NAEO Newslinks-May09
May 2009

Just a Voice
by Tracy Eldridge

IS Tip: Opening External Files with IS
by Douglas Ferrell

Park Orbit
by Betty Bouchie

John Ratliff

From the Past President
by John Ratliff

It has taken me a while to digest my year as President but what a ride! It was certainly an interesting time to guide the organization and an experience I will not soon forget. Our conference in Cancun was on my radar as a potential huge disappointment to my year – but wow, did that turn out differently. While we were under-attended relative to prior years, the event itself was nothing short of spectacular. Great people, a really fantastic hotel property and the kind of intimacy that we do not normally get with our larger groups. It was truly the highlight of my year.

The other amazing thing to come out of this year is the commitment to make the Operator Relief Fund a permanent fixture with NAEO and the industry at large. Through the great work of the Operator Relief Committee we were able to help many agents in need this year, and they are currently working on our election with the IRS as a full blown charity, very exciting!

I would also like to recognize the winner of the President’s Award for 2008-09, Ron Waine from TigerTel. Ron worked tirelessly on behalf of all of us to make sure the organization remained strong and vibrant with new membership. In what can only be described as some of the most challenging times EVER for organizations, NAEO experienced a net gain under Ron’s leadership. He is a guy, and created a committee, that will not take NO for an answer! They forged a great relationship with Amtelco as well to help in recruitment efforts. His efforts are a true testament to his commitment to NAEO. It was a proud moment for me to extend the honor of the President's Award to such a deserving candidate! Thanks, Ron.

I wish Cori and the new board the best of luck in continuing the success of our great organization, and I look forward to serving my final year in the role of Immediate Past President.

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Betty Bouchie

From the Editor:
Managing Paper in a Paperless Environment
by Betty Bouchie

In a world filled with electronic communications, reports, monitoring and storage, why do I find myself surrounded by paper? Spreadsheets, snail mail, notes taken at meetings, notes jotted on reports, notes to remind me about other notes. This week I reached my maximum paper depth and spent an entire day sorting out all the paper surrounding me, filing, consolidating and recycling anything that could go. I could not tell you the number of people who stopped in my office and were amazed that I actually had a desk underneath all that paper. I have resolved to start saving trees and reduce the number of papers cluttering up my life. Just think of the difference we could make, if each person reduced their paper depth by 1 inch (2.3 centimeters) a year! Read, enjoy, and think twice before printing.

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Be Inspired

"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment."

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Something to Smile About...

How many listmembers does it take to change a lightbulb?

One to change the light bulb and to post that the light bulb has been changed.

Fourteen to share similar experiences of changing light bulbs and how the light bulb could have been changed differently.

Seven to caution about the dangers of changing light bulbs.

Seven more to point out spelling/grammar errors in posts about changing light bulbs.

Three to correct spelling/grammar errors.

Six to argue over whether it's "lightbulb" or "light bulb" ...

Another six to condemn those six as stupid.

Fifteen to claim experience in the lighting industry and give the correct spelling.

Nineteen to post that this group is not about light bulbs and to please take this discussion to a lightbulb (or light bulb) forum.

Eleven to defend the posting to the group saying that we all use light bulbs and therefore the posts are relevant to this group.

Thirty-six to debate which method of changing light bulbs is superior, where to buy the best light bulbs, what brand of light bulbs work best for this technique and what brands are faulty.

Seven to post URLs where one can see examples of different light bulbs.

Four to post that the URLs were posted incorrectly and then post the corrected URL.

Three to post about links they found from the URLs that are relevant to this group which makes light bulbs relevant to this group.

Thirteen to link all posts to date, quote them in their entirety including all headers and signatures, and add "Me too".

Five to post to the group that they will no longer post because they cannot handle the light bulb controversy.

Four to say "didn't we go through this already a short time ago?"

Thirteen to say "do a Google search on light bulbs before posting questions about light bulbs."

Three to tell a funny story about their cat and a light bulb.


One group lurker to respond to the original post 6 months from now with something unrelated and start it all over again!

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Just a Voice
by Tracy Eldridge, Communications Center

You don’t know who I am; to you I am just a voice.
It was me who took your frantic call, when you had no other choice.

I spend many hours waiting, to help when you’re in need.
"Send help to me, please get them here, is often what you plead.

To do my job is complex, but only a few tools are a must
Put your faith in me, I am the one that you can trust.

My ears are a necessity; my mouth a mighty sword
I must use my ears to listen, and then choreograph every word.

I am the protector of this land; I take pride in what I do
I am here to listen and do what is best for you.

