membershelpingmembers
May 2010


Betty Bouchie

From the Editor
Vision, Big Picture, Painted Picture, A Step into the Future
by Betty Bouchie

(For those of you who were at the NAEO conference, this is a reminder note.)

Some days (weeks) I feel as if I am frantically treading water in the middle of the ocean, without a ship or coast line in sight. If I was not able to keep an image of my destination in my mind and unable to focus on the forward progress, however small, it would be very easy to slip below the surface and forget where I need to go. Some people are unable to retain the image in their mind. Or maybe they never had an image to begin with and don’t realize that there is something beyond the waves. They lie on their back and float, allowing the waves to move them where they may. Progress is made when someone takes that first stroke, however small, toward a destination which they know is there, even if they cannot see it. Share the knowledge of your destination, so everyone is swimming toward the same shore. If anyone just wants to float, leave them behind.

How is the water in your world?

Cameron Herold shared his thoughts on creating and living your "Painted Picture”. Please check out some of his thoughts on his web site: http://www.backpocketcoo.com/blog/tag/vision/.

 

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Be Inspired

"Give me a stock clerk with a goal and I'll give you a man who will make history. Give me a man with no goals and I'll give you a stock clerk."

- J. C. Penney


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Something to Smile About...
Water in the Glass

A well-known proverb states that an optimist would say a glass is half full, while a pessimist would say it is half empty. What would people of different professions and walks of life say?

The BANKER would say that the glass has just under 50% of its net worth in liquid assets.

The GOVERNMENT would say that the glass is fuller than if the opposition party were in power.

The OPPOSITION would say that it is irrelevant because the present administration has changed the way such volume statistics are collected.

The ECONOMIST would say that, in real terms, the glass is 25% fuller than at the same time last year.

The PHILOSOPHER would say that, if the glass was in the forest and no one was there to see it, would it be half anything?

The PSYCHIATRIST would ask, "What did your mother say about the glass?”

The PHYSICIST would say that the volume of this cylinder is divided into two equal parts; one a colorless, odorless liquid, the other a colorless, odorless gas. Thus the cylinder is neither full nor empty. Rather, each half of the cylinder is full, one with a gas, one with a liquid.

The SEASONED DRINKER would say that the glass doesn’t have enough ice in it.

This is what makes life worth living every minute, every day.

 

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Introducing Sage Payment Solutions
Preferred Vendor for Merchant Services

NAEO is pleased to announce that Sage Payment Solutions is now an Associate member of NAEO and is our preferred vendor for Merchant Services. As a leading company in the payments and software industry, Sage offers the full complement of processing services. These include the latest equipment, a robust and cost effective "virtual” terminal, several options for accepting and guaranteeing checks and gift/loyalty cards. NAEO has negotiated very low cost plus or "interchange plus” pricing with Sage that ensures each member’s fees will be the lowest possible.

The Sage virtual terminal is a great way to process your transactions without using a standard credit card terminal or calling the transaction in over the phone. You just access their system by logging on via the internet through a P.C. or laptop and key in the transaction. You can recall an old customer transaction without having to enter everything again. Sage will also make sure you are doing everything possible to prevent fraud /charge backs.

The process is very simple and starts with a no-cost evaluation of your current program to examine potential savings and technology options. To start the process, fax a recent Master Card & Visa statement to Sage at (407) 650-2975. Our contact, Brian Fatigati, will respond with a proposal. Brian can be reached at bfatigati@sagepayments.com or by cell phone (407) 797-5829.

 

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Tech Helper Needs Your Help!
by Mike Burkinshaw

I am still working with Amtelco’s Tech Helper team to help them improve how they support us, their users, through the Tech Helper site (http://support.amtelco.com/) as part of my work in the Tech Committee. As everyone saw at the Conference, Greg Beale and his team have made a major effort to improve the site and the resources it offers.

They have asked for our help, and I need your help to help them help us. Did that sentence help?

