Newslinks May 2013

May 2013

Regular Columns

From the Editor
by Betty Bouchie

Be Inspired
by Gary Blair

Something to Smile About...

IS Tip
by Kevin Procter

Widgets
by Michael Goumas

Stepping Up Your Game
by Gary Pudles

Featured Articles

My NAEO Experience
by Haley Wright

Guaranteed Investment Winner — Your Association Dues
by David Ewald

Contact Based Architecture

Turning Rants into Raves

Upcoming Webinars

 

Amtelco Annex

Rotate Calls through a List of Client Accounts with the Infinity Client Rotate Feature
by David Drenk

Expiring Licenses Provide Extra Seats When You Need Them
by David Drenk

From the Editor

by Betty Bouchie

Be Clear!

An English professor wrote the words, "Woman without her man is nothing” on the blackboard and directed his students to punctuate it correctly.

The men wrote: "Woman, without her man, is nothing.”
The women wrote: "Woman: Without her, man is nothing.”

This illustration helps to show, not only how different people (genders) may think, but also how easy it is to misinterpret something. Not just in the written word, but in the spoken word. We are in a "spoken” business. We need to understand clarity, maybe more than any other trade, since we are the connection between so many others.

According to the 7 Cs, communication needs to be:

  • Clear.
  • Concise.
  • Concrete.
  • Correct.
  • Coherent.
  • Complete.
  • Courteous.

Check out this article for some helpful information on the 7 Cs.

www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newCS_85.htm

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Be Inspired

Submitted by Gary Blair

Clear.
You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere.
~ Lee Iacocca

Concise.
The art of communication is the language of leadership.
~ James Humes

Concrete.
Regardless of the changes in technology, the market for well-crafted messages will always have an audience.
~ Steve Burnett

Correct.
Take advantage of every opportunity to practice your communication skills so that when important occasions arise, you will have the gift, the style, the sharpness, the clarity, and the emotions to affect other people.
~ Jim Rohn

Coherent.
The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.
~ Peter Drucker

Complete.
The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.
~ George Bernard Shaw

Courteous.
Communicate unto the other person that which you would want him to communicate unto you if your positions were reversed.
~ Aaron Goldman

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Something to Smile About...

www.cartoonstock.com/directory/c/clear_communications.asp

 

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IS Tip

Programmer Wanted: Clear Communication Skills a Maybe

by Kevin Procter, Extend Communications Inc.

In the ’90s, yours truly made a career change: from working in Human Services to becoming a computer programmer. The switch was a very good, one as the heart of a true computer geek has always been beating in this writer's chest.

However, the skills used in human services are far different from those that are used by a computer programmer . . . aren’t they?

Rather than communicating with people for a living – employing reflective listening, open-ended questions and other strategies that go along with counselling – the computer programmer needs to concentrate on flipping bits and manipulating bytes inside silicon chips. That’s it.

Or is it?
Of course it is!

Clear communication is essential when working directly with people. Programmers, however, work directly with machines. They only need to communicate in computer lingo, or with each other – using terminology relegated to the programming world.

But wait!

A programmer does have to deal with people too, doesn’t he? What about the people for whom the programmer is writing software? In this industry, that can include myriad people from all levels at a customer site, to administrators within one’s own company, to managers, operators, and the callers – all of whom will be experiencing the result of the programmer’s work and communication skills.

The programmer who writes in IS, who facilitates communication between operators and callers, must be versed and comfortable in both human and silicon interactions. The goal is simple: clear communication. Achieving that goal is anything but simple. Yet IS programmers are charged with that very task on a daily basis.

It certainly does help if the programmer is part of a team – which is the case in most successful businesses. Providing feedback to programmers on the needs and wants of the customers, callers, and the company he or she works for, will go a long way to secure that goal of clear communication.

All programmers, especially in telecommunications, must be open to feedback, and learning new ideas of social interaction, etc. Of course effective communication is bidirectional; that is, a programmer must also be able to provide strong, effective, thoughtful feedback in a socially skilled manner.

Social interaction is very much an inexact science. Social interaction through computers is also an inexact science. However, as a team, with strong goals of clear communication, IS programming can be exactly this: a beautiful thing.

