NAEO Newslinks-September09
September 2009

Betty Bouchie

From the Editor:
by Betty Bouchie

The right person can say anything to anyone and not offend them. Sometimes it is not the content of the information, but the manner in which it is delivered. Think of the word "hello.” You say it when you answer the phone "Hello?” which can translate to "Yes, I am here, what can I do for you?”; when you meet someone "Hello!” which can translate to, "I am glad to see you!”; and sometimes you say it when you want to indicate someone is not too bright "Hello?!?!” which can translate to "How stupid was that?” The same word transforms into different meanings just by the tone of voice.

Think about that.

We can translate thoughts and emotions just by our tone. In an industry where almost all of our interaction is by voice, tone is our most valuable tool and our most damaging weapon. Speak softly and carry a good tone.

Check out this article for more thoughts on tone of voice.

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Be Inspired

"The sound of tireless voices is the price we pay for the right to hear the music of our own opinions."

Adlai E. Stevenson, Ambassador to the United Nations, 1961-1965

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Something to Smile About...
Tale of Two Pebbles

Many years ago in a small Indian village, a farmer had the misfortune of owing a large sum of money to a village moneylender. The moneylender, who was old and ugly, fancied the farmer's beautiful daughter. So he proposed a bargain.

He said he would forgo the farmer's debt if he could marry his daughter. Both the farmer and his daughter were horrified by the proposal. So the cunning money-lender suggested that they let providence decide the matter. He told them that he would put a black pebble and a white pebble into an empty money bag. Then the girl would have to pick one pebble from the bag.

1. If she picked the black pebble, she would become his wife and her father's debt would be forgiven.
2. If she picked the white pebble she need not marry him and her father's debt would still be forgiven.
3. If she refused to pick a pebble, her father would be thrown into jail.

They were standing on a pebble strewn path in the farmer's field. As they talked, the moneylender bent over to pick up two pebbles. As he picked them up, the sharp-eyed girl noticed that he had picked up two black pebbles and put them into the bag. He then asked the girl to pick a pebble from the bag.

Now, imagine that you were standing in the field. What would you have done if you were the girl? If you had to advise her, what would you have told her?

Careful analysis would produce three possibilities:

1. The girl should refuse to take a pebble.
2. The girl should know that there were two black pebbles in the bag and expose the money-lender as a cheat.
3. The girl should pick a black pebble and sacrifice herself in order to save her father from his debt and imprisonment.

Take a moment to ponder over the story. The above story is used with the hope that it will make us appreciate the difference between lateral and logical thinking. The girl's dilemma cannot be solved with traditional logical thinking. Think of the consequences if she chooses the above logical answers.

What would you recommend that the girl do?

Well, here is what she did. . .

The girl put her hand into the moneybag and drew out a pebble. Without looking at it, she fumbled and let it fall onto the pebble-strewn path where it immediately became lost among all the other pebbles.

"Oh, how clumsy of me!" she said. "But never mind, if you look into the bag for the one that is left, you will be able to tell which pebble I picked."

Since the remaining pebble is black, it must be assumed that she had picked the white one.

And since the money-lender dared not admit his dishonesty, the girl changed what seemed an impossible situation into an extremely advantageous one.

Moral of the Story?

Most complex problems do have a solution. It is only that we don't attempt to think. Start your day with this thought-provoking story and have a fruitful day.

Have a week filled with positive thoughts and sound decisions.

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Volunteer for the NAEO Membership Committee
by Jim Wagner

The NAEO Membership Committee is working hard to represent you and to develop outstanding benefits for NAEO members. Currently, we are asking for volunteer recommendations for the NAEO Membership Committee. This committee meets monthly by phone and members lead and participate on various projects. This is an outstanding opportunity to increase your involvement with NAEO, enhance your knowledge of the TAS industry, and work closely with NAEO and industry leaders. We are interested in persons from both private business and Health Care/Hospital settings.

If you, or someone you know, are interested in volunteering please contact me directly at and provide a brief background on the person you are recommending.

Jim Wagner,
NAEO Membership Chair
NAEO Past President

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Cameron Herold coming to NAEO’s Annual Conference – March 21-25, 2010!
by Kelli Harrigan

It may seem like the distant future, but the countdown to NAEO’s 2010 Annual Conference has already begun! Mark your calendars now and save the dates – March 21- 25, 2010 at the Marriottin beautiful Newport Beach, California.

Cameron Herold

Your NAEO Conference and Education committees have been hard at work planning for our conference and we are excited to announce that in addition to our usual collection of wonderful and generous industry volunteer speakers, we have confirmed Cameron Herold as our keynote speaker!

For over 20 years Cameron Herold has been coaching, speaking to, or helping entrepreneurs on five continents build their companies. He started BackPocket COO to be able to coach and mentor entrepreneurial companies make their dreams happen. As one of the country's most innovative business leaders and a leading force behind one of the most successful new business ventures of the last decade, 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, Cameron was Chief Operating Officer for just under seven years. Cameron’s innovative business leadership helped enable 1-800-GOT-JUNK? to build a presence in 46 states, nine provinces, and four countries while being ranked the "2nd Best Company to Work for in Canada” by Canadian Business Magazine and "The #1 Company in BC to Work for” twice by BC Business Magazine. During his tenure, 1-800-GOT-JUNK? was studied by numerous MBA programs, including Queen’s University in Canada and Harvard. Cameron will share with us solutions that will accelerate your revenue, build your profitability, and help you avoid costly problems. More information on Cameron can be found at

Besides our information packed agenda for general sessions and breakouts, we will also be holding an IS Training Workshop and we will also be hosting a Supervisor Seminar at the beginning of the conference, so plan on bringing your programmers and supervisors as well!

