Newslinks lite July 2012
September 2012

Regular Columns

From the Editor
by Betty Bouchie

Be Inspired
by Gary Blair

Something to Smile About...

Change IS Good – Subroutines Are Great!
by Kevin Procter

How Not to Answer a Phone Call
by Nancy Friedman

Featured Articles

NAEO – Non-stop Amazing Educational Opportunities!
by Jillian Henry

Intelligent Series Seminar Was a Huge Success!
by Gerald R. Brosseau, II, Education Committee Chair

Important Changes in NAEO’s Educational Webinars
by Gerald R. Brosseau, II, Education Committee Chair

Webinar & Workshop Opportunities

Wow! They Said it Was Going to Be Intense and it Was!
by Gail Russell, Salina Regional Health Center

Why Change? Encouraging Customers to Change from Fax to Email
by Nate Davis and Joe Dickinson

Amtelco Annex

ANI Call Screening Eases Operator Workloads
by David Drenk

Share IS Clients with B2B Agent
by David Drenk

From the Editor

by Betty Bouchie

Adapting to Change

We just went through a change to our internal paging system. Not a huge change, just a minor one, but for some people, you would think we were preventing the sun from rising in the morning! Not everyone adapts well to change. For some it is a struggle, for others an exhilarating challenge. Understanding the different reactions can improve the experience for everyone.

Please read the article for some insights.
http://www.iwolff.com/files/teamworks/Newsletter-ManagingChangeInTheWorkPlace.pdf

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Be Inspired

Submitted by Gary Blair

If you're not adapting to the very rapidly changing environment, if you can't think creatively, you lose big in this society because there are very few jobs for you left.
~ Robert Sternberg

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Something to Smile About...

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Change IS Good – Subroutines Are Great!

As Seen on the NAEO List Serve

by Kevin Procter, Extend Communications Inc.

The only constant in life is change. While change generally brings up thoughts of progress, it could also refer to regression. Thankfully, when it comes to IS development, change always refers to forward progress. The challenge is to keep up with the changes. That is, educate one's self to the utilization of the changes within IS.

Having a background in a few different programming languages, yours truly began working in this industry with an introduction to IS Scripting.

Now, robust programming languages allow the programmer to use subroutines. Not having subroutines was a glaring problem with IS scripting, and needed to change.

For readers unfamiliar with the concept of subroutines: A subroutine is a part of the code within a larger program that performs a specific task and is relatively independent of the remaining code.

Not having subroutines within a language means a lot more work for the programmer. Any time you are programming specific tasks – such as parsing data, running loops, sending emails, etc – the code to do the task must be written and rewritten wherever it is needed. Further, changes to that code must be made everywhere the code exists.

Amtelco came to the rescue of IS coders everywhere when they added the "Shared" section to IS Scripting. This section of the script allows a programmer to place a subroutine within the script, and then call that subroutine whenever it's needed.

This programmer was very excited when the change was made to IS. Going forward, the change has been and continues to be utilized. Lists of data have been parsed, loops have been looped, and other features have been added to this subroutine area. This change is definitely progress!

Programming a script now allows this writer to create a subroutine and execute it anywhere its function is needed within the script. All maintenance to that subroutine is done once, in one location. The slightest change to the subroutine is reflected throughout the script.

There have been many changes to IS scripting in the last two years. Some have been subtle, others have been highly visible. The power of the subroutine is by far the most exciting change – and once you start using that feature, you'll agree!

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How Not to Answer a Phone Call

by Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor

The recent email we received below gave us some good ammunition for an article. While the industry, as you can see, is in the legal profession, believe me, it can happen in every industry.

Read on: It's from an attorney:

Around 1:00 p.m. today I returned opposing counsel's telephone call from this morning. The first person that answered the phone took my name and asked me to hold while he checked to see if she was back from lunch. After a short hold he came back on the line and transferred my call. At that point opposing counsel's assistant answered the phone. She took my name for the second time and put me back on hold. After holding a couple of minutes, opposing counsel's assistant came back on the line and asked if I could call back in twenty minutes! I am sure that her assistant is telling opposing counsel that I am a jerk because I answered, "No, I am calling her back now."

