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04

VIEWS: 59 PAGES: 56

									                            APRIL 2007




VOL. 15/NO. 3




                   PLUS…
                   CONTACT CENTER
                   AUTOMATION
                   MULTI-CORPORATE
                   CULTURISM
                   SCHEDULING TO
                   MEET GOALS



SPECIAL ATSI REGISTRATION ISSUE
                                                                                                                        Professional
                                                                                                                          Directory
ASSOCIATIONS                                                          BROKERS                                                        EQUIPMENT




                                                                       Marketing
                                                                                    Mergers & Acquisitions




                                                                       AS
                                                                                   We offer Telephone Answering Service brokering
                                                                                   and Private Business hosting. We also sell Call
                                                                                     Centers & Voice Mail Companies. Current
     12 Academy Avenue                                                                    listings available on our web site.
                                                                                       Steve Michaels - TAS Marketing
   Atkinson, NH 03811, USA



                                                                      T
                                                                                               800-369-6126
       Charlene Glorieux                                                              406-827-4131 • Fax: 406-827-4554
         866-896-ATSI                                                                      tas@tasmarketing.com
         www.atsi.org                                                                      www.tasmarketing.com

                      Atlantic States Telephone                                                                                                   Voice Logging Recorders
                      Answering Assoc.                                     BUSINESS BROKERS                                                Easily records ALL conversations—just click and play
                                                                                                                                                             574-848-5233
        Supervisor Training, Fall 2007                                             www.weikertonline.com                                                     Record/Play Tek,Inc.
        800-718-1712 www.astaa.org                                                     203-371-6423                                                          www.recordplaytek.com


 Startel National Users Group, Inc.
Learn how Certification can demonstrate your Value in real $$.        CONSULTING
   Dan L’Heureux Exec Director 800-317-8529
            www.snugonline.org                                        Shatz and Associates 1-888-731-7002
                                                                      Telephone answering service brokering and consulting.
                    Supervisor Training and MORE!                           4%-5% commisions to sell your business
                        April 11 -12 – Detroit                             29 years of telephone answering experience
 Great Lakes         Dan L'Heureux Exec Director
 Telemessaging              888-712-9396
 Services Association       www.gltsa.org
                                                                      EQUIPMENT
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                                                                                                                                        FOR ANY SIZE SERVICE
                   Southern Telemessaging
                   Association
                                                                                                                                                     LEASING AVAILABLE
    We are MORE than just a cruise, we TRAIN!
           Dan L'Heureux Exec Director
       800-475-0857 • www.sta-assoc.org                                                                                                            TASECO
                                                                                                                                                       888-527-2224
             Western States Telemessaging Assoc.                                                                                                      www.taseco.com
                   Advanced Supervisor Seminar –
                       Las Vegas- May 9 & 10
                    Dan L'Heureux Exec Director
                877-754-4103 • www.WSTAonLine.org
                                                                         Voice Logging Recorders                                     HOSTED SYSTEMS
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                       CEO is the Cadcom Equipment Owners                  Recording, Monitoring, Bridges                                         Receive the benefits of the large,
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                      Equipment Owners. Contact us at:                                                                                            Host or carpool your accounts/service
                      CEO Coordinator’s Office, 703-370-9610 or                                                                                   on equipment such as Infinity, CMC
                      at our web site www.ceowners.com                                                                                            or Pinnacle. Ask about our Disaster
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BILLING SOFTWARE                                                                                                                                  (800) 369-6126 & ask for
                                                                                                                                                  Steve Michaels.

                                                                                                                                     To be included in the Professional
                                                                                                                                        Directory, contact Valerie at
                                                                                                                                               866-668-6694

Connections Magazine • www.connectionsmagazine.com                                                                                                                     APRIL 2007 • 3
       Contents
                         4/2007
Cover Story



Redefining the Role
of Voice Logging ...............14
By Patrick Botz
                                                      Departments
Your recorded interactions are more valuable
than ever before, thanks to the emergence of
                                                      Professional Directory ...................3
integrated workforce optimization technologies.
                                                      From the Publisher.........................7
                                                      “What Will They Say?”
Call Logging and Quality
Management ....................18                     Industry News................................9
Driving a Path to Customer Satisfaction
By Tom Chamberlain                                    ATSI Update ................................50
The quality of agents’ work is as important           “Federal Universal Service Fund”
as the quantity of customers. Quality monitoring,     By Ray Shaw
through voice logging, can ensure consistently
positive caller interactions, which leads to          Advertiser Listing ........................51
client loyalty.
                                                      Mind Your Business.....................51
Voice Logging in the                                  “Q and A with Steve Michaels”
Call Center .......................21                 Classifieds/Marketplace...............52
Once a luxury, now a necessity, voice loggers
can aid in training, agent self-evaluation, quality
control, and call verification and compliance.        Coming Events.............................54
Here are the vendors that can get you started.

4 • APRIL 2007                                                 www.connectionsmagazine.com • Connections Magazine
 Features                                                                       42
                              ATSI 2007 Convention Forms                                       Contact Center Automation:
                              and Information ...........................................23    A Well-Oiled, Intelligent Machine
                                                                                               for Customer Service ...................................44
                              Call Center Case Study: Scheduling                               By Iain McKay
                              to Meet Goals and Satisfy Agents ...............37               For high-volume, limited-issue call centers,
                              By Trevor Readinger                                              automation is relatively easy, but when you
                              As call centers become larger, scheduling                        add multiple channels with variable needs and
                              challenges increase disproportionately. Today’s                  complexities, balancing customer service with
                              scheduling tools can help balance the dual needs                 efficient automation becomes more challenging.
                              of profitably providing quality service while
                              meeting agent needs.

                              Happiness Starts with a
                                                                                                46
                              Fulfilling Career...........................................41
                              By Steve Michaels
                              To be happier and more successful, you need
                              some focus. Here is a list of recommended
                              goals to get you started.
                                                                                               Supervisors: The Critical Link ...................46




44
                              Multi-Corporate-Culturalism:                                     By Mark Selcow
                                                                                               “Agents don’t leave companies, they leave
                              Map to Innovation........................................42
                                                                                               supervisors.” So then, supervisor tasks,
                              By L. Claire Rudyk
                                                                                               such as coaching and performance management,
                              Aligning an outsourcer’s culture with clients’
                                                                                               are key elements to agent retention – and to
                              values is necessary for success; doing so for
                                                                                               client satisfaction.
                              each corporate culture represented in an
                              outsourced contact center is a challenging,
                                                                                               Identity Theft: Who’s Protecting Your
                              but feasible task.
                                                                                               Callers? .........................................................48
                                                                                               By Cindy Graham
                                                                                               How can call centers help ensure the security
                                                                                               of the personal information they collect from
                                                                                               callers? Proper policies, training, and
                                                                                               implementation are your responsibility; your

Whitepapers                                                                                    callers need to be able to trust you.



Whitepapers On the Web
Find more information online:
www.connectionsmagazine.com/papers.
                                                       MyArticleArchive.com
• Performance Management Software Helps                Read more articles online at www.MyArticleArchive.com/cm
  Optimize Contact Center, presented by                • A Dozen Ways to Screw Up Sales Meetings – and How to Fix Them,
  Yankee Group                                           by Pam Holloway
• Putting the Human Element Back Into                  • Good News about Cold Calls, by Lenann McGookey Gardner
  Customer Care, by Andre Angel, NTRglobal             • Calming “Customonsters” and Other High-Maintenance Clients,
• Calling All Alternative Payment Options                by Kate Zabriskie
  by Marwan Forzley, MODASolutions                     • Seven Stress-Busting Strategies for Busy Workdays, by Linda Nacif
                                                       • Stop Ignoring Your Customer: Six Techniques to Building Customer Rapport,
                                                         by Laurie Brown
                                                       • How to Make Tax Time Less Taxing, by Douglas Charney


 Connections Magazine • www.connectionsmagazine.com                                                                                    APRIL 2007 • 5
    Connections                                                                                                                from the
 April 2007

 Publisher/Editor
                                                MAGAZINE

                                                 Volume 15, Issue 3

                                                             Peter DeHaan
                                                                                                                              Publisher
    Phone .................................................866-668-6695
    EMail ..................peter@connectionsmagazine.com
    Fax .....................................................866-668-6693
 Display/Classified Advertising ...............Valerie Port
    Phone .................................................866-668-6694
    EMail ...............valerie@connectionsmagazine.com                                                             What Will They Say?
    Fax .....................................................866-668-6698          Peter DeHaan, Ph.D.
 Designer/Production.......................David Margolis
    Phone .................................................866-668-6696
    EMail...................dave@connectionsmagazine.com
    Fax .....................................................215-369-0144

               48955 Hickory Lane • Mattawan, MI 49071



                                                                                   W
              www.connectionsmagazine.com                                                        hat will your agents say to make a sale? The answer might
         email connect@connectionsmagazine.com                                                   surprise you. I recently had two telephone sales experiences that
                                                                                                 didn’t turn out as I expected. The first related to changing satellite
                       Upcoming Issues:
             Article/PR     Space
                                                                                   TV providers. An abrupt network lineup change left my family without their
 Issue       Deadline       Deadline Featuring                                     two favorite shows. In the midst of unsatisfactory interactions with my
 May         Mar 30         April 6      Speech Recognition/Verification;          current provider’s customer service department, a direct mail piece arrived
                                         Voice Mail
                                                                                   from a competitor. It offered a seemingly attractive price, free installation,
 June        May 4          May 11       Hosted Services/Software;
                                         Disaster Recovery                         and new equipment, including a DVR (Digital Video Recorder).
 July/Aug June 8            June 15      Message Taking Systems                          Upon calling the prospective provider, I talked to a helpful and confident
                                         Offshore Call Center Outsourcing/
                                         Teleservice Agency Listing
                                                                                   agent named Karl. My first query was about this missing network. Karl
                                                                                   assured us that they did in fact carry it. We quickly established a rapport and
 Mission:                                                                          he addressed my secondary questions. I confirmed my understanding of what
 To be the principal clearing house of relevant and practical information
 for the teleservices industry.                                                    Karl said and placed my order.
                                                                                         A few days later, the installer arrived and set up the system. He quickly
 Distribution:
 Connections Magazine is distributed monthly (with combined                        gave me an overview of its operation as the programming guide was
 Jan/Feb and Jul/Aug issues) to the TeleServices industry, including               downloading. I asked for the channel number of the network in question.
 outsource call centers, telephone answering services, in-house call               “I don’t know offhand,” he said, “but it’s there someplace. If you can’t find
 centers, and industry professionals who actively buy and sell
 products and provide service to this industry. The distribution list is           it, call this number.” He handed me an information sheet and left.
 continuously monitored and updated via the Connections Web site                         Thirty minutes later and frustrated, I dialed that number. “I’m sorry,” the
 (www.ConnectionsMagazine.com), industry sources, reader requests,                 agent said. “I can only help you with installation issues, and this isn’t an
 and the change of address service from the U.S. Postal Service.
 POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Connections Magazine,
                                                                                   installation question. You’ll need to call the provider.” (I had apparently
 44895 Hickory Ln, Mattawan, MI 49071.                                             bought from an authorized agent.) The provider’s call center told me it would
 Subscriptions:
                                                                                   be an extra $5 a month to get that network (which ultimately turned out to be
 Connections Magazine is an advertiser supported magazine. It is sent              incorrect). Mad at this unexpected news, I called my buddy Karl.
 free to individuals and companies in the outsourcing and teleservices             Unfortunately, he was no longer my buddy. “I only deal with sales
 industry. Subscribe at www.connectionsmagazine.com/subs/.
                                                                                   questions,” he stated curtly. “I can’t help you,” and he hung up.
 Affiliation:                                                                            My wife, who is tenacious in righting wrongs and fixing the unresolvable,
 Connections Magazine is pleased to serve as the official magazine of              took over the quest to watch the missing network. Over the next few days,
 ATSI (www.atsi.org), the Association of Teleservices International
                                                                                   she called Karl, the service department, the installation line, and the billing
 Notice:                                                                           department, as well as all the other numbers she was given. Several days and
 Advertisers and their agents assume all liability for content, including text,
 representation, and illustration of any advertisement included in this            countless hours later, she resigned herself to accept that we had been had.
 magazine as well as for any claims made against the publisher arising                   There is much to be learned from this saga. One seemingly small mis-
 therefrom. The publisher reserves the right to reject any advertising that is     communication had widespread and far-reaching ramifications. One agent’s
 not in keeping with the standards of the magazine and to add the word
 “advertisement” to any ad herein. The publisher makes no claims regarding         words resulted in more than a dozen follow-up phone calls to multiple call
 the legality or condition of any goods or services advertised in this magazine.   centers, not to mention a new customer who is angry and unhappy.
 Opinions expressed in this magazine are those of the authors and not                    At the same time, a similar scenario was unfolding. Again, it involved a
 necessarily those of Connections Magazine or any of its agents. The
 information contained herein is for informational purposes only, and is           transaction made over the phone; again, an agent was willing to say anything
 not intended to provide legal, medical, tax, or any other professional            to make a sale. I have had a long and largely favorable history with this company.
 advice or counsel.                                                                                                                              (Continued on page 8)

Connections Magazine • www.connectionsmagazine.com                                                                                                APRIL 2007 • 7
from the
Publisher
  (Continued from page 7)




