May 2012

Regular Columns

From the Editor
by Betty Bouchie

Be Inspired
by Gary Blair

Something to Smile About...

IS Tip: Testing, Testing 123
by Kevin Procter

Stepping Up Your Game: Situational-based Management
by Gary Pudles, AnswerNet

Ownership Wins Every Time!
by Nancy Friedman

Featured Articles

Members Spotlight

Upcoming Webinar & Workshop Opportunities

Amtelco Annex

XDS Board Error Recovery and Reset
by David Drenk

Quickly Search Multiple Directories and Perform Actions with the IS Sandbox
by David Drenk

Infinity 101
by Michael Quimby

From the Editor

by Betty Bouchie

That’s not my table

Don’t you just hate it when you are in a restaurant and you stop a wait person to ask for water, and they brush you off? Or worse, they tell you someone will be right back with that, and then no one comes. This holds true with everything. A client wants you to handle their issue. It does not matter to them if it is completely out of your realm of duty. If you answered, you now become responsible, no matter what the issue. Many years ago, when I was in the "answering” position, we had a physician who would call us for everything. We were asked hockey scores, the temperature at which to cook a casserole, the cost of mailing a letter to a foreign country (I personally was asked for all of these). Our training motto was, we do not have to know everything, but we do need to know how and where to find it.

Taking ownership is not necessarily having all the answers, but knowing where to direct the questions.

Here is an interesting article on getting your team to take ownership:

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Be Inspired

Submitted by Gary Blair

What you resist, persists. If you take ownership and deal with things that are bothering you, then, in the very process of dealing with them, they very often will go away.
~Author Unknown

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Something to Smile About...

An old German Shepherd starts chasing rabbits and before long, discovers that he's lost. Wandering about, he notices a panther heading rapidly in his direction with the intention of having lunch. The old German Shepherd thinks, "Oh, oh! I'm in trouble now!"

Noticing some bones on the ground close by, he immediately settles down to chew on the bones with his back to the approaching cat. Just as the panther is about to leap, the old German Shepherd exclaims loudly, "Boy, that was one delicious panther! I wonder, if there are any more around here?"

Hearing this, the young panther halts his attack in mid-strike, a look of terror comes over him and he slinks away into the trees. "Whew!," says the panther, "That was close! That old German Shepherd nearly had me!"

Meanwhile, a squirrel who had been watching the whole scene from a nearby tree, figures he can put this knowledge to good use and trade it for protection from the panther. So, off he goes.

The squirrel soon catches up with the panther, spills the beans and strikes a deal for himself with the panther.

The young panther is furious at being made a fool of and says, "Here, squirrel, hop on my back and see what's going to happen to that conniving canine!"

Now, the old German Shepherd sees the panther coming with the squirrel on his back and thinks, "What am I going to do now?," but instead of running, the dog sits down with his back to his attackers, pretending he hasn't seen them yet, and just when they get close enough to hear, the old German Shepherd says... "Where's that squirrel? I sent him off an hour ago to bring me another panther!"

Moral of this story...

Don't mess with the old dogs... Age and skill will always overcome youth and treachery! Brilliance only comes with age and experience.

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IS Tip: Testing, Testing, 123

by Kevin Procter, Extend Communications Inc.

Children learn to test things as they grow up. From testing the power of the word "NO", moving to testing the colour of crayons, perhaps graduating to testing chemistry experiments – sometimes learning not to mix certain chemicals. (Or learning to indeed mix those chemicals for a fun reaction.)

Those same children sometimes become programmers (sometimes IS programmers) and likewise need to run tests. Testing goes far beyond the initial setup and testing of a script. Testing can – and should – happen on an ongoing basis; whether an operator is just practising on a script or we're making changes to a script and need to safely test those changes.

As with any program, if an IS test bed is set up improperly it can be dangerous. Unlike a straight Infinity account, an IS program script involves the computer's logic to get stuff done.

The thing about testing is, that's the time some undisciplined personalities and imaginations can make their way into a script's resulting data. So an operator (or a programmer) with a sense of humour runs a test. How embarrassing when Procter's Pizza receives a message that says, "Pizza Hut is much better!" Can you say damage control?

