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September 2022 Issue of Connections Magazine

The September 2022 Issue of Connections Magazine, covering call centers and the teleservice industry

Feature Content:

CM-SEPTEMBER-2022.

Six Ways Attended Automation Can Transform Your Call Center, by Jeff Fettes
Attended automation in the contact center has the potential to deliver happier agents, happier customers, and a happier bottom line. . . read more >>

From the Publisher: Chat Availability by Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD
Offering customer service is key for business success, and chat is a popular choice. Just make sure that chat availability isn’t a problem. . . read more >>

What’s the Future of Virtual Reality Simulation in Call Center Training? by Jim Iyoob
Virtual reality (VR) simulation technologies may seem expensive, but VR can positively influence business results and make call center training more proficient. . . read more

How the Modern Contact Center Can Drive Better Results, by Rod Brownridge 
With advances in technology, we’re able to deliver more consistent results while focusing on managing relationships instead of managing problems. . . read more >>

AI and the Contact Center: An Interview with Talkdesk’s Ben Rigby
Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology will continue to evolve and adapt to new business needs, and no-code solutions will ease the challenges of adoption. . . read more >>

Ten Years Ago: Disaster-Proofing Your Call Center, by Nicolas D’Alleva
Effective disaster response means ensuring the highest priority activities continue uninterrupted and reverting to normal operations as fast as possible. . . read more >>

Twenty Years Ago: Being a Better Manager, by Lisa Olson
Practical tips to become a better manager. This will result in increased company performance and enhanced employee improvement. . . read more >>

Industry News

Send us your call center news for consideration in the next issue of Connections Magazine.

Classified Ads of opportunities for you.

Marketplace Directory of leading Contact Center Vendors.

Startel delivers best-in-call contact center solutions
Amtelco
Map Communications
CenturiSoft
CallCentre Hosting
Alliant: Professional Liability Insurance
Quality Contact Solutions
Startel Total Billing Solution
Ron Violante - Answering Service Broker
Skybridge Americas: helping America's most trusted brands
SingleComm: cloud-native omnichannel TAS solutions
On Call Software: API Integration, IVR Design, Virtual PBX

About Connections Magazine 

Connections Magazine is the premier publication for the call center industry, providing news and information for call centers, sent at no cost to qualified readers at call centers, contact centers, teleservice agencies, phone answering services, and telemessaging companies.

For more information, contact us.

July 2022 Issue of Connections Magazine

The July 2022 Issue of Connections Magazine, covering call centers and the teleservice industry

Feature Content:

CM July 2022

The Agent Attrition Problem Can be Fixed, by Donna Fluss
Reversing agent attrition won’t happen by talking about agent engagement, but it can be solved by fixing the policies that created the problem. . . read more >>

From the Publisher: Is Your Management Style Hurting Your Call Center? by Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD
If your call center is short-staffed and you can’t find enough qualified employees, shift your focus to the retention side and evaluate your management style. . . read more >>

Vendor Profile on Startel
Learn about Startel and how they seek to balance allocating customer resources today with the development of the solutions they’ll need tomorrow. . . read more >>

Guest Column: Hiring, Training, and Retaining Remote Contact Center Agents, by April Forer, Amtelco
Check out these tips to hire, train, and keep remote agents in your call center or contact center. . . read more >>

It’s Time for a More Agile Contact Center, by Einat Weiss
The agile contact center addresses scheduling flexibility to keep agents happy and engaged amid evolving customer expectations for speed and service. . . read more >>

Increase Personalization in Call Centers by Accessing Relevant Data, by Daniel Fallmann
Innovative companies are well underway in transforming their approaches to customer service and customer experience. . . read more >>

Ten Years Ago: Ten Key Elements of Your Next Contact Center CRM Solution, by Cesar Vallejo
Ask these questions when considering vendors, solutions, and options for the right call center platform. . . read more >>

Twenty Years Ago: Maximizing the Margin: Operational Cost Modeling, by Eric Miller
Convincing the client to outsource is half of the challenge, but selling them on your operation is the second mountain to climb. . . read more >>

Industry News

Send us your call center news for consideration in the next issue of Connections Magazine.

