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November 2009

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NAEO 2010: Roadmap to Success
by Kelli Harrigan

Scholarship Winner Announced
by Cori Bartlett

Thank You for Voicing Your Opinion!
from your NAEO Education Committee

Get a Great Rate at the Cancun Palace!
by Cori Bartlett

NAEO Financial Report
by Robin Bailey

Staff Check-in Made Easy
by James Shigley

Delimited Data Delivery
by Adrian Treviño




Betty Bouchie

From the Editor
by Betty Bouchie

Have you thanked a co-worker today?

Everyone knows when things are going wrong or they have done something wrong. Or at least there always seems to be someone, more than happy to point it out! Well, what about when things are going right and you have done something well, or just done something that needed to be done, but it only gets noticed if it is not done. It’s the small, everyday heroes who keep the world, and often the work, flowing along smoothly. They deserve recognition and thanks for the things they do. Make it a point for the month of November to thank one of these unsung heroes each day or each week.

Check out the interesting article HERE about Thanksgiving in the workplace.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Be Inspired

"The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving."

~ H. U. Westermayer

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Something to Smile About...
Celebrating Thanksgiving

Twas the night of Thanksgiving,
but I just couldn't sleep...
I tried counting backwards,
I tried counting sheep.

The leftovers beckoned...the dark meat and white,
but I fought the temptation with all of my might.
Tossing and turning with anticipation,
the thought of a snack became infatuation.

So, I raced to the kitchen, flung open the door
and gazed at the fridge, full of goodies galore.
I gobbled up turkey and buttered potatoes,
stuffing with gravy, green beans and tomatoes.

I felt myself swelling so plump and so round,
till all of a sudden, I rose off the ground.
I crashed through the ceiling, floating into the sky
with a mouthful of pudding and a handful of pie

But, I managed to yell as I soared past the trees...
Happy eating to all -- pass the cranberries, please.

  • If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring?
    Pilgrims!

  • Why did the turkey cross the road?
    It was the chicken's day off.

  • Why do turkeys always go, "gobble, gobble"?
    Because they never learned good table manners!

  • What sound does a space turkey make?
    Hubble, hubble, hubble.

  • Why did the police arrest the turkey?
    They suspected it of fowl play.

  • Why did they let the turkey join the band?
    Because he had the drumsticks.

  • Asked to write a composition entitled, "What I'm thankful for on Thanksgiving," a student wrote, "I am thankful that I'm not a turkey."

  • A turkey farmer was always experimenting with breeding to perfect a better turkey. His family was fond of the leg portion for dinner and there were never enough legs for everyone. After many frustrating attempts, the farmer was relating the results of his efforts to his friends at the general store get together. "Well I finally did it! I bred a turkey that has 6 legs!"

    They all asked the farmer how it tasted.

    "I don't know" said the farmer. "I never could catch the darned thing!"
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Nominations Open for NAEO Board of Directors

Inspired to contribute your efforts, creative ideas and passion to the smooth running and further development of our association? If so, we strongly encourage you to let your name stand for election to the NAEO Board of Directors!
NAEO has begun to look for candidates to run for the NAEO Board for terms beginning in March 2010. There are three openings for next year and the election will be held at the business meeting at the Annual NAEO Conference in Newport Beach, California.

Being a Board Member is an interesting and rewarding job. Besides meeting two or three times a year, you will share ideas and work with some of the best people in the industry. Directors gain special perspective on our industry and, of course, on the functioning of the very successful trade association that NAEO has become. However, it is also a three-year commitment to work to make a difference in our association and in the well being of our members.

Candidates seeking election should be individuals who are action-oriented, enthusiastic, honest and hardworking. Both owners and key managers from hospitals and private TAS/Call Center businesses are eligible to run. Required is some in-depth experience in an organization that utilizes Amtelco call processing equipment and some time and enthusiasm to take on organizational and industry issues.

Board members are typically the Committee Chairpersons. While we meet in person two or three times a year, between conferences, we also conduct a great deal of business by e-mail, telephone and conference calls. There is no monetary compensation for Board membership; however, in recognition of the efforts of the Board, members elected to the Board receive a 50% discount in conference fees. The NAEO Board made this decision to both recognize the Board for its hard work, and to help persuade NAEO members to consider Board service. Additionally, all expenses that are incurred for travel to and from non-conference board meetings are paid by NAEO. Finally, you will also get the personal satisfaction that comes from doing your share of work for this wonderful association.

