The July 2013 Issue of TAS Trader

Managing Remote Operators

By Peter DeHaan

Peter DeHaan, publisher of TAS TraderFor years, some answering service owners have pursued remote operator stations, while others have avoided them with staunch opposition. For the TAS, the benefits of remote operators are many, including running multiple offices from one system, tapping into new labor markets, and hiring qualified but homebound staff.

For employees, the advantages also abound. They include saving money on clothes and eliminating commute time and transportation costs. Of benefit to both are scheduling flexibility, staffing split shifts and short shifts, as well as quickly filling open shifts and responding to traffic spikes.

I embrace the technological aspects of remote operator stations, marveling at how much things have changed since I first talked about the concept at the 1994 ATSI convention. Challenging, costly, and slow back then, connecting a remove operator station today is easy.

Often overlooked, though, are the challenges of managing a distributed workforce. It’s hard, and some management styles don’t work well over distance. There’s nothing wrong with “management by walking around,” and many use it successfully. But that technique doesn’t translate well to staff you can’t see and who can’t see you.

I admire managers who successfully oversee staff at multiple locations, yet at the same time I respect managers who decline to try, knowing it’s not their strength. However, before I let those managers off the hook, I’d like to point out that managing staff at different places is really no different than managing staff on different shifts and during times you’re not in the office. Take what works for third shift and apply it to remote operators – things should work out okay.

Peter DeHaan (www.peterdehaan.com) is publisher of TAS Trader and Connections Magazine.

nCall Answering Service SoftwareATSI Award of Excellence Winners 2013

The Award of Excellence is a cumulative program, with many call centers earning recognition for multiple years. The winners for 2013 are:

Year 17 Diamond Plus
Rochester Telemessaging Center, Rochester Hills, MI

Year 16 Diamond Plus
Answer United, Kalamazoo, MI
Business Connections, Salem, OR
Answernet Phoenix, Phoenix, AZ
Hastings Communication Services, Austin, TX
MedCom Professional Services, Inc., Levittown, PA

Year 15 Diamond Plus
On Call Centre Inc., Ottawa, ON
A Better Answer, Plano, TX

Year 14 Diamond Plus
T.A.S. Communications, Inc., Madison, WI

Year 13 Diamond Plus
Answer-All, Inc., Westminster, CO
Pro Phone Communications, Muskegon, MI

Year 12 Diamond Plus
Answer Midwest, Inc., Alton, IL
Anser Services, Green Bay, WI
Direct Line Teleresponse, Berkeley, CA
Omni  Communications, Carrollton, GA

Year 11 Diamond Plus
TAB AnswerNetwork, Santa Ana, CA
Corporate Message Services, Inc., Savannah, GA
Answer Quick, Louisville, TN
A Better Answer, Houston, TX

Year 10 Diamond
Alliance Wireless Communications, Kingston, ON
Extend Communications Inc., Brantford, ON
Port City Communications, Inc., Port Huron, MI
A Better Answer, Hurst, TX
Contact One Call Center, Inc., Tucson, AZ
Antietam Call Center, Hagerstown, MD
Answer 1 Communications, Phoenix, AZ
Personalized Communications, Inc., Duncanville, TX
CallNet Call Center, Bloomington, IN
Dexcomm, Carencro, LA

Year 9 Sapphire
Spectrum Communications Services, Inc., Brookfield, WI
Telelink, St. John’s, NL
Messages & More, Inc., Flagstaff, AZ
Extend Communications Inc., Cambridge, ON
Statcall, Alexandria, VA
Focus Telecommunications, Inc., Eldersburg, MD
AnswerTel of Athens, Inc., Athens, AL
Answer Excellence, Inc, Clearwater, FL
ComNet, LLC, Muncie, IN
Central Communications, Inc., Norwalk, CT
Answer Center, Virginia Beach, VA
CallStar, St. Petersburg, FL
Communications Group, Syracuse, NY
Alert Communications, Ventura, CA
Finger Lakes Business Services, Inc., Auburn, NY

Year 8 Ruby
Call Experts, Charleston, SC
Appletree Answering Service, Inc., St. Louis, MO
MedConnectUSA, Las Vegas, NV
The Message Center, San Antonio, TX
Holy Redeemer Medical Messaging, Meadowbrook, PA
King Communications, Saginaw, MI
Business & Professional Exchange, Inc., Beverly, MA
Information Communications Group, Leawood, KS
Answering Advantage, Memphis, TN
Alphapage, LLC, Denver, CO
Main Line Telecommunications, Aston, PA
MedCom Professional Services, Allentown, PA
Santa Cruz Answering Service, Santa Cruz, CA
Allgood Communications, Inc., Pueblo, CO

Year 7 Emerald
Answer One, Brooklyn, NY
Appletree Answering Service, Inc., Anaheim, CA
Answer Now, Phoenix, AZ
Action Telephone, Rochester, NY
Cosmopolitan Medical Communications, Phoenix, AZ
TigerTel Communications Inc., Oshawa, ON
Keener Communications, Inc., Richmond, VA
IPN Messaging Center, LaPorte, IN