Amtelcopedia is expanding and the Supervisor (Client, Schedule, and Operator sections) and Ultracomm sections are now complete. Work is continuing on the remaining Supervisor sections. If you want to see what it provides, click the Amtelcopedia button at the top of Infinity Supervisor (it’s built-in on the latest Infinity Supervisor) and it will offer you context-sensitive explanations. If you’re not sure what that little-used feature that you suddenly have to use does, Amtelcopedia will explain how it’s used. If you don’t have the button on your supervisor, you need http://service.amtelco.com/amtelcopedia/ to load it into your browser.

Having said that, Amtelco’s team now need your assistance: what next? They’d like to prioritise the work to deliver the areas that we need the most. Here’s what they’re working on now:

  • Infinity Supervisor
  • Directory
  • Monitor
  • Unified Reports
  • System Settings
  • Boards and Ports
  • Billing Link 3.0
  • I.S. Supervisor

If any of these areas gets your vote, please reply to me soon, and I’ll forward the results to them. If something you want to see isn’t on the list, let me know that too. Whatever you need to say, they need your feedback! After all, they’re doing this for our benefit.

In addition, if anyone has watched any of the web presentations (training, webinars, etc.), PLEASE contact me to let me know your thoughts on whatever you watched. Was it useful? Was it a waste of time? How could it have been improved? Again, your feedback is important, and Greg’s learned to keep smiling when I give that feedback to him. We’re particularly interested in anything related to I.S. and feedback on that. Don’t worry if your feedback is negative: believe me, my team have been critical...

Finally, don’t forget the RSS feed: www.amtelco.com/RSSservice.xml which now broadcasts notices about new software updates as well as other announcements about changes to the Tech Helper (new documents, white papers, etc.).

Ok – enough of the updates. PLEASE give me your thoughts on the next development area for Amtelcopedia and also any feedback on the webinars/training available in the Resource Library on Tech Helper –
particularly anything that’s I.S. related.

You can contact Mike at mike.burkinshaw@commlink.co.uk

 

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Implementing Billing Link 4
by Mike Burkinshaw

A lot of people were talking with me at Newport Beach about BL4 and how best to use it. The common theme seemed to be "where do we start?” and "how do I implement this?” I was surprised at the number of people who had purchased it and were saying "I’ll get around to installing it sometime soon.”

For those of you who don’t know, we were beta-testers for BL4 and started using it on live billing in August 2008 having been testing it for some 4 months prior to that. We had an horrendous start (that’s the danger of being a beta-tester) which meant we had to take a big step back and look at what we were doing and how we implemented BL4 from a completely fresh start.

On the way back from the conference (I had a LONG flight!) I thought it might be useful to write something to help new users take that same step back and make the most of the opportunity that moving to BL4 can offer. Yes it’s some work but, speaking from experience, boy is it worth it! So, I’m delighted to say that Billing Link 4: Ideas for Implementation is now available in the NAEO members area of the website.

Download if from here: http://www.naeo.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=26

While I have based this on our experience, some of the ideas could be used when moving from any billing package to a new one or different version. Remember folks, there’s more than one Billing package available.

And if you need an incentive to get this done, one user (who shall remain nameless) told me they’d seen a 30% increase in billing in their first month of using the package – and they too had been sitting on the install for a number of months. Granted this is an exceptional rise (most people see between 6-15% increased) and it came about by that user being able to bill for a service they had been providing but for which they had not been able to charge.

So, to all of you out there with a copy of BL4 gathering dust on the shelf, crack open a coffee, download the document, put your feet on the desk and have a read. I hope it will make you smile, think, and start implementing.

I’d appreciate comments or feedback, and I’d be delighted to help anyone in any way. If you need some on-site assistance, I’d be even more delighted as my air miles need topping up.

NAEO will be organising a webinar on BL4 later in the year, so keep an eye out for that too. I hope to be contributing some more articles on Billing Link which will be available on the NAEO website’s members area.

 

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Station Audio and Terminal Server
by Patrick Labbett

Preface:
Please use this method at your own risk and fully test before implementing. Additionally, I am not a writer so I am presenting this in a basic outline format. Much of the technical implementation is documented by using comments in the attached visual basic scripts (renamed to .txt from .vbs for safety / email traversal.) Please review the script contents and modify for your environment before attempting to run them.

Audience: Your IT "guy” or department.

