NAEO Newslinks-March09
March 2009
In the February issue of Newslinks, the IS Tip article should have been credited to its author, Caissy Roger. We apologize for the error.

Betty Bouchie

From the Editor:
Conference Time Means Spring...
by Betty Bouchie

I don’t know about you, but whenever the NAEO conference comes around, I feel that spring has come. It may still snow, be cold and miserable after, but to me, I have made it through another winter. It’s not just the passing of time, but the passing of ideas. The conference always provides so many great ideas to get your juices flowing. In this issue, we have brought you some of the highlights of the NAEO conference. Happy conference, happy spring!

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Be Inspired

"Each player must accept the cards life deals him or her; but once they are in hand, he or she alone must decide how to play the cards in order to win the game."

- Voltaire

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Something to Smile About...

Several cannibals were recently hired by a big corporation.

"You are all part of our team now," said the HR rep during the welcoming briefing. "You get all the usual benefits and you can go to the cafeteria for something to eat, but please don't eat any of the other employees."

The cannibals promised.

Four weeks later their boss remarked, "You're all working very hard, and I'm satisfied with you. However, one of our secretaries has disappeared. Do any of you know what happened to her?" The cannibals all shook their heads no.

After the boss had left, the leader of the cannibals said to the others, "Which one of you idiots ate the secretary?" A hand raised hesitantly, to which the leader of the cannibals continued, "You fool! For four weeks we've been eating Managers and no one noticed anything, but noooooo, you had to go and eat the secretary!"

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Jeff Noe

Member Spotlight: Jeff Noe

  1. Could you tell us how and when your business began?

    TeleServe was started in 1958 in Eau Claire, WI by the Fromm family. Over the years TeleServe has acquired other smaller answering services. Today we operator two call centers, one in Eau Claire, WI and the other in Vero Beach, FL. I purchased the business from Martha Fromm in 2007 and have continued to grow the business. Today we employee over 75 employees between both locations.

  2. What are your most common accounts?

    Our primary focus is several niche markets that consist primarily of small to medium sized businesses. The most common services we provide include traditional answering service, web order entry and remote receptionist.

  3. When did you start using Amtelco equipment and why?

    We have been using Amtelco equipment since Eve. Using Amtelco equipment and software has allowed us to offer a wide range of services to our clients. Amtelco has taken a progressive approach with research and development. This has allowed us to take advantage of utilizing the latest technologies to increase our operational efficiencies and offer cutting edge services to our clients.

  4. When did you join NAEO and why?

    I joined NAEO in 2003 when I was new to the telephone answering industry. Joining NAEO gave me the opportunity to network with colleagues in similar businesses and provided me with the resources to learn and adapt to a new industry. It was because of the network of relationships I formed through NAEO that I knew I wanted to have a lifelong career working in the telephone answering service industry.

  5. When did you begin in the business?

    Prior to working for TeleServe I worked in management at AT&T’s small business call centers. I worked primarily in Milwaukee, Chicago and St. Louis. My wife and I wanted to be closer to our immediate families, so we moved to Eau Claire, WI. I began working for TeleServe as the Operations Manager in 2003.

  6. Tell us a little personal information about you, your family and your hobbies or interests.

    I’ve grown up and lived in Northern Wisconsin all my life. I enjoy biking, fishing, golfing and skiing. My wife and I are excited to be expecting our first child soon. We both enjoy traveling the country and overseas and can’t wait for our new little adventure!

  7. What is one thing about you or your business that is different or unique?

    We take a very selective approach when deciding whether or not we want to work with a client. Each new client undergoes an extensive "evaluation” to determine their fit with our operation.

    We also do very little advertising. Nearly all our new clients are referrals from other clients or partners. This has allowed us to keep our marketing costs to less than one percent of our total revenue.

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NAEO 25th Anniversary Celebration in Cancún
by Kelli Harrigan, NAEO Conference Chair

The Cancún Palace provided the perfect location to celebrate 25 years of NAEO. The service level at the hotel was extraordinary, the resort setting made networking a non-stop event and the educational sessions provided a plethora of take-home ideas. Mother Nature even cooperated and for the second consecutive year, no rain to dampen our plans!