It's a well-known fact that the first voice you hear and what they say when you call a company sets the tone, makes the first impression and welcomes the caller. It starts the rapport-building process. Few will argue that point.

While there are several "faux pas" in the above email we received, which do you think is the major one? Our answer is at the end of this article.

Here's an easy four-step process for handling a simple incoming call.

  1. Use the Telephone Doctor 3-part greeting:
    • A buffer (Thanks for calling, etc.)
    • The company name (Steinberg Law)
    • And then your name (This is Nancy.)
    • STOP! "How can I help you" is not necessary in initial greetings. You are there to help. That is why you answered the phone.
  2. Putting a caller on hold. "Hold on," click is not effective. Neither is "Hang on a second." Learn to ask callers if they are "able to hold" and then wait for a response.
  3. Monogram the call. If the caller gives you his name, use it immediately. It speeds the rapport building process. And if possible, use it once again in closing the call.
  4. Leave a good lasting impression. Seems as the opposing counsel's office didn't do that. Remember, more people will tell you about a bad experience than a good one.

And the biggest faux pas?

Asking a caller to call back! Never ask anyone to call back. That's like kicking a customer out of the door at the store.

When someone calls us, it's our job to return the call or have it returned on our behalf. Asking someone to call back is just rude.

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NAEO – Non-stop Amazing Educational Opportunities!

by Jillian Henry

I feel honored to have been awarded the William and Eleanor Curtin Scholarship this past year.

Working in the telecommunications industry for the past 12 years, 4 of which I’ve personally been attending NAEO and ATSI annual conferences, I can say the difference in my career before NAEO participation and after NAEO is equivalent to the difference between night and day.

Before NAEO, I knew my passion for the industry; I did not know the amazing NAEO community, which shares that passion. I hadn’t experienced what attending a conference with that community can do for you!

Before NAEO, I knew what I’d like to see our call center implement... one day. After NAEO, I know how to utilize the listserv, which generates a constant stream of ideas and almost instant access to those with the experience, to make one day, today.

Before NAEO, I didn’t have members who I now regard as personal friends, from other areas of the country and outside of it, who’ve proven to me that call center management, in it’s way, is a universal language.

Before NAEO, I read books and articles about all the things you should be doing with your people. After NAEO, I have experienced the power of a live future-minded keynote speaker, assuring you and illustrating to you that it is possible to successfully implement these plans and ideas!

Over the past year, simply by opening myself up further to what NAEO has to offer, I’ve experienced presenting on a panel at NAEO Las Vegas and have had the pleasure of participating on the membership committee.

You don’t have to dig too deep to uncover the opportunities NAEO provides, and I hope you seriously consider seizing them. They require less time and effort than you’d imagine, and you'll reap more benefits than you may realize.

For example, I found the act of putting into words, for a community I respect, why I felt I’d earned consideration for the scholarship a worthwhile act in itself.

I want to thank the scholarship committee for selecting me for the William and Eleanor Curtain scholarship. I consider my life enriched every day by NAEO, its members and by the telecommunications industry itself.

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Gerald R Brosseau II

Intelligent Series Seminar was a Huge Success!

by Gerald R. Brosseau, II, Education Committee Chair

From August 6-8, 2012, NAEO’s Education Committee held an intensive, three-day hands-on training seminar on Intelligent Series Programming. The Courtyard Marriott at the Philadelphia Airport hosted this amazing event for attendees that ranged from NAEO members, non-members, hospital switchboards, to commercial and medical answering services and contact centers, with attendees traveling from as far away as British Columbia, Canada. In fact, it was a sold out event with nearly 40 individuals in attendance, many who had never been to an NAEO event before. Led by Education Committee Chair Gerald R. Brosseau, II; IS Training Committee Chair, Theran Mossholder; renowned industry information technology expert, Jake Phillips; Pat Dye of Amtelco; and Susan Kirkpatrick, Amtelco’s Training Manager, this seminar was an extraordinary value for the level of professional training that was offered. Programmers from NAEO Member Companies (The Legacy Connection, Always On Call, and Newtown Answering Service) worked collaboratively with the speakers to develop a hands-on, professionally printed, Intelligent Series training guide for attendees that helped to reinforce the training that was offered.