Training personnel not to put such comments into a script is certainly one option to avoid such a disaster. In general, however, test messages should never make their way to a customer. The programmer has the power to ensure this never happens.

Enter the IF element in IS. This little guy is the cornerstone of setting up a test system. See the image below.

This image shows a test on the account number. If the branch above tells us we're in test mode, then we can set up any variables we like for testing. Test phone numbers, test email addresses, text that we can display in the script to let operators know they're in test mode. Then when we use those test-initialized variables, all will be well with the world.

The only problem here – and it can be a big problem – is that the database setting in a script is not able to be set via a variable. That's a nasty oversight that this author has had nightmares about. When you bring a script into test, you need to manually set the database to the TEST database or your testing will be saved to the live account. Likewise – and possibly more importantly –

Remember to change it back afterwards.

Now, Amtelco has been asked to rectify this situation, so as to eliminate this hazard. Having this addressed will allow certain programmers to sleep much better at night. (And through the day as well.)

Take a script – any script – and apply a test branch to the start portion of that script. Expanding on this will allow you to freely move the script between live and test, with virtually no changes to the script itself – save for that pesky database issue. Using this method of script maintenance will allow IS programmers to maintain a robust test-bed in which changes can be quickly made and safely tested throughout the enterprise.

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Gary Pudles

Stepping Up Your Game: Situational-based Management

by Gary Pudles, AnswerNet

Ever have a staff member who appeared to be able to do anything? We load them up with all kinds of projects, whether or not it’s "what they do”, and then are surprised, even disappointed, when one of those special projects doesn’t work out as we assumed it would.

The key to avoiding a disappointment like this is to realize that varied tasks need to be managed differently, even if they are being handled by the same person. No matter how well-qualified, smart, proactive or educated an employee is, they don’t know everything. Even the most experienced employee will require close supervision from time to time.

Situation-based management can be split into three levels – Advice, Coaching and Task.

An employee who is highly skilled and confident in one area may just require your Advice. However, that same employee, having acquired a skill but still not completely confident in their judgment or performance, will require Coaching to build confidence in their new ability. Put that same self-assured person in a situation where a task is something brand new and they will surely lack skill and confidence. In that circumstance, you as the manager will want to make sure you carefully define the deliverable first and then test that deliverable throughout the project to make sure they are on track to reach the goal. That situation needs to be managed at the Task level by supervising every step and course-correcting along the way.

The execution-minded manager is attuned to the needs of the employee and manages assignments accordingly, regardless of the employee’s position within the business. So, when you assign a new task, consider the skill set of the person assigned to the task carefully. It may require a closer level of supervision, at least at first, but will pay off for you in the end when you and your business get the quality of work that you want.

Situational management by an execution-minded manager is a recipe for success, and this kind of success will ensure motivated, happy, and growing employees.

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Ownership Wins Every Time!

by Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor

Ask most audiences what trait or characteristic they'd like to see in their employees and you'll notice ownership floats to the top.

Yes, attitude is up there too, and a few others they'd like to see, but without fail ownership wins.

If we asked 10 people, "What does ownership mean to you?" we might get 10 different answers. And they'd all be right.

So we've taken the word ownership and labeled a thought to each letter. Enjoy!


Operate as though it's your business. Take responsibility. There's no, "It's not my job" in ownership. There's only, "I will help you."


Walk in the customer's shoes. That's the best way to be sure you understand what's going on and to help. Pretend it's you calling in and needing the assistance. What if this happened to you?


Never say "no." That's right, even when you're not able to help or even when the situation is hopeless (and let's hope it never gets to that). The word no is offensive, abrupt, unfriendly, overused and tired. There are a dozen positive alternatives we can use to let the customer down gently. To offer a few: "I wish we could" or "Let me double check on that" or "I'm going to take some time and see if we can work this out." Bottom line, offering no at the top of your conversation is useless.


Empowerment is strength. Having employees empowered to assist by themselves is a strong motivation to do well. The worst they can do is make one mistake. It's normally easily corrected and then everyone moves forward. Empower your folks!


