2004 ATSI Convention

The 60th Annual Association of TeleServices International (ATSI) convention was held June 16 through 19 at the Sheraton Wall Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia. The convention theme was “A Rising Tide, Rises All Boats.”

A pre-convention workshop on Wednesday was conducted by Carolyn West Price, of Impact Marketing and PR, on “Getting the Most From Your Marketing.” An opening reception followed later that evening.

After a Thursday morning welcome by ATSI President Steve Diels, the convention kicked off with the keynote address by renowned speaker, Nancy Friedman, “The Telephone Doctor,” who explained “How to be an Island of Excellence in an Ocean of Mediocrity.” Her professional and well received presentation set the stage for the rest of the conference. She also made available her popular “Small Business Customer Training Package.”

The morning sessions ended with a legislative update by Brian Gilmore and Gary Tedrick about number portability. Lunch was then held in the exhibit hall with the vendors, which included: Alston Tascom, Amtelco, Cad Com TeleSystems, Call Response Consultants, CenturiSoft, Copia International, Exacom, Excel Specialisten XLS, Hays Affinity Solutions, JBS Networking, idea! Communications Group, Peter DeHaan Consulting, Professional Teledata, Startel Corporation, Szeto Technologies, TAS Marketing, TASBill.com, TASbiller, and Telescan.

After lunch, attorney Martin Ween, along with Hays Affinity Solutions’ Laura McCormick and Chris Lewis shared ways to better manage liability claims. This informative session was followed with user group sponsored sessions by NAEO (National Amtelco Equipment Owners), SNUG (Startel Network Users Group), and TUNe (Telescan Users Network). A special reception, hosted by ATSI President Steve Diels, capped the evening.

The second full day began with a presentation by Walt Slaughter of Walt Slaughter Associates about value added selling versus selling on price. Next was Gary Pudles who shared his “Managing by the Numbers” approach and showed the biweekly report card that he uses. After lunch in the exhibit hall was a presentation by Todd Camp on the opportunities afforded by digital switching. This was followed by more user group meetings.

That evening, attendees were invited to a gala event sponsored by TAS Marketing, celebrating their 25th anniversary in the industry. Featuring fine food, an ice sculpture, and music provided by a talented harpist, guests were treated to a spectacular view of the city from the hotel’s 35th floor vantage point. Professional Teledata followed this event with a wine and cheese social.

Saturday’s session began with “How to Cost Effectively Recruit and Train Top Talent for Your Call Center” courtesy of David Filwood from Telesoft Systems. A continuation of Thursday’s Legislative session followed, addressing wireless text messaging and HIPAA compliant alpha paging options. Next, Steve Diels and Rich Titus shared the results of the first ATSI customer service benchmarking study. After a morning break, Donna West and Bill Smith filled in for the ailing Larry Goldenberg to discuss pricing issues.

At the Awards luncheon, the ATSI Awards of Excellence and Call Center Awards of Distinction were given out by Barbara Bradbury and Lil Lyle. [Look for a complete list of honorees in the next issue of Connections Magazine.]  The general sessions were concluded with a presentation by John Ratliff who discussed ideas for successful sales and marketing.

Compliments for a great convention go to convention chair Mary Jones. Next year’s convention will be held in St. Louis MO. The dates and hotel have not yet been finalized, but Connections Magazine will publish the information as it becomes available.

[From Connection Magazine Jul/Aug 2004]