Newslinks
March 2012

Regular Columns

From the Editor
by Betty Bouchie

Be Inspired
by Gary Blair

Something to Smile About...

IS Tip: I Will See if the Doctor
Can Fit You in

by Kevin Procter

Technically Speaking
by James Shigley

When it Comes to Employee Performance, You Get What You Inspect, Not What You Expect!
by Nancy Friedman

Featured Articles

From the Past President
by Kelli Harrigan

Raising the Stakes in Las Vegas – NAEO Style
by Kelli Harrigan

Upcoming Webinars

Amtelco Annex

Option for the DONE Key to Cancel an IS Script
by David Drenk

SMS Option Added to Auto-Digital Paging
by David Drenk

Infinity 101
by Susan Kirkpatrick

 

 

From the Editor

by Betty Bouchie

Raising the stakes!

I know what happens in Vegas, is supposed to stay in Vegas – but that does not apply to all of the great information gathered and educational opportunities presented at the NAEO conference in Las Vegas this February! WOW! Between the sessions by industry leaders, Amtelco gurus and a great guest speaker, there was fabulous food, table talk, parties and more information than would fit in your head or your suitcase to bring home! The documentation and pictures are available on the web. If you were not able to attend, spend a little time browsing. Then make your plan to attend next year! Don’t gamble with missed opportunities!

NAEO’s 2013 Annual Conference: March 16-19
The Gaylord Opryland in Nashville

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Be Inspired

Submitted by Gary Blair

Creative risk taking is essential to success in any goal where the stakes are high.Thoughtless risks are destructive, of course, but perhaps even more wasteful is thoughtless caution which prompts inaction and promotes failure to seize opportunity.
~ Gary Ryan Blair

You know, nothing is more important than education, because nowhere are our stakes higher; our future depends on the quality of education of our children today.
~ Arnold Schwarzenegger

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Something to Smile About...

From www.coedhumor.com

Decision Making

Decision Making: When decisions are not based on information, it's called gambling.

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Kelli Harrigan

From the Past President

Passing on the Torch

by Kelli Harrigan

My year as president of NAEO flew by – it is hard to believe that just a year ago we were in New Orleans and now our 2012 annual conference in Las Vegas is already behind us!

As a second generation NAEO President, I certainly felt the pressure to live up to the precedent set by my mother, Mari Osmon, and the nearly three decades of leaders before me! I am so grateful to have had this opportunity to serve NAEO and work with the great team of people that make up the NAEO Board and the various committees. We had a very busy and productive year and with the strategic planning we did, I believe we have laid the groundwork for the next few years to expand membership benefits, increase our outreach and grow our membership.

We are fortunate as an association to have such a strong volunteer base, and I look forward to continuing to serve in whatever capacity I can. One thing I have learned through all of my years on the NAEO Board and working in committees: by being involved and participating, the rewards are much greater than the sum of the work I have put into it. I have learned so much and benefited tremendously, both personally and professionally, from the great minds I have worked with.

In Las Vegas, I passed the gavel on to Trisha Stenberg – who will do a wonderful job of leading our Board for the next year. I look forward to seeing what the next year brings!

IS Tip: I Will See if the Doctor Can Fit You in

by Kevin Procter, Extend Communications Inc.

Some may consider that a computer's job is to immerse people into a virtual world as a well-armed good guy facing hordes of bad guys. For many, this is true. However, in our world, a computer's job is to take mundane or repetitive tasks out of the hands of humans and make decisions within those tasks. The computer can do it over and over without getting tired or allowing life's stress to affect decisions.

The decisions that computers running IS will make includes what to say to a caller. This, of course, can be left up to an operator. However, when taking difficult calls, or wanting to ensure the operator provides meaningful salutations, it can also be done via IS.

When the operator is choosing the call type, or when some condition is met within the script, the computer can choose a value to be added to a script variable. Let's call this variable "GoodByeText." This will be the text the operator is to say as the call ends.

GoodByeTextIf we are taking a message, "GoodByeText" might be equal to "I will see that the office receives your message in the morning. Thank you for calling." Or "GoodByeText" could be "I will see if the doctor can fit you in. Thank you for calling." when concluding a call for a proctologist's office.

A plain vanilla Infinity account has total flexibility to let the operators say whatever they wish to say, which can be a powerful thing. On the other hand, if someone is handling a very difficult call – let's say taking an appointment for a funeral home – the computer telling him or her what to say could come as a relief.