Resolution. Sticking with the issue until it is resolved. No matter how many phone calls, how many times we re-check something; it's not over till it's fixed. Resolved! The mentality needs to be: "Your issues are our issues."


Sending confirmation of the resolution. This is so important. If something gets fixed or resolved and the customer isn't made aware of it, they can still be upset. The other day we were to have been issued a credit from an airline. We never heard from them. After a third call from my husband to the airline, we were told, "Oh, that credit was on your bill a few months ago." But no one bothered to let us know it was coming or that it had been done. Send confirmation or call! Then close the issue.


Happiness is key. Happy people love to help. That's a fact. And your customers love to be helped by happy people. That's another fact. They can even make the bitter better. (Say that three times!) Walk into your job happy!


Integrity. This is non-negotiable. Having integrity is a huge part of ownership. Do what is right all the time. And remember, having the right to do it doesn't always "make it right." Integrity!


Personal commitment. Each and every person helping a customer needs to make their own personal commitment that they will take ownership. No more, "It's not my job." No more, "I wasn't here when it happened." No more, "I don't know anything about it."

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Members Spotlight

Laurie Blow

Laurie Blow, Advanced Answering Center

1. Could you tell us how and when your business began? Advanced Answering Center began in 1989 when owners John and Maggie Suker purchased an answering service to expand the service offerings to the customers of their paging company in the Northeast.

2. What are your most common accounts? A good portion of our accounts are medical and property management, with the remainder being a cross section of different industries.

3. When did you start using Amtelco equipment and why? We started using Amtelco equipment in 2002 when our previous vendor, Glenayre, decided to exit the call center market. When comparing vendors, we found the Amtelco Infinity to offer the most flexibility and opportunity for growth.

4. When did you join NAEO and why? We joined NAEO when we purchased our Infinity system. We were excited about having access to a network of peers who could assist us with a smooth transition. We were not disappointed. Joining NAEO was one of the best business decisions we have made.

5. When did you start in the telephony business? I started in the telephony business in 1995.

6. What is one thing about you or your business that is different or unique? We have been able to continuously provide large service offerings and value to our customers while retaining small business core values. Much of the credit for this goes to many of our long-term employees and their sense of ownership in the customer experience.

7. Tell us a little personal information about you, your family and your hobbies or interests. I live in Vermont and enjoy the many opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking and kayaking.

8. What is your goal as a board member? My goal is to increase NAEO member retention and attract new members to our association. The Membership Committee is actively increasing communication with existing members about NAEO benefits they may not be taking advantage of and seeking input on possible new benefits to be developed. We are also working on strategies to reach out to Amtelco sites that are not currently members. Our strength is in numbers, and our committee mission for the year is Proactively Promote…Relentlessly Retain.

Gordon Mott

Gordon Mott

1. Could you tell us how and when your business began? In 1996, after 20+ years in banking, I decided to "move in another direction.”While in my search mode, I met with a friend who asked me to do some consulting helping him with his side business – a 3-seat answering service. Long story short, I ended up buying it.

2. What are your most common accounts? MLT is a general purpose TAS with a good mix of healthcare, property management, trades and services.

3. When did you start using Amtelco equipment and why? The company I purchased was using a PCMX. In 2002, I was looking to upgrade to Infinity but ended up buying a local competitor who had installed Infinity 6 month earlier. Stayed with Amtelco ever since.

4. When did you join NAEO and why? In 1997.I was in desperate need to learn more about the industry and equipment. One of the best professional decisions I have made.

5. When did you start in the telephony business? N/A

6. What is one thing about you or your business that is different or unique? MLT made be one of the only companies that celebrates National Flamingo Day (May 29). Our celebration occurs on the Friday prior to Memorial Day. Appropriate dress encouraged. Helps manage the stress.

7. Tell us a little personal information about you, your family and your hobbies or interests. Nancy and I have two adult children, Adrienne and Jim. Dylan, a black lab/German Shepard mix, rounds out the family. I enjoy the beach (Jersey shore) and swim regularly.