Problem:
To set up a way for remote users and internal thin client users to login based on their username with dynamic arguments passed to Infinity Telephone Agent to ensure they get the correct port no matter where they login from. This is useful for sites implementing Terminal Services and hard wired internal Op Audio.

Prerequisites:

  • This article assumes you are running from a non-privileged user account (specifically, you don’t allow end user modification of the Windows registry.) If your users are privileged, you could modify the scripts to change the registry entry directly. I personally don’t recommend this for security and registry integrity.
  • You have a login script (global or local to your Terminal Server) that you can use to run a Visual Basic script from. This article assumes you are using a global script but can be easily modified to account only for your Terminal Server login script with basic Visual Basic knowledge.

Overview:
This solution will simply run two Visual Basic scripts to setup our ports for end users. The first script will simply "erase” the shortcuts so that the second script can create them based on the correct port. The second script identifies where the user is connecting from to implement the proper port. You could make this into one big script, but for maintainability I have split it into two.

Solution:
Your login script will run PortCleanup.vbs.

This cycles through the user’s profile desktop folder (and start menu, startup folder if you choose) and deletes any old shortcuts for Infinity (Keep in mind for non-privileged accounts you won’t be able to delete the "All Users” or "Public” shortcuts.) This helps to ensure that you don’t get the port from the last computer you logged into, which is especially important for users who don’t always log out appropriately or for some reason log into multiple computers with the same profile (or else you could use a logout script to accomplish this.)

Your login script will then run DynamicPorts.vbs

  • First compare the "clientname” (i.e. computer under the Remote Desktop session) to see if we are connecting from a hard wired internal thin client.
    • If we are, set the port for the "clientname” based on your internal wiring and registry setup.
    • If we aren’t, move on.

  • Check to see if we are on our Terminal Servers
    • If we are, get the username and set the port appropriate to their remote setup.
    • If not we figure out if we’re on a computer that we want to run Infinity on (a typical workstation) or server where we don’t want to run Infinity and set our ports appropriately.

  • Once we have gone through the logic of setting our Infinity Port and whether or not to actually run Infinity Telephone Agent, we run it with the correct argument and create the desktop shortcut.

Please see the attached scripts for more in depth explanation and comments. Hope this helps and hopefully it’s in an easily understandable format but feel free to let me know if you have any questions.

This script is also still in progress. Additional features and optimization could easily be implemented by most intermediate VBS users.

After Implementation:

  • You will want to remove the "All Users” or "Public” folder entries for Infinity Telephone Agent shortcuts. This script will create shortcuts into the user profile for them to access. If you do not do this, you will see multiple Infinity Telephone Agent shortcuts on the desktop and startup folder as non-privileged users generally can’t delete them.
  • To setup a new thin client: Setup the new Operlink entry and add the thin station "clientname” to the script.
  • To setup a new remote agent: Setup the new OperLink entry and add the user to the script.
  • To setup a new full workstation: Simply install and configure Infinity (remember to remove the "All Users” or "Public” shortcuts for Infinity.

 

Dynamic Ports (in Notepad form)

'We must declare variables before using them
'This can be omitted, it's a personal choice
Option Explicit

'Comment this line to help with debugging while testing
'In production, I don't want my users to see errors unless I specifically use WScript.Echo("Error Message") to them
On Error Resume Next

'Create an instance of our Shell Object which we need to determine many environmental variables
'and to perform certain functions like running programs, etc
Dim objShell, strClient
Set objShell = WScript.CreateObject("WScript.Shell")

'Gets the client computer name in a Terminal Services / RDP environment
'Will be empty string "" if not using Terminal Services / RDP
'This is the same as going to Task Manager, clicking the Users tab, and using the "Client Name" field
'I upper case it (and strip off empty characters) so i dont have to worry about the possibility of case sensitive client names
strClient = Trim(UCase(objShell.ExpandEnvironmentStrings("%CLIENTNAME%")))

Dim RegEntry, RunInfinity

'This line defaults us to OperLink1
'RegEntry will be set depending on where they are logging in from
'and corresponds to OperLinkX
RegEntry = 1