Amtelco’s Kevin Beale, Gary Kerner and Mike Friedel got the conference started with a great interactive session on Sunday afternoon, introducing Infinity 5.51 and including a trivia game throughout, handing out prizes along the way (anything from gift cards to coupons toward Amtelco products). It was a great way to get everyone involved and energized as the conference got underway! Amtelco’s session was followed by our first group of round tables, followed by some time for a little R&R and networking opportunities poolside.

At our First Timers reception Sunday evening, we welcomed 12 first time attendees and they were given an opportunity to earn some cash during the conference. The membership committee had an ice-breaker game, "25 Years of Networking, 25 boxes for Networking” that would run throughout the conference as each first time attendee tried to fill out all 25 boxes with a variety of NAEO-related people to track down. The big winners were Jamie Des Jardins from Time Communications ($125), Frances Villavelazquez from AAMCOM ($75) and Steve Humphreys from Answerwest ($50). Thank you to Tigertel for donating the cash prizes!

While we had no rain, we did have gale force winds that forced us to re-locate our Opening Reception indoors, but the hotel staff made sure that our party would not suffer for the change, turning our meeting space into the perfect party location (DJ and dance floor included!). At the reception, NAEO President John Ratliff recognized the 10 Past Presidents in attendance, honoring each for their achievements over their years of service.

Monday morning, John Ratliff gave his keynote presentation on Building a Great Company through Great People, sharing the revelations he has had over the last couple of years on how lucky we are to work in a business that revolves around people. His speech was so powerful and moving that members talked about it throughout the rest of the conference. Many left that session with a renewed passion to focus on the culture in their business, providing a WOW work environment for their staff and getting their employees more involved at all levels.

Later that afternoon, Barney Pelant of Barney Pelant & Associates presented on Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity planning, announcing a new NAEO Member benefit – the NAEO Business Continuity Planning Initiative. The NAEO Technical Committee and Barney will be working together towards developing a guide and workbook to assist our members in ensuring they are prepared when a disaster strikes.

That evening, Amtelco hosted a Mexican fiesta poolside and guests were treated to a wonderful buffet of food, drinks and an authentic Mariachi band. Thank you to everyone at Amtelco for such a festive evening!

Tuesday morning we held the business meeting and re-elected to the board were Joe Adam of ACT Teleservices, Trisha Stenberg of Time Communications, and Jim Wagner of Wagner Communications. John Ratliff passed the gavel to Cori Bartlett, our incoming NAEO President. Tuesday also included a full day of IS Workshops in addition to the various other breakouts for operations, technical and sales track as well as Round Tables for more in depth discussions on a variety of topics.

Wednesday we wrapped up the conference with a "wish-list” session with Amtelco, more breakouts and round tables, and finished up with a "Best Idea from the Conference" session where members shared some of the most beneficial ideas that they are taking home, such as:

  • Various Billing Strategies ideas such as billing for DID #s or paper invoices
  • Having your sales staff go to existing clients’ websites to review with a fine-toothed comb, looking for additional business opportunities (other divisions, partners, other services you could provide, etc)
  • Strategies for making co-location work for you
  • Different approaches for recruiting/interviewing sales staff

During our closing lunch, we closed the silent auction for the Operator Relief Fund and found that we had raised $5,000 for the fund! Incoming NAEO President Cori Bartlett also announced the location of our 2010 conference – beautiful Newport Beach, CA, March 7-10, 2010 (more details will be released soon!)

See you in Newport Beach!

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

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NAEO Awards Amtelco Employees of the Year in Cancún
by Kelli Harrigan, NAEO Conference Chair

Each year, NAEO selects an employee at Amtelco for the Employee of the Year award. The Board looks at individuals who have had an impact on our membership to make their selection. For the first time, the Board decided to award two employees at Amtelco: Megan Schroeter and Jana Olson. Megan has worked diligently behind the scenes on the TechHelper site. Using feedback provided by our members and our TechHelper committee chairperson, Mike Burkinshaw, Megan has turned TechHelper into a more user-friendly resource which has been a major benefit to our members. Many of our members have had the opportunity to work with Jana Olson over the years as their project coordinator and she was recognized for her caring ways and attention to the details when working with our members.

