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September 2010



Betty Bouchie

From the Editor
by Betty Bouchie

Patience, like time, expands and contracts around us depending on the circumstances. Most days, I find the microwave takes too long to heat up my lunch. However, I can spend months sewing seed pearls and sequins on a wedding gown. Patience really has little to do with the time it takes to do something, and everything to do with value the "waiter” places on the outcome. Translate that to your life, your work and your expectations. Maybe it will help increase your patience in the areas that deserve more value.

"Patience is a most necessary qualification for business; many a man would rather you heard his story than granted his request."

- Lord Chesterfield


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Be Inspired

"Patience is the ability to count down before you blast off."

- Author Unknown


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Something to Smile About...
Environmental Impact

Environmental Impact

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September IS Tip - Logical Operators
by Jennifer Terragni, American Medical Alert Corporation

What, oh what, are logical operators in IS advanced expression builder? Well, first let us set up some simple examples. The first example will be used with an IF statement.

The above example is understood as Phone equals 1112223333 OR 2223336666. Now, the reason there is a -1 on the end, is because OR treats its operands as Boolean values (or even in simpler terms, -1 or 0, Yes or No, etc). So, if the expression runs without the ‘=-1’ you will get a result of ‘-1’ for Yes/True, and ‘0’ for No/False. Since we have placed the expression builder on an IF statement, we generally want the result to display as True or False so that we don’t have to add extra code.

(NOTE: ‘-1’ is the only product acceptable for IS versions older than the latest releases of 3659. The latest releases will accept ‘1’ or ‘-1’. )

 

The same rules apply to AND operator. For instance:



In this case, Phone number must equal 1112223333 and From must equal Jennifer in order for the statement to be True. If one of the two or both are incorrect, the result will be False.

 

NOT is a little different – it takes the opposite value you are determining.



In this case, if we ran the IF statement without the NOT, the result would be False, because 1 does not equal 2. However, let us say you are trying to pass the opposite value – it is True that 1 does not equal 2.

Now, there are many other ways of determining this, like saying ‘1<>2’ (1 is not equal to 2). Essentially that is the same thing. I normally use the NOT operator to return the opposite value for further determinations within the expression itself.


XOR will determine if the two operands are the same or different and will give a result of 1 (for yes) if they are different and a 0 (for no) if they are the same.



In this case, the expression is False because I am checking to see if the result of XOR is 1 (which means that they are not different). If I put ‘1 XOR 1 = 0’ – then the result will be True (which means that they are in fact the same).

 

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Easing into IS Dispatch
by Gary Blair, Président / President, Télé-Page - Tele-Page

 

Our experience with Infinity only dates back to 2008, when we migrated away from the platform we had been using, up to that point, for more than 20 years. Needless to say, the transition from our previous system to Infinity was quite the culture shock for our organization once we realized just how much of our day-to-day operations were apparently done in autopilot mode.

At the outset of brainstorming the actual transition of our accounts, we were unsure whether we should go with simple Infinity or if we should go to Intelligent Scripting or some combination of both. However, the more we looked into the features of IS and the more feedback we received from existing Infinity users, the more obvious the answer became to us. In the end, we decided to go IS for each and every account; although we most definitely hit our fair share of brick walls, eventually we figured things out and made good the commitment to our mantra of "no looking back."

When we began our Infinity installation and training, our Amtelco trainers cautioned us that we might want to delay the thought of trying to accomplish both Intelligent Scripting and Intelligent Dispatch in one fell swoop. Turns out, this was very sound advice. As it was, it took us more than one round of revisiting our accounts to maximize the benefit of all that IS alone was able to offer on the inbound side of the business. Indeed, we created a master spreadsheet of our accounts that included the programming features we used to create them. Then, as we discovered new features or better ways to use existing ones, we referred back to our master list to find other good fits. This process also helped us to create our programming manual, a document that has more revisions than you can shake a stick at, but one that has given us a wonderful tool for not only day-to-day programming, but for training additional programmers as well.

After some 16 months of operation on Infinity and once we felt we had an edge up on IS, we sat back down to revisit Intelligent Dispatch. It took some time to understand just what we were looking at, again given all its possibilities. Once Susan Kirkpatrick had successfully managed to provide us with more than a few light bulb moments, we realized we were ready to go the next step and see exactly where it would take us.

Crazy as it may seem, we decided to launch our first foray into Intelligent Dispatch at the very outset of this past July — just when we would have a whole bunch of staff and clients on holidays. That said, because of our cautious and thorough approach and because we decided to begin with a rather simplified application of ID, all became old hat, in very short order.

Basically, we eliminated the manual work associated with the function of moving calls from call takers to dispatchers by automating the task. When agents finish calls, they have several buttons from which to select, depending upon the possible dispatch steps. To give you an idea, the first button could be to email and/or fax the message, etc., while the last button is to simply move the call from the agent to the dispatcher with the programming set to automatically create the dispatch job. This simple application of Intelligent Dispatch has (1) increased our call takers' efficiency by eliminating several manual steps previously associated with moving a call to a dispatcher, (2) increased our call takers' accuracy by automating the process (never gets sent to the wrong person), (3) eliminated the necessity for our dispatchers to manually create and track dispatch jobs in the Follow-Up list, (4) improved the accuracy of our dispatchers in both timeline and process, particularly during rush periods, by maintaining all dispatch jobs in chronological order by date/time, (5) eliminated multiple dispatchers from simultaneously performing the same dispatch job (email, fax, page) as was previously the case when tracking dispatch through the Follow-Up list. In summary, it makes the task of dispatch that much easier on the staff, relieving a degree of stress from the process and creating a happier work environment.