'Dont run Infinity unless we explicitly want to
RunInfinity = False

If Left(strClient, 3) = "WBT" Then
'We are on an internal thin client
'Depending on your clients configuration you will have
'to alter this to match your internal thin client names
RunInfinity = True
Select Case strClient
Case "WBTClient1"
'Position2
'On a side note, if possible its nice to match up your position number with OperLink number
'in the registry as it will save you lots of headaches :)
RegEntry = 2
Case "WBTClient2"
'Position06
RegEntry = 6
Case "WBTClient3"
'position07
RegEntry = 7
'Insert the rest of your thin client names here
Case Else
'Unknown Thin Client
WScript.Echo("Unknown Thin Client. Please report this error to your supervisor.")
RunInfinity = False
End Select

'if you need to debug use a statement like below to figure out what variables are set to or to set artificial break points
'wscript.echo(regentry)
Else
'We aren't connecting from a thin client thats internal, lets get the computer name and user name
Dim objNetwork, strComputer, strUser
Set objNetwork = WScript.CreateObject("WScript.Network")

strComputer = Trim(UCase(CStr(objNetwork.ComputerName)))
strUser = Trim(UCase(objNetwork.UserName))

'This accounts for our remote users connecting into our terminal servers
If strComputer = "TS-1" Or strComputer = "TS-2" Then
RunInfinity = True
Select Case strUser
Case "PATRICK.LABBETT"
RegEntry = 30
'Insert the rest of your employee names here with their corresponding registry entry (upper case, as we ucase our variable)
'Usernames should correspond to the login name of the user
Case Else
'This would mean we havent specifically declared a user with a registry entry in our script
'Such as our admin user logged into the console or a remote who hasnt been added yet
RunInfinity = False
End Select
Else
'We arent on an internal thin client or remote
'Here you can list your internal computers / servers that you dont want Infinity to run on
Select Case strComputer
Case "server-1"
Case "server-2"
Case "server-3"
Case "Management-PC-Who-Doesnt-Want-Infinity-To-Run-On-Startup"
'etc
Case Else
'If we arent on the Terminal Servers or a computer / server we don't want to run Infinity on
'i.e. a management PC
'Simply run Infinity (remember we default to OperLink1)
RunInfinity = True
End Select
End If
End If

'Setup a file system object so we can test if Infinity is installed
Dim objFileSys
Set objFileSys = WScript.CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")

If objFileSys.FileExists("C:\Program Files\AmTelco\Infinity Telephone Agent\Inf5Op32.exe") And RunInfinity = True Then
'Infinity is installed and we want to run it - you may have to alter your path for non standard implementations
Set objShell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
'This runs Infinity with the designated / argument to correspond to OperLink registry entries
objShell.Run """C:\Program Files\AmTelco\Infinity Telephone Agent\Inf5Op32.exe ""/" & RegEntry


'The next few blocks of code create a link on the Desktop with our registry entry
Dim WshShell
set WshShell = WScript.CreateObject("WScript.Shell")

Dim oShellLink
Dim strDesktop

'Lookup the documentation on the SpecialFolders method to also get
'paths for Start Menu, Startup folder, etc
'Originally I simply deleted and created the links in the Startup folder
'but I found that in some cases the startup folder would be executed before
'the script ran which would give them the port settings for the last computer
'they connected from which is why I changed it to not use the startup folder and launch the application itself
strDesktop = WshShell.SpecialFolders("Desktop")
set oShellLink = WshShell.CreateShortcut(strDesktop & "\Infinity Telephone Agent.lnk")
oShellLink.TargetPath = "c:\program files\amtelco\infinity telephone agent\inf5op32.exe"
oShellLink.WindowStyle = 1
oShellLink.IconLocation = "c:\program files\amtelco\infinity telephone agent\inf5op32.exe, 0"
oShellLink.Description = "Infinity Telephone Agent with Dynamic Port"
oShellLink.WorkingDirectory = strDesktop
oShellLink.Arguments = "/" & RegEntry
oShellLink.Save
End If

'We started using individual settings on our terminal server for Logger so I added this in
Set objNetwork = WScript.CreateObject("WScript.Network")
strComputer = Trim(UCase(CStr(objNetwork.ComputerName)))

If strComputer = "TS-1" Or strComputer = "TS-2" Then
Set objShell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
objShell.Run """C:\amtelco\logger\logger.exe ""/OperLink" & RegEntry
'WScript.Echo("Logger")
End if