  Though much of my interaction with them is via a self-service       the payback from training is not directly quantifiable, whereas
  Web site, there is sales and technical support available by         sales numbers are. This is a dichotomy that call center
  email and phone. I had been long contemplating a particular         managers must acknowledge and grapple with.
  service for which, by design, only limited technical support is
  provided.                                                                Call Monitoring:
       Rarely does this company call me. Fortunately, Alex’s               Making active call monitoring a management mandated
  timely call was about the very service I have been cautiously       priority (and not just lip service) might have caught these
  contemplating. I shared my concern over the limited support         errors, could have eliminated these rogue agents’ self-serving
  provision. He dismissively acknowledged that reality and            focus, and certainly would have minimized all agents’
  quickly downplayed its significance. He told me the service         propensity to lie.
  was easy to use and that after a short learning curve, I would
  be up to speed and proficient. He promised to walk me through            Incentives and Measurements:
  the setup, preconfigure as much as was feasible, provide                 What gets measured gets done and what gets paid for
  instructions over the phone, and do whatever he could to            gets done better. These miscommunications were likely
  make the migration to this service go quickly and smoothly.         intentional, a calculated lie aimed at making a sale.
       Based on his representations and promises, I placed my         Unfortunately, call centers’ metrics and reward systems often
  order and confirmed my credit card number. We scheduled a           unwittingly serve to promote and foster activity and performance
  time for him to begin his tutelage of me. Within seconds,           that is detrimental to an organization’s overall best interests.
  I received an email confirming the credit card charges and I        The big picture must be continually considered; agent
  began preparations for his training. Alex never called. The         measurements and compensation must to be aligned with a
  following day I called him and left a message; no response.         long-term perspective.
  This went on for several days, with each subsequent voicemail
  message containing increasingly stronger language and pleas              Avoid Ripples:
  that were more urgent. My final message was quite terse and              There is a ripple effect when a mistake is made. This
  rightfully accusatory.                                              occurs both within the organization as more and more people
       After being snubbed yet again, I called their main number.     are pulled into the problem, as well as outside the organization
  As calmly as I could, I insisted to the unsuspecting agent that     as more and more people are told about the problem. Both
  I be immediately connected to a manager. A bit nonplused            take their toll. Frontline reps need to be empowered to act
  (he didn’t know who Alex was), but willing to assist, he gathered   and to solve pressing issues, not encouraged to end the call
  the requisite background information and transferred me to          just so they can take the next one in queue.
  his supervisor, Dennis.
       Dennis, although responsible for a different department,            Effectively Resolve Problems:
  immediately and sincerely apologized for Alex’s transgressions.          In the first example, no one ever said, “What would you
  Furthermore, Dennis promised to refund all my money if I            like done to resolve this?” No one ever suggested a course of
  wasn’t completely satisfied with the outcome. He was both           action or recommended a solution. In the second case, it was
  assertive and definitive in his course of action: Dennis would      obvious that Dennis had been trained in effective problem
  be the point person in dealing with and resolving the problem;      resolution; plus, he was practiced and proficient at its
  Alex’s supervisor would be having a “talk” with Alex; and I         implementation. He apologized, expressed empathy, took
  would be assigned a technical guru to help me with the product      decisive action, and shouldered the responsibility for resolving
  I ordered. In the end, I opted for the refund, since Dennis         the problem – even though it rightly belonged in a different
  took time to understand my objective and offered me a               department. The people he elicited for assistance were both
  less-costly and easier way to achieve it.                           supportive and efficient at effectively meeting the common
       The learning outcomes from these stories are both helpful      goal of turning a bad situation into a desirable conclusion.
  and illustrative:
                                                                           The preceding are recommendations that all call centers
       Training:                                                      should follow. They may not produce short-term gains, but
       If the miscommunications were out of ignorance, then           the long-term results are inescapable: results that are in the
  better training could have averted both ordeals. Unfortunately,     best interest of your call center – and your job. ¤

  8 • APRIL 2007                                                                www.connectionsmagazine.com • Connections Magazine
   IndustryNEWS                                                     Join the Alston Tascom

Connections Magazine’s Web Site
Hits 1,000 Pages
     In February, the Connections Magazine Web site reached
and surpassed the 1,000-page milestone. This includes 693
articles and 129 white papers from past issues of Connections




                                                                                                             Connecting Callers With Customers
Magazine. Many of the articles have been updated to reflect new
and additional information since they were first published. Other
pages include call center industry resources and information.
     Popular sections of the Web site include the annual
Buyers Guide, Vendor Literature, Events Calendar,
Teleservice Agency Listing, Industry Glossary, and Area
Code Lists. Recent additions include complete PDF files for
past issues, beginning with January 2002.
     ConnectionsMagazine.com averages more than 700 unique
visitors a day and had over 600,000 page views last year.
     Visit www.ConnectionsMagazine.com to see more.

Amtelco Launches
Discovery Forum
     Amtelco launched their online Discovery Forum, consisting
of webinars conducted by Amtelco customers sharing
techniques and ideas for users of Amtelco software. Jamy
Williams from Phonepower, Inc. led the first Discovery
Forum topic, “Styles and Fonts in Amtelco’s Infinity
Intelligent Series.” Amtelco customers can access recordings
of the webinars located in the Resource Library.
     The online Amtelco Resource Library provides tools to
simplify account setup, reduce training time, and get programming
ideas. This is the first such library in the industry and is a
benefit for Amtelco customers. Training agents is easy with
detailed videos available to watch anytime, night or day.              Single-Point-Solution
     The Amtelco Resource Library also includes script                 • Unified IVR
libraries for the Infinity Intelligent Series and eCreator.
Using the Script Library, Amtelco system users have the
                                                                       • Unlimited ACD
opportunity to share their application scripts with other users        • Text to Speech
for their mutual benefit.                                              • No Proprietary Hardware
     A new Wish List is now available on Amtelco’s                     • Voice Mail
TechHelper Web site for customers to communicate their                 • Voice Logging
needs and ideas to Amtelco’s software developers.
TechHelper has been enhanced with a bulletin board for up-
                                                                       • Voice Recognition
to-the-minute news and a Google® powered search engine.                • Order Entry
     For more information, contact Amtelco at 800-356-9148
or info@amtelco.com.
                                                                        Alston Tascom
Startel Announces                                                       13512 Vintage Pl., Chino. CA 91710
Management Changes                                                      866-2-TASCOM • 866-282-7266
    Startel Corporation announced several management                    Fax 909-517-3670
changes, including the retirement of Barbara Willis, vice               info@alstontascom.com
president of sales. Dan Feis has been named director of                 www.alstontascom.com
                                   (Continued on page 10)

Connections Magazine • www.connectionsmagazine.com                                                APRIL 2007 • 9
                                                                    Telescan Posts Record First
   IndustryNEWS
(Continued from page 9)
                                                                    Quarter; Expands Support Staff
                                                                          Telescan announced that first quarter sales for 2007 had
                                                                    exceeded predictions by 50%, giving them a record first quarter;
                                                                    this record was accomplished in just the first two months of
sales. He will coordinate the activities of the sales team,         2007. To meet the rapid sales growth, the company
including regional sales managers Tim Allen, Nancy Raftis,          announced it will be hiring two new customer support agents.
and Ed Burns, and sales coordinator Angel Wilkerson.                      “Providing customer support that is second-to-none is the
     Alice Reuter, acting president of Startel, stated, “I want     first priority of every employee at Telescan,” said Patty
to thank Barb for her twenty-five years of dedication               Anderson, Telescan’s director of sales. “Meeting our customers’
and tireless effort. She has been instrumental in Startel’s         needs and exceeding their expectations is a big part of Telescan’s
success in so many ways over the years.” Barbara Willis             success. This philosophy will keep Telescan growing.”
joined Startel in 1982 just after the company was founded.                Building on their goal of superior service and support,
Barb will ensure that the sales organization’s transition           Telescan hosted a free training seminar in March in Houston,
goes smoothly.                                                      Texas. The theme of the seminar was “Building Blocks to
     Additionally, Geri Cerkovnik has been promoted to vice         Success.” The seminar included workshops on scripting design
president of strategic development. In her new role, she will       and management training as well as creative approaches to
continue to report to Alice Reuter and will retain responsibility   maximizing productivity and profit for a telemessaging business.
for both the marketing and R&D departments. In addition,                  To find out more about Telescan, call 800-770-7662 or
Geri will play a key role in exploring new technology and           visit www.telescan.net.
strategic opportunities for Startel’s future.
     “I have enormous confidence in our future” said Alice          CenturiSoft Announces True
Reuter. “Both Geri and Dan bring tremendous talent,                 Digital Voice Logger
experience, and strong track records of success to their new             CenturiSoft announced their add-on solution Digital Voice
assignments.”                                                       Logger, or DVL. While many companies do voice logging of
     Visit Startel’s Web site at www.startelcorp.com.               calls, CenturiSoft is the first to record analog, digital, and VoIP
                                                                    calls simultaneously. Most loggers record agents’ calls using
Professional Teledata                                               analog lines and voice cards; CenturiSoft developed interfaces
Announces New Voicemail and                                         for ISDN and VoIP to record using the digital TDM (Time
Voice Logger Features                                               Division Multiplexing) or RTP (Realtime Transport Protocol)
     Professional Teledata released new voicemail and voice         audio paths directly. This eliminates noise, transcoding, and
logger features for the PInnacle telemessaging system. The          audio errors that are prone to traditional loggers.
Message Status Voicemail Update automatically updates the                Since the DVL records digitally, remote VoIP agents and
status of messages depending upon clients’ access. Clients          stations can be easily recorded. Traditional analog recorders
checking messages via voicemail control whether their               cannot provide these capabilities.
messages are “delivered off” or “held for future delivery” by            Along with the DVL technology, access to the audio is
simply listening to, saving, or deleting a voicemail message.       available via CD/DVD, email attachments, or a secured Web
This status change is customized on a per client basis and          portal. Due to CenturiSoft’s partnership with Microsoft, they
requires no special action on the part of the client.               are using the new Professional Encoding Technologies (PET).
     “This is another step towards our goal of automating any       This allows message compression, with virtually no loss in
process we can,” said Allen Kalik, president of Professional        audio quality, at 38 kilobytes per minute.
Teledata. “Operator time should be maximized for interactive             CenturiSoft can be reached at sales@centurisoft.com or
conversations with clients’ callers, and automated operations       800-866-1929.
should perform repetitive, rules-oriented tasks.”
     Professional Teledata also announced the availability of       ATA to Unveil Self-Regulatory
an interface between the PInnacle TAS System and                    Standards at Summit
CenturiSoft’s Digital Voice Logger (DVL). This logger                   The American Teleservices Association (ATA)
enables the recording of analog, digital, and VoIP calls.           announced plans to unveil Self-Regulatory Standards to its
Additionally, agents can copy recorded calls from the logger        members and other industry professionals at the 2007
into voicemail boxes using PInnacle’s Logger Recording              Washington Summit, April 22-25 at the Hyatt Regency
Copy (LRC) feature.                                                 Crystal City.
     Professional Teledata (www.proteledata.com) provides               The Self-Regulatory Organization (SRO) of the
systems and software products for telemessaging companies           American Teleservices Association will conclude a yearlong
and call centers. Contact Karen Black 800-344-9944 x112             development process by delivering the first public draft of the
for more information.                                               standards to all attendees. Attendance at the event will

10 • APRIL 2007                                                               www.connectionsmagazine.com • Connections Magazine
include 300 executives, compliance officers, government           long way in the last decade. When 2006 ended, the
affairs officers, attorneys, and other professionals from         Dominican contact center industry boasted more than forty
diverse industries. Attendees will have the opportunity to        centers employing 18,000 agents, becoming a preferred business
provide their feedback and directly influence the future of the   process outsourcing (BPO) destination globally and an important
standards.                                                        technology hub in the Western Hemisphere.
     “Dramatic changes in teleservices have created a pressing         Eddy Martinez, executive director of the Dominican
need for consistency and reliability which can be counted on      Republic’s Center for Investment and Exports (CEI-DR for
by consumers,” said Tim Searcy, chief executive officer of        its Spanish acronym), expects the number of BPO agents to
the American Teleservices Association. “We believe that an        grow to 30,000 by the end of 2007. “We are bullish on the
entity independent of call centers available to create broadly    BPO industry because we have seen the explosive demand for
accepted standards would help satisfy that need. Our goal is      Spanish-language back-office, telemarketing, and customer
to use a combination of existing state and federal regulations    support services,” said Martinez. “We are now starting to reap
and new standards to provide better customer service.”            the benefits of our investments in training and technology.”
     More information can be found at www.ataconnect.org.              Key factors in the Dominican Republic’s emergence as a
                                                                  Call Center/BPO destination include its proximity to the
Professional Teledata Adds                                        United States, the availability of skilled, bilingual agents at a
Payment Option to Billing Program                                 reasonable rate, and the lowest operating costs among
     Professional Teledata announced a new payment option         Caribbean locations.
for users of their Total Billing Solution (TBS) program.               For more information, visit www.cei-rd.gov.do.
TBS-based call centers can now offer their clients an option
of paying monthly or periodic charges through an automatic        Telescan’s Releases Script
direct transfer of funds from a designated bank account.          Designer
Transfers can occur on a prescheduled basis coinciding with a         Telescan has released its first scheduled system update
variety of billing cycles.                                        for 2007 for the Spectrum System. The update includes
     Jeff List, senior product developer, said, “This is yet      Telescan’s new scripting capability, featuring the Script
another feature in the program to facilitate prompt payments      Designer, a visual interface for creating and testing scripts.
from customers and timely notifications of any potential                                                  (Continued on page 12)
payment problems. Developed in response to a customer
request, it accelerates payments by eliminating errors when
using checks, credit cards, or other payment methods.”
     The new feature is an optional add-on to the TBS
program and is available for immediate installation.
     Professional Teledata (www.proteledata.com) provides
systems and software products for the telemessaging and call
center industries. Contact Karen Black at 800-344-9944
x112 for more information.