So, when the nominating committee calls on you, please consider running for the Board. We need people who love the industry and want to learn as much as possible and who are willing, ready and able to share their time and talents for the benefit of our industry. If you are not called, and you would like to be on the ballot, please contact one of us on the nominating committee. You can also nominate a fellow NAEO member or yourself (with two written seconds by current NAEO members) by filling out the nomination form. Please note that the nomination forms are due to the NAEO Office by Wednesday December 16, 2009.

For more specific information on the commitment of being a NAEO Board member, click here for the Board of Directors Job Description.

2010 Nominating Committee
Nominations Chair, Jim Wagner, (217) 446-7243, wagcom1@gmail.com
Cori Bartlett, (407) 447-6000, cori@alliancecommunications.com
John Ratliff, (302) 656-0630, jratliff@appletreeanswers.com

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NAEO 2010: Roadmap to Success
by Kelli Harrigan, NAEO Conference Chair

Start planning now to hit the road to success in Newport Beach, California, at NAEO’s 2010 Annual Conference, March 21-25, 2010!

The Education Committee is putting the final touches on our conference schedule now – it is jam-packed with valuable educational sessions guaranteed to send you home with new ideas, new information and maybe even some new industry friends!

We received excellent feedback on our previous conferences and thanks to your responses to our recent survey, we have worked hard to bring in topics that you have said would be of value.

Here are a few highlights …

  • Cameron Herold, founder of 1-800-Got Junk?, will share strategies on how to accelerate your growth and prepare yourself to go from good to great!

  • Business Continuity Planning – NAEO launched a new initiative in Cancun, working with Barney Pelant, an expert in the Business Continuity field and it’s time to unveil the results of his work with our members. This session alone could more than pay for your trip to Newport Beach!

  • Breakout sessions for Operations, Technical and Sales/Marketing

  • Round table sessions where you can get in-depth discussion with your industry peers on topics like scheduling, billing strategies, call distribution, etc.

And that’s just a few of the sessions! As we all know, it is often the impromptu discussions outside of the session schedule that really pay for your trip. Over the years, many of our members have found answers to their problems and challenges in the side conversations that take place between sessions, over lunch and yes, even in the bar after the meetings have long since ended. Take advantage of the opportunity to have access to hundreds of your industry peers, pick their brains and share ideas and solutions!

And all of this will be held at the beautiful Newport Beach Marriott. You can find more details online at www.naeo.org.

I hope to see you all in Newport Beach, CA in March!

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Scholarship Winner Announced
by Cori Bartlett, NAEO President

We are pleased to announce the winners of both NAEO’s William and Eleanor Curtin Scholarship and the Christina Collins Scholarship!

The William and Eleanor Curtin Scholarship sponsored by NAEO, recognizes the immense contributions Mr. and Mrs. Curtin of Amtelco, as entrepreneurs, have made to the telemessaging industry and their lifelong mission to educate and inspire their valued customers.

NAEO offers this scholarship to individuals who demonstrate similar entrepreneurial traits. The recipient receives a $500 cash award to be used to attend a conference or educational course or for the development of an innovative approach to call center management in his or her office.

We are pleased to announce John Whitehead of The Legacy Connection as this year’s winner of the William and Eleanor Curtin Scholarship! Congratulations and we look forward to hearing about your experience!

The Christina Collins educational scholarship fund was established by the NAEO Board of Directors in loving memory of Christina Collins. Christina Collins owned and operated a telemessaging company prior to joining Amtelco as a TAS consultant. Among many other things, Christina Collins was a great advocate of education. NAEO offers this award in her honor to an individual with a strong desire to learn and a willingness to share this knowledge. The winner will receive free registration to the NAEO Annual Conference (or other industry conference), four nights lodging and $20 per diem for meals.

Congratulations to Emily Murdough from Always On Call Answering Service who is this year’s winner of the Christina Collins scholarship! We look forward to seeing you at the NAEO Conference!

Thank you to all of our Scholarship applicants! It is wonderful to say that the committee had a very difficult time choosing from a pool of such deserving candidates!!

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Thank You for Voicing Your Opinion!
From your NAEO Education Committee

Greetings everyone! We wanted to say thank you for the great response to the quick survey on session topics for the upcoming 2010 NAEO Conference in Newport Beach in March. Your feedback was incredibly valuable and it shaped the sessions we will be offering at the conference.