Info pages can also help to enhance the closing salutation of a call as much as they can aid in the opening salutation. So the IS script tells the caller what to say to conclude a particular call. But the caller is not ready to hang up – he has more questions; enter the IS info pages. They can be as bold and bright, or as meek and mild as you need them to be. When the value of a "GoodByeText" variable just isn't enough to shorten a call, answering the caller's questions will help.

IS has many great features – customer salutations and responses throughout the call, as well as strong info pages, are just two of the great features that a programmer will enjoy using, and an operator will love having on a call. The computer will be all too happy to make decisions about what should be said to the caller.

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Technically Speaking

Upgrading a Basic IS Script

by James Shigley, Monroe Telephone Answering Service

This month’s article will be short and sweet. We have clients who have large staff lists (greater than 25 employees) that change regularly. All of the staff receive regular calls, so to cut down on time and spelling errors, we use List choices.

However, it can be time consuming to have to add, edit, and delete from a regular list box. This article will explain how you can use Database Pick-Lists and some Database lookups to help with larger Staff Lists. To facilitate this, request that the staff list be sent to you in a delimited text, Excel, or Access format and then import to the SQL table. This can be completed in minimal time and the only errors would be from the client data.

When you set up your SQL table, I suggest separate columns for first and last name. A caller may only know the first or last name, so the ability to search by both is extremely beneficial. Amtelco’s search function for List boxes searches from left to right. If you had the full name in one field you would only be able to search by first or last name (depending on which is first in the field). Separating into two fields allows for a more complete search.

Note: This article focuses on lists under 255. The Database List function will only pull the top 255 entries. If you want more than that, you have to use lookups to narrow the list. If anyone is interested in how to manage staff lists greater than 255, please email me off-list and I will do a separate article on that topic.

This article will show everything done from the tree view, because it is the most efficient for this.

First you need to setup a "Database Connection.” I usually put this either in the Script Initialize section or in the Screen initialize section.

The settings are straightforward, so I won’t break them down.

Now Drop in a "Database Picklist” from the Palette.

Name: Your field name in the script.

Label: What you want it to be labeled in summary.

Description: Question to the operator.

Number of rows: I set it to 5 but you could do more or less based on your needs.

Database Fields

Display: This is the field data from the SQL table that it will display in the list box.

Value: Once something is selected, this is the field data that will actually be saved to the message form.

Why would you want the two to be different? This is useful, for instance, when you are looking up a part #, but want to save the price or name of the part to the message form.

The "Database” tab

Since this is the FirstName list box, I order by a-z. You can use the filter options to narrow the selection. For example, if one of the previous questions was, "What department” you could filter based on that field so that it only showed the first names of the selected department.

Now create another DB Picklist replacing "FirstName” with "LastName.”

I also add a DB Lookup so that when a first name is selected it auto-fills in the last name and vice versa.

So, from the palette put a Db Lookup on the Tab or Enter key, whichever your staff are accustomed to using. I do both so that either way, it works.

Set up the FirstName like this:

The Lookup Fields tab

On the first tab, by filtering based on the FFName (first name) field, the only record(s) pulled are related to that name; the selection will then download into the FLName field, data from the LastName SQL field. This works the same if the LastName is selected.

Setting up the LastName db look up is the same, except I add an IFF statement that checks:

IsEmpty([FFName])

The script does not recognize the auto-fill data as search criteria because a human did not enter it. For this reason if you don’t have the IFF statement and the operator tabs thru, when they tab past the LastName box it either erase the name or try to lookup the FirstName.

So I use the IFF statement to check if the FirstName box is empty. If it is empty, then the database lookup happens and downloads the first name; if it is not empty, it does nothing.

You can also set this same IFF statement on the FirstName box, but it isn’t necessary.


As usual, if you have anything you would like me to write a "how to" on, please email me off-list. This example was such a request.

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When it Comes to Employee Performance,
You Get What You Inspect, Not What You Expect!

by Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor

Everyone realizes the benefits of customer service training: Increased sales, improved client retention and reduced turnover. Unfortunately, we also know the challenge of employee education: making training stick.

The most effective way to be sure your team is embracing the skills and techniques taught is to monitor, grade and measure actual interaction with customers.

That's where Service Ensure from Telephone Doctor comes in. Service Ensure is a training accountability tool built to support Telephone Doctor training techniques.