Classified Ads of opportunities for you.

Marketplace Directory of leading Contact Center Vendors.

Startel delivers best-in-call contact center solutions
Amtelco
Map Communications
CenturiSoft
CallCentre Hosting
Alliant: Professional Liability Insurance
Quality Contact Solutions
Startel Total Billing Solution
Ron Violante - Answering Service Broker
Skybridge Americas: helping America's most trusted brands
SingleComm: cloud-native omnichannel TAS solutions
On Call Software: API Integration, IVR Design, Virtual PBX

About Connections Magazine 

Connections Magazine is the premier publication for the call center industry, providing news and information for call centers, sent at no cost to qualified readers at call centers, contact centers, teleservice agencies, phone answering services, and telemessaging companies.

For more information, contact us.

May 2022 Issue of Connections Magazine

The May 2022 Issue of Connections Magazine, covering call centers and the teleservice industry

Feature Content:

May 2022

AI is Transforming Contact Centers, by Donna Fluss
AI technology has already demonstrated its ability to improve productivity and reduce costs in contact centers while delivering benefits to customers and employees alike . . . read more >>

From the Publisher: Embrace SaaS Flexibility, by Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD
Tap SaaS to maximize outcomes. Using internet provided services for your call center provides many advantages. It is affordable, scalable, and portable. It’s always up to date . . . read more >>

Vendor Profile on Amtelco
As Amtelco grows they remain committed to developing innovative technology solutions to streamline communications and increase efficiency for their clients . . . read more >>

Veterans: An Untapped Pool with Rich Skill Set
Countering the great resignation with niche recruiting—of Veterans. The reward for a concerted effort to target niche veteran candidates is a dedicated, loyal workforce . . . read more >>

Talent, Tech, and TAS
Leverage cloud-based automation tools to help your team deliver exceptional results and pursue actionable customer insight that allows them to work smarter, more coherently, without waiting for another hire to arrive . . . read more >>

Ten Years Ago: Learn How to Handle Irate Customers, by John Tschohl
When you successfully handle irate customers and their complaints, you will be rewarded with a satisfied customer who will be loyal to you and your organization . . . read more >>

Twenty Years Ago: Call Center Burnout: A Personal Story of Truth and Admission, by A Call Center Veteran
Discover a wise approach to effectively deal with burnout in this firsthand account from an call center industry veteran . . . read more >>

Industry News

Send us your call center news for consideration in the next issue of Connections Magazine.

Classified Ads of opportunities for you.

Marketplace Directory of leading Contact Center Vendors.

Startel delivers best-in-call contact center solutions
Amtelco
Map Communications
CenturiSoft
CallCentre Hosting
Alliant: Professional Liability Insurance
Quality Contact Solutions
Startel Total Billing Solution
Ron Violante - Answering Service Broker
Skybridge Americas: helping America's most trusted brands
SingleComm: cloud-native omnichannel TAS solutions
On Call Software: API Integration, IVR Design, Virtual PBX

About Connections Magazine 

Connections Magazine is the premier publication for the call center industry, providing news and information for call centers, sent at no cost to qualified readers at call centers, contact centers, teleservice agencies, phone answering services, and telemessaging companies.

For more information, contact us.

March 2022 Issue of Connections Magazine

The March 2022 Issue of Connections Magazine, covering call centers and the teleservice industry

Feature Content:

CM March 2022

Why Customers Want an Omnichannel Experience, by Megan Hottman
An omnichannel experience can be the secret sauce to earning your customer’s loyalty, whether a start-up or a market leader. . . . read more >>

From the Publisher: Call Center Work-at-Home Opportunities, by Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD
Make sure to make the most of work-at-home opportunities to best staff your call center, maintain a qualified workforce, and serve your callers. . . . read more >>

12 Metrics You Need to Know to Hit Your Sales Goals, by A.J. Windle
It’s time to set new sales goals using these metrics to measure your path or your teams’ path to hit your sales objectives. . . . read more >>

