in the summer is "Freezie Friday” in the call centre ( The workplace betterment committee stocks the freezer with larger freezies of every kind and the staff are welcome to help themselves. It’s hot outside and people are counting the days until their vacation, so a little cool treat helps keep things upbeat.

Freezies aren’t the only fun things about summer; there are also barbeques… For a little something to spice up your summer barbeque, check out the article below!

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President's Report

by Kelli Harrigan

I’m a bit behind in my reports to the membership, so forgive me if this is a bit long. It has been a busy couple of months since the conference in New Orleans – and that is a good thing! Spring seems to have brought with it increased business opportunities for us at Spectrum, and I hope all of you are experiencing a similar uptick in your business. And, of course, the NAEO board has been busy at work as well! The Board had a very productive meeting in Madison in May where we worked on a strategic plan and set out goals for our work over the coming 2-3 years. Our strategic planning session was led by Eric Ewald, who was a great help in keeping us on task and moving through the process efficiently. Here are the primary goals around which we centered our strategic plan:

  • Diversify and increase revenue (this includes how we structure conference, dues, analyzing what other sources of revenue we could be using to supplement dues, etc.)
  • Increase Membership (finding non-members to bring into the fold, improving retention, communicate benefits better, etc.)
  • Improve and better leverage our communications (examining everything from Board internal communication to extending that out to the members, developing a social media strategy, events marketing, etc.)
  • Improve Amtelco advocacy for our members (communicating more with Amtelco staff, working together with Amtelco on educational opportunities to ensure member needs are being met, etc.)
  • Re-build relations with ATSI
  • Broaden Education (we are looking beyond Infinity/IS programming into other areas for best practices/guidelines on dealing with issues like PCI compliance, HIPAA, business continuity, further address operator training, etc.)
  • Volunteer Development (identifying and recruiting new volunteers, speakers, etc.)

As you can see, the goals are many and our plan does break them down into specific tasks to move us along the way. Fortunately, we have a very dedicated board and NAEO is fortunate to have so many dedicated committee members that everything on the list is doable!

While in Madison, we also took the opportunity to spend several hours at Amtelco, meeting with their leadership team and discussing our members’ needs, strategy and plans to move forward. Thank you to Amtelco for hosting our meeting (and feeding us!). One item that we discussed you have already seen in play – once Amtelco announced the Innovation Machine at NAEO (available on Amtelco’s TechHelper site) and we saw how it was working, it became apparent how valuable it would be to have that information posted to the listserv. So often we all wonder, "is it just me who needs this?” only to find that many others would benefit from our suggestions or have valuable commentary in return. Both the Board and Amtelco felt that it would be a win-win to share this information on the listserv – it could generate some very useful discussion both for the members and for Amtelco by posting the submissions and status changes to the list. The more we all use this tool, the more valuable it will become to both our members and to Amtelco’s development team.

If you haven’t had a chance yet, please check out the great line-up of webinars planned by the Education committee and also check out the two information-packed in-person workshops this August – an IS Basic Scripting workshop and a concurrent Supervisor Workshop, both to be held August 23-24 in Philadelphia. And of course, the Conference and Education committees are already hard at work planning for the 2012 Annual Conference in Las Vegas, February 19-22 at The Cosmopolitan, so be sure to mark your calendars now!

As always, if you are interested in serving on any committees, please be sure to reach out to anyone on the committees or the board (you can see who is involved on the NAEO website) and we will be happy to put you to work!

And if you have any feedback on NAEO or what the association can do for you, please be sure to share your thoughts with us – email me at

Be Inspired

Submitted by Gary Blair

A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken.
~James Dent

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Upcoming NAEO Webinars:

All webinars are free for members. Please register your information. There is a limit of 25 attendees, so register early.

Business Continuity
July 13, 2011
12:00 pm EST

Presenters: Joe Adam and Kurt VanderSheer

This webinar will be the second of two sessions offered that 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 members 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 recored 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.

Call Distributions
July 13, 2011
2:00 pm EST


How You Can Utilize eResponse/eVoicelink and How to Set it Up
July 20, 2011
2:00 pm EST

Speaker: Maggie Eddy

Email has become a critical way to communicate with our clients and customers. Learn how to utilize eResponse/eReply to tap into the service and support industry by communicating with their technicians, customers, and systems in real time. In this webinar, we will review the account set up and practical applications that are needed to take advantage of this technology.

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Something to Smile About...

PC Message Glossary

It says: "Press Any Key"
It means: "Press any key you like but I'm not moving."

It says: "Installing program to C:\ ... "
It means: " ... And I'll also be writing a few files into c:\windows and c:\windows\system where you'll NEVER find them."

It says: "Fatal Error. Please contact technical support quoting error no. 1A4-2546512430E"
It means: " ... where you will be kept on hold for 10 minutes, only to be told that it's a hardware problem."