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Widgets

Creating a List in an IS Script, Based on Directory Role

by Michael Goumas, ProComm

This is used to create a list in an IS script based on a role from the directory.

Usage in the IS Script:

Here is where you find the Role Definition #

Here is the SQL code for it

USE [Intelligent]
GO
/****** Object: StoredProcedure [dbo].[spMichaelSLW] Script Date: 4/25/2013 11:47:29 AM ******/
SET ANSI_NULLS ON
GO
SET QUOTED_IDENTIFIER ON
GO
-- =============================================
-- Author:
-- Create date:
-- Description:
-- =============================================
CREATE PROCEDURE [dbo].[spMichaelListByRole]
@RoleDefinition int = NULL
AS
BEGIN
-- SET NOCOUNT ON added to prevent extra result sets from
-- interfering with SELECT statements.
SET NOCOUNT ON;

-- Insert statements for procedure here
SELECT Description,dirRoleDefinitions.Name
FROM dirListings
JOIN dirContactRoles
ON dirListings.listID = dirContactRoles.listID
JOIN dirRoleDefinitions
ON dirContactRoles.roledefID = dirRoleDefinitions.roledefID
WHERE (dirContactRoles.roledefID = @RoleDefinition)
ORDER BY Description
END

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Gary Pudles

Stepping Up Your Game

Servant Leadership and Communication

by Gary Pudles, AnswerNet

I recently was asked to speak on a panel about Servant Leadership for SmartCEO. Servant Leadership is a "servant-first” philosophy made popular by Robert Greenleaf in the 1970s. This theory basically states that a leader should focus more on the people who are being led, than on the needs of the person in the leadership role. In business, it means that a company leader lets go of self-importance for the greater good of the organization and its employees.

One of the staples of servant leadership is communication. Without clear communication, employees lack the guidance and direction they need to grow as productive team members within the business. Most companies that struggle with communication do so not because the employees are bad, but because they haven’t been taught how to properly engage with one another. If communication skills are not part of new hire training, it holds back the people, and the company, from reaching their potential.

Many servant leaders understand that communication is much more than talking. It is about setting goals, helping people truly grasp what is expected of them – and more importantly, why. Very often employees need to understand how they will be measured. Are there performance reviews? How is the employee doing? What are they doing and what do they need to improve on? Clearly communicated expectations help employees define and embrace their roles within the company.

It also opens the opportunity for employees to share ideas and suggestions. Very often the lack of communication results in a lack of understanding of your staff’s potential, and how they can help you, the leader, to achieve your goals. Many employees have great concepts that could help save the company money, grow revenue and/or boost customer engagement. Without open and clear communication, a leader remains unaware of an employee’s abilities and therefore cannot properly encourage and motivate them.

Servant leaders have learned that if you really want to build relationships with your employees, you must learn how to communicate effectively. By serving your employees and creating an environment of open and clear communication — either through training or regular employee reviews — you encourage a more efficient, engaged and productive workplace. Unleashing employee talent will not only help them reach their goals, but help your company reach its goals as well.

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My NAEO Experience

by Haley Wright, Call Center Supervisor, Call Experts

Winner of the Curtin Scholarship

I applied to the Curtin scholarship because I’ve been in the industry now for three years and really wanted to open my eyes to the industry in which I'm involved. The opportunity to fly to Nashville was rewarding in itself! On my first day of the conference I had a bit of jitters because I didn’t know what to expect, but it’s wonderful how welcomed you really are your first time at a NAEO conference. The buddy system, set in place for first timers, just adds to the friendly faces involved in the experience. I was assigned Jennifer Ferby with AnswerPlus. She really helped me get settled in and dive into my networking journey. It was wonderful meeting important names in the NAEO community face to face. Networking is only a small part of the whole experience.

Not being in a technical department myself in my company, it was nice to see all the opportunities for advancement with Amtelco equipment. They really make sure to stay ahead of the current needs in the Call Center industry, which is growing and becoming more demanding, with advanced modern technology, each day. Along with learning more about the equipment options available, you are able to learn more about your specific department needs, with the different tracks available at the conference. I took the development track, being a Call Center Supervisor. The development track started with Randi Busse from Workforce Development Group Inc. She taught us on how to turn our "Rants into Raves.” This concentrated on turning our toxic employees into model employees who want to provide the ideal customer service you would hope your company is providing.