Appointment Setting Versus Lead Generation, by Shaun Thompson
Executing appointment setting lead generation campaigns is vital in achieving your sales target. . . . read more >>

Ten Years Ago: Quality Redesign to Drive Business Success, by Linda DubaEmploy these principles to avoid a bumpy ride and guide your contact center to gain the utmost value. . . . read more >>

Twenty Years Ago: Managers Need to Be Coaches, by David Saxby
A manager with strong coaching abilities can be invaluable in retaining and motivating your employees and helping them develop their skills. . . . read more >>

Industry News

Send us your call center news for consideration in the next issue of Connections Magazine.

Classified Ads of opportunities for you.

Marketplace Directory of leading Contact Center Vendors.

Startel delivers best-in-call contact center solutions
Amtelco
Map Communications
CenturiSoft
CallCentre Hosting
Alliant: Professional Liability Insurance
Quality Contact Solutions
Startel Total Billing Solution
Ron Violante - Answering Service Broker
Skybridge Americas: helping America's most trusted brands
SingleComm: cloud-native omnichannel TAS solutions
On Call Software: API Integration, IVR Design, Virtual PBX

About Connections Magazine 

Connections Magazine is the premier publication for the call center industry, providing news and information for call centers, sent at no cost to qualified readers at call centers, contact centers, teleservice agencies, phone answering services, and telemessaging companies.

For more information, contact us.

January 2022 Issue of Connections Magazine

The January 2022 Issue of Connections Magazine, covering call centers and the teleservice industry

Feature Content:

CM January 2022

The Next Act for Contact Center Transformation, by Donna Fluss Companies must make enhancements and investments, as a starting point, or find themselves with unhappy (and fewer) customers and challenged to find good candidates to staff their contact centers. . . . read more >>

From the Publisher: Look Forward to Embrace the New Year, by Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD
Embrace this year with an enlightened, optimistic perspective, believing that you have the potential to make it an amazing year. . . . read more >>

Telemarketing Laws: An Auditors Perspective, by Rich Hamilton
It’s risky when companies don’t take telemarketing laws seriously. The litigation or millions in fines could put you out of business. . . read more >>

Complying With the Latest Telemarketing Rules, by Angela Garfinkel
Know the key telemarketing rules and regulation changes that occurred in 2021. Conduct a thorough review to make sure you comply. . . . read more >>

Ten Years Ago: The Future of the Call Center Industry by Clinton Fitch
Check out the prognostications from ten years ago to see what the industry has achieved and then build upon it. . . . read more >>

Twenty Years Ago: What Makes Your Company Different and Better, by David Saxby
With increased competition and greater choices available to customers, follow these strategies to retain existing clients and attract new ones. . . . read more >>

Industry News

Send us your call center news for consideration in the next issue of Connections Magazine.

Classified Ads of opportunities for you.

Marketplace Directory of leading Contact Center Vendors.

Startel delivers best-in-call contact center solutions
Amtelco
Map Communications
CenturiSoft
CallCentre Hosting
Alliant: Professional Liability Insurance
Quality Contact Solutions
Startel Total Billing Solution
Ron Violante - Answering Service Broker
Skybridge Americas: helping America's most trusted brands
SingleComm: cloud-native omnichannel TAS solutions
On Call Software: API Integration, IVR Design, Virtual PBX

About Connections Magazine 

Connections Magazine is the premier publication for the call center industry, providing news and information for call centers, sent at no cost to qualified readers at call centers, contact centers, teleservice agencies, phone answering services, and telemessaging companies.

For more information, contact us.

The Next Act for Contact Center Transformation

By Donna Fluss

The contact center world is in the early days of a true metamorphosis, one that is going to impact all aspects of these service departments: people, process, and technology. Driven by elevated customer and employee expectations, technical innovation, artificial intelligence (AI), increasing globalization and scale, operational opportunities, and the cloud, contact center executives are rethinking their strategies and reimagining the future of these essential customer-facing departments. 

