NAEO Newslinks-March08
March 2008

Did you attend the 2008 NAEO Conference?
Please take a minute to fill out our short surveys:

1) Individual Sessions
2) Overall Conference

President's Report
by John Ratliff

From the President-Elect
by Cori Bartlett

Committee Updates:

Don't miss this upcoming webinar:

John Ratliff

President's Report
by John Ratliff, President

It is with great excitement that we begin a new year with NAEO. Our organization has experienced a very healthy past five years and we look forward to more success going forward. There are obviously lots of challenges on our horizon. A looming recession, continuing consolidation in the industry and the evolution of our platform into IS – all present challenges to the organization and its members. We look forward to confronting these challenges head on, with proactive solutions that help maintain both the health of the organization and the health of the member.

We are also excited to update our long-term strategic plan.This is an exercise that we commit to every 3 years or so to realign the direction of the organization for the coming years. While it is impossible to truly predict the future, it has created some balance and structure as boards change year over year. Many of the decisions made in the past few years were direct results of our last strategy meeting hosted by Past President Marci Imes.

Finally, we are striving to create one overarching project this year that we can look to as our primary accomplishment. Similar to the agent training program in years past, we will set one large project-based goal for the year to deliver a bottom line, meaningful member benefit that will be valuable to all members. We are working out some of the final details on this project, so stay tuned….!!

We are looking forward to a great year!

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Cori Bartlett

From the President-Elect
by Cori Bartlett, President-Elect

It is with great pleasure and honor that I accept the position of Vice President/President-Elect of NAEO for the year 2008-2009.

NAEO has consistently been the one measurable aspect that has challenged our business, Alliance Communication to greatness. The support and camaraderie, along with a high standard of doing business is unparallel in our industry. I was enlightened early on in our NAEO membership that participation by all is necessary and that everyone has something, even if it’s minor, to share with the group.

I would like to thank Marci Imes of Advantage Answering Service for opening the door of opportunity for me by nominating me for the Board of Directors in 2005. She also served as a terrific example of running a conference, leadership and even raising children! I had the pleasure of serving on the NAEO Board during Marci’s Presidency and the Presidency of some of the finest leaders since. This year, I am thrilled to be serving with our current President, John Ratliff of Appletree, who is a leader in our industry.

I bring to NAEO 19 years of industry experience, the past 9 years of which has been with Amtelco products. We currently utilize all Amtelco products from Infinity 5.4 (on the list for 5.5!); Intelligent Series, Ultracomm, Voice Logger, BillingLink, etc. We are also a diverse call center servicing a 30/70 mix of traditional answering service accounts to many Call Center services. I believe my experience, along with our business philosophies, appeal to the broad makeup of our association.

I am honored to join the ranks of not only those NAEO Presidents of recent past, but all of the individuals who have led and served this association since its inception almost 25 years ago. I hope to exceed your expectations of me and continue to lead NAEO into greatness.

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Committee Updates

Conference Committee
NAEO XXIV – Coaching a League of Champions
by Cori Bartlett, 2008 Conference Chair

The 24th Annual NAEO Conference in Savannah, Georgia was unlike any other NAEO Conference in history!

The Westin Savannah Harbor Resort and Spa, which is located on exclusive Hutchinson Island, served as the perfect retreat for our event, which was held February 3 – 6, 2008. From the 18-hole championship golf course to the signature spa, attendees were able to fit in a little R&R between attending educational sessions or networking events.

Our Conference "kick off” began on Sunday with a huge "BIG GAME” party celebrating the championship game of the American National Football League, won by the New York Giants. Just before this party began, we held an exclusive reception welcoming our First Time Conference attendees. This year, 53 of them joined our group!

Verne Harnish, renowned thinker and business strategist of Gazelles, Inc. delivered a spectacular keynote presentation on Monday morning on his book, Mastering the Rockefeller Habits – What You Must do to Increase the Value of your Fast-Growing Firm. Every attendee also received a copy of this book to take home to further their study of his tools to make business more fun and less stressful.

Monday evening Amtelco hosted another memorable party aboard the Georgia Queen, which sailed the Savannah River. Guests were treated to an evening of food, fun, drinks, music and dancing. We thank them for such a great night.