Congratulations, Jana and Megan!

Jana Olson and Greg Beale

Megan Schroeter and Greg Beale

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2009 President's Award and Scholarship Recipients
by Shannon Pfarr Thompson, NAEO Executive Director

President’s Award
Each year at the annual conference, the President’s Award is given to an individual who goes above and beyond the call of duty to make NAEO successful and all of its members proud. John Ratliff chose Ron Waine for the 2009 President’s Award for his unwavering dedication to NAEO in leading the Membership Committee over the last three years. Membership grew by a net of 30 new members in 2006 and 2007, and grew by one in 2008, despite a challenging economy and numerous mergers in the industry. Ron led a committee of volunteers by example in making calls, sending emails, examining member benefits and recommending new member benefits in order to make NAEO a truly valuable member resource. They made personal calls to new members, encouraged membership renewal, and began doing member benefits webinars to be sure all members understand and utilize the valuable benefits that members have in NAEO. Thank you to Ron for his work on the NAEO Board over the last three years, and especially in the area of membership!

Ron Waine

The Christina Collins Educational Scholarship
The Christina Collins Educational Scholarship Fund was established in loving memory of Christina Collins by the Board of Directors of the National Amtelco Equipment Owners. As she was also a great advocate of education, the NAEO Board has established this annual scholarship award in her honor. This scholarship is bestowed on a worthy employee from a NAEO member's office for the sole purpose of attending the annual NAEO or ATSI conference or any other seminar or training sponsored by NAEO. The 2009 Christina Collins Educational Scholarship Award was given to Amber St. John, of the Legacy Connection.

The Curtin Scholarship
The Curtin Scholarship recognizes the founders of Amtelco, Mr. & Mrs. William & Eleanor Curtin. The fund recognizes the immense contributions the Curtins have made to the messaging industry, and their lifelong mission to educate and inspire their valued customers. NAEO offers this scholarship to individuals who demonstrate similar entrepreneurial traits: applicants who are motivated, curious individuals who have chosen Telecommunications as a career. The recipient receives a $500.00 cash award to be used to attend a conference or educational course or for the development of an innovative approach to call center management in his or her office. The 2009 Curtin Scholarship was awarded to Tonie Corbin of Time Communications.

Congratulations to all of the 2009 Award recipients!

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IS Tip
Re-Enter a Script and Continue to a Specific Screen
by Jennifer Terragni, American Medical Alert Corporation

Any message summary (and this can ONLY work with message summaries since Save Message will be a regular Infinity message) with "navigate to close” after it can have you re-enter the script if you hit menu-message-edit (or however you edit your scripts).

In the Start portion of the script, place an If…Then statement. Go to its properties, click Add/Remove Conditions, Add an Advanced into the Selected Conditions, and then click on <Expression Builder>.

Once there, drop the list script Field in the Fields pane. Drag in _isNewMessage. Then drag in an equals sign from the Comparison portion of the Operators pane. Finally, add the text after it "True”.

It should look like this:

Click OK until you are back to your script.

What it means: If it is a new message, it will run normally but if it is NOT a new message (being edited), it can do something else.

Then, in the True portion of the If…Then statement, navigate to the first screen that you use to start off your script as a new message. In the False portion, navigate to the screen that you want to go to when the operator edits the message.

Now, you can re-enter the script and continue along a different path. Also, if you "navigate to close” on False, it will send the ops to the end of the script where they can manually edit the message (that is, if the script is enabled to allow the script summary to be manually edited) when they hit menu-message-edit. This way, the ops won’t have to run through the entire script again just to update the message summary. Of course, if you are using database elements in the script, it will not update them this way – so you will have to do a little bit of planning with this feature.

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R U Rude?
by Nancy Friedman, the Telephone Doctor

Seems as though everyone has something they consider rude. To some it's something someone says. To others, it's something someone did. Or maybe it's what wasn't said or what wasn't done. Happens all the time.