As compared to some centers that are much more advanced in their use of Intelligent Dispatch, we have only just begun to scratch the surface of what we know we will eventually do with it. That said, our best advice to any center considering whether to implement Intelligent Dispatch or not, even at this early stage of our exploitation, is don't hold off longer than you have to. One of the operational beauties of Intelligent Dispatch is, like Intelligent Scripting, it can be introduced in simple steps and then built upon from there. Like many centers, historically our weakest service area had always been on the dispatch side and so the implementation of Intelligent Dispatch was something we wanted to do from day one when we made our purchase. Now that we're finally there, and in spite of our fairly simple entry mode to date, we've already seen immediate results and an overall improvement in our dispatch accuracy. So with this initial success behind us, we are anxiously looking forward to ramping things up a couple more notches, now that we're headed back to work after a much appreciated August sojourn.

Cheers everyone, good luck in all your endeavours this fall season, and look forward to catching up with as many of you as possible come this March at NAEO in New Orleans!


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A Pinch of Spice... and BAMM!
NAEO Conference 2011

Now is the time to mark your calendars for the 2011 NAEO Annual Conference, to be held from March 13 through 16 in New Orleans. Not only will you enjoy the opportunity to learn, but also to network with others who share your unique challenges, enthusiasm for this industry and desire to keep your call center fresh and spicy.

Planning for this conference is in full swing, and in concert with the theme "BAMM, How to Kick up your Call Center Menu,” a new and zesty format has been designed to highlight both the main ingredients of our businesses, and how to kick them up a notch by integrating additional modules and new features.

The Conference will be held at the landmark Roosevelt Hotel. From the moment you enter, there will little question that your stay will be enjoyable and memorable. The Roosevelt by day provides elegant guest rooms, myriad dining options, grand meeting spaces, and of course, its own Guerlain Spa, And by night, the Roos’ is a centerpiece of the New Orleans nightlife — all ingredients for a perfect meeting spot for our group.

So now is the time to make your plans to attend the inspiring and innovative Annual Conference and bring back some sizzling ideas to kick up your call center menu.

New Orleans

 

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September Webinars

How to Start your Disaster Recovery Plan
Wednesday, September 8: 2:00 - 3:00 PM (EST)
REGISTER NOW

Speaker: Joe Adams, AMAC
This webinar is free for members. Please register your information.

In part two of the webinar series we will discuss what you will need to complete the Disaster Recovery plan in terms of documentation, personnel and time, etc. We will briefly discuss the various sections of the plan and we will also start working through Chapter 1 of the program.

Our goal is to record all webinars so that if any one webinar is missed, you will be able to keep up if you miss one.

 

Why You Need a Disaster Recovery Plan
Wednesday, September 22: 2:00 - 3:00 PM (EST)
REGISTER NOW

Speaker: Joe Adams, AMAC
This webinar is free for members. Please register your information.

This webinar is the first of a series of webinars 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.

The goal of this webinar series is to work through the plan as a group so that everyone will benefit from one another’s experiences and knowledge. We are planning to hold one webinar a month and will continue the series as long as there are members interested in this program.

 

How to Manage Your Customer Relations
Wednesday, September 29: 2:00 - 3:00 PM (EST)
REGISTER NOW

Speakers: Deborah Anders, The Legacy Connection; Lisa Phillips, Appletree Answering Services, Inc.
This webinar is free for members. Please register your information.

Customers are what keep our businesses growing. Learn how to effectively manage your relationships with your customers and how to maximize your relationships.


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Win $500 - Name That Book!
by Nancy Friedman, the Telephone Doctor

St Louis, MO — August 2010: Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor, has a new book on customer service that needs a title.

"There's a lot out there on customer service," says Friedman, "and I know titles are key. We have some great titles for our other books and our programs," she says, "and I'm stuck searching for the new title. Some of her other titles are: 50 Little Tips that Make A Big Difference; How To Get Your Customers Swearing BY You, Not AT You; The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.

So she's asking for help. The book is a compilation of her popular articles on sales, customer service, attitude, listening skills, questioning skills and more. Having written more than 1,000 articles, Friedman wants to pare them down and bring each article into one or two paragraphs giving the reader something easy to take away to help their business.

Example: A two-page article on the Five Frustrating Voice Mail Phrases has been shortened and simply lists the frustrating phrases vs. giving all the reasons why the phrases frustrate clients. And Six Ways to Sabotage Your Business is now six easy points rather than a full-page article. Friedman feels her readers are savvy enough that they'll get the points quickly.

"However," says Friedman, "I need a fun title. Something that is eye catching and says READ ME. I'm important. I will help your business."

Entries should be sent to press@telephonedoctor.com and be included in the body of the email only. No attachments please. Enter as many times as you want. Contest closes November 1, 2010.

Winner will receive $500 and, of course, a complimentary, autographed copy of the new book due out in early 2011.


Did You Know?

Nancy was recently chosen as one of the top favorite speakers of meeting planners through Meetings & Convention magazine. The list was the result of a poll of meeting planners that had a write-in question asking "who was the best keynote speaker you ever heard or used?"

Nancy's new book, How to Get Your Customer Swearing BY You, Not AT You is now available on KINDLE and on Amazon.com.

Did you know? You can forward this contest on to others in your company, your family and friends!

Nancy is available to speak at your meetings and conferences. Her topics on sales, customer service and communication skills are sought after all over the world. She can be reached in St. Louis at 314.291.1012 or email at nancy@telephonedoctor.com.

You can visit the Telephone Doctor website www.telephonedoctor.com to sign up for our COMPLIMENTARY e-newsletter offering monthly tips, ideas, skills and techniques or visit the keynote page.


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