Habla Español?
Demand for Spanish Fuels
Dominican Call Center Boom
   Once touted as “the little economy that could,” the
Dominican Republic’s decision to bet on hi-tech has come a




Connections Magazine • www.connectionsmagazine.com                                                           APRIL 2007 • 11
                                                                    and competitors. Companies may use the results to help

   IndustryNEWS
(Continued from page 11)
                                                                    improve employee and customer satisfaction and/or increase
                                                                    their operational efficiency and effectiveness. Participating
                                                                    contact centers will have the option to select the free “reality
                                                                    check” report, or the more “in-depth” industry report, valued
      Among many other enhancements, this update includes a         at $1,500. ATA Members will receive both reports.
feature for distributing client-generated email to agents as an          According to Richard Feinberg, director of the Center for
“inbound message,” offering further alternatives for client-        Customer Driven Quality at Purdue University,
service interaction.                                                “Benchmarking is like going to the doctor for a checkup. It is
      To find out more about Telescan, call 800-770-7662 or         essential to see what is normal and what may be abnormal.”
visit www.telescan.net.                                                  For more information, visit ATA’s Web site at
                                                                    www.ataconnect.org.
ATA Launches Benchmarking
Tool with Purdue                                                    Regional Groups to
     The American Teleservices Association (ATA) launched a         Cohost Workshops
new benchmarking tool for companies with inbound or                     The Southern Telemessaging Association (STA) and the
outbound contact centers. The association partnered with            Western States Telemessaging Association (WSTA) are
Purdue University’s Center for Customer Driven Quality              working together to host two Advanced Performance
(www.ccdq.com) to produce in-depth analyses designed to             Workshops. The workshops, which are Level-Two
encourage participants to conduct a self-assessment of their call   Supervisory training, will be presented by industry leaders
center performance as compared to top performing contact centers.   Judy Vincent, Dee Hawkins, and Mari Osmon.
     “Benchmarking is an absolute necessity for contact centers         The first workshop will be held in Las Vegas, NV on
to establish or maintain their competitive advantage,” stated       May 9-10, 2007. The second one will be in Tampa, Florida,
Tim Searcy, chief executive officer of the American                 on August 14-15, 2007.
Teleservices Association.                                               WSTA (www.wstaonline.org) represents centers committed
     The benchmarking reports provide contact centers with a        to quality, including telemessaging, voicemail, order-taking,
means to compare their performance with that of their peers         and e-commerce solutions. STA (www.sta-assoc.org) intends
to foster, promote, and develop the telemessaging industry        Workshop hosted by Donna West of Focus Telecommunications
through mutual cooperation of the members; to establish,          will be held in Baltimore, MD on September 17-18, 2007. Also,
maintain, and implement a Code of Ethics which will further       an all-new Owners’ Opportunity meeting will be held in
public acceptance of the industry and its services; and to        Williamsburg, VA on October 7-9, 2007, hosted by Jannemieke
aid and assist its members by collective planning and             Keener of Keener Communications.
associated effort.                                                     Focus Telecommunications (www.FocusTele.com) is an
     For more information, contact Dan L’Heureux at               award-winning call center committed to excellence; Keener
763-473-0210 or dan@CallConsult.net.                              Communications (www.KeenerCom.net) is the recipient of
                                                                  ATSI’s Award of Excellence Top Score for 2006.
SNUG Convention to Locate in                                           ASTAA (www.astaa.org) is a not-for-profit professional
Myrtle Beach in 2008                                              association serving the membership of the Mid-Atlantic States.
     The Startel National Users Group (SNUG) announced
that the site location for its 2008 Annual Meeting will be held   Verint to Acquire Witness Systems
at the Sheraton Myrtle Beach, SC on March 9-12, 2008.                  Verint Systems Inc., a provider of analytic software-
     SNUG, a professional association serving the membership      based solutions for security and business intelligence, and
of education needs of Startel equipment users, is based in        Witness Systems, Inc., a leading provider of workforce
Minneapolis. The Startel Corporation, which is based in           optimization software and services, have entered into a
Irvine, California, manufactures, sells, and supports specific    definitive agreement under which Verint will acquire Witness
software and hardware used in the telephone answering             for $27.50 per share in cash.
service and messaging industry.                                        “Verint and Witness share a similar culture with a
     For more information, contact Dan L’Heureux 800-317-         passion for growth, results-driven execution, and a laser focus
8529 or dan@CallConsult.net or www.teamsnug.com.                  on customer success,” said Dan Bodner, president and CEO
                                                                  of Verint Systems Inc. “This strategic move will create a
ASTAA to Host Fall Owners’                                        platform for rapid organizational growth and provide a wealth
Meeting and Supervisor Seminar                                    of opportunity for our global employee population.”
    ASTAA (Atlantic States Telephone Answering Association)            For more information, visit www.verint.com and
announced two fall events for 2007. A Supervisor Training         www.witness.com.
                  Redefining
                    the Role
                     of Voice
                    Logging
                                          By Patrick Botz




14 • APRIL 2007       www.connectionsmagazine.com • Connections Magazine
N
                 ot so long ago, voice logging was generally perceived to be nothing more

                 than a basic function implemented by contact centers to meet compliance

                 regulations and liability requirements. Soon it became apparent that recorded

interactions were also useful for evaluating agent quality and for training new agents.

However, with the advent of full-time recording solutions and the availability of cheap,

efficient storage strategies, the true value of recorded interactions began to become

known. Recorded interactions between agents and customers are a veritable gold mine

of business intelligence, yielding insights into agent performance, product or service

perception, and customer satisfaction. Intelligence garnered from customer interactions

can be used to improve managerial decisions and investments made by strategic-level

departments such as sales, marketing, human resources, research and development,

finance, or operations.



     Today, organizations worldwide are realizing that in             The Power of Integration:
order to maximize performance, they need to be able to cap-                Tightly integrated suites of WFO solutions are growing
ture as much information as possible. Full-time recording             in popularity. The voice logging module is arguably the most
with 100 percent records retention (or selective retention            interrelated solution; it is crucial to, or significantly enhances,
based on business rules) provides an accurate representation          the performance of the other technologies. For example,
of activities as well as insurance for compliance and liability       quality monitoring efforts can be focused by selecting the
management.                                                           most meaningful interaction recordings for evaluation based

Recorded Interactions –
                                                                      on specific company objectives and business rules. If you’re

The Essential Building Blocks:
                                                                      particularly interested in the performance of a specific agent,
                                                                      a group of agents, or all calls resulting in the loss of a
     Thanks to the emergence of workforce optimization                customer, automated business rules can be implemented to
(WFO) technologies, organizations are now able to capture             flag these calls for evaluation.
and meaningfully assess multimedia interactions. WFO                       Supervisors can also evaluate calls based on performance
solutions were designed to adhere to a very simple philosophy:        management notifications of increased or decreased up-sell
to deliver the right information to the right people at the right     performance and can drill down through desktop dashboards
time – thus stimulating dramatic improvements in performance.         and reports to listen to the original call recordings. An
Today, various WFO applications are being implemented in              advanced performance management solution translates
contact centers of all types and sizes. In addition to interactions   performance data into in-depth insight into a contact center’s
recording, WFO solutions include quality monitoring,                  strengths and weaknesses. It monitors both telephony and
workforce management, customer surveying, speech analytics,           business metrics in real time. Used alone or in conjunction
performance management, and automated agent coaching.                 with other WFO solutions, the performance management
However, while each WFO solution can offer valuable                   software provides the tools to leverage performance data into
insights and intelligence, they are more valuable when                business intelligence that can dramatically enhance your
integrated with a full-time voice logging solution.                                                             (Continued on page 16)

Connections Magazine • www.connectionsmagazine.com                                                                APRIL 2007 • 15
Redefining the Role of Voice Logging
(Cobtinued from page 15)                                             with specific customer interactions captured by your voice
                                                                     logging solution. Customer feedback automatically directs
contact center’s performance. The software system collects           you to the important call recordings to listen to – rather than
and consolidates real-time and historical performance information,   randomly selecting calls. You can trigger alerts based on
delivering it right to the desktops of your contact center’s         what customers say about a specific call, or based on aggregate
agents, managers, and executives. Key performance indicators,        feedback at any level in your organization.

                                                                     Voice Logging –
quality scores, scheduling information, and service level

                                                                     An Essential Component:
indicators can be distributed using desktop dashboards, Web-
based consolidated reporting, and TV monitor display systems.
     The frequency of a specific word, phrase, or topic detected          The value of recorded interactions has finally been recognized.
and reported via a speech analytics solution can alert an            As a result, the voice logging function has been completely
organization to a serious issue or valuable opportunity;             redefined. No longer considered a tedious backroom function,
speech analytics technologies typically function by mining           full-time voice logging is now recognized as an essential
recorded interactions. Any organization that utilizes a voice        component in the quest to optimize processes and maximize
logging solution to record agent-customer calls can benefit          profitability. By enabling organizations to fully utilize and
enormously from the gold mine of business intelligence that          manage their recorded customer interactions, WFO solutions
lies buried in call recordings. Speech analytics solutions           empower every department to function on a higher level – from
enable a call center to extract business intelligence from           the contact center, customer service, marketing, compliance,
recorded agent-customer interactions. State-of-the-art speech        and liability management to human resources, senior executives,
recognition technologies listen to contact center conversations      remote employees, and outsourcers. ¤
and keep track of what is being said. This innovative technology
quickly identifies call trends that until now were too costly             Patrick Botz serves as global director of marketing for
and time consuming to uncover through labor-intensive,               VPI (www.VPI-Corp.com), a global provider of interaction
manual quality monitoring practices.                                 recording and workforce optimization solutions for contact
     When a customer satisfaction issue is identified by a           centers. As a CRM practitioner, he focuses on the mission-
post-call IVR customer surveying solution, managers can drill        critical aspects of capturing real-time customer intelligence
down and listen to the recorded interaction and evaluate the         and proactively optimizing workforce performance. Contact
situation. A customer survey solution links customer feedback        Patrick at PBotz@VPI-Corp.com.




           Association of TeleServices International
           12 Academy Avenue, Atkinson, NH 03811
           Toll Free (866) 896-ATSI
           admin@atsi.org
           www.atsi.org


16 • APRIL 2007                                                                www.connectionsmagazine.com • Connections Magazine
    Call Logging and Quality Management:
    By Tom Chamberlain




18 • APRIL 2007          www.connectionsmagazine.com • Connections Magazine
Driving a Path to Customer Satisfaction


 C
          all centers know that the quality of customer interactions   how they can improve the customer interaction by imitating
          can be just as important as the quantity of customers –      successful agent behavior. Quality monitoring allows agents
          in fact, the two are directly related. Quality monitor-      to gain additional control over their performance appraisals
 ing can be a key initiative that a call center can incorporate        by having the ability to review their own calls and calibrate
 into its strategy to rise above the competition. It can ensure a      their results with those of their supervisor. The utilization of
 consistent, positive customer experience that lends itself to         call logging and quality monitoring tools will result in a
 ultimately building customer loyalty.                                 repeatable, quality customer experience, and it can also pro-
      Operating a contact center without call logging technology       duce these additional business benefits:
 is similar to driving a car without having a destination in mind      • Improved Business Processes: Quality management
 – the contact center will be moving forward, yet the company               applications allow agents and supervisors to pinpoint
 won’t know whether it is really making progress without any                areas for process improvement, lowering the chance of
 record of calls or interactions. Companies that do not monitor             inconsistent or inaccurate agent responses.
 call quality may also suffer from low customer satisfaction           • Increased Sales: Call logging enables supervisors and
 and could see a negative impact on their bottom line.                      agents to listen to recordings and pinpoint up-sell and
      Implementing an accurate call logging and recording system            cross-sell opportunities. In addition, the enhanced customer
 is critical to effective quality monitoring. Quality management            experience resulting from issues such as first call resolution
 applications provide the capabilities for recording, reviewing,            can lead to repeat business and strengthened customer
 and reporting on customer interactions, which can then be used             loyalty.
 to improve agent performance, increase customer satisfaction,         • Improved Regulatory Compliance: Call logging ensures
 aid revenue generation, and better manage overall costs.                   regulatory compliance by using recording as a means to
 Agent performance can be measured using weighted criteria,                 document and record all customer interactions. The contact
 such as politeness, professionalism, and successful resolution             center can comply with regulatory requirements in handling
 of customers’ problems. Contact centers can employ this data               transactions like order verification, security, and safety.
 to evaluate agent performance against those goals, provide
 coaching, and recommend additional training, as appropriate.          Quality Management and Training
                                                                       Go Hand-in-Hand:
 Reaping the Benefits                                                       Once the contact center has collected quality monitoring
 from Call Logging:                                                    data and call recordings, supervisors need to make sure that
      When call logging is correctly implemented in the                agents truly have the skills and knowledge needed to serve
 contact center, organizations can compile audio recordings            different customers, and that they have the ability to provide a
 and screen captures of caller interactions to understand how          consistent experience day-to-day and customer-to-customer.
 agents are handling various types of customer contacts.               Proper training and coaching plays a key role in the contact
 Supervisors should think of call logging as a necessary tool          center after call logging and quality monitoring tools are in
 for regulatory compliance and improved customer security.             place, by enabling supervisors to regularly monitor and ana-
 These quality-monitoring tools also allow supervisors to              lyze performance and then use the results to coach agents on
 listen to calls and view screen activity at the same time;            how they can continue to improve the company-customer
 assess agent activity in real time; provide tips or advice via        interaction.
 instant messaging; and, when necessary, actively participate               Training agents on contact center goals and company
 in interactions that are already in progress. Companies can           policy is also critical to agent retention. When you’ve spent
 enhance agent accuracy, contact center compliance, and                ten to twelve weeks training new agents in the contact center,
 policy adherence, all of which can lead to higher customer            you don’t want to lose them. Plus, contact centers want to
 satisfaction ratings and increased revenue.                           make a special effort to retain seasoned employees whose
      Quality management tools also empower agents because             expertise is very valuable. One of the most important things
 they can listen to their own interactions and recognize where         companies can do to increase agent retention rates is to
 they need to make improvements. In addition, they can also            empower their agents with the right training. Follow these
 listen to “best-in-class” interactions from their peers to learn                                              (Continued on page 20)