ServiceEnsure records and grades actual calls to:

  1. Hold trainees accountable to learned phone skills;
  2. Reinforce trainings;
  3. Improve phone outcomes.

Service Ensure empowers your organization with features to make the most out of your training investment. Get better interactions with:

  • Call Recording – Monitor performance by reviewing inbound and outbound customer service and sales calls.
  • Call Grading – Score and grade phone skills. Measure progress with hard numbers.
  • Customizable Scorecards – Use a Telephone Doctor scorecard or tailor a scorecard to your best practices.
  • Call Goals – Hold trainees accountable and create goals for improvement within LogMyCalls. Set goals for specific skills and then receive an email or a text message when the goal has (or has not) been met.
  • Call Tagging – Label calls to group and search. Discover patterns and trends in phone performance.
  • Call Commenting – Attach comments to call recordings to provide feedback and create a running dialogue about specific calls, skills, outcomes and progress.
  • Call Tracking – Stop wasting money on ineffective marketing! Monitor the full lead cycle and discover which marketing campaigns are driving your sales calls.

Service Ensure offers 24/7 access to recorded calls and call scores. Dig in and know how phone agents are performing. A custom dashboard and reports are easy to read and give you the information you need to make smart strategic decisions. Set up call goals and quality measures (like closed sales) and be alerted via text or email whenever success thresholds are met, or when skills begin to slip.

We'd like to offer your organization 3 free graded calls.

To request these free scored calls and to learn more about the benefits of measuring phone performance, please click www.telephonedoctor.com/service-ensure or email ct@telephonedoctor.com.

Kelli Harrigan

Raising the Stakes in Las Vegas – NAEO style

by Kelli Harrigan

Another year, another great conference full of educational and networking opportunities! We’ve all heard that "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas," but hopefully our attendees don’t take this too literally – as everyone should have plenty of new ideas and knowledge to share with their staff back home.

Once again, the IS Workshop and Supervisors Workshop started off our conference week on Sunday with well over 40 in attendance between the two workshops.Then it was on to the First Timers Reception – NAEO welcomed more than 40 First Timers to the conference! Thank you to the Membership committee for arranging for Buddies for the newcomers and creating the Bingo game that kicked off the networking for the evening. And a big THANK YOU to TigerTel for once again generously donating the cash prizes for the winners of the bingo game! Unfortunately, our opening reception had to be moved inside due to high winds, but no matter for our group – everyone enjoyed an evening of good food, drinks and connecting with friends, new and old.

Monday afternoon, after the completion of the workshops and Amtelco University, keynote speaker David Fabricius took the stage. Before I introduced him to the attendees, he asked me, "What is important to you today?” (one of my new favorite questions!) I said it was important for me to kick off the conference for our attendees with an inspiring and energizing session, setting the stage for our members to recharge their batteries and open up to new ideas while they were with us in Las Vegas. His response: "I can do that!” And he did indeed – the room was filled and everyone seemed to enjoy his energetic and inspirational message on Leadership and Balance. (If anyone wants detailed notes let me know – I took a lot of notes!) You can learn more about David at www.davidfabricius.com or www.menofthecode.com.

Amtelco took the stage for the remainder of the afternoon and again on Tuesday morning with a presentation of their new suite of cross-platform products such as miSecureMessaging and miOnCall as well as enhancements to the Intelligent Series platform. Elvis even stopped by to check in with our attendees and played a karaoke game to keep the energy level up (thank you, Mr. Friedel!) And of course, Monday night was capped off by the Amtelco reception for the attendees, dancing and all! THANK YOU to Amtelco for providing such a fun and entertaining evening!

Tuesday continued with breakout sessions in Operations, Technical, Sales/Marketing and Hospital tracks. That afternoon, we held the Annual Business Meeting – which had record attendance! Elected to the board were Laurie Blow of Advanced Answering Center, Gordon Mott of Mainline Telecommunications, and Theran Mossholder of Newtown Answering Service. After our reports on the financials and my report, we also discussed a small dues increase that will go into effect with the next rounds of renewals. And we will further assess NAEO’s overall revenue stream in the coming year. Then I passed the gavel to incoming president Trisha Stenberg of Appletree.

Breakouts and Roundtables continued on Wednesday and we closed with our annual Best Ideas session. I always walk away from that hour with a few new ideas from sessions I missed earlier in the week! And in our closing, Trisha Stenberg announced the dates and location of NAEO’s 2013 Annual Conference: the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, March 16-19. How appropriate to celebrate St. Patrick’s day with our Irish family at Amtelco! Please save those dates now and plan to attend what promises to be another fantastic NAEO conference!

Also please note – if you attended the conference, you should have received an email with our conference evaluation survey (a reminder will go out shortly). Please do be sure to give us your feedback – your conference committee needs to hear from you on what went well (or not) and what kinds of topics you would like to see in the future.

Thank you!