I'm listing my personal top 10 rudes. Email us your "RUDE." We'll tally the rudes up and publish them. Who knows, perhaps by listing our rudes, we may be able to abolish some of them.

Nancy's personal RUDE list:

  1. Not returning a phone call or having it returned on your behalf. The ABSOLUTE king of rudes. Certainly we all get a lot of calls. (In most cases that's a good thing. Think of what would happen if your phone never rang.) But when someone asks for a return phone call and it's ignored, that is RUDE! OK, OK, there are folks I don't relish talking with too. But I have the call returned on my behalf and handled that way. If it's someone I don't want to hear from again and rather they stop calling, I can nicely tell them that. Who can blame them for continuing to call when we haven't made our feelings known?

    And if your voice mail message says, "Please leave a message and I'll return your call" and you don't, know what that makes you? A big fat fibber! If you're not planning on returning some calls, then leave the part off that says you will return the call. Or tell the truth: "I may or may not return your call!"

  2. Gum chewing on the phone. Or having anything else in your mouth but your tongue at this time. (Oh yeah, chewing gum in a face-to-face sales situation as well.) Social gum chewing is bad enough. Chewing gum or chomping on candy while on a business call is RUDE.

  3. Not sending thank-you notes. When did we stop doing this? Seems as though most folks don't let people know a gift was received. A handwritten thank-you note is always appreciated. By the way, form thank-you notes are RUDE as well. If you are going to send a thank-you note, jot it down on a note card - handwritten - and mail it. It will be most appreciated. Don't have good handwriting? That's OK; just keep it short. They'll see the words "thank you." (Email thank-you's are LAZY, but at least acceptable.)

  4. Not returning an email. How easy can that be? DUH? Just hit reply and make a comment. Again, I cannot understand ignoring an email. True, email, like voice mail, was not made for entire conversations, but were created to get a yes or no or confirm something one way or the other. At least our email doesn't shout out, "Please email me and I will return your email."

  5. Taking a cell phone call at a social event or restaurant and not removing yourself to a private area. NO ONE, I repeat, NO ONE is interested in your private call. Letting your cell phone ring or taking a call in a business setting is not only RUDE, but probably will lose the business for you. I love my cell phone. Use it a lot. But when I get a call, I move away from the people I'm with so as not to disturb them.

  6. Bumping into someone or stepping on someone's toes (physically not mentally) and not saying, "Excuse me." Happens all the time. Walking down the street, in a mall, at the airport. I'm amazed at the number of people who don't actually look where they're going. Good thing they're not driving. Bump into me? Please say "excuse me" or I'm sorry." Thank you.

  7. Not covering your mouth when you sneeze or cough. And a while back, I learned that it's best to sneeze or cough into your inner elbow instead of using your hand to cover your mouth. Makes sense to me. I speak at conferences and people like to come up after I speak and talk with me. They sneeze, cover their mouth with their hand and then nicely offer that hand to me. YIKES! Yes, I use a lot of hand sanitizer.

  8. Loud voices in an airplane. To sit behind, in front of, or across from someone who is shouting to get over the sound of the airplane motor noise is maddening. It's RUDE to shout in those small areas. Same thing goes when you're in an elevator. I hear people shouting to the guy who's standing right next to him. It's rude to the others. FYI....same goes for talking on a cell phone in an elevator. RUDE!

  9. Not asking for time to talk, when you call someone. Barging into their lives as though they've been sitting there waiting for you to call. I turn down 100% of the sales calls I get when they don't ask if they've caught me at a bad time. It's just a simple little courtesy – and plain old RUDE if you don't. Even on a non-sales call to one of your relatives or friends, it's a nice thing to do. Ask for time to talk. "Do you have a quick minute, Nancy?" That would work.

  10. Making me wait when there is no one else waiting and there are two of you talking to each other. Sorry, but that happens a lot. That's not just bad customer service. It's downright RUDE.

OK, those are just some of mine. Of course there are more, but we want to hear from you. There are a few I purposely held back because I didn't want to influence you.

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