I was able to take a lot of information home from the sessions to apply it to my everyday duties. The seminars were honestly more discussion based, not just a speaker reading from slides. Being interactive during these sessions, I feel, lets you get a lot more out of the session. Everyone there can relate to the issues you face every day and even offer you solutions on how they solved that same exact problem. Being in the room with your "so-called” competitors is out the window here! Everyone is willing to take what knowledge they have and bring it to the table. On top of the knowledge you bring home, you also get to enjoy your nights by socializing and relaxing with all of the attendees! This gives you the perfect balance of business and pleasure on your trip. Overall, it was a wonderful experience and I would recommend it to anyone in the Call Center Industry. If you’ve thought about it, I’d say push for it, because you really can gain a lot to transform your call center.

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Guaranteed Investment Winner — Your Association Dues

By David Ewald, CAE
President/CEO, Ewald Consulting

A finance professor in 1986 taught me an important lesson that I have applied to my work with associations. I, along with most of my classmates, squirmed in our seats counting the moments till the end of a three hour lecture on present and future value calculations. Hard stuff — at least for me, it was. We groaned when he went over his allotted time for the course.

How could he do that? Then came "the lesson.” Stopping the FV/PV lecture, he said "I’ll bet the education field is the only one where the customer wants to pay full price to a vendor and receive less ‘product’ than the vendor is willing to give.” Good food for thought, professor. We left. The professor’s idea applies well to the association world. Many members of associations pay their dues and then neglect to collect the full — or more — value by failing to lead or participate in the many opportunitiesthe association offers for little or no cost.

A favorite question I like to ask board members is this: "If you could be convinced to pay 10 times your current dues to this association, what would it do to your participation?” The response is always the same. That member would become much more invested in the association because he would need to make sure his company saw a good return on its investment. If that is the case at 10 times the dues, then why not get an even quicker return by "investing” now at a lower price? Here are some ways to get more out of your membership:

Serve on a committee or board

Participating in the work of a committee or board will help you or your staff members develop leadership skills that will serve well in your work. You will be networking and "in the know” regarding what is going on in the industry. You will become appreciated as a leader. That can set you up for future growth in the association — or other leadership opportunities.

Sponsor or host something

Associations are usually looking for sponsors of meetings, events and publications to help keep costs low for members. Kicking in a few dollars to sponsor a breakfast will get recognition for your company and a lot of appreciation. Host a tour of your company and have a roundtable discussion about issues you and others face. They’ll appreciate it and you and your staff will enjoy showing off what you do.

Attend training events

Association-sponsored events are usually one of the best deals going in continuing education. Usually they are run to make (at most) a small profit. Programs provide great networking opportunities for you and your staff and are another way to become visible in the industry.

Get your staff involved

Would you like to magnify the value of your membership? Get more staff members involved. The value of your membership is limited only to you if other staffers don’t hear about training events or participate in leadership opportunities. When you get staff involved they grow in their careers and they learn about their (your) industry. Importantly, attendance at association events can be an affordable "perk” to give your staff that will leave them recharged when they return to work.

Share an idea

Afraid your competitor will learn what you are doing and use it to capture the market? After 25 years in the field, I’ve never heard of it. In my opinion, many industries are more likely to be put out of business by their work being out-sourced to another country or by a competitor that isn’t yet in the business than by a current competitor down the street. Share what you know, learn from them and get better together! Share the ideas by writing newsletter articles, teaching a course or participating in roundtables.

Many saw portfolios shrink beginning with the crash in 2000. Through that time, associations have continued to provide one of the best returns on investment. Like the stockmarket, a member can’t just invest her money in an association and hope for great returns. The good news is that unlike the market, investing in your association pays dividends no matter what the state of the economy — as long as you decide to take an interest in it.

Pay closer attention in 2013 to the strength of your association commitment and I’m sure you see the rewards. Share your stories with me at davide@ewald.com.

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Webinar Briefs

Contact Based Architecture

By Michael Goumas, Manager of IT and Programming, ProComm, a Professional Communications, LLC Company

In my view, after all the trials, tribulations, the gains and the successes, Contact Based Architecture (CBA) is a change in how you think about messaging. I perceive each script as a program that snaps in to the system, meaning that the message is not complete until the disposition has been determined and completed. Because the dispatching process is contained within the script, you can keep the majority of control and reduce errors.