'And thats it! Obviously this is very customizable and you can essentially manage your ports from this script
'As long as the registry entry has been setup on your terminal server

WScript.Quit(0)

 

PortCleanup (in Notepad form)

On Error Resume Next
'subroutine taken and modified from:
'http://www.tek-tips.com/viewthread.cfm?qid=1309939&page=9
'theres probably a better way to do it but this solution fit my needs

sub DeleteOldLNK()
Dim objShell, objFSO, InfinityPath, fileFolder
Dim userFolder, desktopFolder, custFolder, extension
Dim fullname, shortcut, shortTarget, strDesktop
Dim myFileToDelete

InfinityPath = "Inf5op32.exe"

Set objShell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
Set objFSO = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")

strDesktop = objShell.SpecialFolders("Desktop")
Set desktopFolder = objFSO.GetFolder(strDesktop)
Set custFolder = desktopFolder.Files

For Each custFile in custFolder
extension = objFSO.GetExtensionName(LCase(custFile.name))
If extension = "lnk" then
'wscript.echo "found link"
'Find full path of shortcut
fullname = objFSO.GetAbsolutePathName(custFile)

Set shortcut = objShell.CreateShortcut(fullname)
shortTarget = shortcut.TargetPath

If InStr(shortTarget, InfinityPath) then
'wscript.echo "found"

Set myFileToDelete = objFSO.GetFile(fullname)
myFileToDelete.Delete
End If
End If
Next

end sub

DeleteOldLNK()

Wscript.Quit(0)

 

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Watchdog Account Setup Instructions
by Robert Donnelly

What is a Watchdog Account?
A Watchdog Account is an account that "barks” at various people if an incoming call is not
answered and the instructions followed. Specifically, it is an automated method of making
scheduled calls into the system, and alerting management if the call is not answered and specific
action taken by staff. Particularly useful to perform a "Wellness Check” on overnight staff at, for
example, 30 minute intervals.

How does it work?
A call is "Triggered” by the System Scheduler. That call leaves a voicemail message in the
Watchdog Account. The Watchdog account then initiates programmed calls, instructing the
recipient that they have a message and that they need to take certain steps to deliver that
message or the call will continue to escalate. If the call is not answered or the message is not
properly delivered, then the Watchdog Account will continue to call all staff members setup in
the escalation sequence.

How do I set this up?

Two accounts are required. One with a DID, the other without. Our example will use account
number 5121234567 (the Calling account) and account number 100 (the Trigger account).

A) In account 5121234567 – the "Calling” account:

  1. Assign the Source ID

  2. Set Default Behavior to Standard: Voice Mail

  3. In the Service Lists, set Cancel AutoDial to "When Client Checks In”

  4. Setup the following Service Lists:

    1st Attempt: 2+ 1@3>1234567:V (where "1234567” is the number you want to call to
    get an operator. This could be your Customer Service Line, another client line, etc.)

    2nd Attempt: 3+ 1@3>1234567:V (where "1234567” is the number you want to escalate to)

    3rd Attempt: 1+ 1@3>1234567:V (where "1234567” is the number you want to escalate to before starting all over)

    Stop Calling: 1234567,,,5121234567#,,1234# (where "1234567” is your Check-in line and "1234” is the Security Code you’ve assigned to account 5121234567)

  5. Under the Voicemail tab, check off "Announce Mailbox”

  6. Under "Purge”, set both Played and Unplayed to 1 hour

  7. Set the account to allow a Mailbox Name to be recorded

  8. Dial into your check-in line, access this account, and record the following mailbox name:
    "You have a message in account 5121234567. You need to fetch that account and select
    Stop Calling from the Dial List. If you do not access the account and select Stop Calling
    from the Dial List, this call will be escalated”

B) In Account 100 – the "Trigger” account:

Setup the following Service List 1: 1234567:G (where "1234567” is the DID of the account you
setup in Step A)

C) In the System Scheduler:

  1. Select "Add”
  2. Select "Auto Action”
  3. Select the Time and Day(s) you wish to make the automated call
  4. Enter 100 for the account number
  5. Select the Service List 1 that you setup in Step B
  6. Repeat for every time you want a call to be made

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Maintaining Customer Relationships
by Nancy Friedman, the Telephone Doctor

You know the saying, "It's easier to keep your current customers than to find new ones."