The first day and a half of the seminar focused on the basics of transitioning to Intelligent Series, including how to build client template accounts, flow chart scripts, program info pages, shared fields, and inbound message scripting. The second day and a half focused on the more advanced features of Intelligent Series such as website integration into scripts, advanced expression builder, IS Directories and Contact Dispatch Directories, including their use in a hospital switchboard application, IS On-Call, IS Dispatch, and designing a custom Contact Architecture script. "I really enjoyed this seminar. Each presenter passed on workable knowledge clearly and in a concise manner. The entire seminar opened my eyes to techniques that will directly benefit NACC and what I enjoyed more than anything is passing down my knowledge to those who are new to IS environment. The hands-on exercises and one-to-one assistance created an open and less intimidating environment. Maybe it was the combined personalities of all the presenters, but the atmosphere was kind, relaxed, and engaging.” Pam D'Ambrosio-Denson, Manager, North American Call Center.

Amtelco announced its new software product, "Genesis,” at this event as well as its business continuity service plans and new methods for dispatching messages that are integral with medical clientele and hospitals, such as MiSecure Messages. With the gracious support and contribution from Amtelco in cooperation with NAEO, this event was very well received by attendees. "This education committee is by far the best that NAEO members have ever seen,” reported Susan Kirkpatrick, Amtelco’s Training Manager. NAEO’s Education Committee has been working together with Amtelco more than ever before to bridge the gap between the team at Amtelco to improve the practical education of software products and features to NAEO members.

If you were an attendee at this seminar, please kindly complete the survey that was sent out to help us better plan future seminars. We value your feedback! If you have not obtained your certificate of attendance, please log on to the members section of www.naeo.org to access this document. We look forward to seeing you at future seminars, on a webinar, or the upcoming annual conference in Nashville in March!

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Gerald R Brosseau II

Important Changes in NAEO’s Educational Webinars

By Gerald R. Brosseau, II, Education Committee Chair

In August, the NAEO Education Committee worked on transitioning the scheduled webinars to the new Webex bridge that will not have the 25 attendee limit as we experienced in the past. In fact, the new "event center” will continue to allow for the recording of our webinars, yet provide a robust web-based platform for our educational webinars, with the greatest benefit of being able to better coordinate and schedule a series of webinars on a particular topic. We appreciate your understanding in the lapse in our normally scheduled webinars as we work to ensure all data and previously recorded webinars are migrated over successfully.

The entire Education Committee wishes to thank Lisa Phillips of Appletree Answering Service for her years of dedicated service in fulfilling the position of webinar coordinator for the membership. Her role has been vital in the scheduling and execution of the NAEO Educational webinars.

I am also proud to announce that Hettie Dunwoody of Dexcomm has agreed to be the webinar coordinator successor. Hettie, in coordination with Education Committee Chair Gerald R. Brosseau, II, and Education Committee Co-Chair Lina Masri, will be working to finalize the webinar schedule for the remainder of the year. We have had some great topics and ideas sent to us and we welcome you to continue sending them to education@naeo.org. It is your support and ideas that allow us to schedule the great topics and speakers.

One of the webinar series currently in progress is on Business Continuity by Kurt VanderScheer. If you are a business owner or in any managerial position, you won’t want to miss this series! Kurt has been expanding on the details and processes necessary to ensure that if your business is subject to a natural disaster or other emergency, both you and your business will be properly prepared.

Please continue to monitor the event schedule on www.naeo.org for upcoming webinars and again, don’t hesitate to email your ideas. If you are willing to present on a particular topic or join the Education Committee, please let us know today!

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Upcoming Webinars

Business Continuity
September 12, 2012 | 12:00 pm EDT

Moderator: Joe Adam

Presented by: Kurt Vandersheer and Joe Adam

This series of webinars 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 briefly discuss the various sections of the plan and 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 recorded sessions to get caught up.

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

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Wow! They Said it Was Going to Be Intense and it Was!

by Gail Russell, Salina Regional Health Center

The NAEO Summer Seminar was as advertised, "an intensive three-day programming workshop!" The session started out with basic IS Scripting and moved into the expert level with enough information to satisfy even the expert programmer.

Gerald, Theran, and Jake did a great job in teaching the concepts. They are all three so knowledgeable in the topic. It was really good to have Pat Dye and Susan Kirkpatrick there from Amtelco; they are both used to being in a classroom type environment. They assisted when needed to help the session flow well and were a great asset to the seminar.