Please keep your eyes peeled in the near future for more information on the conference, and what sessions will be offered there. We asked what you wanted, you told us, and we listened! Thank you again for your participation.

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Get a Great Rate at the Cancun Palace!
by Cori Bartlett, NAEO President

Want to be treated like the king or queen that you are? Then come home to your palace…The Cancun Palace Resort!

If you joined us for NAEO’s 25th Annual Conference in Cancun this year, you already know what a regal resort the Cancun Palace is and I’m sure you would love to return. If you did not join us in Cancun, here’s your opportunity to experience this royal encounter.

The Cancun Palace Resort located in Cancun, Mexico is a majestic property situated between the Caribbean Sea and the Nichupte Lagoon. You will feel like royalty as you are treated to superior service by the staff or while relaxing by the water’s edge. The infinity pool appears to cascade into the royal blue water of the ocean. Enjoy the view from your private balcony, a lounge in the water or from the two swim up bars located in the pool.

The Cancun Palace resort is an all-inclusive resort. The key word here is "all.” While a guest at the Cancun Palace, you may dine in any of the restaurants, order 24 hour room service, enjoy beverages at the bar or from the in-room mini bar and never pull out your wallet. Guests may also enjoy all the amentities and restaurants at all of the Palace Resort properties located in Cancun.

NAEO has a limited number of room nights at the Cancun Palace Resort that we are able to offer to our members at our special group discounted rate! These room nights must be used by March 31, 2010 so please act fast if you are interested.

2 guests all inclusive= $360 per night

Please contact Shannon at 651-290-6277 or management@naeo.org to be sure you receive this special rate.

Adios and tene alegria!

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NAEO Financial Report
by Robin Bailey, NAEO Treasurer

January 1, 2009 to September 30, 2009

Attendance at the 2009 Annual Conference was affected by the economy and fear of the swine flu. Income was $100,340, down $27,226 from 2008. On the expense side, the reduction in attendance from the contracted amount resulted in attrition expense of $20,425 that has been recognized. Total expenses were $119,657, (down $8,043 from 2008) bringing the loss on the conference to $19,317.

Non-Conference income is $116,137, down $19,350 from this time last year, mainly due to membership dues. In total, expenses of $118,540 are $900 favorable from 2008. Board expenses are down. Professional Services are up this year due to the disaster recovery program that is being developed for the membership. Operator Relief Fund expenses are unfavorable from last year $4,000 because distributions were made in the last quarter of 2008.

Every effort is being given in the membership area to retain members and to monitor expenses overall. If you have any questions on the financial reports, please do not hesitate to email me.

Download the balance sheet and P&L HERE.

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Staff Check-in Made Easy
by James Shigley, Monroe Telephone Answering Service

You have a client who wants his outside representatives to check in and out with you. If the reps don’t call at the appointed times you’re supposed to call them. I will outline how you might accomplish this without daily input of custom reminders for that day’s check-in times and check messages for who checked in and so forth, and show you some of the steps. You can accomplish this in multiple ways. First have the client send you the data the same way every day (Excel Sheet, Access, Comma Delimited, or whatever). Set up an SQL database to match that file with the same fields. Next make a SQL integrated services project to delete the previous day’s data out of the SQL db and then have it import the current day’s data. After that you have a few options for how to notify your agents to check and possibly call their late reps.

A. Have a job run by SQL agent to run every X minutes between 5 pm and 8:45 am, or whatever time frame you require. Have it compare the current time to the "Check in times.” If the current time is greater, the query will then determine if the agent checked in. As they call in, your staff would use a webpage, Ecreator script, or IS script to update the Database row with date and time the person checked in. Have SQL Agent email to you the reps who are late checking in to an in house email when the job completes. Then either:

a. Have it go to a communal email that everyone or designated group checks to see when there are new messages.

b. If you have e-Response, then you can utilize that to pull it straight in to Infinity...

Have in the email the number to be dialed for each rep and your staff can call the person to check them in.

B. Set up reminders every X minutes, at certain times, or whatever timeframe you require to tell your agent to execute the "Check in script,” be it Ecreator, IS, or a processing webpage of some sort. Have that page execute a query, store procedure, or view. The one you choose depends on what you are doing it in. A Stored procedure would be your option in Ecreator, for instance. Using the view, or a table pulled based on an SQL procedure, etc. to pull any rows where the current time is greater than the check-in time and the person hasn’t checked in. Your staff would then call those people and check them in.