8. What is your goal as a board member? Continue the excellence that past boards have established in managing and reporting NAEO’s financial performance. I expect to work closely with Robin Bailey.

theran mossholder

Theran Mossholder

1. Could you tell us how and when your business began? Newtown Answering Service was founded in 1968, providing services to the Lower Bucks County area in Pennsylvania. It has grown to serve mainly the eastern Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey Markets. I purchased the company in 2008.

2. What are your most common accounts? We serve all types of industries including HVAC, Property Management, Funeral Homes, and Medical.

3. When did you start using Amtelco equipment and why? When I took over the company in 2008, we were already using Amtelco Equipment. Even though Eve was a powerhouse, we recognized the need to upgrade our equipment and stuck with Amtelco. We are now running Infinity 5.6 with IS.

4. When did you join NAEO and why? When we purchased the Infinity system we were given a 1-year membership. After being a member for that year, we saw the value of being a member of NAEO and continue to be active members of this great organization.

5. When did you start in the telephony business? I entered the telephony business in 2008 with the purchase of Newtown Answering Service. Over the past five years I have learned a tremendous amount about the industry. I came with a background in business management and computer science.

6. What is one thing about you or your business that is different or unique? When I came to Newtown Answering Service, we were still on the EVE platform. We had an entire wall of cooper lines literally 15 feet across 10 feet high. I never saw anything like it. I couldn’t tell you if they were connected not connected; nobody knew. We used EVE for about a year and a half before I decided we needed to upgrade. We have now been on Infinity for less then three years and haven’t looked back.

7. Tell us a little personal information about you, your family and your hobbies or interests. I am originally from Madison, WI, but grew up northeast of Philadelphia – where Newtown Answering Service is also located. I went to Susquehanna University, where I studied Finance and Computer Science. After school I managed a chain restaurant for six years in Harrisburg, PA before entering in the answering service business. I enjoy traveling, especially around the world. Countries I have visited include England, Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, and China.

8. What is your goal as a board member? One of the main goals while serving on the board is to create a certification program for all aspects of Infinity and IS. I am primarily going to focus on Intelligent Series certification. We are going to create a structured program that will help employees grow and learn Amtelco hardware and software so they can become proficient in our operations. I also hope to partner with Amtelco by including IS workshops with the purchase of their software.

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Gerald R. Brosseau

Lina Masri

Upcoming Webinar & Workshop Opportunities

By: Gerald R. Brosseau, II, Education Committee Chair
and Lina Masri, Education Committee Co-Chair

We’re off to a very busy and very educational year! With several new committee members, this year’s Education committee is stronger and more focused than ever. You’ll find that we are offering webinars at least every other week on some great topics that will help you better manage your business, empower your employees, and ultimately improve the bottom line. Please check the calendar on the NAEO site frequently to register!

Upcoming webinar topics for both hospital call centers and traditional telephone answering services include:

  • Interviewing in Groups
  • Revenue Generating Ideas
  • Business Continuity
  • Billing Link 4
  • Infinity Telephone Agent Settings
  • Dial Strings Used in Dispatching
  • Voice Mail Dial Strings
  • Printer Capture
  • Call Distribution (Repeating by Request)
  • IS Transformer
  • A New Series of Webinars on Contact Based Architecture!
  • IS On-Call Scheduling
  • How to Prepare for Intelligent Series (Hospital & TAS)
  • SQL Reports
  • And Much More!

We encourage your participation on webinars and invite you to ask your questions during the Q & A opportunity at the end of the presentation. Remember, if you happen to miss a webinar, don’t hesitate to go to the members section of the NAEO website and click on "Recorded Webinars.” We continually encourage your ideas for new topics and presenters by emailing

In August, the NAEO Education Committee will offer a Leadership Workshop designed just for managers, team leaders, supervisors, and operations staff to further learn best practices of how to better manage their subordinates. You’ll get valuable insight from industry experts Lisa Phillips and Evelyn Portinari on Operations, Customer Service, and Human Resource matters. Learn how to advance your current methods of training, deal with human resource issues,and reduce employee turnover, with the ultimate goal of improving the level of service offered to your clients, thus improving your profitability. This workshop is designed to be budget-friendly for any hospital call center or answering service, with accommodations and meeting space at an airport hotel in Philadelphia, PA, yet allow for tremendously valuable insight to develop a better team.

