Newslinks lite July 2012
July 2012

Regular Columns

From the Editor
by Betty Bouchie

Be Inspired
by Gary Blair

Something to Smile About...

IS Tip: Parse This!
by Kevin Procter

Email Frustrations
(Yup, They're Still Around)
by Nancy Friedman

Featured Articles

Messaging in the 21st Century
by Dave Dees

Webinar & Workshop Opportunities

NAEO Summer Seminar Series

Amtelco Annex

Send Instant Messages with IS Messenger
by David Drenk

New Infinity Server Reports
by David Drenk

Infinity 101
by John VanWalsum

From the Editor

by Betty Bouchie

Relax and breathe!

I love it when July arrives. Living in a city with five universities, our population fluctuates quite a bit through the year, but usually July and August are the quiet months. The city breathes a sigh of relief from the ease in traffic, and so do the drivers. July is also a good time to take time to relax and see how the year is going. We are past the halfway mark and can review the progress we have made, make adjustments and improvements and give ourselves a pat on the back for making it this far!

If you need a little help relaxing, here is an article with a few tips. Enjoy!
www.pickthebrain.com/blog/relaxation-technique

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Be Inspired

Submitted by Gary Blair

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.
~ J. Lubbock

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Something to Smile About...

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IS Tip

Parse THIS!

by Kevin Procter, Extend Communications Inc.

This writer finds programming to be a very creative, enjoyable activity. One of my favourite things to do when programming is to manipulate – or parse – strings. I like to stick strings together, and pull strings apart, sort strings, and . . .

In spite of that previous paragraph, I am not a magician doing magic tricks with strings and knots. Programmers will know what a string is; for everyone else: a string is a collection of characters put together in a computer's memory. A string can be a name, a phone number, or even this sentence.

Parsing requires that you have a string of characters, with one common character separating the different parts of the string. Usually (but not always) that character is a comma.

A fascinating point of programming is that the programmer needs to first process data in his or her mind. In other words, the program that is about to be written into the computer is already written and running in the programmer's brain. In fact, parts of a program are usually well under construction before the programmer touches a keyboard.

Call me a geek, but I think that's cool.

Now, most languages (all that I've worked with anyway) have the ability to parse strings. Enter IS scripting.

IS scripting is a language that is unique among this writer's professional (and amateur) programming experiences. That is, I've never before seen a language quite like it.

How does one parse a string in IS? That was the question I asked myself two years ago when I started working in this industry, with Extend Communications. After experimenting a bit with the string functions of IS scripting, putting together a string parsing routine was fun.

In any language that allows string manipulation, there are usually a few different ways to accomplish parsing. Personally, I prefer the following method as it's simple and easy for other programmers to read.

  1. Find the position of the first comma in the string.
  2. Copy the beginning of the string, up to (but not including) the position of the comma.
  3. Remove that information up to and including the comma, from the string.
  4. Repeat until the string is exhausted.

The result is, instead of one long string, we have parsed it into several small strings, each containing a section of the original string.

Let's look at this routine in a script. See the code below: I've taken a string of email addresses, and parsed it into individual email addresses.

The script snippet above parses the string just the way I like. It checks to see if there's a comma in the string of email addresses. Following this, we find the position of the comma. The rest uses the value of that comma's position to parse the first section of the string. This can be made to repeat as often as you need, until the string of email addresses is exhausted.

What you do with those now-parsed email addresses is up to you. Of course, a string doesn't have to contain email addresses. You can parse a list of phone numbers, names, bad jokes, and so on. Further, aside from commas, I've parsed strings that were separated by pipes (This character: | ), and other characters.

Data are very commonly shared between computer systems in a format that is ready to be parsed. If you haven't yet learned to parse within IS Scripting, you should take the opportunity to do it when you can. After you do parse data once, and see what that can do for your organization, you'll be loving to parse – maybe even as much as I do!

Now, how does one sort a string in an IS script?

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Email Frustrations
(Yup, They're Still Around)

by Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor

Do you ever wonder why your email doesn't get answered? Here are some of the public's frustrations on email.

One of them may be why you didn't get an answer. There are probably more; however, these seem to float to the top more often.

Messages that are too long: As in voice mail, we know that the more succinct the message, the better it's received. And now, where we can all get our emails not only on our office computers, but on our phones and our iPads, it's critically important for our emails to be short, sweet and to the point. Long messages get zapped just as long voice mails used to.