In either scenario, you also need a script to update the database row for the reps that your staff use to check them in. So for instance, if this was the Excel file from your client:

Your SQL table fields would be something like Rep, Time1, Time1Checkedin, Time2, Time2Checkedin, etc. Whenever one of the reps check in, you would change Time1Checkedin from No to Yes; or fill in the time they checked in, or have two fields and do both.

Your query would look something like the example below. This is the query you would use in the View in IS, or a table pulled based on a stored procedure in Ecreator, etc., to tell you who is late.

Select * from BobsMowersCheckIns
Where (GetDate()>Time1 and Time1Checkin =’No’) or (GetDate()>Time2 and Time2Checkedinat =’’)

And so forth, to explain the above example a bit better. In the above query, the first would be if you’re doing a yes/no, the second would be if you were filling the checkedinat field with a time.

Of course, you first need your project to delete the previous day’s data and Import the current file.

If you do not know how to do the SQL project:
If they are sending you the list in, say, an Excel sheet each day, make sure they send it to you with the field names in the first row – It can be done without that, but it’s much easier this way. They will need to be identical each time, of course.

You can use 'SQL Server Business Intelligence Development Studio' to make an "Integration Services Project.” The project will delete the previous day’s data out of the DB and import the new data from the Excel sheet or other sources such as Access, another SQL server, etc.

This program comes with Microsoft SQL server 2005 or 2008 on any server or computer that you have installed the management package on.

You can even schedule it to run automatically instead of manually each day, but you would of course need to make sure the new Excel file is in place every day before the job run. When your client emails you their file, the person who monitors that email will save it to the proper location every day or you can make a webpage where the client can upload the file directly to the location.

Once you have made your SQL database, go into SQL Server Business Intelligence Development Studio and make an "Integration Services Project.”

First put in an Execute SQL task.

Configure your Connect Type, then Source Type.

File Connect: accesses a query previously made and saved elsewhere.
Variable: is not applicable in this situation.
Direct Input: you will write a SQL query directly in the SourceVariable field so your query would simply be.

"Delete from DB”
This is the same query as if you were running it from a saved query file as in direct input.

Then drag over a data flow task, connect the green arrow so that it does the SQL task then flows to the Data flow task.

Then on the Data flow tab

You would set your Excel Source and your OLE DB destination – or other source/destination.

Save the package into a location accessible by your SQL server. Open "SQL Server Management Studio.”

And connect to a server in which you have the SQL server Agent installed – installed by default in MS SQL 2000, 05, and 08 if I recall correctly. If not installed, it is a component which comes with SQL and can be installed.

Configure your job to run the previously made project at the predetermined time(s) depending on when the client will be sending/uploading you the data each day.

This is the same place where you would configure a job to run the query at your required time frame to see who has failed to check in and email the results.

You’re welcome to contact me concerning any questions you have, although if you have any question concerning how to set up the IS scripts, it would be best for you to contact Amtelco field support.

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Delimited Data Delivery
Using Ultracomm
by Adrian Treviño, Personalized Communications Inc.

For this example, we have a client that would like the call center to take orders for a free book. Orders must be delivered by email in a delimited format. Delimited formats make it easy for clients to import the captured data in Excel or their specific fulfillment system.

1. Review your fields and your message summary (a customer summary will be needed to accomplish this delivery).

2. Next, use open and close brackets around the fields your clients is requesting.

3. Once you have set up your custom summary, you are ready to program your delivery settings.

4. From "Infinity Supervisor," navigate to your "Service List."

5. Select a "Service List" to input your string that will communicate with your "Ultra Comm."

6. You may now schedule your event. Click on the "Schedule" icon from your "Infinity Supervisor" home page. This will load all of your existing events.

7. Click on the "ADD" icon at the lower left side of the screen.

8. Scheulde this event as an "Auto Action." In this example, I will execute this event at 8:00 a.m., Monday-Friday. This will complete the handoff to "Ultra Comm."

Now we are ready to configure an account in Ultra Comm.