 Connections Magazine • www.connectionsmagazine.com                                                                APRIL 2007 • 19
Call Logging and Quality Management
(Continued from page 19)                                           quality monitoring technology is only the first step in improving
                                                                   the customer experience. By taking the next step of
tips to ensure that agents are knowledgeable and can give          implementing a unified solution, contact centers can provide a
customers a high-quality company experience every time:            consistent and accurate experience across multiple channels
• Keep Agents Informed: Call logging enables supervisors           and sites, improve agent productivity, and give their
     to pinpoint areas for improvement and enhance                 customers’ businesses a significant competitive advantage.
     customer-agent interactions.                                       The information collected from call logging applications
• Actively Engage Your Agents: By listening to calls via quality   can be used to improve agent performance, increase customer
     monitoring tools, agents can proactively lead their own       satisfaction and revenue generation, and better manage overall
     development by identifying their own areas of weakness.       costs. Proper agent training, plus the right product selection
• Educate Staff: Make sure the agents understand their             and integrations can make quality monitoring even more
     desktop and quality monitoring data that could help in        effective and help companies align performance with business
     making customer interactions reliable and consistent.         goals. Ultimately, contact centers that recognize the value of
                                                                   call logging in the contact center can improve the quality of
Integrate Applications:                                            interactions and the quantity of customers.
     Quality management can have a greater impact on the                Call logging and quality monitoring can give an organization
performance of the contact center when it is integrated with       the information it needs to chart a map for business goals and
other solutions in the contact center. Call logging integrated     strategic objectives. Call centers that implement this
with automatic call distributors (ACD) is an effective tool         technology will be able to better serve their customers, can
to monitor calls. Incoming calls through an ACD can be             take control of their contact center, and positively affect their
automatically recorded and translated into reports by a quality    bottom line. ¤
management solution, resulting in an application and reports
that are familiar to the contact center supervisors.                   Tom Chamberlain is director of business process marketing
     When coupled with the feedback mechanisms provided            at Aspect Software, a provider of contact center products and
by workforce management reports, a contact center has all of       services. For more information on Aspect Software or quality
the tools it needs to have more productive, empowered agents       management solutions, call 978-952-0200 or visit
and higher service levels. Implementing call logging and           www.aspect.com.




20 • APRIL 2007                                                              www.connectionsmagazine.com • Connections Magazine
Voice Logging in the Call Center

O
         nce thought of as a call center luxury, voice loggers
         (call recording devices) were used exclusively to            Amtelco
         document agent conversations with callers. However,          www.amtelco.com
loggers are no longer just a tool to prove who said what or           800-356-9148
how it was spoken. Voice loggers have proven themselves               Amtelco’s Infinity Voice Logger is software-based, automati-
invaluable as a training tool, for agent self-evaluation, for         cally recording agent incoming and outgoing calls as digital
quality control, and most recently, as a call compliance device.      .wav files. It includes recording, playback, backup, archive,
     Some systems record all headset audio, both during calls         search, and retrieval capabilities, along with database tools to
and between calls. This can offer additional insight about a          track call traffic. Calls are recorded using a connection between the
call that just took place as well as agents’ perceptions of their     operator audio path and the sound card in the agent workstation.
jobs and employers; it can also raise privacy concerns. Other         Recordings are stored on a shared network hard disk in an
systems record only the call audio and not idle conversions           ODBC-compliant database, making it possible to quickly locate
with coworkers in between calls. Some systems can work in             specific recordings. To minimize disk consumption, Infinity
either mode, allowing the call center management to decide            Voice Logger records only when an agent is connected to a call;
which is appropriate for their center.                                however, if needed, recording can be manually started.
     Before recording any calls, check with an attorney familiar
with your state’s laws. The biggest issue is whether one or
both parties need to be made aware that recording is taking           CenturiSoft
place. Agents should always be notified when call recording           www.centurisoft.com
is happening (one-party notification); notification to the            800-866-1929
customer can be made by a preamble recording (“This call              Centuri Voice Logger records all calls digitally; information
may be monitored or recorded for quality assurance purposes”)         can be stored into the database and the file itself; it can be
or a periodic beep tone (two-party notification). [More               played by any Windows Media Player available on PC,
information about this and related topics is available at             Linux, and Mac platforms. A non-blocking approach of
www.connectionsmagazine.com/articles/2/183.html.)                     resources gives CenturiSoft the ability to record Telco and
     The following vendors provide voice logging solutions.           VoIP calls simultaneously while providing voice messaging
[See www.connectionsmagazine.com/vendor/lit for the                   and unified communications capabilities out of one platform.
product literature from many of these vendors.]                       Additionally, logger messages can be treated as voice messages
                                                                      and can be picked up and heard by phone, sent via email, or
                                                                      played thru a secured Web portal. Centuri Voice Logger can
Alston Tascom, Inc                                                    be implemented with several different switches.
www.alstontascom.com
866-282-7266
The Alston Tascom Evolution system provides automatic call            Onvisource
recording of conversations with callers. The caller can be            www.onvisource.com
advised of potential recording either verbally by the agent or        800-537-1827
automatically through the IVR. The log administration                 The OnviCord voice logging system is the voice and data log-
program is used to find specific log files using one or more of       ging component of OnviCenter, a suite of vertically integrated
four different search criteria. For example, a search can be          customer interaction management applications. OnviCord
made for files of inbound calls for the last ten days, including      provides all the functionality required to engage in call
calls for the current day, calls to a specific client, calls with a   recording, quality monitoring, and compliance management.
specific caller ID, and calls that were answered by a specific        OnviCord logs 100% of voice data and video recordings
agent. The files can easily be emailed to the client.                                                      (Continued on page 22)

Connections Magazine • www.connectionsmagazine.com                                                                  APRIL 2007 • 21
(Continued from page 21)                                               headsets, DID lines, POTS lines, and room microphones. The
                                                                       nine-channel system has 150 days of conversation recording
while engaging in agent evaluation, quality assurance, liability       on an 80 GB hard drive, regardless of the activity level. Call
protection, and call archiving. OnviCord captures activity in          center agents can search by customer account number (on
single or mixed telephony environments. The system records             Startel ®, Amtelco®, Telescan®, Morgan® systems) or by
calls and on-screen transactions for a virtually unlimited number      SMDR/DID information. The system runs on a standard
of users, with protected Web-based access for convenient               computer or server and is easily installed on a standard telco
management on- or off-site. For more information, go to                punch block. The normal delivery time is two weeks.
www.onvisource.com/products/onvicord.

                                                                       Startel
Professional Teledata                                                  www.startelcorp.com
www.proteledata.com                                                    800-782-7835
800-344-9944                                                           Startel’s voice logger provides searching capabilities and
Professional Teledata is an official reseller of full-featured voice   digital recordings for as many as ninety-six ports. A visual
logging systems from both CenturiSoft (www.centursoft.com)             interface enables quick location of a particular recording
and Wygant Scientific (www.wygant.com). With its PInnacle              using one or more convenient search parameters such as
Telemessaging System, Professional Teledata offers the                 caller ID, agent ID, client ID, and various time-of-day ranges.
powerful and comprehensive Voice Logger Interface Program              These voice conversations can be listened to from any PC,
that both includes and extends the features of both CenturiSoft        and/or the recordings can be emailed as an MP3 file
and Wygant voice loggers.                                              attachment. It can also be used for training and responding
                                                                       to client inquiries.

Record/Play Tek, Inc.
www.recordplaytek.com                                                  Telescan, LLC
574-848-5233                                                           www.telescan.net
The SCL 8900 Simple Computer Logger records nine,                      800-770-7662
eighteen, or twenty-seven channels of audio from operator              Telescan provides an enhanced interface for voice logging
                                                                       software through Spectrum Agent. This program is capable
                                                                       of starting and stopping the logger, as well as providing the
                                                                       logger with information to store the recording. Provided
                                                                       information includes: agent ID, account number, the caller ID



                                                                   V
                                                                       (if available), and a system time/date stamp. The logger can
  Logging Digital Recorders                                            also provide more search criteria for retrieving recordings,
                                                                       thus saving time in the retrieval process. Spectrum Agent
                                                                       interfaces seamlessly with Exacom, Panda (PanIIS), and
                                                                       Wygant Encore Host.



                                                                   O   VLR Communications
                                                                       www.vlrcommunications.com
                                                                       800-369-8273


                                                                   I
                                                                       The Windows-based Investigator is a multichannel digital
                                                                       recorder system used for storage and retrieval of voice and
                                                                       data recordings. Investigator was designed as an economical
Founders of Record / Play Tek, Inc, John Haines, Mike Stoll,           solution where liability recording is required for a call center.
Edward Krepps, Circa 1977 in the “Reel to Reel” Days!



                                                                   C
                                                                       Recordings are easily provided to the desktop for immediate
Now it’s the Simple Computer Logger SCL 8900
                                                                       review. Voice is recorded in a compressed format and
• Answering Services, recording phones, head sets, mics.               immediately converts to a nonproprietary .wav format for
• Search by Startel®, Telescan®, Morgan®, Amtelco®,
                                                                       playback. The “fast recall” features allow users to play back
  SMDR numbers, with 175 days of history on hard drive.
                                                                       recent recordings quickly from an active monitor screen. ¤
• DVD-R backups, playable on LAN, WAN, Email, fast.
 110 East Vistula Street, Box 790, Bristol, Indiana 46507
     Recordplaytek.com • 800-809-5233
                     Now Recording VOIP Phones
       Soliciting Interested Parties for Purchase of the Company
                                                                   E
22 • APRIL 2007                                                                  www.connectionsmagazine.com • Connections Magazine
   Prospecting for Excellence-
      Striking ATSI Gold

     63rd Annual Convention & Expo




   June 20-23, 2007
  June 20-23, 2007
  Antlers Hilton Hotel
 Antlers Hilton Hotel
 Colorado Springs,
Colorado Springs, CO
 CALL CENTER CASE STUDY:




                                                                    Scheduling to Meet Goals
                                                                    and Satisfy Agents
                                                                    By Trevor Readinger




F
       or most call centers, there’s a delicate balance between       limitations of the scheduling software. For instance, you
       meeting service level and efficiency goals and ensuring        might not want to offer rotating weekends if your workforce
       that employees are satisfied with their schedules. As an       management system doesn’t include that option.
outsourced call center, Taction has obligations to its clients to
meet specific service levels. We must also run the call center        Support the company’s values:
in a profitable manner. Meeting client obligations and                    If lifelong learning is one of your company’s values, your
maintaining profitability are our first scheduling goals. Our         scheduling policy should be flexible when it comes to
second scheduling goal is maximizing employee satisfaction.           allowing agents to pursue everything from college classes to
     In twenty-three years of operation, Taction’s scheduling         continuing education. If community service is a strong value,
policy has changed with technology, new clients, and staff. It        schedules should include room for agents to volunteer on a
shares many of the attributes of successful scheduling policies       regular basis or get involved with company initiatives.
at other companies. Consider that a scheduling policy should:
                                                                      Support the company’s goals:
Have buy-in from everyone affected:                                        Your policy might reward agents who meet certain goals.
     The people who carry out the policy must understand it           Performance-based initiatives can include making the fewest
and support it. The folks in Human Resources have to hire             errors, having perfect attendance, or generating the most
according to it. Team Leaders need to be able to answer               revenue via selling, up-selling, cross-selling, or selling a
agents’ questions and help them work within the policy. The           spotlighted item. It may be a tenure-based policy that lets
scheduler needs to create schedules while managing employee           agents who have worked at the company longest get first pick
information and special requests.                                     of the available fixed schedules.