Intelligent Series experts Gerald Brosseau and Theran Mossholder will offer a simultaneous workshop for IS programmers in Philadelphia. Whether you’re new to IS or planning to convert to Contact Based Architecture, you’ll want to register early as space will be limited!

Please watch the list serve for upcoming registration information for both of these workshops and dates.

New this year is a Communications Committee! In an effort to reach out to our membership and keep them informed about what's new, what is going on, and how we can help, we have formed a new committee to streamline the communication process. While the Education Committee is focused on improving the quality and quantity of educational opportunities, our new Communications Committee is determined to make sure that you are aware of what those opportunities are! We will rely heavily on social media as our information board. Watch for webinar dates and times, training sessions, upcoming events, conference information and of course, the countdown to conference, as well as many other opportunities. It will also feature information from NewsLinks articles, and tips and tricks of the trade. We want all of our members become a part of our NAEO page on Facebook so that the current information at their fingertips. The NAEO Facebook page is open to all members and we encourage everyone to post information relevant to our members. If you are not on our Facebook page, please go to become a part of this great new avenue for information to help you and your business.

Upcoming NAEO Webinars:

Infinity Telephone Agent F12 Settings
May 2, 2012
2:00 pm EDT

Speaker: Gerald Brosseau

Learn how to utilize and program the enhanced settings within Infinity Telephone Agent to allow your agents to better self-manage their efficiencies and to see a global view of your call center.

miSecure Messaging
May 30, 2012
2:00 pm EDT

Speaker: Pat Dye

Learn about the power of utilizing the miSecure Messaging app to enable instant two-way communication with your customers. Just one way to make your agents' and customers' lives more efficient.

Business Continuity
June 13, 2012
12:00 pm EDT

Moderator: Joe Adam

Presented by: Kurt Vandersheer and Joe Adam

This is a series of webinars offered that will cover the NAEO Disaster Recovery Plan that was written exclusively for our NAEO members. This program was developed over a two-year span in conjunction with Barney Pelant and Associates (a leader in Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Planning).

We will discuss why your business (regardless of its size) will benefit from this program.

We will also discuss the program materials as well as what outside resources will be made available to the membership to assist with completing this program. In the first session we will briefly discuss the various sections of the plan and we will also start working through Chapter 1 of the program. For the next sessions we will cover a chapter each webinar. But don't worry; if you miss one of the webinars you can still join the series late, just watch the recored sessions to get caught up.

The goal of this webinar series is to work through the plan as a group so that everyone will benefit from each other’s experiences and knowledge.

Call Distributions
June 13, 2012
2:00 pm EDT

Presented by: Theran Mossholder

Learn all about call distribution. We will take a look at the difference between operator groups and station groups. We’ll also look at how to assign accounts and operators to the proper distribution groups. We will go over the process to develop a good call distribution plan, and how to implement that plan into action.

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

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David Drenk

XDS Board Error Recovery and Reset

by David Drenk

Infinity has the ability to notify supervisors when there is a problem with an AMTELCO XDS H.100 board. When the system tries to send a request to an XDS H.100 board, the board has 500 milliseconds to accept the command. If the board does not accept the command in that time period, a system event is created. The event sends a message to the Infinity system printer that says, "XDS Board Dead.” The purpose of this message is to notify the system administrator that the board needs to be reset or replaced. Meanwhile, the board will no longer be used by the system, but the system will continue to service other boards.


  • Infinity 5.51.10 or later
  • AMTELCO XDS H.100 board

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David Drenk

Quickly Search Multiple Directories and Perform Actions with the IS Sandbox

by David Drenk

The Sandbox is a powerful directory search feature that lets an agent search single or multiple directories from one search box. Actions can be assigned within each directory, giving the agent the opportunity to dial numbers, transfer calls, change accounts, view messages, take messages, and view contact details, all from one place.

The Sandbox View Searches settings control what directory information can be searched from the Sandbox when an agent is working in an account. The Sandbox View Searches settings are located on the right side of the Directory Settings page of IS Supervisor Client Setup.

To add a Directory subject and view to the Sandbox searches click the add view button. The Select Views window is displayed.