You can check out hotel highlights here and if you are interested in seeing what else there is to do while in Newport Beach, click here for ideas.

Watch for more details at and in your mail and email!

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Scholarship Applications are Being Accepted!
by Shannon Pfarr Thompson

Each year the NAEO awards two scholarships to deserving individuals within our industry who show the qualities we believe are necessary to continue driving our industry forward. We are currently accepting applications for both the Christina Collins Educational Scholarship Fund and the William & Eleanor Curtin Scholarship.

If you or someone in your office is motivated and career driven by our industry, and could benefit from industry conferences or other educational experiences, we strongly encourage you to apply! And please share this information with everyone in your office who would be interested in applying as well.

Please note that the deadline is Friday, October 2. The timing will allow this year’s scholarship winners to use their award to attend the NAEO Annual Conference in Palm Springs on March 21 – 24, 2009 if they choose.

Please click here for more information on each scholarship and to download the application forms.

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What "IF branch”
by Judy Austin, Communications Network, Inc.

Situation: Two clients, Dr. Judy and Dr. Ferrell, are on call for each other on the weekend. When Dr. Judy is on call for Dr. Ferrell, Dr. Judy wants a copy of the message received on Dr. Ferrell’s account.

IS Solution: the Save Message action!

Dr. Ferrell’s script begins like any other and the agent gathers the needed information.



As the script navigates to the Summary Screen, it checks the OnCall Schedule








and enters a value on the Variable Screen. The Variable Screen is never used in the script but is a holding place for data until it is needed.






In this case, I am only pulling in the name of the Dr. who is on call.











The IF statement on the Summary Screen determines if Dr. Judy is the Dr. on call.




4When the IF statement is True, a Save Message action will save a copy of the summary to Dr. Judy’s account. In my example, the "Dispatch” line indicates the message is from Dr. Ferrell’s account.


I have changed the Message Text to Advanced in order to copy Dr. Ferrell’s Message Summary using the Expression Builder Copy/Paste function. I then tweaked the "Dispatch” line for Dr. Judy’s account.






At the end of the weekend, Dr. Ferrell will have all calls taken on his account AND Dr. Judy will have a copy of any message he handled while on call for Dr. Ferrell.

Helpful Hint: If using two Save Message actions on a screen and only one is saving, each must have a unique field or character in the Message Summary. You may need to experiment with this a little, but do not give up. AMTELCO was very helpful when I had the problem.

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Watch That Tone of Voice
by Nancy Friedman, the Telephone Doctor

Your Mom was right. It's not what you say, but how you say it. Several times while I was out shopping recently, I've been told things that frankly, weren't that bad, but the tone of voice was so wrong, I walked away not wanting to do business with that company anymore.

It reminded me of that game we played a long time ago. You take one sentence and emphasize each word one at a time every time you say the sentence. Something like this:

  • I love my job.
  • I love my job.
  • I love my job.
  • I love my job.

You can take most sentences and do that. Point being, the way we emphasize and use our tone of voice means a whole lot in the customer service arena. Think of all the "tones" and deliveries we can use. A few that come to mind are:

  • Bored
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Terrified
  • Worried
  • Unconcerned
  • Hurt
  • Inconsiderate
  • Shocked

You can take your own sentence and infuse it with any one of the emotions listed above. Certainly you can think of other emotions to use too.

Obviously, there are various tones we don't want to use in certain situations. As basic as this sounds, we cannot forget that our voice is a key instrument delivering customer service.

Let's go back to the opening paragraph and my true story. I had gone into a store and purchased an item. When the clerk told me the amount, I wrote out a check. He took it and looked up my account. Without even looking up at me he said, "If you're gonna write a check, I have to see a picture ID." The tone he used was rather threatening, in my perception. I'd been a customer there a long time and this was the first time I'd been asked for ID. I immediately made a decision not to return there any more.

There were several ways he could have told me he needed ID. Especially since he saw from the database, which he found prior to my handing him the check, that I had been a frequent customer.

He could have said, "Mrs. Friedman, I see you're on the database and shop here often. Most clerks know you. However, I've only been here three days and haven't met everyone yet. If I can get your ID this time, next time I'll recognize you."

That's just one way. Gosh, you even feel the difference just by reading the words. See the difference? More importantly, I'm sure you could hear the difference.

At the other end of the customer service spectrum, I went into a jewelry store the other day to pick up an item. When I said to the owner, who does know me, that I was here to pick up my watch, I could sense he seemed to blank out on my name. With a big smile he said, "Good, glad to get it. By the way, which name will that be under?" A class act. And he didn't make me feel as though he couldn't remember my name.

So practice using your most positive tone with which to talk to customers. Then, practice saying positive things. It works wonders. And remember, you can "HEAR" the SMILE.

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