When I sit down and plan out an account I have one thought in mind… what do I do with the message when the operator is done with it? Do I have it page, text, email, fax, secure message before I even give it to the operator or dispatcher to deal with? Do I allow them to patch? Do I even allow the operator or dispatcher to allow to dial on the message? When I allow them in to the dispatch screen, what do I allow them to accomplish once they are there? How much time do I give them? These are all questions I need to ask and answer when I write the script. With one exception, I can always narrow the decision to who to call to one person or what actions need to be done.

How often do you have an operator who is confused about who to reach and on what number and in what order do you reach them? You can set up each contact with their own preferences and their own contact schedule. You can set it up that you only reach them on their home number between the hours of 10pm and 7am and the scripting would remove all other options (if that is what the client wants). You can script to specifically those statuses. You can create custom statuses. There is no limit to what you can accomplish with the statuses.

The IS On-call schedule is very flexible. You have a couple of options on how to set up your escalation. I prefer to assign one person to one role name in the on-call. This tells me in my terms who to escalate. And when scripting the message-taking process you can script it to make the decisions on who to reach, especially with those accounts that have multiple people on-call. If you can guide the operators through the call and ultimately be able to reach a single person based on the answers in the message, you have taken the majority of the error rate from the operator. All they have to do is take a complete and correct message.

Most of us have InfoPages and they are a great source of information, but if you can script your entire dispatch process, the InfoPages that describe what you need to do are only as a reference as you control the dispatch process. Regarding the statuses above, I have cut the error rate on what numbers to reach in the middle of the night down by 98%. The only times that we have that type of error is when they fail to tell us they have changed their status.

The whole idea is to take many of the ambiguous decisions away from the operator and let them do what they do best — which is to take a great message and to accurately call the correct person every time.

Turning Rants into Raves

Randi Busse

Presented by Randi Busse

This month the keynote speaker from our annual conference graciously offered to present a webinar on customer care. Randi Busse talked with members about how to turn customer Rants into Raves by building a culture of ownership among employees. This webinar was great opportunity to expose your call center supervisors and managers to the "owner” and "renter” concepts. Randi’s follow-up webinar reinforced the five principles for delighting customers and getting employees to think and act like owners of the business.

To view archived Webinars, click here.

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Upcoming Webinars

Call Distributions
May 22, 2013 | 2:00 pm EST

Presenter: Theran Mossholder
Moderator: Hettie Dunwoody

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 distributions groups. We will go over the process to develop a good call distribution plan, and how to implement that plan into action.

Anatomy of a Complaint
June 5, 2013 | 2:00 pm EST

Presenter: Debbie Imes
Host: Evelyn Portinari

In this webinar, we will go over some best practices that will help you and your team handle client complaints. This 4 step process will show you how to address all aspects of a complaint, in a way that will strengthen your organization and lead to client satisfaction. Join me on June 5th!

Prepairing for the 2013 IS Training Summer Series
June 19, 2013 | 2:00 pm EST

Presenter: Theran Mossholder
Host: Evelyn Portinari

From August 5-7, 2013, NAEO’s Education Committee will be holding an intensive three day hands-on training seminar on Intelligent Series Programming. The Atlanta Airport Embassy Suites Hotel is hosting this amazing event for commercial and medical answering services, hospital switchboards, and contact centers. Speakers include NAEO Education Committee Co-Chair, Theran Mossholder, NAEO Certification Development Committee Chair, Gerald R. Brosseau, II, Intelligent Series Contact Dispatch Expert and fellow education committee member, Michael Goumas, as well as Amtelco Training Manager, Susan Kirkpatrick and Amtelco Software Expert, Pat Dye. Join us on this webinar to get a glimpse of what will be covered as well as what to expect at this fantastic opportunity. Meet some of the trainers that will be presenting and ask any questions you have about this seminar. We will also discuss what will covered by the registration fee and what to bring.