DMG expects contact centers to undergo wholesale changes that position them to deliver a proactive and personalized service experience to an increasingly demanding customer base. Contact centers need to undergo the following transformations to position themselves to enhance the brand they represent:

From Cost Center to Profit Center

Sales and collections departments are profit centers, as their primary function is revenue generation. Customer service departments, even if they do not perform up-sell and cross-sell, should also be viewed as profit centers, as an essential aspect of their job is to build strong and “sticky” customer relationships. 

From Phone Center to Omni-Channel Contact Center

While a surprisingly substantial number of contact centers continue to support only voice interactions (which means they are still call centers), the pandemic accelerated the adoption of digital channels (minimally, email and chat). Unfortunately, too many contact centers added new channels without integrating them with each other or the existing voice-based activities. 

This means each channel is independent, so an agent that helps a customer in one channel cannot see what happened in another, obscuring the visibility into the customer journey and overall brand relationship. This approach makes it difficult for customers who want to use their preferred channel and pivot easily from one channel to another, if necessary (such as if they need to escalate to a live agent). It also makes it difficult, time consuming and costly for agents who must ask customers to repeat their entire story. 

Contact centers should be fully integrated omni-channel (voice and digital) servicing environments, where agents have a single desktop and customer relationship management (CRM) system to handle all inquiries and can pivot between channels as often as needed.

From the Title of Agent to Influencer or Customer Relationship Advocate

Agents perform an essential and often challenging function for their brand – they are the primary representatives of their company to the market. It’s a challenging job as customers are not always kind, and agents may not have access to all the information they need due to system or operational limitations. 

Companies need to approach every contact as a gift when a customer or prospect reaches out to them. The customer-facing resources in contact centers need intelligent automation and tools to deliver an outstanding and personalized experience to every individual in every interaction, and they deserve a title that better reflects their importance and contribution to the brand. 

From Blame Point to Chief Customer Officer: Contact centers clean up mistakes and problems originating upstream and downstream in companies. Because they must resolve a wide variety of issues, contact center employees know more about a company than the staff in almost any other department. 

An outstanding contact center leader will spend a sizable portion of their day working with other departments to address issues identified by customers or contact center analytics. As a result, these leaders know a great deal about what customers think about the company and what it will take to enhance their perception of the brand. 

For these reasons, a contact center leader is an ideal position to become a chief customer officer in their company.

From Basic Systems to AI-Enabled Applications

Many contact centers are still using outdated servicing and CRM systems and applications as their primary information sources. Instead, contact center influencers need AI-enabled solutions that give them a view into each customer’s issue or predict the customer’s intention in contacting their brand. 

These solutions should proactively deliver all relevant data and next-best-action recommendations to resolve the current situation and influence the customer in a positive manner to enhance the relationship.

Final Thoughts

Contact centers have operated in similar ways for most of the forty-five plus years they have been in existence. It’s well past time for change and transformation. Companies must make enhancements and investments, as a starting point, or find themselves with unhappy (and fewer) customers and challenged to find good candidates to staff their contact centers. 

While the required changes are significant and costly, they will position companies to fulfill their promise of delivering an outstanding customer experience, something most companies struggle to achieve today. 

Donna Fluss is president of DMG Consulting LLC. For more than two decades she has helped emerging and established companies develop and deliver outstanding customer experiences. A recognized visionary, author, and speaker, Donna drives strategic transformation and innovation throughout the services industry. She provides strategic and practical counsel for enterprises, solution providers, and the investment community. 

Amtelco Announces Intelligent Series 5.5

Amtelco announced the release of version 5.5 for their Intelligent Series (IS) suite of call center applications. Some of the new features include:

  • Artificial Intelligence: Enhances the caller’s experience by utilizing machine learning to determine the optimal way to route calls based on prior call history. 
  • Genesis Conference Bridge: Conveniently provide concurrent multi-party conferences and expands infinity conference bridge with additional features to increase the control moderators have over conferences.
  • Speech Analytics: Provides a deeper analysis of call logs, including a transcript of the call and describing the overall tone of the caller.
  • Call Tracker Charting: New user-friendly charts and graphs added to IS supervisor reports to track call center performance. 
  • Expiring Licenses (for web agent connections): This feature can add web agent coverage during a holiday season or a special campaign.
  • Spell Check Languages: Intelligent messaging scripts now support Dutch, French, and Spanish spell check dictionaries. 