Be easy to follow:                                                    Give agents tools to change their own schedules:
     A scheduling policy should be easy for the scheduler and              At Taction, agents have the option of shift swapping,
employees to follow. One way to do that is to put good tools          which they do via company email or by word of mouth. They
in place. Years ago, Taction used manual spreadsheets which           also can request time off in advance. Because Taction meets
had to be retooled every time small things changed. Later, we         contractual service levels, we tend to overstaff slightly rather
shopped for and chose workforce management software that              than staff exactly to our forecast. To help amend this and to
made life much easier for our scheduler. Keep in mind any                                                    (Continued on page 38)

Connections Magazine • www.connectionsmagazine.com                                                              APRIL 2007 • 37
Scheduling to Meet Goals and Satisfy Agents
(Continued from page 37)                                           flexibility in the policy to handle unforeseen circumstances.
                                                                   So, once the policy is in place, things to consider include:
give employees yet another tool to manage their own schedules,
we have a “Go Home Early” list. Agents may add their               Education:
names to the list if they wish to, and if the call center slows         The policy must be well documented and it must be easily
down, the list is executed to reduce staff in a way that will      accessible to everyone in the organization. Policies can be
increase employee satisfaction whenever possible. It also          spelled out in more than once place: employee handbooks,
means that the call center is adequately staffed, not              which are given to every new agent; on the company intranet,
overstaffed, thus helping us maintain profitability.               if there is one; and tacked to a notice board in a common area,
                                                                   such as the break room or cafeteria.
Be posted at a clearly defined time:                                    New hires should get a written copy of the scheduling
     Finding the right posting horizon can be tricky. The          policy, perhaps in their employee handbooks, and they should
shorter the horizon, the more closely aligned the schedule will    also have access to someone who can answer their questions.
be with the forecast, but the less warning agents will get         Our scheduler meets with every training class to tell them
about their schedules. Conversely, a long horizon may give         about the policy and to answer questions and address
agents a heads-up on their schedule, but it also means it’s less   expectations ahead of time. There should be no surprises for
likely to meet the forecast. The forecast accuracy/time frame      employees when they see the first schedule go up or when
should help ensure that business objectives are being met.         they first ask for time off.
Employee feedback can help determine if schedules are being
posted at an adequate horizon.                                     Consistent and fairness of application:
     Posting schedules in advance is a key ingredient to                Consistency is a critical element of a scheduling policy.
employee satisfaction. Just as agents expect to be paid            The policy must be applied to all agents consistently and fairly.
regularly, they expect to see their schedules posted at a set      Making exceptions to the rule – in how the policy is applied or
time. We post a week in advance. The schedule is posted at         to whom it is applied – should be very carefully considered.
the end of the week for the start of the second week following.    Special treatment undermines the morale of others.
     Once your scheduling policy is in place, you must ensure           Post the schedule at a consistent time and in a predetermined
that those affected by it have been educated about it, that the    place that employees can depend on – in their email, on a bulletin
policy is applied consistently and fairly, and that there is       board, in their folder at their Team Leader’s desk, and so on.
                                                                   This allows agents to arrange their lives outside of work in a
                                                                   more satisfactory manner.

                                                                   Flexibility:
                                                                        In the end, the scheduling policy is a guideline; there will
                                                                   be exceptions. Sometimes doing the “right” thing means
                                                                   ditching the policy. If an agent’s spouse or child or parent
                                                                   becomes critically ill, that agent’s ability to meet the schedule
                                                                   falls by the wayside. Obviously, it’s important to have a
                                                                   backup system in place for these events. A first line of
                                                                   defense is to send all agents an email asking if any of them
                                                                   wish to volunteer to fill the suddenly empty shift.
                                                                        Your scheduling policy probably won’t be quite like any
                                                                   other call center’s scheduling policy. What works for your
                                                                   agents may not work for someone else’s. But a few key
                                                                   ingredients will help you schedule smoothly: buy-in from
                                                                   those affected, ease of use, support of the company’s values
                                                                   and goals, ways to empower agents to change their own
                                                                   schedules, a set posting horizon, consistent and fair
                                                                   implementation, and flexibility when it’s called for. ¤

                                                                       Trevor Readinger is the operations manager at Taction.
                                                                   Taction (www.taction.com) is a contact center that takes
                                                                   orders and literature requests, up-sells and cross-sells,
                                                                   answers FAQs, and performs telesales for DTC and
                                                                   B2B clients. Trevor Readinger can be reached at
                                                                   trevor.readinger@taction.com.

38 • APRIL 2007                                                              www.connectionsmagazine.com • Connections Magazine
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Happiness Starts with
a Fulfilling Career
By Steve Michaels

                                                                               Perform a career checkup. Lynn Brown of the

“A
                t least half of our waking hours are spent on the
                job and going to and from work,” says John A.             outplacement firm Right Management in Parsippany, NJ says the
                Challenger, CEO of outplacement firm                      start of a new year is “an ideal time to take a realistic look at
Challenger, Gray & Christmas. “It only stands to reason that              where you are, where you expect to be going, and how satisfied
improving this major component of one’s life can lead to                  you are with both.” Investigate the options available and ask
greater overall happiness.”                                               yourself where you want to be in five years. “Start recognizing
      If your goals involve career change or advancement,                 yourself as a financial entity that has to survive in the workforce
you’re not alone. A poll by www.MyGoals.com found that                    for at least half a century,” says Brown.
starting a business ranked second only to losing weight as the
most popular goal for 2007. Other goal accomplishments on                     You Don’t Have To Do It Alone: Create a folder on
the list were being financially independent or starting the               your desktop at home called “Career Management” and take
search for a new job or business.                                         stock of your abilities, including any sales, operations, and
      If you want to be happier and more successful in your               business management. Realize that you don’t have to do it all
current business or in climbing the corporate ladder than you             yourself. You can hire the talent in areas where you are weak.
were last year, you need some focus. With that in mind, here is
a list of goals worth considering for prospective entrepreneurs:               Update skills. Ask yourself, “Do I need to learn a new
                                                                          computer skill or management skill this year? Am I always
    Take risks: “You have to be brave and courageous,” says               learning and performing my job as a visionary for my company?”
Beth Schoenfeldt, co-owner of Ladies Who Launch, an Internet-
based consulting business for women entrepreneurs. “Do                        Create Value through Innovation. “Helping your
something that scares you every day and then push yourself to do          customers achieve their goals creates value,” stated Professor
more. You can’t play it safe or you’ll get run over by everyone else.”    Gregory Carpenter at the ATSI Owners Forum. “Innovation
                                                                          begins with abandonment. If the way you operate just isn’t
     Assess the market: A comment made at the recent ATSI                 working, then abandon it. Innovation creates solutions.”
Owners Forum was, “My product is like everyone else’s.”
Discover the bottom line for your customers. What do they                      Balance work and personal life. If you neglect your
really want and need from a call center? Once you discover                children this year, you’ll lose that time and never get it back.
the real reason they need you, provide them with that service.            New opportunities have emerged in the telemessaging industry
Ask yourself, “What can I offer my customer that is different             where you “can have your cake and eat it too.” With VoIP, the
from my competitors?”                                                     virtual office, and the latest technological advancements now
                                                                          available and affordable in today’s marketplace, you can afford
     Look at your market: With the use of 800 numbers, T1s,               to stay at home and be there for your children when they arrive
and VoIP, the world is now your marketplace. Create an                    from school. Every individual has to ask themselves, “Am I
environment for happier, better-trained agents while reducing your        doing what I need to do for my work and my family this day?
costs by taking advantage of the home-based, virtual office in            This week?” This month? This year?
order to match or beat your competition. Hire competent,
experienced staff that enjoys working from home. Besides the                   The telemessaging industry is alive with opportunity. It
cost savings, you will be able to staff your operation when there is      is a business with recurring cash flow and can be run from an
a workload, not when they are available.                                  office or out of your home utilizing an affordable hosted
                                                                          system. Remember that you can have a fulfilling career while
    Focus: Find a niche and serve it. Whatever segment of                 enjoying your life at the same time. ¤
the industry you want to serve, such as funeral homes,
apartment complexes, medical accounts, and so forth, know it                   Steve Michaels of TAS Marketing can be reached at 800-369-
and do it well. Become the expert in what you do.                         6126 or tas@tasmarketing.com. His Web site is located at
                                                                          www.tasmarketing.com. Parts of this article were taken from,
     Serve: Service is thinking about others and working on               “Workers Can Keep Resolutions to Reach Top of Career Ladder”
their behalf to deliver something they want, need, or value.              by Theresa M. McAlevy from The Record. Other comments and
Service isn’t about me, me, me.                                           information came from this year’s ATSI Owners Forum.

Connections Magazine • www.connectionsmagazine.com                                                                    APRIL 2007 • 41
   Multi-Corporate-Culturalism:
        Map to Innovation
                                                  By L. Claire Rudyk




M
          ulti-corporate-culturalism. In the contact center        replace their own culture with their customer’s corporate
          business, we experience it all the time. So how          culture. While at first this seems like a good idea, both
          can multiple corporate cultures coexist happily          organizations eventually realize that even if the transplant
and profitably in one organization? And even more than             seems successful, it fails to recognize why a customer
coexist, how can multi-corporate cultures be a continual           outsources in the first place! For an outsourcer, the key is to
revenue and innovation opportunity for the contact center and      provide strategic value and innovation in order to help an
the customer?                                                      organization achieve its own business goals. Cultural
     Outsourcers face this challenge continually. Aligning a       transplanting is not strategic and may even lead to a costly
contact center’s culture with an organization’s values is a        culture clash.
challenge; now imagine multiple corporate cultures existing             Other outsource organizations have chosen the cultural
in one outsourced contact center. When an organization is          import method. That is, outsourcers will import a client’s
deciding whether to outsource its contact center services, this    culture and segregate it in the contact center. This method
is one of their worst fears. They wonder if an outsourcer’s        creates an insular culture and, while popular, can limit an
culture will affect their customers. Today, corporate values       organization’s ability to grow expertise and innovate revenue
and cultural fit are playing a larger role in decision-making.     opportunities.
However, multi-corporate-culturalism can be used strategically          As a customer of an outsourcer, we get the best of both
as an innovation and revenue opportunity for customers to          worlds. Don’t let that opportunity to innovate slip away in
grow their organization and execute their business goals.          exchange for the insular status quo. Integrate planning for
     Outsourcers are realizing that service levels and metrics     multiple corporate cultures that ultimately leads to dynamic
only tell part of the story. In order to strategically help a      innovation. While completing a business and requirements
customer to grow its organization and execute its mission, an      assessment, a portion should include a contact center cultural
outsourcer must align its contact center’s culture, passion, and   assessment based on key indicators of values and culture.
values with the culture and values of its client and then use           Industry research conducted in the area of contact center
this cultural alignment to strategically grow its customer’s       corporate culture concurs. One example is research conducted
business.                                                          by LIMRA International that indicates service-based contact
     In the past, outsourcers have performed what I call           centers can be classified into several key corporate culture
cultural transplant. That is, outsourcers will completely          categories:

42 • APRIL 2007                                                              www.connectionsmagazine.com • Connections Magazine
•     Fast and friendly service cultures that have a high
      customer satisfaction and results – typically a high
      volume environment
                                                                    PROMPT…
• Concierge level service cultures denoted by high-end
      service by very educated agents servicing low volume.       CONFIDENTIAL…
      These cultures of “anything for the customer” create a
      high level of job satisfaction.
• Frenzied service cultures denoted by a culture of extreme
                                                                    SECURE…
      urgency and low stability
• Quick and slick service cultures denoted by an entrepre-
                                                                    IF YOU ARE THINKING
      neurial environment of risk-taking and bonuses, high             OF SELLING YOUR
      turnover, and low success
• Low gear service cultures where customer focus is                  TAS OR VOICE MAIL
      challenged by lack of achievement, performance,
      success, and morale.                                           BUSINESS—WE ARE
      This is only a sampling of many contact center cultures
that influence business decisions and directions. Just as the      INTERESTED IN BUYING
Greek inscription on the Temple of Apollo reads “Know
Thyself,” a contact center cultural assessment begins with a
self-assessment. What kind contact center do you have?
                                                                   If you are considering selling your business, we
Who or what drives your culture? What does your cultural           would welcome the opportunity to discuss your
map indicate are your tension points?                              needs and the direct purchase of your business.
      Cultural assessments consider how multi-corporate
cultures will not only coexist, but how an organization can       We will be happy to coordinate with you and your
embody the best parts of a customer’s culture while still
living its own. Assessments include a knowledge and cultural
                                                                  tax advisor, if necessary, in determining effective
map of the organizations, planning how congruencies and            and sensible tax strategies relating to the sale of
tension points can become opportunities for business growth.         your business, whether the transfer is on an
Organizational charts are only a starting point. Cultural maps
include nuances of strategic goals and tactical process and
                                                                         all cash or deferred payment basis.
procedures that affect customers and employees.
      Cultural planning is a multidisciplinary process, most
                                                                       Prompt quotes for full service centers
importantly including your contact center operations team          including fixtures and equipment or account
that live and breathe multi-corporate-culturalism every day.                     only transactions.
They are the experts that can inform an executive team of
ways to create revenue opportunity from a multi-corporate-                        Joe Truszkowski
culture environment. Ensure that the contact center lives a                        Vice President
culture of selecting the right people to embody your mission
                                                                                  John Sophocles
and brand, extending the arm of your business deeper into
                                                                                     President
your market and community of interest, utilizing that arm
through strategic programs and partnerships, and turning
frontline contacts into your “ear on the ground” to create
revenue opportunities that add value to the relationship your
customer has with you.
      Multi-corporate-culturalism starts with people – dynamic,
passionate experts that can widen an organization’s sphere of
influence, extending its reach into the community or market.
It is a value that drives culture, innovation, and results. ¤

     Claire Rudyk is vice president of operations at FineLine
(www.finelinesolutions.com), a strategic contact center.
                                                                      Message Centers
She is an active member of CAM-X and is a sought
after keynote speaker on operational excellence. For
                                                                  Toll Free: 1-888-558-2726
 further information, contact FineLine at 800-758-6055 or
                                                                  E-mail: john@tascomessagecenters.com
info@finelinesolutions.com.                                          joe@tascomessagecenters.com
Connections Magazine • www.connectionsmagazine.com                                                   APRIL 2007 • 43
Contact Center Automation:
A Well-Oiled, Intelligent
Machine for Customer Service
By Iain McKay

A
         utomation is a term that evokes images of heavy
         industry and machinery. So how does it apply to the
         contact center? Well, it could perhaps be thought that
the contact center operates like a clockwork system of cogs,
shafts, and pulleys where every piece has a role to play. This
makes the ideal situation the proverbial well-oiled machine
where each component part, or cog, is well tuned for its role
relative to its peers, taking input from one part of the system
and passing it on to another after some transformation.
     This clockwork machine analogy really only holds true for
contact centers dealing with a high volume of single-issue calls,
through one channel and with few exceptions. Realistically,
today’s contact centers are not like that, and customer service is
not like that. An enterprise’s inbound customer contacts come
in a hard-to-model chaotic manner with peaks and troughs only
loosely estimable according to temporal patterns, such as
time-of-day, day-of-week, marketing campaigns, price rises,
and system faults. Therefore, what may be a well-oiled
machine one minute could be reduced to a badly performing,
inefficient, bottleneck-laden system the next.