Suggestion: If you do have a long email to send, mention that right in the subject line. This way the recipient A) knows it in advance and B) can save it for when he has time.

Poor spelling and bad grammar: Inexcusable! And also the wrong use of words. Dare we go into your/you're or there/their/they're? And to/too and two; it's and its or hear and here? Spell check will help the spelling; however, it will not catch the right word used in the wrong way. Only you can do that. Most of your clients are well bred, and receiving an email (or letter) with poor English will detract from the message. Tsk-tsk. Surely one word misspelled may not kill the deal. But several could.

Suggestion: Use your spell check and when in doubt - leave it out! Or use another word.

Wrong subject line: If you reuse part of an email for someone else and the topic in the body of the message changes, change the subject line. This drives most folks nutty. And it's also bad for locating a message when you need it. Wrong subject lines are a waste of time to the person receiving the email. And in some cases will really hurt the case.

Suggestion: Take the little bit of extra time it takes to correct the subject line to match the message when it changes. Double-check to be sure you have it correct.

ALL CAPS: Conventional wisdom says all caps should never be used. I disagree with this partially because there are times when I believe you should use all caps. Such as:

THANK YOU FOR YOUR ORDER. YOU MADE OUR DAY!
Then go back to your normal font.

Telling someone they did a great job can also be in all caps.
ROB, CONGRATS ON YOUR RECENT ACHIEVEMENT.

Or even telling someone you love them, it's OK to use caps. And certainly a HAPPY BIRTHDAY would be OK in all caps. What we don't want is to send an entire email in all caps.

Suggestion: Use caps cautiously, carefully and kindly.

Not using names: Names are key and most people like their name. And they like it spelled right. Saying "Dear Nancy" or "Hi Nancy" prior to the message is much better than just starting the email out with no name. And a plain "Hi," while better than nothing, isn't very effective.

When we see our clients or friends in person we normally say, "Hello Bob" or "Hi Judy." So remember to use their name in your salutation.

Suggestion: Double-check every email before you hit send to be sure names are used and are correctly spelled. Misspelled names are a sure fire no-no. The recipient will spend more time thinking about your error than in reading the email.

Use short paragraphs: When sending out information, it's much better to use bullets or numbered lists rather than long paragraphs. Remember, emails get to our phone and it's no fun to get a looooong email on a cell phone. Shorten it up.

Suggestion: Make your email visually interesting.

Extra tips we all need:

Beware of FORWARDING messages and sending old information that may not be appropriate at this time.

Beware of sending the wrong email to the wrong person. Or hitting "Reply to All" when we shouldn't have done that. Gulp, gulp. Not fun! And, yes, I've done it. Why? Because I didn't take the time to double check. It's that simple.

Be aware of tone of voice, no emotion, no smiling messages; it's so very important to use effective words.
A quick happy face can make a big difference.

Beware of weak, wimpy words in your emails. What are some weak, wimpy words? Which sounds better to you?
Hi Nancy. Just a note to let you know we received the lovely gift.
or
Hi Nancy. A special note to let you know we received the lovely gift.

There are more. And until next time, thanks for reading.

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Messaging in the 21st Century

By Dave Dees, Operations Manager, AnswerPro Limited

Since Answering Services started doing business many years ago, one major dimension of the industry was the delivery of messages. This has evolved from direct communication through the phone network, to now secure cloud messaging to smart phones. Each step in this progression has taken advantage of new technology coming into the workplace. The driving force behind adoption of these new developments was the efficiency and labor savings that could be obtained.

With every new advancement, certain liabilities had to be understood and dealt with accordingly. As soon as alphanumeric pagers were introduced, it became evident that this form of communication was fast, for the most part reliable, and was easily incorporated into the host systems of the TAS. However, it lacked any confirmation from the recipient. Later in pager development, some companies did add this feature but many TAS systems (without specialized applications, etc.) were not equipped to return confirmation data. So most services utilized this as a one-way communication; it was fine if the message was not urgent or high-priority in nature. As telephony became more robust and cellular networks became more mainstream and reliable, delivering messages directly to a mobile phone became an alternative to the pager. In its infancy, most messages went from the TAS to the cellular system via a gateway, much like the pagers. As technology progressed, text could be delivered to the cellular network via the public Internet (much like email). However, both these methods utilize public networks and data may be redirected through the public network without regard to the timeliness or urgency. However robust these methods were, there would be advancements to reliability and confirmation of delivery without expensive equipment and software.