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david drenk

Rotate Calls through a List of Client Accounts
with the Infinity Client Rotate Feature

by David Drenk

The optional Client Rotate feature adds a new Infinity behavior called Rotate. This new behavior looks at a message distribution list for a list of accounts to rotate through. Each call to the account will be routed to the next client account in the distribution list until the end of the list is reached. The Rotate Method setting determines if the rotation will start again at the beginning of the list after the last account is reached, or if it will stop at the last account and stay on that account until the rotation is reset.

To use the Client Rotate feature, open the Infinity Supervisor Client pages, and select the client account that the calls come in on. On the Source Setup pages, set the behavior to "Rotate.” A "Dist. List” setting is displayed. Type the number of the distribution list that you want to use.

On the Message Distribution page, select the distribution list that you indicated. Click the Add Client button to add a client account number to the distribution list. Continue to add account numbers until all of the client accounts that you want to use in the rotation are listed.

The Rotate Method setting is located on the Call Behaviors page. Click the Features tab and then click the Misc tab to display the Rotate Method setting.

There are two options for the Rotate Method: "Continuous” and "Stops on last account.”

  • Set Rotate Method to "Continuous” to restart the rotation automatically at the first client account after the last client account is reached. Continuous rotation could be used to rotate through a list of on-call accounts.
  • Set Rotate Method to "Stops on last account” to stop the rotation on the last client account. When the last account is reached, subsequent calls will be routed to the last account until the rotation is reset by clicking the Reset Rotation hyperlink.

"Stops on last account” rotation could be used for a radio contest looking for the 10th caller—The first nine entries in the list would be for an account that plays a "Please try again” message, the 10th entry would be an account that connects the winning caller to an operator, and the last entry would be an account that plays "I’m sorry, you are not a winner” to all of the rest of the callers.

Click the Save button to save your settings.

To reset the rotation back to the first client account when using the "Stops on last account” rotation, click the Reset Rotation hyperlink.

A window is displayed with the message "Client rotation reset successfully.”

Click the OK button to close the message window.

Requirements:

  • Infinity 5.60.02 or later
  • Infinity Supervisor 5.60.07 or later
Amtelco Part Number: 232S839

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Kelli Harrigan

 

Expiring Licenses Provide Extra Seats When You Need Them

by David Drenk

Expiring licenses allow you to expand the number of seats in your call center temporarily to cover a special event or a short-term campaign. Expiring licenses are less expensive than regular licenses because they are purchased for a specified length of time. When that time expires, the expiring licenses are automatically disabled. The start time is adjustable, so licenses can be purchased ahead of time but not activated until a specific date.

Expiring licenses can be purchased for a number of days, weeks, or months.

You can purchase expiring licenses for your Infinity system and for your IS system.

Information about the IS expiring licenses that you have purchased is displayed in Intelligent Series (IS) Supervisor in the System Setup pages, under Configuration, Features & Licenses, Expiring Licenses. The Expiring Licenses page shows the number of each type of expiring license, the date and time that the licenses became or will become active, and the date and time that the licenses will expire.

  • Infinity Connection Expiring Licenses are licenses for logging into the IS server through the Infinity Telephone Agent application. These licenses are typically packaged with Infinity expiring licenses.
  • Linked B2B Infinity Connection Expiring Licenses are used with the optional B2B (Business to Business) feature to provide IS access from Infinity Telephone Agent stations attached to another IS server. For more information about the B2B feature, click here.
  • Soft Agent Connection Expiring Licenses are licenses for logging into the IS server through the Soft Agent application.
  • Linked B2B Soft Agent Connection Expiring Licenses are used with the optional B2B (Business to Business) feature to provide IS access from Soft Agent stations attached to another IS server. For more information about the B2B feature, click here.

Information about the Infinity Expiring Licenses that you have purchased is displayed via the Infinity Services Console and Diagnostic Port in the Infinity system report called "Station Expire License Report.” This report will also be available through Infinity Supervisor at a later date.

  • Infinity Expiring Licenses are licenses for logging into the Infinity server through Infinity Supervisor or the Infinity Telephone Agent application. These licenses can be paired with IS expiring licenses or can be purchased for Infinity systems that are not connected to an IS server.

Requirements:

  • Infinity 5.60.04
  • IS Supervisor 5.51.3625.0 or later
  • IS Server 3.1.3625.24060 or later
SQL Server 2000 or later

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