Year 6 Pearl
TigerTel Communications Inc., Winnipeg, MB / London, ON
Billie Clarke’s Answering Service, San Diego, CA
Quick Connections, Greenbelt, MD
Labell Exchange, Santa Ana, CA
Image 24, Montreal, QC
Crocker Communications, Inc., Greenfield, MA
Answer, Inc., Lakewood, CO
Always On Call Answering Service, LLC, Concord, NH
MedCom Professional Services, New Holland, PA
The Answer Network, Roanoke, VA
Connections Call Centre, Squamish, BC

Year 5 Gold
Central Communications Corp., Riverside, CA
Monroe Telephone, Beaumont, TX
The Legacy Connection, Tuscaloosa, AL
Time Communications, White Bear Lake, MN
Answering Svc Care by Global Response, Margate, FL
Secretariates Inc, Norfolk, VA

Year 4 Silver Plus
Appletree Answering Service, Inc., Sacramento, OH
Advanced Answering, Manchester, TN
TigerTel Communications Inc., Nanaimo, BC
Commercial Telephone Exchange, Inc., Reno, NV
Answer Bay Area, Tampa, FL
AnswerAll, Macon, GA

Year 3 Silver
Range Call Center, Marquette, MI
Advantage TeleMessaging, Inc., West Reading, PA
Answer Plus, Inc., Las Vegas, NV
Answer California, El Cajon, CA
Ambs Call Center, Jackson, MI

Year 2 Bronze
Answer Plus, Inc., Clive, IA
Network One Communications, Tampa, FL
AAA Message Connection, Chattanooga, TN
Edwards Answering Service Enterprises Inc., Vernon, CT
Carolyn’s Communications, Inc., Snellville, GA

Year 1
Answer Direct, Fairview Heights, IL
ProComm, Seneca, SC
Appletree Answering Service, Inc., Cincinnati, OH
PWC Message Center, Dothan, AL
A Courteous Communications Corp., Orlando, FL
Northern Communications, Sudbury, ON
King’s Telemessaging, Shreveport, LA
TigerTel Communications Inc., Calgary, AB
Kelley’s Telephone, Tukwila, WA

The Top Ten AoE Winners for 2012

Finger Lakes Business Services, Inc., Auburn, NY (Top Score)
Carolyn’s Communications, Inc., Snellville, GA
IPN Messaging Center, LaPorte, IN
Santa Cruz Answering Service, Santa Cruz, CA
Allgood Communications, Inc., Pueblo, CO
CallStar, St. Petersburg, FL, Communications Group, Syracuse, NY
Alert Communications, Ventura, CA
Dexcomm, Carencro, LA
Hastings Communication Services, Austin, TX
MedCom Professional Services, Inc., Levittown, PA

2013 Call Center Award of Distinction Winners

The ATSI Call Center Award of Distinction is a “mystery caller” program that focuses on call centers. The 2013 winners are:

Alert Communications, Ventura, CA (Top Score)
Answer 1 Communications, Inc., Phoenix, AZ
Answer Quick, Louisville, TN
Appletree Answering Service, Anaheim, CA
Contact One Call Center, Inc., Tucson, AZ
Extend Communications, Inc., Brantford, ON
First American Payment Systems, Fort Worth, TX
Focus Telecommunications, Inc., Eldersburg, MD
Mobile Messenger, Los Angeles, CA
Telelink, St. John’s, NL
TigerTel Communications, Inc., Nanaimo, BC
TigerTel Communications, Inc., Vancouver, BC

News

Belinda Campbell to Oversee Sound Telecom’s New Corporate Facility
Sound Telecom, a nationwide provider of telephone answering services, contact center solutions, and cloud-based phone systems, announced the appointment of Belinda Campbell as office manager. Belinda Campbell, a veteran call center and answering service professional with extensive customer support, vendor management, and accounting experience, takes charge of office administration at Sound Telecom’s new corporate facility at TechDwellers in Seattle. “Belinda’s extensive knowledge of our industry and her proficiency with our Amtelco Infinity platform, Intelligent Series software, UltraComm platform, and Infinity OnCall Scheduler make it easy to transition into this pivotal position,” stated Brian Gabriel, COO of Sound Telecom.

Telescan Spectrum Web Appointment Scheduler and Notifications
Telescan released the Spectrum Web appointment scheduler and notifications application. Offering convenient appointment handling closely ties clients to their call center. No third-party system is necessary, so the call center is in complete control. The appointment scheduler programming is easy and handles the full range of appointment schedules, including the most difficult protocols. The Spectrum Web appointment scheduler and notifications app is completely Web-enabled and includes real-time updates to prevent double bookings. For more information, go to www.telescan.net or contact Telescan at 800-770-7662 or info@telescan.net.

Amtelco’s miSecureMessages Releases New Apple iOS App
Amtelco announced version 3.0 of the miSecureMessages mobile device app for the Apple iOS platform. The new app is redesigned to give it the look and feel of the native email and messaging apps provided on iPhones and iPads. “The new version of the iOS app so closely emulates native Apple apps that users will instantly understand it,” said Kevin Beale, Amtelco’s vice president for software research and development. The new app streamlines the installation and registration process and includes new features, including several new audio alert sounds and the ability to multi-delete individual messages and complete message threads.

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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.