The October 2011 Issue of TAS Trader

STA Fall Conference to Focus on TAS Improvement Methods

The Southern Telemessaging Association (STA) Conference to be held November 6-8, 2011, in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, will feature experts on call center improvement as well as presentations on getting more out of your telephone answering service (TAS) business.

Featured speakers include Chuck Boyce, known as the Independent Executive, who will share his “Seven Keys to Breaking Free: How to Get More Out of Your Business No Matter What the ‘More’ Is.” Melissa Kovacevic, president of CommPlan Call Center Consulting, brings twenty-eight years of experience in improving process, procedures, strategy, and skills with two presentations: “Identifying and Grooming Leaders” and “Changing from Boss to Coach.”

“We are excited to have not only our featured speakers,” said Tiffany Peavy, STA president, “but in addition there will be supervisor and owner/manager breakout sessions focusing on practical TAS operation presented by members who are successfully improving and building their own companies. They will bring sessions such as “Motivating Different Generations,” “Forming/Joining a Profit Enhancement Group,” “Quality Assurance Programs,” “Training and Supervising Remotes,” and much more.

Chuck Boyce has worked alongside several entrepreneurs and built his own businesses for over a decade, helping drive two different companies that appeared on Inc. magazine’s Inc. 500 list for multiple years. An accomplished speaker and author, Chuck’s work has been featured in USA Today, Connections Magazine, FastCompany.com, and various blogs.

Founded in 1983 by Melissa Kovacevic, CommPlan Call Center Consulting is based in Charleston, South Carolina. She offers best practices consulting and customized training services for inside sales, customer support, collections, and tech support. Her customized services are specifically designed for each client to enhance leadership skills and customer experience quality.

The STA (sta-assoc.org) is a regional association of telephone answering services sharing information and networking with the goal of excellence in service quality and operations.

Find Chuck online at www.breakingfreeblog.com.

2011 Who’s Who Guide to TAS Vendors

TAS Trader’s “Who’s Who Guide to TAS Vendors” focuses exclusively on the telephone answering service (TAS) industry’s leading vendors and support providers. Consider these providers for the equipment, software, and service needs of your telephone answering service. When you contact them, please mention TAS Trader.

Alston Tascom Inc.
5171 Edison Ave Ste C
Chino, CA 91710, USA
www.alstontascom.com
Contact: Carmela Rogers, sales manager, at 866-282-7266 or Carmela@alstontascom.com
Alston Tascom, Inc., is a “single-point solution provider” of telephone answering service solutions with digital telephony and utilizing standard operating systems, an open database, and off-the-shelf hardware. The Evolution System includes unified ACD, IVR, SMS, voicemail, agent logging, and agent screen-pop, integrated with an SQL database. It is available as a premise-based or hosted solution.

Amtelco
4800 Curtin Drive
McFarland, WI 53558, USA
callcenter.amtelco.com
Contact: 800-356-9148 or 608-838-4194
Amtelco’s Infinity systems have integrated ACD, agent call flow scripting, and voice processing for unique greetings, follow-me, and agent perfect answer. Amtelco has been a supplier of computer telephony integration systems, software, and hardware to telephone answering services, call centers, and system developers for over thirty-five years.

OnviSource
1255 W 15th St Ste 620
Plano, TX 75075, USA
www.onvisource.com
Contact: Stan Jasinski, president, at 800-311-3025 or stan.jasinski@onvisource.com
OnviSource offers OnviCenter 6, a telephone answering service system that consists of optional workforce optimization and automation software. OnviCare services provide technical support, financing assistance, telecom consulting, and IT services. OnviSource also owns and operates OnviServ contact centers, which provide business process outsourcing (BPO) services.

Professional Teledata
175 Canal Street
Manchester, NH 03101, USA
www.professionalteledata.com
Contact: Karen Black, sales, at 800-344-9944 or kblack@proteledata.com
Professional Teledata is the developer of the PInnacle TAS system and PInnacle Freedom hosted TAS platform. Based in Manchester, New Hampshire, Professional Teledata is an industry leader and provides customers with software, hardware, and technical support. Professional Teledata’s customers continue to sing the company’s praises.

Startel Corporation
16 Goodyear Bldg B-125
Irvine, CA 92618, USA
www.startel.com
Contact: Myrna Nunez, sales and marketing administrator, at 949-863-8738 or myrna.nunez@startel.com
Startel Corporation, headquartered in Irvine, California, is a leading creator and provider of software products and professional services offering communications and billing solutions for telephone answering services. Founded in 1980, Startel provides open systems architecture solutions, integrated custom software development, multi-vendor applications, soft switch integration, and an API server that enables RAD.

Szeto Technologies Inc
1881 St-Regis Boulevard
Dollard-des-Ormeaux, QC, H9B 2M9, Canada
www.szeto.ca
Contact: Charlie Szeto at 888-421-3737 or charles@szeto.ca
Szeto Technologies manufactures its own digital telephone switch and designs its own Linux-based TAS software. All Szeto products are modular. The scripting function of Szeto’s Call Linx TAS allows script designs to use variable data for logic decisions. Szeto Technologies aims to deliver solutions that surpass clients’ expectations.