Tuesday afternoon, the NAEO Business meeting was held. The membership voted "Yes” to the proposed Bylaw amendments and three Board members were elected. Cori Bartlett of Alliance Communications and Kelli Harrigan of Spectrum Communications were re-elected to the Board at the end of their 3-year terms. Matthew Crocker of Crocker Communications joined the Board as a first-term member.

Along with an entire day of Intelligent Series Workshop, the conference was packed full of sessions for every "player” on your "team.” A wide variety of topics were covered with a lot of break-out sessions. Much was learned and shared at Round Table sessions as well.

I am happy to report that NAEO did NOT bring rain to the location this year. It has been a long-standing tradition of ours to deliver the wettest of conditions even in the driest areas.

The 2009 NAEO Conference location was announced during the event. The Cancun Palace Resort & Spa in Cancun, Mexico, will host us next year for NAEO’s 25th Anniversary Conference! Mark your calendars now for March 1 – 4, 2009, and have your passports ready!

See full Conference recap information at, including a photo gallery, speaker presentations, and roundtable discussion results.

See you all in Cancun!

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Ron Waine

Membership Committee
by Ron Waine, Membership Chair

Wow, there was tremendous "FirstTimer” attendance at our recent national conference, more than 50 in all! The Membership Committee kicked off the "Buddy” program at the First Timer reception prior to the big game. We had close to a 1:1 ration of buddies and first timers as a result of the many volunteers that responded to our "NAEO is seeking a few good buddies” request – thank you.

During the Annual Business meeting at the conference, we received valued feedback regarding the current tier structure for membership dues. The new "Plus” category has been effective in initiating balance between new revenue generation and member dues lost through mergers and acquisitions. Some changes may be in order to further improve the structure. We will give good consideration to this request.

As we keep in touch with members throughout the year, we sometimes hear the perception that the NAEO Listserv tends to be too technically oriented. Although posts often cover a variety of subjects, we would like to take this opportunity to remind all participants not to hesitate to use the Listserv for any topic relevant to operating our businesses. Questions and comments on sales, marketing, training, motivation, financial review, etc., are all welcome.

One very strong contributor to the Membership Committee is moving on to a new role as Education Chair. I would like to extend my appreciation to Trisha Stenberg for all of her great work towards membership during the last two years. Thank you Trisha!

Our committee of volunteers does much great work on behalf of NAEO, but there is so much more that can be done. We want to expand our current group and could use your help to assist in direct member contact and benefit development. Please consider joining the Membership Committee team – you will find it a rewarding volunteer opportunity! It would be great to hear from you to discuss any of the above at, or 1-877-280-5406. Thank you.

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Trisha Stenberg

Education Committee
by Trisha Stenberg, Education Committee Chair

What a conference! I would like to sincerely thank everyone who has passed their conference feedback along to me, to another member of the board or to a committee member. I am keeping every bit of feedback so we can use it for planning our next conference. If anyone else has feedback to offer, please use the conference survey to share your thoughts or feel free to email me directly at Education Chair with your feedback as well.

The education committee will have its first post-conference meeting in February and we will begin to plan the events for the next year. Pam Shaffer, our Webinar coordinator, is already working on planning several Webinar topics we hope will be of great interest to the membership. Watch for more information about the dates/times and topics coming soon. You can also go to and view the calendar of upcoming webinars. There are some already planned that you don’t want to miss!

We will also be working to plan our next Supervisor Training Seminar. We will take the feedback received from the last one, which has already been discussed in detail, and use this information to help us create a valuable experience for all in attendance. I hope to see a high turnout at this event as I truly believe it is a great step in building the future leaders of our industry!

Even though it’s a full year away, we will begin planning our 2009 NAEO Conference in Cancun! Being our 25th anniversary as an organization, this should be the best conference ever – and your education committee is committed to making this happen. Again, please be sure to fill out your conference survey if you haven’t already done so, and don’t hesitate to share any feedback you have! This will only serve to help us make each conference even better than the last.

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Mike Burkinshaw

Tips from Tech Helper
by Mike Burkinshaw, Tech Helper Chair

Check out the new Resource Library on Amtelco's Tech Helper. It has been substantially revamped and updated – particularly the training element.

Check out other great featues on the Amtelco website by visiting

Amtelco is interested in any "how to" suggestions, questions, or submissions.