The day you place a call to me, might be the worst day you ever had
At least today you know, I too was feeling sad.

I take your problems home with me, I know that’s not so good,
But as you felt your tragedy it was by your side I stood.

I walked with you to the door, to let them in to help,
I guided you to safety, when all alone you felt.

It is not often we hear praise or even simple thanks,
But the cookies and cards are plenty through police and fire ranks.

The day you placed your call, and I picked up the phone
I hope I made you feel safe and showed you you’re not alone.

Remember who I am, I am not just a voice
I am the 911 Dispatcher you called when you had no other choice.

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IS Tip:
Opening External Files with IS
by Douglas Ferrell,

Have you ever wanted to open an external file as part of a IS script? I was recently tasked with creating an IS script that would require the ability to give audible instructions to the user as well as text. After looking into other possibilities it dawned on me that as long as 1) the user’s operating system was Windows, and 2) the system they were on could see my network drive, I could have IS tell Windows what to run.

What makes this work is that Internet Explorer acts as a proxy for Explorer.exe, the part of the Windows shell that tells what program to open a file. By passing a file path and name from IS to Internet Explorer (instead of a URL) you can open almost any external file as an action from your IS script. It’s important, however, that you have "Open in external browser" checked on the Web action so that it uses Internet Explorer rather than Amtelco’s internal browser. For example, I can add a Web action to the Load of a screen and have it open an Excel file when the user passes over that point in the script.

In my case it wasn’t enough that I could open external files with my script, but I also had to do so in such a way that the user couldn’t open, close or manipulate the sound file that would be playing. After trying several things that didn’t work satisfactorily, I came to realize that if IS can open a file it can also open shortcuts to files. Shortcuts have an additional advantage in the you can add parameters to the shortcut that change how that file will open.

If you Right click on a file shortcut and choose Properties you’ll probably see that the top editable box is labeled "Target." This tells Windows what program you want to open with that link. Depending on what program you are opening, additional text called Command Line Parameters, Arguments, or Switches can be added to make the program behave a certain way. So when IS opens a shortcut with C:\WINDOWS\system32\sndrec32.exe "I:\Doug\buzzer.wav" /play /close /embedding in the Target window, that means that IS tells Internet Explorer to open Buzzer.wav from the network drive with Sound Recorder, automatically play the file, close the file when done, and embed it in the background so that no controls appear to the user. Each program’s parameters/arguments/switches are different, so your mileage may vary.

Some possible uses of Command Line parameters include opening a URL in Internet Explorer’s Kiosk mode (no address bar or navigation controls), open an Excel workbook as read only, or play a sound file in the background as I described above. Hopefully this added functionality will open you up to new opportunities and creativity in your IS scripting.

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Park Orbit
by Betty Bouchie

What do you do with callers who don’t want to talk to an answering service, don’t want to leave a message and don’t want to talk to voice mail? They just want to talk to the person they called! Don’t you sometimes wish you could send them into orbit?

Well, guess what? You can! Infinity enables you to "Park” a call, placing the caller on hold, and then send the call into "Orbit”, removing the call from the operator’s screen.

By choosing "Orbit Answer” as the Standard behavior in the Source Setup, you can program numbers that allow an operator to place a caller on hold and remove the call from the screen. The operator would then provide the client with a direct dial telephone number where the caller will be waiting. This eliminates operator time and connects the caller and the client without operator intervention.

There are several system options that can be adjusted as needed. These settings include the following:

A. Prompts for the caller to speak their name {Orbit Intro}.
B. Amount of time the caller has to "Speak their name” {Intro Time}.
C. How long the caller remains on hold {Orbit Timeout}.

This is how a call is placed on Park Orbit.

1. With the caller on the line, press the Park Orbit key.
2. The system will display a list of available Park Orbit numbers, highlighting the next available number. The operator may choose the number highlighted or a different, specific, Park Orbit number, if it is available.

3. Press the Park Orbit key, again. The caller is placed on hold and asked to speak their name (the operator can not hear this).

a. The Park Orbit number will appear above the status line.

b. The Park Orbit number can then be added to the message ticket.

4. The client can then be paged with the Park Orbit number.

If the caller holds for a pre-determined length of time (Orbit timeout ring count) and the client does not answer the call, the call will ring back to an operator on the client account number as an Orbit timeout.

If the client dials the Park Orbit number and the caller is on the line, the client will hear the name spoken by the caller during the Park Intro. The client may be presented with a list of options as to how the call will be handled. The client may be prompted to press a digit to perform one of the following actions. Any or all of these options may be programmed on each Park Orbit account. If no digit options are programmed, the client will immediately be connected to the caller,

  1. Send the caller back to the operator {Orbit to Op}.
  2. Tell the caller the client is not available. The caller will then be disconnected. {Orbit Disconnect}.
  3. Send the caller to Voice Mail {Orbit to VM}.
  4. Be connected to the caller {Orbit Answer}.