Select the desired subject and view, then click the apply button to add the subject and view to this client’s Sandbox view searches.

The directory subject and views are displayed in the Sandbox View Searches pane. The Sandbox is able to perform searches on multiple directory views at the same time.

When a search is performed from the Sandbox and a listing is selected, each of the view actions that are assigned to the subject and view used in the search are available to be performed. View actions are configured on the View Actions tab in Directory Setup.

Sandbox Actions are the actions that are available in the Sandbox when an agent is not performing a search. These are special actions that are independent of the actions assigned to Directory views. When the empty Sandbox search window is displayed, the agent can press the down arrow key on the keyboard to display the Sandbox Actions. The agent can use the up and down arrow keys to select an action, and then press the ENTER key to activate the action.

The Agent Settings page of IS Supervisor Client Setup is used to assign Sandbox Actions. To add an action, select the action desired from the list of Available Actions, then click the >button.

The action caption and description are displayed in the Selected Actions pane. The properties for the selected action are displayed in the lower portion of the page in the Action Properties area. Action Properties can be used to change the label of an action and to modify the effects of an action using parameters. The Action Properties that are available vary for each type of action.

The Sandbox can be assigned to a function key in Infinity Telephone Agent and can be programmed as the Popup for a client account on the Operator Interface page in Infinity Supervisor Client settings.

The Sandbox can also be assigned to a function key in Soft Agent or be programmed as a Startup Action or Toolbar Action for Soft Agent in IS Supervisor Client Setup.


  • Infinity Telephone Agent 5.51.3659.12 or later
  • Infinity Supervisor 5.51.0006 or later
  • IS Supervisor 5.51.3659.9 or later
  • SQL Server 2000 or later


  • Soft Agent 3.1.3659.01 or later
  • IS Supervisor 5.51.3659.9 or later
  • SQL Server 2000 or later

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Michael Quimby

Infinity 101

by Michael Quimby


1. All of the following messaging scenarios, if programmed correctly, are possible EXCEPT:

A) Operator Sally could edit a message; Operator Wanda could not edit a message.
B) Operators Sally and Wanda could add to a message but not edit a message.
C) Operators Sally and Wanda could edit a message on account 1 but not on account 2.
D) Operators Sally and Wanda could not add or edit a message.


2. Which statement about outbound ANI is incorrect?

A) A default outbound ANI can reside in the account.
B) Amtelco strongly recommends a dedicated dialout route.
C) The CTRL+T and CTRL+U keys can populate different ANI values.
D) Each telephone company along the way must support the feature.


3. Which one of these client options does NOT override the same option in System Settings – System Options?

A) Auto-answer rings
B) Music-on-hold port
C) Text message purge time
D) Voice mail recording time


4. To erase a perfect answer greeting accidentally saved as an account greeting:

A) Call Field Service.
B) Locate the greeting number in Operator Interface – Perfect Answer and click the Delete button.
C) Select the Erase button next to Custom Auto Answer in Voice Mail – Recordings.
D) Select the Erase button next to Greetings in Voice Mail – Recordings.


5. Which of the following features is NOT programmed in Infinity Supervisor – System Options?

A) Auto answer or enhanced auto answer interval
B) Default repeat time
C) Generate stats whenever a directory change occurs
D) Infinity oncall retention



1. D

Letter A is a permission for the login programmed in Infinity Supervisor – Operator. Letter B is an Infinity default. Letter C is an account setting in Infinity Supervisor – Client – Operator Interface – General.

2. C

There is no such functionality. Letter A is an option in Operator Interface – Operator Call Handling. Letter B involves programming in Boards & Ports – Route Setup. In the Options tab, check "enable the route suffix”.

3. A

Both letters A and B are programmed in Call Behaviors (Auto-Answer and Music tabs respectively). Letter C is programmed in Message Management. Letter D is programmed in Voice Mail – Recordings.

4. D

Letter B is unnecessary for new employees with an old employee’s perfect answer number. Simply save over the old employee’s perfect answer recording.

5. C

This is programmed in Infinity Supervisor - Directory for each Infinity directory. IS Oncall schedule information stores in SQL.

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