AUTOMATION CHALLENGES:
     What makes contact centers so hard to automate?                 messaging, text-chat, and SMS (Short Message Service).
Certainly, the individual channels and processes of a contact        Companies receiving inbound contacts from this array of
center can be automated, and many already have been, but in          channels have traditionally struggled to achieve a holistic,
a piecemeal manner. The trouble is that business processes           real-time view of the state of the contact center. They usually
for contact centers have been replicated in a variety of ways        segment the agent cohort into teams to handle the separate
with subtle differences, with extra management overheads             channels. This results in bottlenecks across individual
across different channels, and with no plan to glue the              channels (a peak of inbound telephony calls, for example),
disparate channels together. Traditionally, there is no              while others are lying underutilized (such as agents awaiting
common process across channels, and each channel is largely          text-chat). On the other hand, contact routing tends to be
unaware of contacts across the others.                               simple and single-channel focused.
     Take self-service telephony, for example. This is often              Another problem with today’s contact center infrastructure
built as a silo application, designed with telephony in mind,        is that agents cannot easily manage multiple simultaneous
managed by telephony specialists, and adhering to a rigid            contacts. Taking one telephone call at a time makes for good
business process. Making changes to such a system is a complex       customer service. However, there are other channels,
and expensive undertaking, thanks to the proprietary scripting       especially those that require limited real-time interaction,
languages on interactive voice response (IVR) platforms. A           such as email and text-chat, which may be combined.
caller to an IVR line might perform an identification process,            In general, the contact center agent cohort is poorly modeled
carry out a transaction, or declare that they have some other        in terms of agent skill set, technical prowess, channel ability,
need and then be routed to an agent in the contact center.           experience, efficiency, or other measures of their prowess
This agent will likely have to identify the customer again and       other than average handling time. This means that simple
reestablish what they want to do. This is a well-documented          resource-allocation algorithms such as “round robin” do not
source of customer frustration.                                      try to pick the best agent for the task in hand, only the next
                                                                     available one, resulting in poorer customer service.
BOTTLENECKS:                                                              With all these complications, it’s understandable that
    Alongside the traditional telephony channel, customers           automating the contact center is such a challenge. So how can
can contact companies via a Web interface, email, instant            contact centers overcome these complex and expensive problems?

44 • APRIL 2007                                                                www.connectionsmagazine.com • Connections Magazine
PROCESSES ARE KEY:                                                       perfect; they are only as intelligent as the dialogue and
      At the core of the solution lies the contact center’s business     business-process modeling has allowed them to be. It is
processes. A majority of the processes in a contact center are, in       suggested that most inbound self-service contacts should be
essence, the same – the identification process, for example, is          fronted by virtual-agent technology and then routed on to a
identical whether conducted over the phone, via email, or on the         human agent when it comes to the more complicated processes,
Web. If the same common processes can be executed across                 such as complaints or exception handling. Indeed, technology
multiple channels, this reduces costs, channel silos, and manage-        is now at the point where customers can be engaged in text-
ment overheads. Having a common process across all channels              chat with an agent and be unaware whether they are typing to
also makes for a more useful experience from the customer’s              a human or virtual agent at that particular point.
point of view, breeding expectation and familiarity. A solution
that has holistic knowledge of the various channels is able to provide   AUTOMATION STILL NEEDS PEOPLE:
a single view of the customer contact history–for example,                    Making better use of contact center staff is a key enabler
allowing an agent to see that the customer used the Web interface,       of a more automated operation. Agents can receive multiple
sent an email, got no response, and then started a text-chat session.    pieces of customer interactions to work on. While bombarding
      Another advantage of having an integrated process is that          agents with too many pieces of simultaneous work is counter-
when phone calls handled by the IVR system are routed to                 productive, it makes for more efficient use of agents when
agents, the agents can see the data entered or process attempted         they are on a slow real-time channel such as text-chat. On such
by the aborted IVR session.                                              a channel, agents can handle two or three chats concurrently
      Self-service telephony does work, and it can reuse the             before the customer notices a slow-down in response times
same business processes that drive other self-service channels,          and the agents become frustrated with the cognitive load being
such as the Web. The key is to model the business processes and          placed upon them. A modern, process-aware contact router
store them centrally so they can automatically be repurposed             handles multiple channels and is able to prioritize these
to whichever channel requires them. For example, any IVR                 according to real-time needs. For example, inbound telephony
platform with a VoiceXML interpreter can make use of the                 is given a higher priority than email correspondence, and
same underlying business process, such as “take credit card              high-value customers can be given priority over others.
payment,” that appears on a Web site or the agent’s desktop.                  In a related benefit, if a process-aware routing engine
                                                                         delivers contacts to agents, the overall system can provide
WATCH YOUR GRAMMARS:                                                     real-time management metrics. This can concern both the
      Beyond consolidating business processes, there are other           business processes, such as the number of up-sells or credit
technologies that can help to automate the contact center.               card payments in the last three minutes, and the contact statistics,
Natural language IVR, with speech recognition and synthesis,             like average handling time, number of inbound contacts
has matured and allows for far more natural user interaction,            across email, SMS, IVR, telephony, text-chat, and so on.
providing that there is adequate tooling for voice-channel and           This allows contact center management to be able to see the
natural language specifics, most notably defining grammars               live state of health of the contact center machinery.
that the speech-recognition engine should be listening for.              Management can then choose to modify routing parameters
There are systems that can automatically construct the grammars          according to the current business requirements.
based on the customer’s position within a process, looking
ahead and around for items in future or sibling processes.               A WELL-OILED MACHINE:
Tooling should also allow for the definition of the dialogue                  All of these solutions for delivering an automated, multi-
between the automated system and the caller: A customer is               channel contact center are available today. Contact centers
initially presented with more open, mixed-initiative prompts,            need no longer suffer from inefficient silo-based operations,
drilling down to closed and directed system-initiative prompts.          and customers need no longer give the same information multiple
                                                                         times within the duration of a phone call. Customers can
THE VIRTUAL AGENT:                                                       even engage with virtual agents without necessarily realizing
     Thanks to these advances in natural language processing,            so, and human agents can be left to do what human agents do
there is now the ability to use nonhuman virtual agent                   best while their virtual counterparts handle the majority of
technology in such a way that the agent cohort can consist of            easily automatable processes. The contact center machine of
a blended pool of both human and virtual agents who are able             today should feature many well-oiled cogs able to reconfigure
to answer queries, perform processes, and route contacts                 themselves into the optimal position for maximum customer
between one another. Virtual agents are able to drive the IVR            service and business benefit. ¤
channel, engage in text-chat with customers on instant
messenger channels, and parse incoming SMS messages and                      Dr Iain G McKay, BEng (Hons) CEng MIET, designs
inbound emails, acting upon them automatically.                          and builds intelligent contact center solutions at Graham
     Virtual agents are far more numerous than their human               Technology (www.grahamtechnology.com), specializing in
counterparts, with far lower associated costs, but they are not          contact center software and services.

Connections Magazine • www.connectionsmagazine.com                                                                    APRIL 2007 • 45
                                Supervisors:
                              The Critical Link
                                       By Mark Selcow




I
    t’s often said that call center agents don’t leave companies,    management should be viewed as organization-wide (i.e., not
    they leave supervisors. As the first line of coaching and        just for agents). Software screens should differ by role, since
    quality, the primary channel for influencing agent behavior,     metrics, goals, and the ability to interpret data differ
and the backstop for angry customers, supervisors are the key        depending on one’s level within the organization. Historical
to success. In order to increase supervisor effectiveness,           tracking of team assignments need to be accurate for the
contact centers understand it is important to tackle many of         performance system to have value and impact. This ensures
the common problems in the supervisor role, including:               that everyone in the organization sees accurate data that is
• Lack of managerial experience – it is often a supervisor’s         relevant to them, changing the conversation from “Is the data
     first time managing                                             accurate?” to “What does the data mean?”
• Excessive time spent on administrative tasks versus coaching            An effective performance management initiative should
• Inconsistent managerial processes across teams and centers         include supervisor specific elements, including:
• Inexperience using data in decision making; reliance on            • Clear, consistent, and objective goals – personalized for
     intuition                                                            every unit, site, or shift
                                                                     • Timely delivery of performance statistics
Performance Management and the Supervisor:                           • Historically accurate roll-up of data so time-based
    One tested method for addressing supervisor role issues is            comparisons are correct
performance management. Specifically, the right performance
management initiative should be designed to help supervisors:             Therefore, the supporting technology in a performance
• Interpret and apply data                                           management initiative must include:
• Track agent performance                                            • Delivery of focused metrics to facilitate targeted coaching:
• Save administrative time                                           To maximize system effectiveness, data must be personalized
• Increase coaching focus and efficiency                             and targeted to the specific individual and role.
• Develop agents directly to augment supervisor activities                For example, supervisors need access to individualized,
                                                                     detailed information about each of their agents across time.
     In addition to delivering data to supervisors, certain          Sales agents should have direct access to their bonus status and
performance management software systems (as part of a                the logic, metrics and calculations underlying their compensation.
broader performance management program) are able to deliver          Service representatives should be presented with the critical
performance statistics across the entire organizational spectrum.    measures of quality and productivity that drive increased levels
This allows an agent to track his or her own performance, giving     of customer satisfaction at predefined service levels.
the supervisor the ability to reinforce messages versus having            Delivering highly personalized, focused metrics to
to be the sole source of feedback. As a result, coaching sessions    supervisors and agents effectively transforms coaching
are transformed into true development discussions by shifting        sessions from status updates to real opportunities for skill
the conversation from statistics to skills transfer.                 transfer. No longer are discussions spent reviewing what level
     The bottom line is that performance management helps            of performance an agent is achieving, but how to effectively
supervisors manage by delivering insights, increasing the            improve performance.
impact of agent-supervisor sessions, and automating administrative   • Automated delivery of timely and accurate data to
tasks, thus freeing up substantial time for coaching.                agents and supervisors: Key metrics should be updated and
                                                                     delivered daily to ensure that supervisors and agents can
Making Performance Management Work:                                  quickly identify and react to any fluctuations in performance.
  To achieve the greatest supervisor impact, performance             Updating metrics less frequently (such as on a weekly or

46 • APRIL 2007                                                                www.connectionsmagazine.com • Connections Magazine
bi-weekly basis) greatly reduces the ability for a supervisor or     individual agent and team performance with the number and
agent to react to a developing trend before performance is truly     regularity of coaching sessions. Supervisors were given
affected. Too frequent delivery of data can become a                 incentives to complete a minimum number of coaching sessions
distraction as agents may spend excessive time in the system.        per month and penalized if they fell below this threshold.
• Automated managerial processes (such as coaching                        As supervisor logins to the performance management
sessions and performance appraisals): It is common that              system were tracked, it was found that supervisors who
each supervisor will use their own subjective measures of            logged in more often had the greatest improvement in
agent performance and leverage different coaching and                their team’s performance. This outsourcer created a “login”
development techniques. It is critical that operations               metric which was then published on their management and
eliminate excessive managerial variation and standardize             supervisor dashboards. The economic effect of the
supervisory activities. By automating, measuring, and then           performance management initiative was that this outsourcer
tracking managerial practices (such as coaching, performance         was able to reduce costs by increasing their agent to supervisor
appraisals, and recognition), the organization not only reduces      ratio by 20%.
a manager’s administrative time, but ensures that every agent
receives fair, consistent, and focused development.                  Conclusion:
• Intuitive tools built for the call center environment:                  Performance management is complex and supervisors are
Supervisor input should guide the selection and development of       often a critical overlooked link. By removing administrative
the underlying performance management tools.                         tasks and automating managerial processes across the center,
     If the organization selects too complex an interface,           a performance management platform can help an organization
supervisors will likely not use the tool and continue to rely on     achieve its operational objectives. Providing supervisors with
either intuition or inaccurate information to make decisions.        the tools to manage more efficiently and objectively, agent
Even worse, an overly complex analysis tool could lead a             satisfaction, and most importantly, effectiveness, can be
supervisor to draw the wrong conclusion because they are             increased significantly. ¤
unable to perform the correct analysis without extensive
training or analyst assistance.                                          Mark Selcow is president and cofounder of Merced
     Too simple a system and the result is the same.                 Systems; for more information, call 650-486-4000 or visit
Supervisors will likely abandon static dashboards or an              www.mercedsystems.com.
incomplete application and once again rely on intuition or old
manual processes ultimately drawing inaccurate conclusions.
• Comparisons across teams, centers, and organizations                              BUSINESSES FOR SALE
to drive best practice sharing: More than 50% of supervisors          KENTUCKY – 50 yr. old service                      TENNESSEE – Medical service
                                                                      with Infinity billing $17K per mo.                 with 250 accts billing apx.
believe they are above average performers. To gauge true
                                                                      190 accts asking $175K                             $52K/mo. on Infinity – $495K
performance, supervisors and agents should be presented with
performance comparisons so that they can easily determine             NEW ENGLAND – Cadcom                               N. CALIFORNIA. – Selling 175
whether they are above or below acceptable levels of                  serving 200 TAS, 350 VM & 600                      solid accts only billing $26K
                                                                      paging ave. $140/acct. - $404K                     per month. - $286K
performance.
     In addition to providing an individual’s own performance         For more details, log onto our web site at www.tasmarketing.com
                                                                                         or call us at (800) 369-6126
in comparison to others, it can be beneficial to publicly
highlight or display the specific achievements of top
performers. Agents and supervisors alike can then seek out a
particular individual to learn what successful habits or skills
they have developed to excel. If done correctly, openly
                                                                                             TAS
                                                                                          Marketing
                                                                      233 Whitepine Creek Road • Trout Creek, Montana 59874 • tas@tasmarketing.com • www.tasmarketing.com


displaying and sharing other’s performance can create the ideal
culture of best practice sharing and healthy competition.
     Without these capabilities, supervisors are often faced with
incomplete and inaccurate data forcing them to manage by
self-assembled spreadsheets – or worse, by intuition.
Additionally, poor access to data often leads supervisors to focus
their coaching time on bottom and top performers, ignoring one
of the greatest opportunities – mid-level performers.