I'm not a programmer by trade, but have dabbled in it throughout the years I have worked at Salina Regional Health Center. The session was really intense and a bit overwhelming for me at times, but I feel like I came away with a lot of good knowledge in how to get started on this IS format, which is exactly what I needed. Gerald and several others that I met in the class have offered to help me, so I think I can actually get this done now!

The hotel was nice and the staff all treated us well. The food was good. The hotel was easy to get to from the airport with the free shuttle provided.

If you missed this one, be sure to make the next one. It's a great value for the time and money spent. You will come away with increased knowledge and add to your network of great NAEO contacts! It's a win/win for both you and your company!

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Why Change? Encouraging Customers to Change from Fax to Email

by Nate Davis and Joe Dickinson, Pittsburgh Telephone Answering Service

Has anybody ever attempted to encourage clients to use emails instead of faxes? Is there a politically correct way to do this? Has anyone ever had any success explaining why email is a better solution?

Here are some great suggestions from the listserv!

  • It’s faster.
  • Charge more for faxing than you do for email and watch as your clients begin to choose the email option, citing the cost to maintain those old techniques with the attendant problems of some fax machines delivery delays when we can offer a superior delivery vehicle.
  • Email will allow them to create searchable archives of their messages.
  • Saves money if the phone company charges you for all calls.
  • If the fax is connected to a dedicated phone line they no longer need, it will save money.
  • Environmentally better, and you can send to numerous recipients so that there is no "lost fax", and someone going on vacation is no big deal, someone still gets that email. This can easily be accomplished by using a generic email address that everyone in the office can access, and having all (and only) business emails sent to it.
  • It is much faster, no busy signals, no running out of paper/ink/toner.
  • For those who actually have a machine printing out faxes, it is not environmentally responsible to cut down trees for a piece of paper that will be discarded or filed and forgotten. They only need to print what is necessary.
  • Saves paper and toner.

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david drenk

ANI Call Screening Eases Operator Workloads

by David Drenk

ANI Call Screening allows you to enter up to 1,400 Automatic Number Identification (ANI) numbers into Infinity Supervisor. The numbers can be assigned to accounts set up for special behaviors. The feature can be used to block unwanted calls from telemarketers, harassing callers, automated dialing systems, and incoming faxes by routing calls from their phone numbers to an account that hangs up or plays a recording.

To check if the ANI Call Screening feature has been enabled on your Infinity System, open the Infinity Supervisor application and click the System Settings icon. The System Settings pages open at the Configuration tab. If you have purchased the ANI Call Screening feature, it should be listed as "ANI Screening” under "Enabled Features.”

Configuring ANI Call Screening

To configure an account for ANI Call Screening, open the Infinity Supervisor application and click the System Settings icon.
The System Settings pages are displayed.

Open the Windows menu and select "System Forms & Lists.”
The System Forms & Lists pages are displayed.

Click the ANI Screening tab.
The ANI Screening page is displayed. ANI and Client Number entry fields are located at the bottom of the screen.

ANI

The ANI is the Caller ID number of calls that you want to route to a specific client account.
Type the number from which a call will be made (the ANI or Caller ID Number).

Client Number

The Client Number is the Infinity client account number to which you want to route the calls.
Type the client account number to which you want to send the calls.
Click the Add New button.

The ANI, client number, and client name are displayed in the ANI Screening Setup table. Each ANI number can be routed to a different account, or multiple numbers can be routed to the same account.

Removing ANI Call Screening

To remove an entry from the ANI Screening Setup table, select the entry that you want to remove.
Click the Delete button.

The Delete ANI dialog box is displayed.

Click the Yes button.
The entry is removed from the table.

Setting Account Behaviors

When configuring ANI Call Screening to route calls to an Infinity client account, it is important to configure the client account with a behavior to handle those calls. For calls from telemarketers and harassing callers, it is best to set the behavior to hang up so that the caller does not know you are screening their ANI. For calls from fax machines, you may want to play a recorded message that says, "This is not a fax number.”

Behaviors are configured in the Client Setup pages. For more information about call behaviors, refer to the "Client Setup” section of the Infinity Supervisor Reference Guide.