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Upcoming NAEO Webinars:

Conference Best Ideas and 2012 Wish List
March 21, 2012
2:00 pm EDT

Speaker: Gerald Brosseau

Everyone gets something different out of Conference and walks away with several Best Ideas. What were yours?

Please join us for two great interactive webinars that will allow you to share your Best Ideas from Conference, as well as get your needs or interests onto the Education Committee’s Wish List for educational webinars.

Join us Wednesday, March 21 at 2pm EDT and Wednesday, March 28 at 2 pm EDT to share your ideas!

Conference Best Ideas and 2012 Wish List
March 28, 2012
2:00 pm EDT

Speaker: Gerald Brosseau

Everyone gets something different out of Conference and walks away with several Best Ideas. What were yours?

Please join us for two great interactive webinars that will allow you to share your Best Ideas from Conference, as well as get your needs or interests onto the Education Committee’s Wish List for educational webinars.

Join us Wednesday, March 21 at 2pm EDT and Wednesday, March 28 at 2 pm EDT to share your ideas!

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

David Drenk

Option for the DONE Key to Cancel an IS Script

by David Drenk

A new Telephone Agent setting allows operators to use the DONE key to cancel a script. This setting is located in the Telephone Agent control panel under Features, Intelligent Series. In the Intelligent Series Messaging pane, there is a check box labeled "Done Key - Cancels the IS message script.” If this check box is selected, operators can hit the DONE key while taking a message to cancel the message.

Requirements:

  • Infinity Telephone Agent 5.51.3504.02 or later
  • IS 5.51.3504 or later
  • IS Messaging
  • SQL Server 2000 or later

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David Drenk

SMS Option Added to Auto-Digital Paging

by David Drenk

Infinity Auto-Digital Paging can now be used to send SMS messages using the optional Infinity SMS feature.

The Infinity Auto-Digital Paging feature allows clients to send a callback number to someone through a touch-tone menu over the phone. When a caller accesses an account set to use the Brief Paging behavior, the voice attendant asks callers to enter the number that they wish to display on the recipient’s pager. The paging method depends on the type of dial string that is assigned to the Brief Paging behavior.

Auto-Digital Paging feature can be used for either digital paging or alphanumeric paging, and now Short Message Service (SMS) has been added as a third option. If the optional Infinity SMS feature is enabled, an SMS dial string can be assigned to the Brief Paging behavior.

In the service list selected for the Brief Page behavior, a dial string ending with the code .8M tells Infinity to send an SMS message. Whatever phone number the caller enters is inserted into the dial string when the page is sent, allowing callback numbers to be sent as SMS messages to SMS devices, including cell phones and Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs).

Requirements:

  • Infinity 5.51.10 or later
  • Infinity SMS feature
  • SMS provider
  • SMS modem
  • DIGI serial port
  • 232A490 cable

Part Number: 232MP127

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Susan Kirkpatrick

Infinity 101

by Susan Kirkpatrick

Questions

1. All of the following are possible with Copy EXCEPT:

A) Copy all Client settings from one account to another.
B) Copy from a template account.
C) Copy just one section of Client (e.g., Voice Mail) from one account to another.
D) All are possible.

SEE ANSWER

2. The Infinity Supervisor operator copies all of the following settings EXCEPT:

A) Miscellaneous Options in the Properties tab
B) More Operator Options in the Advanced tab
C) Password in the Properties tab
D) Permissions checkmarks in the Access tab

SEE ANSWER

3. Which of the Telephone Agent CTRL+F12 settings, after an import, does not require
manual programming?

A) Host Port
B) Server IP
C) Server Name
D) Replace permanent settings by writing these values to the registry

SEE ANSWER

4. Name the program.

A) Infinity Oncall Supervisor
B) Infinity Supervisor
C) IS Supervisor
D) Telephone Agent

 

SEE ANSWER

5. The IS Supervisor Directory copy feature includes an option for statuses.

True or False?

SEE ANSWER


Answers

1. D
Use caution when using the Copy feature. Inattentive clicking of the purple arrow button and the subsequent copy screens could produce unfortunate results.

2. C
Program both the initials and the password for the new login.

3. B
Letter A is the station number and, for sites with hardwired audio, the required value to establish a talk path. Letter C, a descriptor that displays in the Telephone Agent blue bar, can appear the same on numerous workstations. Amtelco recommends enabling Letter D whenever a change occurs on any screen within CTRL+F12.

4. C
The Client portion of IS Supervisor includes various copy options – at the account level, at the Info Page level, and at the script level.

 

5. True

The image includes a source subject directory with no statuses.

 

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NewsLinks is distributed quarterly to NAEO members.

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