An Outsourcer Case Study:
    In order to increase supervisor effectiveness, an
outsourcer automated the coaching process and measuring
coaching frequency. Management was able to correlate

Connections Magazine • www.connectionsmagazine.com                                                                                       APRIL 2007 • 47
     IDENTITY
     THEFT: WHO’S
     PROTECTING
     YOUR
     CALLERS?
     By Cindy Graham




W
           e have heard a lot about personal information          be cumbersome. However, they are necessary if we are to
           getting into the hands of identity thieves. More       gain and keep the confidence of callers and agents. Review
           and more people are taking steps to minimize their     the following privacy policies that should be established and
exposure to such theft by reducing information on personal        practiced by every business.
checks, refusing to share their social security numbers, being
prudent in their use of credit cards, and shredding “junk” mail   COMPUTER SCREENS:
that might allow another person to pose as them. However,              Adjust computer screens so customer information is not
we can do little to protect ourselves against lackadaisical       visible by anyone standing in close proximity. If the screen
security methods or unscrupulous business practices.              cannot be moved, place something in the line of sight to block
     Because recent reports confirm that personal information     unwanted viewers. Hanging plants, room dividers or frosted
continues to fall into the wrong hands, consumers have            glass can block the view.
become increasingly concerned about how call centers handle
their personal information. But callers can only do so much;      PASSWORDS:
then it’s up to businesses to provide their customers with            Computers should be password protected. When an
privacy policies that will ensure their information is handled    employee leaves his/her computer, it should always be
properly and kept out of the hands of crooks.                     secured and protected by a password. Even if you leave your
     How can call centers help ensure this security? The first    computer for just a few minutes, unsecured information could
thing is to own up to the responsibility. Business owners,        be accessed by anyone passing by.
managers, and supervisors need to establish and enforce
effective company privacy policies. These polices should          FILE SECURITY:
outline the handling, reviewing, storage, and destruction of            Customer files should never remain unattended on a desk
callers’ personal information, as well as that of employees.      that can be accessed by unauthorized employees (including
Once privacy polices are drawn up, they must be carried out.      cleaning or maintenance staff). Files left unattended can be
All employees should be trained in the handling of sensitive      quickly viewed and documents stolen or copied. Files should
information.                                                      always be in a secured drawer or locked room when not in use.
     When call center agents obtain personal information                Customer information should be secured as quickly as
from callers, several questions need to be asked. Who is          possible. Once information is obtained from a caller, the
allowed to handle it? How long will the information be unse-      document or program should not be left unattended. Secure
cured? Can information viewed on computer screens be seen         all information before moving on to the next call.
by others? How will the information be secured? Who will
have access to it? How long will it be kept, and when will it     FILE ACCESSIBILITY:
be destroyed?                                                        When caller information is secured, assign specific
     Establishing strict information handling procedures can      employees who will have access to it. The more employees

48 • APRIL 2007                                                             www.connectionsmagazine.com • Connections Magazine
who have access to information, the more chances exist for
misappropriation. Don’t tempt employees with the access if
they don’t really need it.

MAIL SECURITY:
     Don’t leave outgoing mail out over night or over the
weekend. Mail or any other documents that are waiting in an
“out box” can be easily access by cleaning, maintenance, or
service staff, as well as by children or friends of employees.
Keep outgoing items secured until pick up time. A central
location should be designated for such items during the week.
Often items placed with other outgoing mail or documents are
quickly forgotten, that is, until the recipient notifies you that
the document has not been received. The more time that has
lapsed between sending and receiving the mail or documents,
the less likely you will be to locate them.

SHREDDED DOCUMENTS:
     Documents waiting to be shredded should be in a secure
place. Many offices use a box under each desk, where
documents are thrown until the end of the week. This system
provides easy access to documents that are seldom noticed if
they go missing. Shred bins should be locked or kept in a
locked room. Larger bins are often used to store documents
until a document disposal company takes them. These bins
should also be locked or kept in a secured area.

RECEIPTS:
      The Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA)
says that receipts for credit and debit card transactions can
include no more than the last five digits of the card number or
expiration date. That means, if you’re using a merchant
processing machine setup before July 1, 2005, you have three
years to comply. If the machine you are using was set up
after January 1, 2005, you have one year to comply. Take
steps now to ensure that your program will not print the entire
credit/debit card number.
      What all this boils down to is that we, as employers,
business owners, managers, and supervisors, need to make a
greater effort to provide our customers with the peace of mind
that their identities and information are safe with us. Agents
must handle caller information with care and respect that is
apparent to callers. Without our help in the secure handling
of the personal information, the fight to stop identity theft and
fraud will continue to rage. We need to be smarter than the
crooks by eliminating their access to this information. After
all, the next person to have their identity stolen could be you. ¤

    Cindy Graham is an author and identity theft expert for
consumers and businesses. Her corporate privacy policies as
well as individual identity theft information are available
through her book, seminars and consulting. Cindy’s book,
“Who Else is You?” outlines preventative measures to help
ensure the privacy of your personal information. To find out
more, call 970-285-1581 or visit: www.WhoElseisYou.com.

Connections Magazine • www.connectionsmagazine.com                   APRIL 2007 • 49
                           UPDATE By Ray Shaw
Federal Universal Service Fund

T
        here are several pieces of federal legislation that could          While video franchises are not an issue for most call centers,
        greatly affect the teleservice industry and about which       in many cases the telcos are leaving taxes and assessments off
        we should all be vigilant. The most pressing of these         the agenda while trying to obtain state video franchises to
concerns is proposed legislation affecting the Federal                streamline the decision-making. (Texas and Virginia are
Universal Service Fund (FUSF).                                        notable exceptions – both states adjusted telecom taxes within
     There is little doubt the FUSF will receive a major overhaul     the last year, and Texas is already planning a revision of its
in the 110th Congress. By the time you read this, Senate Bill         state USF this year.)
101 will likely have had its first hearing before the full Senate          For this reason, it is widely expected that the telcos will
Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, and a new          come back to each state legislature in the following legislative
House bill is expected to be introduced by Representative Rick        session to request more changes to state telecom taxes and
Boucher from Virginia and Representative Lee Terry of Nebraska.       assessments. It’s in these sessions that we’ll probably see
     Senate Bill 101 proposes that the contribution methodology       proposals for new or revised state Universal Service Funds, as
to fund the FUSF be reformulated by the FCC to focus on               well as all kinds of creative attempts to broaden the existing
some mix of a monthly assessment on telephone numbers                 base for telecom taxes and assessments.
(including DID numbers) and other forms of network                         It is here that industry members should be most vigilant
addresses such as SIP or IP addresses. This legislation will          and cautious. Our industry does not need the laundry list of
affect many industries across the nation, particularly those          taxes and assessments tacked onto our bills that telcos are
with multiple telephone numbers. It is very likely to lead to a       now responsible for collecting. Calculate the percentage of
considerable shedding of unused phone numbers by companies            your monthly telecom expense that goes to taxes and
everywhere.                                                           assessments and imagine how your call center client base will
     The biggest fight in the 110th Congress over the FUSF is         react to a billing increase of that magnitude. More importantly,
expected to center on capping the size of the fund, which has         contrast what you could do to grow and improve your
grown tenfold in recent years. Furthermore, it is expected to         business if you could raise your rates that much and invest the
expand at an increasing pace if Congress does not set limits that     added revenue as you see fit. ¤
balance the legitimate need for rural broadband and telco supports
with the increasing cost to urban and suburban ratepayers.                 Ray Shaw is president of ATSI (www.atsi.org), an international
     If Congress does not cap the federal USF and companies           trade association for the teleservices industry. Connections
shed numbers to minimize their exposure to USF assessment             Magazine is pleased to serve as ATSI’s official magazine. Ray can
recovery charges, the rate will increase well beyond the              be reached at rpshaw@bpeinc.com; Ray thanks Brian Gilmore and
approximately $1.70 to $2.00 per number per month that is             Charlene Glorieux for their input and assistance in writing this article.
currently being mentioned.
     The industry also has other taxes and assessments to consider.
The failed 2006 legislation in Washington (SB.2686) also
                                                                      Federal Universal Service Fund
authorized the creation of State Universal Service Funds. This             A reorganization of the federal Universal Service Fund was
means that companies in some states can expect a per-DID              authorized by Congress in the Telecommunications Act of 1996
number assessment authorized by state legislation in addition         Section 254(d) which reads in part: “Every telecommunications
to a federally authorized charge on each telephone number.            carrier that provides interstate telecommunications services
                                                                      shall contribute, on an equitable and nondiscriminatory basis, to
     The focus of the federal 2006 telecom bills was federally
                                                                      the specific, predictable, and sufficient mechanisms established
authorized nationwide video franchises to speed the entry of
                                                                      by the Commission to preserve and advance universal service.
the telcos into video services delivered over broadband.              A majority of the USF’s spending goes to companies that
While this provision was lost when the 2006 bills died,               provide voice telephone connections in areas where the cost of
AT&T and Verizon have succeeded in obtaining statewide                offering such service is higher than the nationwide average.
video franchises from a dozen state legislatures and governors;       Smaller USF programs subsidize telephone service for qualified
both have said they will continue this initiative. (They also         low-income people (urban or rural) and Internet and other
received an FCC endorsement for a federal provision in late           advanced telecommunications services for schools, public
December, but this will not stop their state-by-state initiative.)    libraries, and rural nonprofit health care providers.”

50 • APRIL 2007                                                                  www.connectionsmagazine.com • Connections Magazine
     AdvertiserLISTING Mind
Alston Tascom, Inc........................9          Record/Play Tek, Inc. .................22
13512 Vintage Place
Chino, CA 91710
                                                     Voice logging recorders
                                                     574-848-5233                                             Your
                                                                                                              Business
866-282-7266, 909-517-3660                           fax: 574-848-5333
fax: 909-517-3670                                    stoll@recordplaytek.com
www.alstontascom.com                                 www.recordplaytek.com
                                                     Startel .....................................11, 55
Amtelco ............................28-29, 56        17661 Cowan Avenue
                                                                                                              By Steve Michaels
800-356-9148                                         Irvine, CA 92614
or 608-838-4194                                      800-782-7835                                                                              Steve Michaels is a business

                                                                                                              Q:
                                                                                                                           How can I
fax: 608-838-8367                                    fax: 949-863-9650                                                                         broker and can be contacted
                                                                                                                           determine what
info@amtelco.com                                     www.Startelcorp.com                                                                       at 800-369-6126 or
                                                                                                                           my telemes-
www.callcenter.amtelco.com                                                                                                                     tas@tasmarketing.com for
                                                                                                              saging business is worth?
                                                     Szeto Technologies ................12, 13                                                 questions. His Web site is



                                                                                                              A:
ATL Enterprises....................11, 47            Call Management Equipment                                                                 www.tasmarketing.com.
Telecom equipment reseller                           888-421-3737
                                                                                                                           There are four
198 Lawn Ave                                         info@szeto.ca
                                                                                                                           basic ways
Stamford, CT 06902                                   www.szeto.ca
                                                                                                              to valuate a business:
888-285-9777
                                                                                                              1) a multiple of revenue;
www.buy-atl.com                                      TAS Marketing .....................40, 47
                                                                                                              2) a multiple of EBITDA; 3) Price to Earnings (PE) ratio
                                                     Business Brokers
                                                                                                              (used for publicly held companies); and 4) free cash flow
ATSI .......................................16, 23   800-369-6126
                                                                                                              model. In the telemessaging industry, the first two methods
12 Academy Avenue                                    fax: 406-827-4554
                                                                                                              are the most common.
Atkinson, NH 03811                                   tas@tasmarketing.com
603-362-9489                                         www.tasmarketing.com
                                                                                                              The multiple of revenue is a formula has become an accepted
admin@atsi.org
                                                                                                              standard in the industry and works in some instances. The
www.atsi.org                                         TASbiller ........................................2
                                                                                                              problem occurs when two businesses both are receiving the
                                                     800-545-1535
                                                                                                              same revenue, but have different profit margins. Using the
Brandywine Technologies...........16                 ripkey@aol.com
                                                                                                              same revenue multiple would result in the same valuation,
Chuck Boyce                                          www.tasbiller.com
                                                                                                              even though the return on your investment is different.
302-622-3910
cboyce@btpartners.net                                Tasco.............................................43
                                                                                                              A multiple of EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes,
www.btpartners.net                                   888-558-2726
                                                                                                              Depression and Amortization) is the more appropriate way to
                                                     John Sophocles
                                                                                                              value and sell a business. Typical EBITDA multiples are
General Equipment Leasing.......49                   john@tascomessagecenters.com
                                                                                                              2.5 to 4. The more profit, the higher the multiple. Other
1111 N Westshore Blvd Ste 211                        Joe Truszkowski
                                                                                                              factors taken into consideration that can affect the multiple
Tampa, Fl 33607                                      joe@tascomessagecenters.com
                                                                                                              are the area of the country, the type and age of the equipment,
800-226-0049
                                                                                                              the type of service provided, the length of time in business,
www.geleasing.net                                    Telescan, LLC..............................39
                                                                                                              and a host of other factors.
                                                     10679 Midwest Industrial Blvd
OnviSource...................................20      St. Louis, MO 63132
                                                                                                              For a comparative benchmark of multiples for the industry,
2300 N. 10th                                         800-770-7662
                                                                                                              go to www.tasmarketing.com and click on Historical
Enid, OK 73701                                       fax: 314-426-1357
                                                                                                              Sales Data.
800-311-3025                                         www.telescan.net
www.onvisource.com
                                                     VoiceSpring..................................38
Professional Teledata, Inc.............6             VoIP service provider
175 Canal Street                                     866-654-1800
Manchester, NH 03101                                 www.voicespringvoip.com
800-344-9944                                                                                                                Our Advertisers make
sales@proteledata.com                                VPI ................................................17            Connections Magazine possible.
www.proteledata.com                                  (Voice Print International)
                                                                                                                         Please thank them for their
                                                     800-200-5430
                                                     www.vpi-corp.com
                                                                                                                     continued support of this magazine.

