WSTA Convention Report

By Dirk Moeller

At the Western States Telemessaging Association (WSTA) convention, we tried something new this year by having a magician at the opening cocktail party. Sixteen-year-old Patrick Lorenz amazed and wowed us with his magical artistry.

Bernie O’Donnel of Performance Intel shared with us a tool that he sells for profiling both good and bad employees. Before candidates are hired, company officials can ask them to log on to the Performance Intel website and answer a few questions. This helps prevent hiring a candidate who doesn’t fit with the organization. Other call centers are doing this, and it can more than pay for itself by helping companies cut down on inappropriate hires.

Mike Mattsen of Vcustomer Corporation discussed his offshore call centers in India. Yes, the employees have accents, but typical wages are about $1 an hour and they’re college graduates. Offshore call centers can provide service to America for costs ranging from 28 to 40 cents per minute. There was also a gentleman in attendance who runs a call center in Africa where English is the national language. Beginning this month, his call center will be answering the second and third shifts for a medical answering service on the East Coast of the United States.

The switch shoot-out was a great demonstration of several different telemessaging systems. Telescan representative Patty Anderson remotely logged on to Marcy Hewlett‘s system; Amtelco representative Bob Bennett logged on to Steve Diels‘ system; and Alston Tascom representative, Bill Cortus,logged on to a remote site for his demonstration.

Professional Teledata has now entered the telemessaging systems market. Dale Schafer made a nice presentation; the company hopes to be installing its first system in thefirst quarter of 2003.

Randy Ripkey of TASBiller and Dale Schafer of Professional Teledata demonstrated the latest Windows-based billing and profitability enhancements to their respective software packages.

Several vendors demonstrated their Web-based appointment scheduling software. Alston Tascom offers a platform-independent hosted service. Time Trade’s offerings include a feature-rich version, and the company is working on a simpler, less expensive system in conjunction with Professional Teledata. Last, but not least, Almond Hill offers its cost-effective Turbo Schedule package.

An ATSI update was provided by the organization’s president, Tedd Smith. The ATSI 59th Annual Convention and Expo will be held from June 18-21, 2003 at Disney World’s Contemporary Resort in Orlando, Fla. For more information, visit www.atsi.org. Tedd also encouraged attendees to consider ATSI’s call center certification program and discussed one of ATSI’s most popular benefits, the Award of Excellence program, which provides independent evaluation of agent courtesy and quality.

Richard Floegel of Gema Tech asked what our plans are in the event of a flood, hurricane, tornado, fire, or anthrax contamination. What would we do if we couldn’t answer calls for several hours, days, or weeks? For a moderate cost, Gema Tech can re-route your traffic to anywhere in the world. This would also be a method to re-route after-hours calls to a different call center across town or across the globe.

Attorney Dale Crandall shared his matrix comparison of three different E&O policies: USLI, Hartford and Lloyds of London. All three policies had different strengths, but in total comparison it was a very close contest.

For more information, contact WSTA Executive Director Dan L’Heureux, at 877-754-4103, Dan@CallConsult.net, or visit the WSTA website at www.WSTAonLine.org.

[From Connection MagazineDecember 2002]