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Betty Bouchie
From the Editor:
So How About Those Giants...of Our Industry?
by Betty Bouchie

The action on the screen could hardly compare to the action in the sessions, in the hallways, at the lunch tables and even in the bar. The lines of learning and teaching were blurred in round tables, as moderators kept the flow of ideas going. Industry giants shared their thoughts in sessions that were guaranteed to provide more ideas than could fill a football stadium.

In addition to the educational experiences, the personal connections that were made during the conference will last for a lifetime. Friendships were made that can uplift your spirits and offer support when you are experiencing troubles. They may supply that one vital piece of information that will solve a problem you have been wrestling with or provide that tip that will change the way you do things.

This year in Newslinks, we will continue to share ideas. Stay tuned!

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Kelli Harrigan

Celebrate 25 Years of NAEO at Our Next NAEO Annual Conference!
by Kelli Harrigan, 2009 Conference Chair

March 1 – 4, 2009
Cancun Palace
Cancun, Mexico

Mark your calendars now and plan to join us for an information-packed conference at the Cancun Palace Resort! We’ll get started on Sunday, March 1 and run through Wednesday, March 4. Cancun Palace has been completely renovated and lies on the Caribbean Sea and Nichupte Lagoon, just a short stroll from Cancun’s main attractions. We are in the process of finalizing the room and conference rates, but if you want to take a peek at the resort, you can go to for a virtual tour.

Anyone who is interested in assisting with this year’s Conference, please contact me:

Don’t miss out on this Annual Conference celebrating 25 years of NAEO! See you all in Cancun!

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IS Workshop
by Pam Shaffer

The IS Workshops were a huge success thanks to the facilitators: Sharon Campbell, Gerald Brosseau, Jennifer Tarragni, Bo Brand, Adrian Trevino, Judy Austin, Daphne Wagnon, Eric Smith, and John Ellis, Michael Leibowitz, Jake Phillips, Susan Kirkpatrick and Greg Strehlow from Amtelco. All three workshops experienced a "full house” and several attendees were anxious to discuss future workshops.

The workshops were originally designed around two groups of attendees…the beginners and advanced. After surveying the registrants, we discovered that many attendees were at an intermediate level. So, with only few hours to spare before the conference, we added an "Intermediate Workshop,” geared toward those who were comfortable with scripting, but wanted to review specific topics in depth.

The workshops covered everything from clicking and dragging input boxes to a script, to using SQL stored procedures. Our facilitators assisted the beginners in creating a working script. The beginners used an "IS Basic Workshop Play Book,” which was designed to take the beginner from start to finish though a working script. The "playbook” is available on the NAEO website and is a valuable tool to familiarize a new person with scripting. The script utilized many elements, such as: screen modes, IF statements, list branching, linking to Oncall Scheduler, and custom message summaries. The Intermediate Workshop discussed advanced properties of IS Info Pages, Case Branching, IS Shared Fields, and IS Directories. Michael Leibowitz, Jake Phillips, and Greg Strehlow conducted the Advanced IS Workshop which discussed using SQL stored procedures, _acd fields, and many exciting database linking features.

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Matt Crocker
Member Spotlight:
Matt Crocker, Crocker Communications, Inc.

Q. Could you tell us how and when your business began?
Our telephone answering service (TAS) began in 1956 and was founded by the "Barrett Family.” My mom, Regis, purchased the business from the Barrett Family in 1963 and operated the service from our house until 1999, when we moved into our current office in Greenfield. I officially joined the company in 1988, when I became an operator in a "staffing emergency.” I had a 30-minute crash course on EVE, reading the "EVE is easy” book on the way to the office.

In 1994 I started our ISP (Internet Service Provider) division and in 2000 I started our CLEC (Competitive Local Exchange Carrier) and Data center divisions. I became company president in 2006, when my mom retired. I use the term "retired” loosely. She is still involved with the business, and oversees our bigger projects.