Connections Magazine • www.connectionsmagazine.com                                                                                                      APRIL 2007 • 51
ASSOCIATIONS                                                                                   VOIP HOSTED SERVICES                                                   phone expenses. Contact BertCohen in
                                                                                                                                                                      Tucson, AZ, at bmc41782@ aol.com or
                                                                                                  Carpool your new service or accounts on the                         520-818-3785.
                                                                                                   latest, state-of-the-art equipment for only
                                                                                                    $200 per seat & $.05 cents per minute.
                                                                                                   See the banner at www.tasmarketing.com                             L o o k i n g f o r c a l l c e n t e r w o r k ? Start
                  12 Academy Avenue
               Atkinson, NH 03811, USA                                                                  or call them at (800) 369-6126.                               your job search here. Email your ad to
                                                                                                                                                                      C o n n e c t @ C o n n e ct i o n s Ma g az i n e. c o m .
                   Charlene Glorieux
              866-896-ATSI • www.atsi.org                                                                     TAS
                                                                                                            Marketing
                                                                                                                                                                      BUSINESSES FOR SALE
                           CAM-X                                                               HEADSETS
              Canadian Call Management Association                                                                                                                    T e n n e s s e e – 97% Medical service
               24 Olive Street, Unit #10
            Grimsby, ON L3M 2B6, Canada                                                                     ALLMODEL                                                  billing approximately $52K per month
                                                                                                                                                                      on an Infinity system. This fast growing
               Linda Osip 800-896-1054
                       www.camx.ca                                                                          HEADSETS                                                  business serves 250 accounts averag-
                                                                                                          available and headset repair.                               ing over $200 per client. With business
BILINGUAL CALL CENTERS                                                                                      Call RLY & Associates                                     in over 30 states, this one will go fast at
                                                                                                                                                                      only 9.5 times or $495K. Broker. 800-
                                                                                                                800-841-0841
                Contact One Call Center                                                                                                                               3 6 9 - 6 12 6 . To see more listings, log
                      Dan Rogers                                                               HELP WANTED                                                            onto TAS Marketing’s web site at
                     800-278-3347                                                                                                                                     www.tasmarketing.com.
                 danr@wetakecalls.com                                                          R e pu t a bl e , me d i c al - o nl y a n sw e ri n g
                   Spanish / English                                                           service seeking full-time Senior Sales                                 L i s t y o u r B u s i n e s s H e r e ; go to
                                                                                               Consultants. For consideration,                                        www.connectionsmagazine.com/ ads
                Total Quality Communications                                                   Candidates should possess the follow-
                  Michael C. McMillan                                                          ing: A minimum of 2 Yrs+ experience                                    AVAILABLE CALL CENTER SPACE
                       800-270-7030                                                            of call center/answering service sales
                    sales@tqcweb.com                                                           experience Proficient with computers                                   Call Center Office Space Available For
 Spanish & English • 24 Hours a day 7 days a                                                   and online demonstrations Comfortable                                  Lease. Turn-key call center located in
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                                                                                               selling at high levels in the healthcare
OUTSOURCE CALL CENTERS                                                                         market Have unprecedented follow up                                    raised data cable access floor through-
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                                                                                               able experience meeting/exceeding quo-                                 Packard in 2000. Excellent location with
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                Stan Gardner                                                                   diverse projects and sales events simul-                               available immediately. Call Karen
                800-232-3321                                                                   taneously Have the ability to effectively                              Warner or Lew Manglos 208-345-9000.
           sgardner@per-com.com                                                                communicate verbal and written sales
             www.per-com.com                                                                   presentations and proposals. Overnight                                 SEEKING ACQUISITIONS
                                                                                               travel approximately 25%. Please email
                                                                                               resumes to careerpath@notifymd.com                                     SERIOUS BUYER
                 Sage Advantage, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                      Well known and reputable nationwide call center
                       Scott Miles                                                                                                                                    looking to acquire inbound call centers/answering
                      480-941-0094                                                             E x p a n d y o u r h e l p w a n te d s e a r c h b y p l a c i n g
                                                                                                                                                                      services for cash. Everything to remain in place
              inforequest@sageadvantage.com                                                    your ad here. Reach out to qualified,                                  and as is: location, equipment, agents – the lot! If
               www.sageadvantage.com                                                           e xp eri en ced , industry employees. Email your                       what happens to your employees is as important
                                                                                               ad to Connect@ ConnectionsMagazine.com.                                to you as getting a fair price, then you need to call
                                                                                                                                                                      us first. We are a 350 strong Employee-Owned
                                                                                               POSITIONS WANTED                                                       Company (ESOP) where your employees will
                                                                                                                                                                      now share in the ongoing financial strength of the
           Randy Anderson 800-508-9936                                                         Seas oned Cold Call Pros pec tor :                                     company.
                  www.taction.com                                                              Experience in communication (2 way                                     Contact: Grant Sibley 800-955-9888 or email
  Boutique contact center providing exceptional 24/7                                                                                                                  corp@mapcommunications.com
                                                                                               radio, paging, cell phones) and message
customer service and sales by phone, live chat & e-mail
                                                                                               dispatching. Charges: hourly rate plus
52 • APRIL 2007                                                                                                                                       www.connectionsmagazine.com • Connections Magazine
                                           DID YOU KNOW?
                      All Connections Magazine Classified Ads are on-line:
                            www.connectionsmagazine.com/ads/classified
 To place your classified ad, go to www.connectionsmagazine.com/ads/info.html



TASCO MESSAGE CENTERS                                      V oi ce Mai l Bu si ness W ant ed . If you     EQUIPMENT WANTED
 TASCO MESSAGE CENTERS                                     have an established voice mail business
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    Prompt closings on cash or deferred payment
 transactions. We will coordinate with your tax advisor.   Pierson at 877-293-6674 x630 or dan-           magazine.com/ads/info.html.
        Long established company since 1938.               pierson@hellophoenix.net.
       Call John Sophocles or email to discuss.                                                           NEW EQUIPMENT FOR SALE
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                                                           Low-cost domain names, website hosting,                 Voice Logging Recorders
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                                                           registration, fax through email, and
                                                                                                                      Record/Play Tek,Inc.
Ron toll-free at 8 6 6 - 3 8 8 - 0 7 7 2 or                                                                             www.recordplaytek.com
                                                           more. Get details and pricing at
ron@doctors-exchange.net.
                                                           www.taswebsites.com.
                                                                                                          USED EQUIPMENT FOR SALE
Businessman from California looking to
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billing 10k per month. Please call John                    Startel keyboards and monitors for over        Let our ads work for you! Go to
at 209-456-6343.                                           25 years; all models, 6 month warranty;        w w w . conn ec ti o nsm aga z i ne .c om/ ads / i
                                                           you save more than 50% with us.                n fo . h t m l .
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established, reputable Minnesota                           Visit www.ptmaint.com.
company will purchase your accounts
with or without equipment. Very                             Is Your Call Center Listed Online?
confidential. Patrick Eastwood                              Free listings are still available on
218-763-3007 (home).                                        www.findateleserviceagency.com.
                                                            Don’t be left out; sign up today.
Reputable nationwide call center owner                      For even more of an online presence, you can be listed on
interested in purchasing any or all of                      www.findacallcenter.com or www.findanansweringservice.com.
your commercial or medical accounts.                        Contact Valerie, at 866-668-6694 or Valerie@connectionsmagazine.com,
Top dollar paid. Contact Nick toll free                     for more information.
at 8 8 8 - 4 2 2 - 7 3 5 2 e x t 1 5 0 0 or
nicholas@hcas.com.
                                                              What happens when you don’t advertise?
T o p D o l l a r paid for your answering
service. Qualified cash buyers looking



                                                                 NOTHING!
for entire businesses or accounts only.
Call us first! 800-369-6126.

A nationwide respectable leader in medical
only communications is looking to acquire
quality answering service organizations. If
you have an innovative leadership team
with dedicated agents who would like to be
part of a rapidly growing entrepreneurial
company, we will pay a fair and competi-
                                                                                           Contact Valerie Port
tive price for your business. Contact us at                                                   866-668-6694
800-545-9314.                                                                        valerie@connectionsmagazine.com


Connections Magazine • www.connectionsmagazine.com                                                                                    APRIL 2007 • 53
coming                                                      All new listings or changes are italicized


Events                               Get expanded coverage and the most recent updates online:
                                                  www.ConnectionsMagazine.com/events.html

                             To have your group’s events included in Connections Magazine’s
                                            “Upcoming Events” calendar and on our Website,
                             please email your information to Peter@ConnectionsMagazine.com


                           April 11-12, 2007                               August 14-15, 2007
                      GLTSA Supervisors Workshop                      STA-WSTA Advanced Supervisor
                   Hilton Garden Inn – Airport, Detroit, MI                    Seminar
                   Contact Dan L’Heureux at 888-712-9396,                  Quorum Hotel Westshore,
                        Dan@CallConsult.net, or visit                             Tampa, Florida
                               www.gltsa.org.                       Contact Dan L’Heureux at 763-473-0210
                                                                             or dan@CallConsult.net.
                            April 14-19, 2007
                       STA Spring Workshop Cruise                          September 23-25, 2007
                   Grand Turks & Caicos /Nassau, Bahamas                   WSTA Annual Meeting
                  Contact Dan L’Heureux at 800-475-0857 or           Parker Le Meridian Palm Springs, CA
                            dan@CallConsult.net.                        Contact Dan at 877-754-4103,
                                                                         Dan@CallConsult.net, or visit
                          April 20-21, 2007                                  www.wstaonline.org.
                   CAM-X Call Centre Coaching Clinics
                       Agent & Supervisor Certification                  September 17-18, 2007
                                 Calgary, AB                           ASTAA Supervisors Workshop
                      Contact Linda Osip, 800-896-1054,               Comfort Inn - BWI, Baltimore, MD
                    linda@camx.ca, or visit www.camx.ca.                Contact Dan at 800-718-1712,
                                                                        Dan@CallConsult.net, or visit
                            April 22-25, 2007                                  www.astaa.org.
                         ATA Washington Summit
                    Hyatt Regency Crystal City at Reagan               September 30-October 3, 2007
                              National Airport                         2007 ATA Convention and Expo
                             Arlington, Virginia                    Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa
                    Contact Zachary Rice at 317-816-9336                       at Gainey Ranch
                          or zach@ataconnect.org.                               Scottsdale, AZ
                                                                     Contact ATA at 317-816-9336 or visit
                            April 22-26, 2007                                www.ataconnect.org.
                       A Frost & Sullivan Executive
                              MindXchange                                    October 7-9, 2007
                         Customer Contact 2007, East                       ASTAA Annual Meeting
                          For more information, visit                      Historic Williamsburg, VA
                              www.frost.com/ccs                     Contact Dan L’Heureux at 800-718-1712,
                                                                            Dan@CallConsult.net, or visit
                            May 4-5, 2007                                          www.astaa.org.
                   CAM-X Call Centre Coaching Clinics
                    Agent & Supervisor Certification                       October 16-19, 2007
                                 Toronto, ON                               CAM-X 43rd Annual
                      Contact Linda Osip, 800-896-1054,                  Convention & Trade Show
                    linda@camx.ca, or visit www.camx.ca.                   St. John’s, Newfoundland
                                                                       Contact Linda Osip, 800-896-1054,
                            May 9-10, 2007                           linda@camx.ca, or visit www.camx.ca
                  STA-WSTA Advanced Supervisor Seminar
                     South Point Hotel – Las Vegas, NV                      March 9-12 2008
                  Contact Dan L’Heureux at 763-473-0210 or           TeamSNUG 21st Annual Convention
                            dan@CallConsult.net.                   Myrtle Beach, SC – Sheraton Myrtle Beach
                                                                    Call Dan L’Heureux at 800-317-8529,
                            June 20-23, 2007                              dan@callconsult.net or visit
                   ATSI 63rd Annual Convention & Expo                        www.teamsnug.com.
                             Antlers Hilton Hotel
                            Colorado Springs, CO
                      For info call 866-896-2874 or visit
                                www.atsi.org.

54 • APRIL 2007                                      www.connectionsmagazine.com • Connections Magazine
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