9. In "Ultra Comm Supervisor," enter the account number and click on the button that reads "Account Setup."

10. Click "Yes" to create a new account (if you do not already have one).

11. Click on the "Delivery Method" tab.

12. Then, click on the "Email" tab.

13. Check off the box that says "Email."

14. Enter the email address where the file will be delivered.

15. Check the box that states "Send Msgs as Attachment."

16. Use "TXT" as the file extension.

17. Next, click on the "Modify Message" tab.

18. Check the "Delimit Data" box.

19. Define your start character as an open bracket and your end character as a closed bracket.

20. You may use your preferred delimiter.

21. To finish this setup, click on "Save."

22. When emailed, your client will receive their orders as a "TXT" file attachment.

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Building Rapport with Callers
by Nancy Friedman, the Telephone Doctor

Name? Account number? Zip code? Mother's maiden name? Sounds like a scene from a prison movie, doesn't it?
Well, it's not. It's the start of an average call in many a call center. Why? In most cases, the call center agent hasn't been shown another way to answer a call.

This next story illustrates why it's important for agents to gather information from callers without sounding like Wanda the Witch or Warren the Warden!

My wallet was stolen a few months ago. Fortunately, I remembered the names of the credit cards I was carrying. Unfortunately, my wallet with all the credit cards also had my checkbook.

My first response was to list the cards that I knew were in my wallet. I then began the daunting task of calling each of the major credit card companies to report the loss. Perhaps because of the type of work I do every day and because of the horror stories I've heard, I have become "Mrs. Perfect Customer.” I don't yell, I don't belittle, and I don't get angry. I smile and try to help the call along. I'm really a good customer.

With this in mind, I picked up the phone and made my first call to one of the credit card companies. "Hi, my name is Nancy Friedman,” I said. "I'm in Orlando, Florida, and my wallet with all my credit cards has just been stolen and I wanted to report it right away.”

"NAME?” said the agent with the voice of a warden.

I always give my name up front, as I had this time. Obviously, the agent who answered the phone didn't hear it, didn't write it down or didn't remember it. So I repeated my name and spelled it for her.

"ACCOUNT NUMBER?” the agent continued.

I thought one of us had better have a sense of humor, and I could tell it wasn't coming from the other end, so I said, "Well, I have my phone number, address and birthday memorized. I never got around to memorizing all my credit card numbers, and if you recall, my wallet with that information was stolen.”

Dead silence. Then I heard, "PHONE NUMBER?”

Well, it went downhill from there. I won't burden you with the rest of the conversation. Suffice to say, I was disappointed. There wasn't one word of empathy from this agent. She sure didn't have what I refer to as the "care gene." She had a job to do and by gosh, she was going to do it – and in record time, too.

I had six credit cards in my wallet. When I called to report the loss of each one of them, none of the credit card companies acknowledged my problem. It was hard for me to believe, too. Probably the worst experience I had was when I called the bank concerning my checks. When I told my saga to the bank, the woman I spoke with asked the questions as though I had been the one who stole the wallet.

What does the behavior of the agents at the bank and the credit card companies say to me, the customer? It says that maybe I should take my business somewhere else.

To keep customers satisfied and loyal to your company, it is crucial that an agent build rapport with every customer at the beginning of each call, whether the customer is calling to discuss a problem, a concern or an inconvenience.

The agent who answers the call should acknowledge what the customer is saying and use the same words that the customer says, as in the following example:

Caller: "I just lost my wallet.” Agent: "Your wallet? I'm so sorry. Let me get your name and we'll see how we can help.”

Learning how to build rapport is an art, not a science. You may recall Yul Brynner, the great actor, who appeared in the musical "The King and I” in more than 2,000 performances. He said the same words, night after night. Yet each performance was worthy of an award. Why? Because each performance he gave was to a different audience. I imagine he got tired of the script sometimes. Yet because he knew the audience was new each night, he made his lines sound fresh every time.

For call center agents, the telephone is your stage and the connect button is the curtain. One of the best ways agents can be sure to convey empathy is to practice the lines they say the most so that the delivery sounds different each time.

I sympathize with agents who work in centers that receive enormous numbers of calls. But I also hear all sorts of excuses. One of the most common is: "Gee, Nancy, we have to say the same thing over and over. It gets so boring.” Or "Nancy, we're limited for time for each call.” Or "Our policy is to get on and off the phone as quickly as possible.”

These are excuses. Not reasons. Although an agent may say the same thing over and over again, it's probably the caller's first time asking the question. And it isn't enough for agents to know the answers. They also have to reassure customers that they're ready to help them. When customers reach call center agents, they don't care how much they know – until they know how much they care.

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© 2009 National Amtelco Equipment Owners. All Rights Reserved.
NewsLinks is distributed quarterly to NAEO members.

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