If the client dials the Park Orbit number and the caller has hung up or has timed out and been sent back to an operator, the system will transfer the client to an operator. The call will appear on the display as Park Orbit and show the Park Orbit account number. The operator will need to inform the client that the caller is no longer on the line. The operator may check for a message by fetching the client’s account number and pressing CHECKIN to see the list of messages. The correct message may be identified by the Park Orbit number in the message ticket.

A variation of the Park Orbit account allows an incoming caller to automatically be placed in a Park Orbit state without going to an operator. The standard account behavior would be "Automated Park” and the call would follow whatever action was listed in the list number indicated. This type of automated park does not need operator intervention.

A caller who has been placed in Park Orbit will sit in Infinity wait on the port where the original call entered Infinity. When the client picks up the Park Orbit, the two are "patched” together on the incoming ports, for the duration of the call.

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Don't Say That – Say This
by Nancy Friedman, the Telephone Doctor

There's a new diet book out called Eat This, Not That by David Zinczenko, Editor-in-Chief of Men's Health (with Matt Goulding). It shows the reader why eating "this" and not "that" is better for you.

Example: Did you know that the BBQ Chicken Crispani (1/2) from Panera's is 380 calories while the Sierra Turkey Sandwich is 580 calories? So they say eat the Crispani and NOT the sandwich. Makes a lot of sense. The book is filled with great information if you're trying to lose weight.

Then some of you may remember a TV character, played by Charles Nelson Reilly. Funny man. He played Mr. Truth. And while it may not translate in the article as humorously as it did on TV, I know you'll understand what I'm talking about.

Mr. Truth always told the truth. Now, we're not advocating fibbing by any means, but it was a great game of "Don't say that – say this." Someone would ask Mr. Truth something like, "Hi, Mr. Truth. Do you like my hat?" And Mr. Truth would tell the truth! Mrs. Tactful might say, "It looks lovely on you.” Mr. Truth would bellow out, "Oh my! That's the ugliest hat I've ever seen. How could you wear that?”

One time Mr. Truth walked up to a friend he hadn't seen in a while and said (the truth), "Hi, Mary. My goodness you got fat.” When, in fact, he could have said, "Hi Mary, it's good to see you.” Another "don't say that – say this."

So I'm sure you get the picture. DON'T SAY THAT – SAY THIS, as all Telephone Doctor training, is common sense. But then we know, too, that common sense isn't just that common. If it were common sense, everyone would be doing what we advocate. And we all know they're not. There's nearly always a way to say something that won't offend, insult, or cause friction.

And with customers, that's so very important. We need to find a way to help our customers without playing Mr. Truth. And we need to do it without offending, insulting or causing friction.

If you're trying to help your customers, then Telephone Doctor's "Don't Say That – Say This" is your best meal ticket. (Pardon the pun.)

Let's take a simple sentence.

Don't say: Mr. Jones, there's a problem with your account.

Say this: Mr. Jones, there seems to be a minor inconvenience with your account.

No matter how you say, "there's a problem with your account,” the word "problem" is going to make the situation more intense. How would you rather be told about the error in your account? That there's a problem? Or that there's a minor inconvenience? Big difference, isn't there? One can cause your blood pressure to rise pretty quickly, don't you think?

So the words we say to customers are critically important. And yes, how we say them, the tone we use, is also critically important.

Let's take a look at a personal issue. When your wife or significant other asks, "How do I look?” there's a real ‘turn off' phrase versus one that will make her feel great.

HER: How do I look?

Don't say: Fine. (TURN OFF PHRASE)

(Ouchie Mama.)

Say this: You look beautiful to me!

Much better!!!

There are dozens, perhaps hundreds, of phrases that turn customers off and have them running to the competition – or worse yet, bad mouthing your organization – all because of a few words that should have/could have been changed.

Here are some additional don't say that examples. Your challenge is to figure out the say this portion. Use it as a training tool and have fun.

Don't Say:

"I'll get back to you as soon as possible.” SAY:

"Can I help you?” SAY:

"How are you?” SAY:

"That's not our policy.” SAY:

"I'm new here.” SAY:

I challenge you to come up with your own DON'T SAY THAT phrases and then issue your own SAY THIS positive alternatives. You'll be pleasantly surprised at the positive outcome! And so will your customers!

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