It says: "Please insert disk 11"
It means: "Because I know darn well there are only 10 disks."

It says: "Cannot read from drive D: ... "
It means: " ... However, if you put the CD in right side up ..."

It says: "Not enough memory"
It means: "I don't CARE if you've got 64MB of RAM, I want to use the bit below 640K."

It says: "Directory does not exist ... "
It means: " ... any more. Whoops."

It says: "Please Wait ... "
It means: " ... Indefinitely."

It says: "The application caused an error. Choose Ignore or Close."
It means: " ... Makes no difference to me, you're still not getting your work back."

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IS Tip: Grappel Grommets, Filbert Flanges, and Three Easy Payments

by Kevin Procter, Extend Communications Inc.

The caller wants 500 grappel grommets. Following the IS script, the operator fulfills that order – even gives the caller a confirmation number and sends an email to the address provided by this caller. All the things you can do with Infinity via IS scripting are wonderful! But wait: Didn't we miss something there?

The scenario in the previous paragraph is woefully incomplete. Can we take payment information in IS? What about receiving three easy payments of only $19.95? Then the customer calls back and wants a filbert flange thrown in – what's an operator to do?!

Enter the Database connection. When it comes to adding functionality and value added services for your custuomers, there's nothing quite like a database connection in your IS script.

Saving orders into a database allows the operator to call that order up again at a later date and change anything at all – within the functionality you've programmed into the script, of course. All order information can be maintained within the database, complete with encryption of the caller's contact and credit card information.

Audit trail? Try taking those three easy payments without providing an audit trail. The database allows us to take each payment and journal it for later review by an auditor – or by the operator when the caller wants to confirm payment.

BUT WAIT! Databases can also provide the great value-added service of reporting. The customer for whom you're taking orders will be thrilled when you throw Crystal Reports into the mix and give them their highs, lows, trends, customer demographics, call volumes, and any other reports they can think of requesting from you.

Now, this writer hasn't been in this industry very long, yet has learned in a short tenure that successful companies do much more than answer phones and record caller information. The best companies also process, reprocess and analyze collected information, providing services far outside the telephone answering box on which this industry was built.

Any company using IS would be well advised to invest in IT development – adding database connectivity, auditing, encryption and reporting to their offered services. A strong, intelligent, well-managed IT investment will almost certainly strengthen customer retention, add records to your customer list, and widen your revenue stream. Don't put off IS database development – order yours today – and throw in a filbert flange for good measure..

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Ownership Wins

by Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor

It never fails. When my audiences are asked to name one characteristic they'd like to see in an employee, overwhelmingly it's always OWNERSHIP – to take responsibility. Certainly there are other traits they'd like to see in others, but without fail OWNERSHIP wins. When we talk about "what does ownership mean to you," there are several answers. To make it easy, we've taken the word OWNERSHIP and labeled a thought to each letter. Hope you enjoy!


Operate as though it's your business. Take responsibility. There's no, "It's not my job" in ownership. There's only, "I will help you."


Walk in the customer's shoes. That's the best way to be sure you understand what's going on and to help. Pretend it's you calling in and needing assistance. What if this happened to you?


Never say "NO." That's right; even when you're not able to help or even when the situation is hopeless (and let's hope it never gets to that). The word NO is offensive, abrupt, unfriendly, overused and tired. There are a dozen positive alternatives we can use to let the customer down gently. To offer a few: "I wish we could" or "Let me double check on that" or "I'm going to take some time and see if we can work this out." Bottom line, offering NO at the top of your conversation is useless.


Empowerment is strength. Having employees empowered to assist by themselves is a strong motivation to do well. The worst they can do is make one mistake. Normally easily corrected and move forward. Empower your folks!


Resolution. Sticking with the issue until it is solved. No matter how many phone calls, how many times we re-check something, it's not over till it's fixed. Resolved! The mentality needs to be: "Your issues are our issues."


Sending confirmation of the resolution. This is so important. If something gets fixed or resolved and the customer isn't made aware of it, they can still be upset. The other day we were to have been issued a credit from an airline. We never heard from them. After a third call from my husband to the airline, we were told, "Oh, that credit was on your bill a few months ago." But no one bothered to let us know it was coming or that it had been done. Send confirmation or call! Then close the issue.


Happiness is key. Happy people love to help. That's a fact. And your customers love to be helped by happy people. That's another fact. They can even make the bitter better. (Say that three times!) Walk into your job HAPPY.


Integrity. This is non-negotiable. Having integrity is a huge part of ownership. Do what is right ALL the time. And remember, having the right to do it doesn't always "make it right." Integrity!


Personal commitment. Each and every person helping a customer needs to make their own personal commitment that they will take ownership. No more, "It's not my job." No more, "I wasn't here when it happened." No more, "I don't know anything about it."

Let's hear from you. What does ownership mean to you?

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