There is an article on our history on our website:

Q. What are your most common accounts?
We have a large number of medical accounts, but our TAS is well diversified.

Q. When did you start using Amtelco equipment and why?
In 1986, we started with Amtelco equipment in a new office in Northampton, installing a Video III system. We later upgraded to EVE, then to Infinity. We were the first Amtelco customer running remote operators, using Video III and EVE. We would close down our Northampton office and operate a remote station in our Greenfield office, while still using cord boards. I remember skipping school in 1986, when our EVE was being installed, so I could watch and learn the technology. I also remember driving 20 minutes to "push big red.” I'm glad those days are over!

Q. When did you join NAEO and why?
Our company has been a member of NAEO since the beginning. I'm not sure of the exact year but it has been a long time.

Q. When did you begin in the business?
In 1972, at age two, there are pictures of me "answering” phones alongside my mom. In 1980, at age 10, I was working by counting messages for billing and stuffing envelopes. In 1986, at age 16, I was the "tech-geek” for EVE, installing our first T1 channel bank. In 1988, at age 18, I flew to Madison to sit alongside Jody for some in-depth technical training on EVE. I also started as an operator at the same time. In 1994, I started our ISP division and put down the headset.

Q. Tell us a little personal information about you, your family and your hobbies or interests.
I live in Hatfield, Maine, a small farming town. I always said I wanted to live in a town where tractors still drive down the street. I'm married with two children. My son is 11 and my daughter is three and a half.

In the winter I love to ski and in the summer I love to mountain bike, when I have time, of course. I love to cook and think of myself as a "food snob.”

My wife and I are certified Open Water SCUBA divers and I'm a licensed Skydiver with 350+ jumps. I haven't jumped out of an airplane in over 3 years, but plan on jumping again when my son turns 18.

Q. As a new NAEO board member, what do you feel you will bring to the table?
I'm very well versed in technology and the Internet. As a VoIP service provider and CLEC, I feel I can bring some knowledge to the board, and NAEO, about upcoming technology trends, and how they can be integrated into the TAS industry.

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Thank you to Our NAEO Outgoing Board Members

Betty Bouchie

Joe T. Miller, III

The NAEO Board and members wish to express their gratitude to Joseph T. Miller, III of Call Experts/Checkpoint Communications and Betty Bouchie of Queen Elizabeth II Health Science Centre for their years of service as NAEO Directors!

Joe served as NAEO president 2006-07, and just completed his term as Past President, contributing his wisdom and knowledge as Board historian during the last year.

Betty served NAEO as the 2005 conference chair in San Diego and as Education Chair the past two years.

We are grateful for the time and dedication that they both gave to continually grow and improve NAEO.

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Hospital Clinic – Appointment Reminders
by Betty Bouchie

Think for a minute about the number of appointments made every day at your facility. Each appointment could commit one or all of the following people or things: an administration person to book, check and provide the endless paperwork; a technician to administer the test or treatment; the equipment to administer the test or treatment; the drugs needed; a technician to pre-screen the data; a physician to read the reports; a technician, physician or administration person to follow up. What happens to all of that committed time when someone does not show up for an appointment? What does it do to the wait time for someone in need of treatment?

This year the QEII started a pilot project using an Intelligent Series script, connected to a clinic appointment database to provide telephone reminders. The results were amazing! The "No Show” rate dropped from 9% to 1.4%. Consider the number of appointments this represents in the course of a year. It means that at least 8% of people on the wait list are removed.

Consider this valuable service your call centre could offer the clinics within your facility.

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One of Those Days...

Written by Alan Chapman,

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The "Fone Lady" Marketing Corner

Verne Harnish
Wow, what a great experience we all had in Savannah! The most important tip to share for those who could not join us is to sign up for Verne Harnish's newsletter, download his material and read his book.

  • ReadMastering the Rockefeller Habits by Verne Harnish.
  • Go to http://www.gazelles.comto download some valuable material; sign up under "My Gazelles" (top right area) at the website.
  • Get your "huddle" started.
  • One great tip to share from Verne Harnish: Never email a price proposal to your potential client. Always try to present the proposal in person.
  • Subscribe to his Weekly Insight Newsletter. A tip shared from Verne's weekly newsletter