As cellular phones became more popular, and the fees associated with their use declined, users became enamored with the ease of mobile-to-mobile text communication. Texting has become a default use of the mobile system, maybe even more so than oral interaction. The adaption of the TAS system directly to the cellular system was the next logical step in the progression for more robust messaging. Now the host systems have direct communication via a cellular modem directly linking into cellular network to deliver messages. The TAS personnel saw little change in appearance; it behaved just like an alpha pager but now went to a mobile device. The developers also included software to link this messaging to optional software modules that enabled the end user to easily communicate back to the host and these responses could be used as confirmation. For the smaller TAS, there was still the expense of new equipment and software to truly enable a two-way text conversation. However, for its ease of use and simple programming, this solution is becoming a mainstay in the call center business.

The next step in development involves using private servers to send messages efficiently without using the public gateways and ensuring data security. In short, the TAS system is linked in real time to a secure server and sends any messages "up” to the cloud. On the user's side, the smart phone or device is also linked to the cloud. When a message is available to the user, the cloud notifies the customer, and the message is delivered. What sets this apart, however, is that the application uses data encryption and ensures the transmission of text is secure. Furthermore, without any new costly applications or equipment, the TAS host is also updated with the entire message delivery sequence and confirmation of delivery. In addition, replies by the user are also transmitted directly back to the TAS and are also saved in the message history. This secure system that seamlessly incorporates with your Infinity from Amtelco has been named miSecure Messaging. This new use of our existing Infinity systems has finally solved most of the problems that have plagued message delivery since the first tone-only pagers came out. We now can send messages securely, know if they are received, and the user can respond (in real time) immediately back to our operators. All of these features can be utilized by most existing Infinity users with very little or no change in the existing hardware and software. We now have one more tool in our hands to complement our systems and help us become more efficient and keep pace with the new changes in technology of our customers.

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Upcoming Webinars

Business Continuity
July 11, 2012 | 12:00 pm EDT

Moderator: Joe Adam

Presented by: Kurt Vandersheer and Joe Adam

This is series of webinars 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 the membership to assist in 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 recorded sessions to get caught up.

The goal of this webinar series is to work through the plan as a group so that everyone will benefit from each other’s experiences and knowledge.

Business Continuity
August 8, 2012 | 12:00 pm EDT

Moderator: Joe Adam

Presented by: Kurt Vandersheer and Joe Adam

This is series of webinars 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 the membership 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 recorded 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.

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NAEO Summer Seminar Series

Join the NAEO Education Committee & Amtelco for an Intensive 3 Day Workshop

Monday, August 6 – Wednesday, August 8, 2012 | REGISTRATION

Philadelphia Airport Courtyard Marriott Hotel | view map
8900 Bartram Avenue | Philadelphia, PA 19153

Become a Master at Intelligent Series Scripting

Sponsored by Amtelco

August 6-8, 2012 – Philadelphia Airport Courtyard Marriott Hotel

Join the NAEO Education Committee and Amtelco for a "Never Before Offered” Intensive 3 Day Workshop for Both Entry Level and Expert Programmers!

See Details

Full event details and registration | Seminar agenda

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david drenk

Send Instant Messages with IS Messenger

by David Drenk

The optional IS Messenger feature can be used to send instant messages to anyone logged into IS Supervisor, Infinity Telephone Agent, Soft Agent, or Mitey Mite. Messages can be sent to one person or to multiple people by selecting the check boxes next to each login name. Select the Select All check box to quickly send a message to all users.

Each message can contain up to 4,000 characters and each reply to a message can contain up to 4,000 characters. Also, a single user can participate in multiple conversations at once because each new conversation opens in a separate chat window.

Supervisors can search the IS Messenger history by date and time range for a specific agent’s messages. The messages can be grouped by conversation or by date and time.

The companion IS Messenger Detail report can be used to view all message traffic in IS Messenger. The report shows the date and time of the messages, the login names of the agents who sent the messages and the agents who received the messages, and the contents of the messages. The messages in the report are grouped by conversation.

Requirements:

  • IS Messenger optional feature
  • IS Supervisor 5.60.3748.4 or later
  • SQL Server 2000 or later
  • Infinity 5.60.01 or later (optional)
  • Infinity Telephone Agent 5.60.3748.04 or later (optional)
  • Mitey Mite 3.1.3748.05 or later (optional)
  • Soft Agent 3.1.3748.02 or later (optional)

Amtelco Part Number: 232MP140

 

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New Infinity Server Reports

by David Drenk

Infinity version 5.60 includes four new system server reports: the Specials Report, the Status Survey Report, the Disk Access Report, and the Serial Volume Report. Three of the reports — the Specials (Special List) Report, the Disk Access Report, and the Serial Volume (Serial Port Volume) Report — can be scheduled through the Infinity Schedule. All four reports can be viewed or printed through Infinity Supervisor Reports.