“The latest version enhancements make call processing easier by speeding up the call process,” stated Tom Curtin, Amtelco president. “They improve the caller experience and help increase accuracy.”

Amtelco logo

Amtelco has a strong history in the telemessaging industry and was founded in 1976 to provide communication solutions to the answering service and medical messaging industry. Amtelco focuses on providing call center solutions that meet or exceed customer expectations, backed by top notch service and support. Millions of telephone calls are processed every day by Amtelco systems and software in operation in all fifty of the United States and more than twenty foreign countries.

Look Forward to Embrace the New Year

Seek to Control Whatever You Can to Produce Optimum Outcomes

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, Ph.D.

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan

The last two years have been rough. And I’m ready to embrace the new year.

Though I hate to tap the too-often-stated label of unprecedented, it’s an apt description of what we’ve been through. Just as individuals have suffered, so too have the call centers that employ them and the customers they serve. 

For most operations, it’s harder than ever to find and retain good employees. In general, clients and callers are less patient and more demanding than ever before. And there’s inflation to worry about too—something that’s not been an issue for several decades—that will drive prices and wages higher.

Yet I’m optimistic. 

Not only do I want to be positive, but I must be. Though many subsist in the fog of ongoing shock, with a near-PTSD perspective, I’m excited about the opportunities I see. I’m looking forward to what the next twelve months will bring. 

Here’s why I’m ready to embrace the new year:

Battle Tested

Recent months have showed us what’s important. We’ve adjusted our perspective and adapted to changes that we didn’t want and had little control over. Though we miss what was, we now realize that some of that wasn’t so important, and we learned to accommodate our situation to pursue what really does matter in a new and fresh way.

This applies to both our personal lives and to our call center operations.

We’ve survived. We’re ready for whatever happens next and in whatever form it may take. We’ve proven to ourselves—and everyone else—that we can adjust. Using this as our foundation, we are ready to embrace the new year with confidence. 

Opportunities Abound

Some people, and some businesses, have hunkered down for the long haul, waiting for things to return to normal. Normal is nice, and I hope to one day fully realize it. But if normal never returns, I’m okay with that too. 

This is because the future holds opportunity. It’s for us to seize these opportunities and make the most of them. As the old saying goes, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

In the call center industry, for instance, we can bemoan labor shortages, scheduling nightmares, and the upward pressure of wages, or we can seize it as an opportunity to shift into a new perspective, an enlightened mindset. Of course, I don’t have an example to share—at least not yet—but you get the point.

Shift from a problem mindset to an opportunity perspective so you can best embrace the new year.

We’re Only Limited by Ourselves

Walt Kelly’s comic strip Pogo gave us the classic line “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Though Kelly originally referred to pollution, the sentiment has broad applications. This includes our personal life and our call center operations. We can be our own worst enemy, limiting what we think, what we accomplish, and what we aspire to. Or with a shift in our outlook towards the possibilities before us, we can think, accomplish, and aspire to much. We’re only limited by ourselves.

Moving Forward

Though I haven’t provided actionable recommendations, I do hope I’ve offered encouragement to step into and embrace the new year with an enlightened, optimistic perspective that you have the potential to make it an amazing year for yourself, your family, and your work. Your call center employees, clients, and customers will appreciate your efforts.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Connections Magazine. He’s a passionate wordsmith whose goal is to change the world one word at a time.  Read more of his articles at PeterDeHaanPublishing.com.

Quality Contact Solutions Receives SOC 2 Type 2 Certification

Quality Contact Solutions, Inc, a leading outsource contact center and BPO company, received its SOC 2 Type 2 certification. 