Eric Darmstetter
Do your salespeople "show up and throw up?" Eric Darmstetter, founder of SalesBy5, uses as his "marketing piece" an airline-grade barf bag with his Sales Safety Information card inside. It proved to be a "remarkable" piece at the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas. Are your marketing materials "remarkable" i.e. people "remark" about them? Click here for a link to Eric's blog where he details the promotion and provides his 10 Sales Safety Information tips. His "salt and pepper" tip is the best!
www.constantcontact.comis a great resource for keeping in touch with anyone who comes in touch with you on a daily basis (past, present and future clients). Always, always ask for an email address. NEVER MISS THE OPPORTUNITY to market your company. Contact your current client base and update your contact file with management's direct email address. By using the programs offered by Constant Contact, you can keep everyone in the "know" about: your services offered, your company (and staff) attending the annual conference and continuing education workshops, quarterly newsletters, and seasonal greetings. Now it's your turn. Look at the website, sign up for their FREE Webinars and market the news happenings of your company.

Let's get those phones ringing!

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The 4 Cs of Coaching Skills
by Nancy Friedman, Telephone Doctor

When most people think of the word "COACH," they immediately imagine someone on the sidelines screaming at their players to do a better job. That may be true in certain sports situations, but in business, a coach needs to have a completely different approach in order to help employees improve performance.

Let's have a look at the role of a manager/coach and how that integrates with employee development. Where does traditional training come in? How does training relate to coaching? And what are the differences between training, coaching and counseling?

The process starts with training. That's the first step.

Let's say you're training a group. What usually happens is most of the group understands, learns and benefits from the information you've taught. Unfortunately, not everyone "gets it." What do we do about that small percentage of employees – often good, conscientious people – who may need personalized attention after training? Those are the ones who need coaching.

Remember that Coaching is strategically guiding someone into improving performance. It's analyzing feedback to see the areas where the training hasn't taken hold.

Is remedial training needed? That's where the coaching comes in. These are the people who need one-on-one customized help to develop their skills. OK, we've talked about training and coaching. Where does counseling come in?

Counseling is helping someone explore, and possibly resolve, personal problems. Counseling is utilized if, for whatever reason, the employee isn't performing. It's for that special situation when training and coaching haven't worked, where the employee is not willing, or is unable, to do the job. Especially if there is some distraction that is not job related.

We're going to give you the Telephone Doctor® Four Step Model for effective coaching in a call center or business environment.

We call it the 4 Cs of Coaching. The 4 C's are:

  1. Concurrence
  2. Content
  3. Commitment
  4. Congratulations or Continuation

Let's cover them one by one:

  • Concurrence is critical. Unless you and the trainee agree (concur) that there is a gap, and they commit to the improvement that's needed, you won't be able to coach to your full capacity for effectiveness. We need concurrence. Both you and the employee need to concur there is an issue. Once that's done, we can go on to the Content.

  • Content: What's important is to identify the content that needs to be improved. What needs to be done? What are some of the issues involved? Normally where coaching is needed, it's either due to the fact that the employee doesn't know how to do the job (they just don't 'get it') or doesn't want to do the job. You need to find out which it is. The coach and the employee need to agree on the content, the issue and the problem. Only then can they make a commitment to solve it.

  • Commitment: The coach and the trainee need to agree. They can then make a commitment to solve the problem. Normally we're working with an intelligent, conscientious employee who wants to do a good job. With some coaching, the job will be done right.

  • Congratulations or Continuation: Once you and the employee have found the content that needs to be corrected, and you give them the instruction on how to do it right, and there is commitment it will be done, it's time for CONGRATULATIONS. Let them know they've done a good job. This is critical. It's most important you don't leave that part out. Worst case scenario, it's continuation. A little more work may be needed with some employees to reach the congratulations step.

Much coaching takes place to fill a perceived need. You find out that there's a gap in the performance of an employee, and then plan a coaching approach that should improve the performance of that employee. It's nice and orderly to be able to think about what you're going to do. Formulate your plan and decide when you're going to do your coaching.

Coaching, while immediate, should also be in private; especially when it becomes an on-the-spot type of coaching. Never embarrass the employee. That's not coaching, that's being mean!

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Don't Miss This Upcoming Webinar

Using Stored Procedures with IS scripting
March 6, 2008
1:00 - 2:00 p.m. EST

Speaker: Jake Phillips, Appletree Answering Service

Want to take your scripting to a whole new level? Use stored procedures to filter and manipulate the data stored in SQL tables. Join Jake Phillips as he demonstrates some uses (and examples) of stored procedures.

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