The August 2012 Issue of TAS Trader

Protect Your Business

By Wayne Scaggs

On July 9, 2012, Representatives Waxman, Upton, Eshoo, and Walden sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski, requesting data from the agency to assess how funding from the Universal Service program is distributed.

The FCC has begun undertaking critical reforms to ensure the continued viability of the Universal Service Fund, and Congress wants to make sure that all aspects (contributions and distributions) of the USF are being used as intended.

I would venture to say that our industry has at least one TAS bureau operating in virtually every congressional district, and multiple bureaus in many. Write, email, call, or even visit your representative’s office. Introduce yourself and let them know about your business and how dependent you are upon telephone numbers. Tell them what the impact of unfair and inequitable decisions – such as a numbers-based contribution methodology – will mean to your business, your employees, and your customers (many of who are probably in their district). Most legislators are unaware of the debilitating impact of this methodology on our industry, so it must be carefully explained to them.

Changing the Universal Service Fund (USF) will change the way we all do business. When that happens, don’t you want to have had a say in it? I know I do. Simply put, if you don’t protect your business, who will? If not now, when? The clock is ticking. You have worked too long and too hard to let some bureaucrats do irreparable harm to the TAS industry, your business, and your future.

Don’t accept another mandate without a fight. We need to be vigilant and keep our eyes on the issues affecting our industry. ATSI has a professional advocate in Washington, but they need to know what is important to you. ATSI is the recognized voice of the industry on Capitol Hill, and working together we can make a difference. Contact ATSI to join and learn more.

If you are not sure who your representative is, go to www.house.gov/representatives/find/, and enter your zip code. Please do something. Don’t sit on the sidelines and let others decide our future.

Wayne Scaggs is a TAS industry advocate and president of Alston Tascom, providers of premised-based and hosted contact center solutions.

ATSI Vendors

At the recent 2012 ATSI Convention in Orlando, Florida, there were twenty-four vendors present.

•    Alpha Omega Telecom, Inc.
•    Alston Tascom Inc.
•    Amtelco
•    Axiom Voice
•    Burton Insurance Agency, Inc.
•    CAM-X
•    Connect First
•    Creative Voice Solutions Inc
•    EasyChoice Time & Attendance
•    Hays Affinity
•    injixo, inc.
•    Interior Concepts
•    notifymd
•    Optimal Phone Interpreters
•    Professional Teledata
•    SkyStream Broadband & Voice Integration, LLC
•    Startel Corporation
•    Szeto Technologies Inc.
•    TAS Marketing
•    TAS Scheduler
•    TASbiller
•    Telescan
•    TelStrat
•    XLScheduler

Spousal Succession Planning

By Dick Yemm

Many spouses fear what will happen to them and their families if their husband or wife, who is the principal operator of a company, becomes unable to operate their family-owned business. The answer depends on what planning and preparation has been accomplished before a triggering event occurs.

If there has been no planning, the fate of the business falls to state statues that direct the appointment of the disabled owner’s personal representative. The ability to control management of the company can transfer with that appointment, and there is no guarantee that a family member will be appointed to that position. A family’s future interest in the business remains in peril, depending on the appointee’s success. Even though a spouse may work in the business, he or she may be unprepared to function as a principal if it becomes necessary to replace the other spouse due to death or being incapacitated.

An adequately prepared spouse can be the key to a business’s survival. Their designation as a personal representative in either a durable power of attorney or a will gives them authority to represent an owner’s interest in a company; their spouse can automatically succeed to that position unless limitations have been made in the estate planning documents. In many instances, however, the successor spouse has been placed in their position as successor as a convenience, never expecting to operate the family business.

Every spouse should have some type of organized action plan just in case he or she has to assume control. Making appropriate choices depends on many factors – most importantly the length of time anticipated for the successor spouse’s involvement. A prepared spouse is aware of his or her options for running a business before a triggering event occurs. These options include:

•    Continue to personally operate the business
•    Operate the business as an overseer, not involved in daily operations
•    Elevate a designated employee to be chief operating officer
•    Hire a temporary, experienced manager
•    Sell all or part of the business as soon as possible
•    Exercise an operating, purchase, or buy-sell agreement

Developing a successor spouse’s action plan starts with education through dinner table discussions and reading trade magazines. The education should be broad in scope so all options are understood.

Consider what your first steps might be in implementing your action plan. Different triggering events require different responses. Before any options are exercised, your first step should be to gather all available information about the company. Also, the use of a trusted advisor could be of tremendous importance for support and guidance.

A prepared spouse with an action plan can make the difference for a business’s continued operation and a family avoiding unnecessary financial crisis when unfortunate events strike.

News

Professional Teledata Releases PInnacle Voice Logger
Professional Teledata released PInnacle Voice Logger, a SIP-based audio recorder, designed for integration into the PInnacle system. Pat Kalik, president of Professional Teledata, stated, “Since PInnacle Voice Logger is entirely SIP-based, no special computer hardware is required, thus improving operational efficiencies, further cost reductions, and – of course – peace of mind.” PInnacle users can integrate PInnacle Voice Logger with their eQueue and eConn switches; Millennium integration is expected soon. PInnacle Voice Logger features include: PCI and HIPAA HiTech compliance, security controlled access, an SQL-based browser that enables fast access to recordings, a “random” selection option for quality control, and the ability to bookmark notable sections in recordings.

ANI Call Screening Eases Agent Workload
Amtelco’s Infinity ANI call screening allows 1,400 Automatic Number Identification (ANI) numbers to be entered into Infinity. The numbers can be assigned to accounts set up for special behaviors, such as blocking unwanted calls from telemarketers, harassing callers, automated dialers, and incoming faxes by routing calls from those numbers to an account that simply plays a recording or hangs up. This makes it easy to handle calls from telemarketers and unwanted callers, automatically disconnecting the call without disclosing that the ANI was screened. Calls from fax machines can play a recorded message, such as “This is not a fax number.”

AnswerNet Launches Video Chat Moderation Service
AnswerNet is hiring fifty agents in Santa Rosa, California, for its video chat moderation service. Video chat agents will act as moderators in video rooms where groups of users can talk to one another. The goal of the moderator is to ensure that there is no cyber-bullying or other inappropriate behavior from video chat participants. Gary Pudles, CEO and president of AnswerNet, says, “To my knowledge, this is the first of its kind in the industry. Our video chat moderators can provide a sense of security and an extra level of protection to anyone who wants to participate in social media but feels some hesitation.”

Intelligent Series Directory Modifier Automates Mass Directory Changes
Amtelco developed a directory modifier utility for the Intelligent Series (IS) to aid in making mass changes to the IS directory. It is designed to avoid manual labor by automating changes that affect every listing in a directory. It can be used to make one-time modifications to a directory, or the settings can be saved and scheduled to perform modifications on a regular basis to adjust data imported into a directory using the IS transformer utility. The directory modifier can be scheduled with Microsoft Windows Task Scheduler to perform directory modifications hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly at specific dates and times.

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

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About Peter DeHaan

Peter DeHaan is the president of Peter DeHaan Publishing, Inc., (http://peterdehaanpublishing.com) the publisher and editor of Connections Magazine and AnswerStat, and editor of Article Weekly. Peter DeHaan’s personal website (http://peterdehaan.com) contains information and links to his blogs, newsletter, and social media pages.