Requirements:

  • Infinity 5.5 or later
  • ANI Call Screening feature.

Amtelco Part Number: 232S834

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Share IS Clients with B2B Agent

by David Drenk

The optional B2B (Business to Business) Agent feature allows agents connected to one IS server to take calls using message scripts and Info Pages that reside on another IS server.

The B2B Agent feature uses Linked Infinity Connection licenses and Linked Soft Agent Connection licenses to share client accounts on a host IS server with agents attached to one or more partner IS servers. The message scripts, Info Pages, and client settings for the shared clients are all stored on the host server. Agent IDs on the partner servers are mapped to unique Agents IDs on the host server, and station numbers on the partner servers are translated to available station numbers on the host server so that agents at all sites can be taking calls at the same time.

Configuring the Host Server

On the host server, the configuration steps for B2B Agent are:

  1. Purchase linked licenses.
  2. Create IS agent IDs for partner agents to use when taking calls for shared clients.

The B2B Agent feature uses linked licenses to allow agents from partner servers to connect to the host IS server. These licenses are available on a recurring annual basis.

Each agent logged into a partner IS server that will take calls for clients on the host server must have an IS agent ID on the host server. IS Agent IDs are created in the Agent Setup pages of IS Supervisor.

The Login Name and Password entered into the host server will have to match the Login and Password entered into the Host Server Logins tab on the partner server.

Configuring a Partner Server

On partner servers, the configuration steps for B2B Agent are:

  1. Add a host server connection.
  2. Set up station translations for each station that will take calls for clients on the host server.
  3. Match IS agent IDs with host server logins.
  4. Create IS client accounts mapped to each host server client account that is being shared.
  5. If the partner is using Infinity Telephone Agent, create an Infinity account for each shared client.

Host server connections and station translations are configured in System Setup on the Partner Connection pages.

The Host Servers page is used to establish connections to host IS servers so that agents can take calls using message scripts and Info Pages that reside on an IS server that located at a different site or a different company.

The Station Translations page is used to map the station numbers on a local IS server to station numbers on a host server.

Each time an agent logs into Infinity Telephone Agent or Soft Agent on a system connected to an IS server, the application passes a station type and a station number to the IS server. The station type is "Infinity Telephone Agent” or "Soft Agent,” and the station number is the number configured in the Ctrl-F12 settings of the Infinity Telephone Agent of Soft Agent application.

With the B2B Agent feature, Infinity Telephone Agent and Soft Agent also connect to a host IS server so that the application can take calls for clients on the host server. The application has to pass a station type and station number to the host server as it connects. If the same station number is already in use by another agent connected to the host server with the same station type, the connection cannot be completed. The Station Translations page allows you to send a different station number to the host server so that you avoid a conflict with stations that are attached to the host server locally.

Each agent that takes calls for another IS server must have a host server login established for that server. Host server logins are established in Agent Setup, Login Management, on the Host Server Logins tab.

In order for calls for a shared client to be answered on a partner IS server, a client account must be created on the partner server and mapped to the client account on the host server. The B2B Client Setup page is used to map a client account number on this partner server to a client account on a host server. When a call comes in for the client on the partner server, the IS server will use the Agent Settings, Directory Settings, Info Pages, Intelligent Messages, and Shared Fields of the Host Client on the Host Server.

If the partner site is using the Infinity Automated Call Distribution and Unified Messaging System, an Infinity client account must be created for each of the shared client accounts. Infinity client accounts are created in the Client Setup pages of the Infinity Supervisor application. Set the client name, answer phrase, and source on the General Information page, and the client number and Messaging check box on the Intelligent Series Options page.

Once the host server and the partner server have been configured, you can start routing calls to the partner server through the host site’s TELCO or switch administrator.

When an agent takes a call from the host server, a notice is displayed in the upper right corner of the screen to alert the operator that the client resides on another IS server. The call is opened in the local client account that was configured for B2B Agent, but the Info Pages and message script from the host client are displayed. When the agent finishes taking a message, the message is saved in the host client on the host server, along with statistical call data used in IS reports.

Requirements:

  • IS Supervisor 5.60.3720.3
  • IS Messaging
  • SQL Server 2000 or later

Amtelco Part Number: 232MP139

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