This certification follows an extensive audit performed by A-Lign Assurance, a cybersecurity and compliance professional services firm. The audit confirms that Quality Contact Solutions’ information security practices, policies, procedures, and operations meet the SOC 2 standards for security, integrity, availability, privacy, and confidentiality. 

“Compliance has become an essential component for companies to create trusted relationships with clients,” said Angela Garfinkel, president and founder of Quality Contact Solutions. “Data security is critical in today’s business climate. Our clients can be confident that we are committed to and making every investment to establish and maintain the most stringent controls needed to ensure the highest level of security and compliance.” 

The SOC 2 Type 2 certification is an independent audit assessing internal controls involving security, availability, and confidentiality of the data processed on behalf of customers, as defined by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Trust Services Criteria. As part of the audit, Quality Contact Solutions demonstrated robust data protection policies and procedures, including data security, confidentiality, and availability of data to those that have permission to access it. 

A copy of the SOC 2 Type 2 report is available to clients and prospective clients upon request.

Since 2007, Quality Contact Solutions (QCS) has established itself as an industry leader in contact center and BPO solutions, including B2B and B2C programs. QCS offers many contact center and telemarketing services, including outsourced sales, upselling, cross-selling, surveys, lead generation, sales lead qualification, appointment setting, inside sales, technical support, and inbound customer service.

Complying with the Latest Telemarketing Rules


By Angela Garfinkel

There have been many changes to telemarketing rules and regulations in 2021. The most notable change was the April 1, 2021, U.S. Supreme Court decision in Facebook v. Druid

That decision effectively neutered the plaintiff’s bar in their pursuit of Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) class action lawsuits across the U.S. Here are the top takeaways from the decision: 

  • The decision narrowed the definition of an autodialer. Now virtually all telephony equipment (including predictive dialers) is non-Automated Telephone Dialing Systems (non-ATDS). 
  • This decision does not impact the restriction on robocalls or prerecorded voice messages. 
  • The decision does not impact the other provisions of the TCPA, including compliance with the National Do-Not-Call list

Florida Telemarketing Rules

On June 29, 2021, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law CS/SB 1120, a telephone solicitation bill effective on July 1, 2021. 

This law amended the Florida Do-Not-Call Act and the Florida Telemarketing Act and provides a private right of action for telemarketing and text marketing violations. Some industry insiders are calling it a mini-TCPA. 

Also, many other states are expected to follow Florida’s lead, so watch out. Florida was the first state to create Do-Not-Call regulations in the nineties. 

The Florida Do Not Call Act now requires a company to have Prior Express Written Consent (PEWC) from the called party before placing calls or sending text messages using an automated system or a prerecorded call. 

Penalties for Violating Telemarketing Rules

Now, here’s the bad news. Unlike the TCPA, Florida widened the definition of an ATDS, making virtually all telephony equipment and dialers an ATDS. As a result, each per-call violation of $500 can triple to $1,500 per call; companies must capture PEWC before calling or texting a Florida telephone number or a Florida resident. 

The Florida Telemarketing Act now restricts how many times a company can place a call to a customer or prospect and when the calls can be placed. 

Permissible calling times are now 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (the previous call times were 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.). Plus, a telemarketer may only place up to three calls in 24 hours to one person, regardless of any particular number called. 

In addition, the amendments added an anti-spoofing provision that prohibits utilizing technology to deliberately display a caller ID number that conceals the caller’s true identity. 

Some programs are exempt from the Florida Do-Not-Call Act and the Florida Telemarketing Act, including most Business-to-Business programs. Still, conduct a careful review of the Florida law before placing outbound telemarketing calls to Florida phone numbers or Florida residents. 

Angela Garfinkel is the president and founder of Quality Contact Solutions, a leading outsourced telemarketing services organization. Angela has the pleasure of leading a talented team that runs thousands of outbound telemarketing program hours each day. Contact Angela at angela.garfinkel@qualitycontactsolutions.com or 516-656-5118.