The Specials (Special List) Report provides a list all undelivered Infinity Specials on one or more Infinity client accounts. The report lets you specify a range of client accounts, or report on all accounts. The report displays the account number, account name, special, and date and time that the special was taken or edited for each client account. The Specials Report is found in the Client section of Infinity Reports.

The Status Survey (Client Status) Report lists the current status of one or more Infinity client accounts. The report lets you specify a range of client accounts, or report on all accounts. The report displays the account number, client name, status, digit that the status is assigned to, and date and time that the status was updated for each client account. The Status Survey Report is found in the Client section of Infinity Reports.

The Disk Access (Drive Status) Report shows how many reads, writes, and errors have occurred on each of the hard drives and tape drives since the last restart. The report lists the date of the last restart, SCSI ID of each device, device make and model, number of reads, number of writes, and number of errors. The Disk Access Report is found in the Disk section of Infinity Reports.

The Serial Volume (Serial Port Volume) Report shows the number of inbound and outbound jobs that have passed through each port since the last system server reset or since the report was last run using the "Reset Port Volumes after report” option in the Schedule Editor. The report lists the port numbers, number of inbound jobs, and number of outbound jobs. The Serial Volume Report is found in the Serial Connections section of Infinity Reports.

Requirements:

  • Infinity 5.60.01 or later
  • Infinity Supervisor 5.60.0002 or later

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Michael Quimby

Infinity 101

by John VanWalsum

Questions

1. Match the Infinity dial string location in Telephone Agent to its example.

A) Directory
B) Info Card
C) Info Page
D) Message Forms
E) Service List
F) Specials/Status

1) The operator presses the Dial Find or the 101 equivalent key until the caller’s callback number appears.
2) The operator presses Dial Find or the 101 equivalent key until the phone number of the oncall’s mother appears. This occurs today only and never again.
3) The operator presses Done or the 101 equivalent and the message immediately faxes.
4) The operator presses I for specific protocol instructions.
5) The operator presses Info Next or the 101 equivalent for specific protocol instructions.
6) The operator presses Oncall or the 101 equivalent and sees the callback numbers.

SEE ANSWER

2. Which of the following statements best describes the image below?

A) Every message stored on account 7045 will create a dialout with a voicemail alert recording.
B) Every message stored on account 7045 will display a red exclamation mark.
C) Every message stored on account 7045 will go to the UltraComm server.
D) Every message stored on account 7045 will go to the UltraComm server and to a pager.

SEE ANSWER

3. Which letter best applies to the statements and scripts below? The same letter may apply to multiple statements.

A) Only Wanda requires an email for each message.
B) Wanda and 2 others require an email for each message.
C) A programmer changes Wanda’s email in the directory.
D) A programmer changes Wanda’s email in the script.

1) Script 1
2) Script 2
3) Script 3
4) Two of the above
5) All of the above

Script 1

Script 2

Script 3

SEE ANSWER


Answers

1. A6, B4, C5, D1, E3, F2

2. C

UltraComm has different filter codes for sending delivered messages, undelivered messages, both delivered and undelivered messages, and specials. Each filter code can have its system list entry programmed in Infinity Supervisor – System Settings – System Forms & Lists – List. The Auto-Page checkmark sends the message automatically. Letter A requires the appropriate Auto-Dial checkmark and dial string code (2@10>5551212:E). Letter B requires an operator to mark a message urgent, displayed with the red exclamation mark, and the appropriate Urgent Page checkmark. With this latter feature, urgent messages dispatch one way and non-urgent messages dispatch another way. Letter D requires 2 different dial strings on separate service list entries. The first dial string automatically can send a message to a pager. The second dial string automatically can send a message to the UltraComm server for faxing and/or emailing. An eVoiceLink dial string can work too.

3.

A4
Two of the above (script 1 and script 2). Script 1 uses the Send Email script action. Script 2 uses the contact based directories and script actions.
B3
Script 3. The For Each script action can send the same message to all contact based listings belonging to the same role.
C4
Two of the above. Scripts 2 and 3 reference a contact based directory listing.
D1
Script 1. The Send Email script action includes fields for basic email properties.

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