TAS Marketing
233 Whitepine Creek Road
Trout Creek, MT 59874, USA
www.tasmarketing.com
Contact: Steve Michaels, president, at 800-369-6126 or tas@tasmarketing.com
TAS Marketing is a broker for the telephone answering service industry with more than 375 businesses sold, spanning over thirty years. In addition to business evaluations, they sell used answering service equipment.

Telescan LLC
617 Salt Lick Rd
St. Peters, MO 63376, USA
www.telescan.net
Contact: Patty Anderson, director of sales and marketing, at 314-616-2445 or 800-770-7662 or patty@Telescan.net
Telescan has been producing hardware and software for the telephone answering services for over thirty years. Telescan is the first vendor to be ATSI certified. Their Windows®-based Spectrum messaging system, powered by the patented Spectrum Prism®, offers telephone answering services a full range of telemessaging solutions.

NLRB Puts Unnecessary Burden on Small Businesses

By Richard Bensman, ATSI Advocacy Chairman

[On August 30, 2010, the National Labor Relations Board issued the “Notification of Employee Rights Under the National Labor Relations Act,” which goes into effect on November 14, 2011. The act requires most employers to “post notices informing their employees of their rights as employees under the NLRA.” There are concerns that the required posting will encourage workers to organize and will therefore be detrimental to many small businesses, including TAS.]

The NLRB act is an attempt by the Obama administration to appease big labor and to create more unions. It is yet another business expense that will drive up costs while confusing and diminishing the goodwill between employees and employers. All businesses, including answering services, will have to spend time and money to make sure these new regulations are fulfilled as demanded by the NLRB.

I am afraid that if we quietly sit on the sidelines and do nothing, this burdensome NLRB requirement will be another hoop that we will need to leap through to conduct daily business. ATSI’s Government Relations Committee has given the entire telephone answering service industry the opportunity to easily communicate with their senators and congressmen to express discontent of this requirement by the NLRB. ATSI encourages everyone – both ATSI members and nonmembers – to take a moment and go to a grassroots website to send an email to Congress asking them to repeal the National Labor Relations Board ruling on unnecessary posting regulations. Using this website, it will take just a few minutes for each person to write to his or her two senators and local congressman.

Then, please take the extra step and follow up with your congressman and senators. Contact their office and ask for the staffer who handles “labor relations.” All you need to do is introduce yourself as a constituent that sent a letter in reference to the NLRB and ask for an update on the issue. This lets the staffers know this it is an issue people back home are concerned with.

If this effort fails, currently there are two bills that are suggesting a repeal of this mandate, H.R.2833 and H.R.2854. Both bills have over forty cosponsors and have been referred to the Education and Workforce Committee. But do not assume that either bill will pass and the danger will be averted. Go to the website today and let your voice be heard.

CAM-X 2011 Award of Excellence Winners

For twenty-two years, CAM-X (The Canadian Call Management Association) has recognized call centers that have achieved and maintained excellence. This achievement puts them among the top telephone answering services worldwide. The CAM-X Award of Excellence is a “mystery caller” program that uses an independent panel of judges to evaluate calls. The 2011 CAM-X Award of Excellence honorees are:

Twenty-Two Years:
Christie and Walther Communications, Ottawa, ON

Nineteen Years:
Re: Messaging Solutions, Inc., Abbotsford, BC

Seventeen Years:
Answer Plus, Hamilton, ON

Sixteen Years:
Teleconnect International, Wetaskiwin, AB

Fifteen Years:
Northern Communications Services, Inc., Sudbury, ON
Tele-Page, Montreal, QC
T.A.S. Communications, Belleville, ON
PDL Contact Centres, Calgary, AB

Fourteen Years:
Answer Plus, Toronto, ON
Connections Call Center, Squamish, BC
Select Call Centre, Edmonton, AB

Thirteen Years:
Extend Communications, Inc., Brantford, ON

Twelve Years:
Alliance Wireless Communications, Kingston, ON
Select Call Centre, Grande Prairie, AB

Eleven Years:
Intercon Messaging Inc., Drayton Valley, AB
Kelcom Telemessaging, Windsor, ON

Nine Years:
Encore TeleSolutions, Barrie, ON
Central Communications, Welland, ON
Select Call Centre, Calgary, AB
Select Call Centre, Red Deer, AB

Eight Years:
Telelink Call Centre, St. John’s, NL

Seven Years:
ACT Teleservices, Newington, CT
Focus Telecommunications, Inc., Eldersburg, MD
Extend Communications, Inc., Cambridge, ON
Answer 365, Halifax, NS
Answer 1 Communications, Phoenix, AZ

Six Years:
Directors’ Choice, Saint John, NB
On Call Centre Inc., Ottawa, ON
Scotia Business Centre Limited, Bridgewater, NS
TigerTel, Oshawa, ON
Time Communications, White Bear Lake, MN
Appletree Answering Service, Inc., Wilmington, DE
Appletree Answering Service, Inc., Portland, ME
All Call Communications, Georgetown, ON
Keener Communications Inc., Glen Allen, VA
Answer Quick, Louisville, TN
Direct Line TeleResponse, Berkeley, CA
The Legacy Connection, Tuscaloosa, AL