Well, in today's marketplace and economy it's getting hard to keep our current customers too. This is the time to do something extra - be seen, be heard, be proactive.

It doesn't matter what business you're in - doctor, dentist, lawyer, retail, manufacturing, insurance, you name it; we all have customers and losing just one often makes a major impact in your business. So how do we maintain a relationship? What can we do to be special, different, proactive and extra good?

One is to keep your name in front of your customers. We like to think that the Telephone Doctor newsletter you're reading now is one way to maintain a relationship. At least you know we're thinking of you once a month. Staying in front of the customer, unobtrusively, is one of several ways to maintain a relationship.

You see, once you interact with the customer, once they purchase an item from you, they don't like to be ignored. Well, it's not that they don't like it, they really don't understand it. The customers think to themselves, "Gee, I just bought a bunch of XXX from YYY and I never hear from them. They must have forgotten about me."

I remember the copy machine salesman we had a while back. He was very good at the point of sale. But I promise you, we had a better relationship with the repairman (they outsourced it) than we did with the original salesperson.

So in addition to a newsletter or direct mail, all of which are good, we have some other ideas to help you maintain a great relationship with your customers taken from our best selling program Maintaining Customer Relationships.

Take a peek.

  1. Call the customer with a specific reason such as a follow up call to be sure all is going well. If you're worried about getting voice mail, here's a great Telephone Doctor tip. Expect and be prepared to reach voice mail. It's gonna happen, so be prepared! Have a ready made, short, sweet and to the point message for your customer. It's not necessary to ask them to call you back (unless there's a very good reason). You can simply make an announcement such as, "Mrs. Jones, this is Bob at Bob's Appliances. I hope your new dishwasher is doing great. Was thinking about you and wanted to say thank you again for your purchase." That's it. Your company name will be in their computer brain. It's a way to maintain customer relationships. (Caution: Don't WING a voice mail. Be prepared!)

  2. Be proactive. If your contact is no longer at the company, don't just let that go. Let's say you worked with Sue Smith at Fox & Company. And you called to say hello. Whoops, Sue Smith moved on to another company about 3 months ago. Sadly she didn't tell all her vendors that, so you still have her name on your list. You have two choices. You can hang up and move on to another call, or you can be proactive and find out who replaced Sue Smith and start a new relationship. You have a great story to tell the new contact because you had a good relationship with Sue Smith. So find out who replaced Sue Smith. Someone is doing her job. Be proactive. You'll be pleasantly surprised at how well you'll be received.

  3. We have a great saying at Telephone Doctor. Make a few "NUM" calls a day. NUM calls? Don't look it up because we made it up. NUM calls stands for NO ULTERIOR MOTIVE. That's right, a simple "I was thinking about you and wanted to say hello" call. Until you do this a few times and get the amazing results we have over the years, you probably won't appreciate the technique. I hesitated to even share it with you. But then, what kind of customer service would that be? NUM calls are great for voice mails and especially if you have the good fortune to reach the customer. Wish someone would give me a NUM call once in a while - that's a rarity.

  4. Handle all problems immediately. Don't we always, you ask? Well you know, sometimes people put things off, especially when it's unpleasant. If you need to call a customer back when there's been a problem, the sooner you call them back or handle it in person, the better off you are. Ignoring the customer or putting off calling will only make the situation worse. You know the old saying, handling a problem you're getting that ole 'second chance.' If you're good at what you do, you probably can help the situation move in the right direction. This is a great way to maintain customer relationships.

  5. Gain additional business. Word of mouth is one of the best ways to maintain customer relationships. So when you make that NUM call or handle the problem immediately, what do you think your customers will tell others? Right. How good you are! And you can gain additional business by those methods. What do you think I would have told my business associates if that copy salesperson had stayed in touch with us? Right. How good he was. I could have gotten that sales person additional business. By staying away from me I had forgotten him. Not a great method.

There are dozens of other ways to maintain a relationship with your customers. These are just a few.

 

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