Five Years:
JAM, Borehamwood, England
Anser Services, Green Bay, WI
Appletree Answering Service, Inc., Pensacola, FL
Appletree Answering Service, Inc., Ohio
Appletree Answering Service, Inc., Anaheim, CA
Tel-Excel, Inc. dba Billie Clarke’s, San Diego, CA

Four Years:
Call Experts, Charleston, SC
Appletree Answering Service, Inc., Houma, LA
TigerTel, Vancouver, BC
Alert Communications, Ventura, CA
AnswerOne, Brooklyn, NY
Dexcomm, Carencro, LA
MedCom Professional Services, Inc., New Holland, PA
Always On Call Answering Service LLC, Concord, NH
Professional Communication Services, Longview, WA
MedCom Professional Services, Inc., Allentown, PA
Main Line Telecommunications, Aston, PA
MedCom Professional Services, Inc., Levittown, PA

Three Years:
Tel-Us Call Center, Beverly Hills, CA
Central Communications Corp, Riverside, CA
Appletree Answering Service, Inc., St. Louis, MO

Two Years:
TAS-Page Communications, Peterborough, ON
Concorde Communications, Los Angeles, CA
Answer Plus, Montreal, QC
Appletree Answering Service, Inc., Chicago, IL
Appletree Answering Service, Inc., Kansas City, MO
Appletree Answering Service, Inc., Boston, MA
Appletree Answering Service, Inc., Sacramento, CA
TigerTel, Nanaimo, BC
TigerTel, London, ON
Ambs Call Center, Jackson, MI
A Better Connection, Inc., Gilbert, AZ
Advanced Answering, Manchester, TN

One Year:
AAMCOM, Redondo Beach, CA
TigerTel, Alberta, Calgary, and Red Deer, AB
TigerTel, Quebec City, QC
TigerTel, Winnipeg, MB
MD On Call, Cranston, RI
Combined Communications, Inc., Bowling Green, KY
Appletree Answering Service, Inc., Herdon, VA
Appletree Answering Service, Inc., Houston, TX
Appletree Answering Service, Inc., San Juan, PR
We An-Ser Communications, Lloydminster, AB
American Mediconnect, Chicago, IL
Answer Plus, Las Vegas, NV
Commercial Telephone Exchange, Inc., Reno, NV
Answer Center, Virginia Beach, VA
ComNet, Muncie, IN
Callnet Call Center, Bloomington, IN

News

AnswerNet Introduces Cell Phone Answering Service
AnswerNet has announced its new cell phone answering service, which will allow telephone agents to handle a client’s mobile phone calls while they are unavailable. This service is ideal for anyone who is often distracted by cell phones while driving. “Our cell phone answering service offers a safe, cost-effective solution for people who want their calls handled when they are driving,” said Gary Pudles, CEO and president of AnswerNet. “Drivers are four times as likely to get into crashes when they are distracted. It’s affordable, reliable, and necessary – and much less expensive than a ticket, repair, or insurance costs in the event of a wreck.”

BluIP Partners with Centurisoft
BluIP, a provider of cloud-based hosted IP services and applications to businesses through a network of partner resellers, has certified the interoperability of the CenturiSoft unified communications products for full functionality on the BluIP network. “We are pleased with our partnership with CenturiSoft,” said Scott Miller, vice president of sales and sales engineering for BluIP. “The CenturiSoft Messenger product offering is one of the first unified communications platforms to be certified on the BluIP network.” CenturiSoft president John Pope added, “We were able to validate and define very robust services that we could not do with many other providers in the marketplace [and can] recommend BluIP for advanced VoIP services.”

Amtelco’s Innovation Machine
Amtelco’s Innovation Machine provides an online forum for Amtelco customers to submit ideas for new products and improvements for existing products. Users can enter ideas, search the database, and rank ideas submitted by others. When a user submits an idea, the script dispatches an immediate reply that the idea has been received. The script also automatically sends follow-up emails when other users react to and rank the idea, and as Amtelco staff read, react to, and move ahead with the suggestion. Amtelco customers have used it to submit 224 ideas, and Amtelco’s software department has already implemented sixty-five of these. The Innovation Machine is based on Amtelco’s Infinity Intelligent Series Web-scripting feature.

TUNe meets in New Orleans
A record number of Telescan users attended the annual TUNe (Telescan User Network) conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. One of the objectives of the conference was to provide technical updates, stat reviews, and marketing ideas from Telescan; also covered were two non-platform specific programs: Appointment Scheduler and Virtual Observer. Unveiled at this year’s meeting were two new programs, Telescan’s Spectrum Messenger IPhone App and Telescan’s Business Continuity program. The latter is a hosted disaster program that is available to all Telescan platform users. Roger Young, Telescan president, said, “Telescan always looks forward to the conference. Our interaction with TUNe makes us a better company.”

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[Posted by Peter DeHaan for TAS Trader, a telephone answering service e-publication from Peter DeHaan Publishing Inc.]